Belfast Telegraph

Buckingham Palace birthday bash fit for a princess called Harper has left Beckhams and royals with lots of cake on their face

By Lindy McDowell

In the famous words of the Victorian writer Walter Bagehot, in order for the monarchy to survive: "We must not let in the daylight upon magic." Walter's concern was that the mystique of royalty could be punctured by anything which afforded the masses overly generous insight and access.

Just what he would have made of Princess Harper at Buckingham Palace we can only imagine.

Six-year-old Harper Beckham recently had a birthday party at the Palace hosted by Fergie with Princess Eugenia in attendance. And, among other guests, the small daughter of Stella McCartney, dress designer to the stars and daughter of Sir Paul of The Beatles.

So far, so fairy tale.

But thus far, no fairytale ending.

The Beckhams were daft enough (or bumptious enough) to post the pictures on Instagram. And in doing so opened up a right Pandora's Box of backlash.

First up, design queen Stella who was reported to be "spitting feathers" (is this appropriate for an avowed vegetarian?) on account of her little girl's photo being circulated on the internet.

You do have to have some sympathy here. Unusually for a celeb Stella does not regard her children as publicity tools. Although given the Beckhams propensity for posting online an incontinent stream of snaps of their own offspring, it should perhaps have crossed her mind to remind them of her zero publicity policy.

Also annoyed by the Palace party invite?

Well, just about all parents of small children everywhere, miffed that they too do not have similar access to the Buckingham wonderland party venue.

And the major loser in all this, is the monarchy which, once again, courtesy of Fergie and Co, is made to look like a giant sweetie shop in which the Yorks believe themselves entitled to gorge at will - and to invite their celebrity friends to join them.

The Palace is now a playground - but only for selected rich kids of Instagram.

Obviously the Beckhams don't come out of this too well either.

David Beckham, in particular, has dipped a bit from his previous National Treasure status ever since his not exactly noble efforts at securing himself a knighthood were revealed.

Posh, meanwhile, who used to come across as a loving and reasonably grounded mother, increasingly appears to be elbowing her children into the limelight as a means of promoting Brand Beckham.

Other pictures from young Harper's birthday bashes both at home and in the Palace give the impression of celebrations more in keeping with a nation marking its independence than a wee girl having a few friends around for fun and cake.

The problem with the rich and famous is that they do not have a normal barometer when it comes to splashing out. Everything - everything - has to be OTT.

The Tamara Ecclestones of this world don't do understated. Tamara recently had a pony transformed into a unicorn for her little girl. The poor animal's mane had been dyed pink.

Then there's Beyonce who has 'knighted' her infant son from birth by naming him Sir (Missed a trick there, David?).

In fairness this still falls short of Kim and Kanye West who went the whole hog and canonised their wee Saint.

Frivolous stuff all this might seen. But at a time when the gulf between rich and poor seems ever more extreme, this ostentatious flaunting of outrageous wealth and position is just repellent.

And the sad part, I think, is that in this day and age even privileged parents don't seem to wish more for their girls than to tag them 'princess'.

Surely there are more exciting, worthwhile roles they could aspire to? Starting with astronaut, artist, athlete...

Apart from anything else, as Prince Harry infers (in words that would surely outrage old Walter Bagehot) even royalty don't seem want to be royalty these days.

Bonfire argument the height of nonsense

We need to talk about bonfires. Not next spring when they’re half-built again, but in the coming months with cool heads.

The most pressing concern is the height of the things — in some areas, not all.

These are a danger to life and property, and someone will be killed if something isn’t done. The argument that this is part of unionist culture is a nonsense. Bonfires are. These giant, unstable, towering infernos aren’t.

Bonfires have traditionally been built to mark the beacons that guided in King Billy. Some of this year’s were so massive they could have guided in Martians.

Flats plan a real boost for Upper Crescent

My heart doesn’t usually leap up at reports of a block of apartments being planned.

But great news, I think anyway, that a developer is hoping to revamp Belfast’s only curved terrace, the glorious Upper Crescent off Botanic Avenue.

That beautiful crescent of white grandeur has been in decay for years.

Every time that I drive past it, I think what a pity it has been allowed to plummet to eyesore.

So good luck to the firm that wants to restore to its former glory, one of Belfast’s forgotten masterpieces.

It will benefit the entire area.

Belfast Telegraph

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