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Great Britain

Dennis Skinner's prophetic comment about Royal Family: 'You can't have it both ways!'

Mr Skinner, who served as a Labour MP for 49 years, was booted out of the Commons by a Tory candidate earlier this month. The left-winger is staunch anti-Monarchist and in a 1994 interview made a comment which mirrors the debate today about the Royal Family. For one thing, it echoed a feeling that many had after the Queen’s so-called ‘annus horribilis’, when the popularity of the Royal Family ebbed.

A number of people are claiming the monarch has had a second ‘annus horribilis’ this year after the disaster around her son Prince Andrew and the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. 

Andrew has led to the question being raised whether the monarchy is fit for purpose – it was even asked during a TV election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

For another, Mr Skinner insisted that the royals are trying to be mysterious and regal, while simultaneously being relatable and down to Earth – a criticism that is fired at the royals today more than ever.

He claimed that they can’t have it both ways and that their attempt to be like “soap stars” has led to increased negative feelings towards them.

READ MORE: Brexit backlash: How Leavers could oust Dennis Skinner after 50 years

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Dennis Skinner is a vocal anti-monarchist (Image: GETTY)

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Prince Andrew's Newsnight interview was a car crash (Image: BBC)

Mr Skinner said: “They want to be, on the one hand, mysterious, and on the other hand, they want to be in the public eye – and you can’t have both. 

“You can’t be both regal and common at the same time, and that’s what they’ve tried to be. 

“They want to be in the footlights, they want to be like soap opera stars. 

“My view is they’ve stripped away those veneers themselves in the last few years with the net result that the British people – a lot of them – are now saying that the Queen could be the last reigning monarch.”

Dennis Skinner

Dennis Skinner's 1994 interview (Image: YouTube – SUSIEPIP)

In this way, he suggested that by stripping away some of that mystery and the illusion that they are different from everyone else, means that people are starting to question what the point of them is.

Millions of pounds a year go to maintaining the Royal Family’s homes and way of life, yet they have started to shy away from duties that are normally expected of them.

Some of the same criticisms brought by Mr Skinner are now being thrown at the younger generation of royals, namely Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

The Duke and Duchess have claimed she wants privacy and decided to keep the birth and christening of her son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, out of the public eye.

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Meghan and Harry have insisted they want privacy (Image: GETTY)

And yet, Harry and Meghan have taken £2.4million of public funds to renovate their home at Frogmore Cottage and continue to engage with the press – just only on their own terms. 

For example, they did a documentary with ITV, talking to Tom Bradby, but have launched an all-out war against certain newspapers in a statement written by Harry in October.

The Duke of Sussex accused the British tabloids of a “ruthless campaign” against his wife, and claimed they published “relentless propaganda”.

He referred to his mother, Princess Diana, in the statement, alluding to the fact that her car was being chased by paparazzi when she died.

Charles had separated from Princess Diana, but not yet divorced, and similarly Andrew had been separated from his wife Sarah, Duchess of York.

There was also the scandal around Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles – a royal biography revealed the dark secret, as well as a transcription of a phone call between the two of them was released.

Meanwhile, Sarah Ferguson – affectionately known as Fergie – had continued to embarrass the Royal Family with her antics, including getting into huge amounts of debt.

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Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage began to crumble in the early Nineties (Image: GETTY)

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The Duke and Duchess of York separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996 (Image: GETTY)

Princess Anne had also recently divorced Mark Phillips and immediately remarried, sparking talk that they had been romantically linked for a while.

Mr Skinner claimed the Royal Family had triggered anti-Monarchist sentiment themselves by the way they actjoey

He said: “I actually believe the Royal Family have been pushing their own self-destruction button for about the last five years.

“And although there is a massive opposition now to the royalty in Britain – it’s probably 50/50 – at one time you would have thought that maybe 95 percent would have supported the monarchy.

“It’s not because there’s been a massive sweep of Republicanism, it’s because they've dug their own pit.”

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