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Britain's Queen Elizabeth with gold piano.
Reuters/John Stillwell
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is all about austerity, as you can see.
LIFE'S RICH PAGEANT

Of course the queen has a gold piano

By Ephrat Livni

On Christmas Day 2018, Britain’s queen Elizabeth II addressed her “subjects.” She did this from Buckingham Palace, one of six royal homes, and chose a festive room, one of 775 in the humble abode, which is currently being renovated at taxpayers’ expense. The room she chose, known as the “white drawing room,” happened to house a lavish gold piano.

The ridiculous instrument caused an internet frenzy. Until Elizabeth gave her Dec. 25 speech, calling on Britons to be austere in the face of Brexit, it appears no one realized she was in fact a monarch, heading a family of royals who favor crazy hats and fascinators worn at ridiculously expensive events, and who cost Britain more than $96 million this year through the Sovereign Grant. 

To be fair, the queen is out of touch. Most monarchs are; that’s why so many nations abolished their monarchies ages ago, occasionally by offing a head. It’s worth remembering that the queen is also 92 years old. At least she didn’t suggest the people of England eat cake. (Or brioche—though some now doubt that Marie Antoinette made this famous statement, there’s no question that her expensive 18th century tastes infuriated the French and fueled a revolution).

Some on Twitter defended the royal, pointing out that the piano technically belongs to all Britons because some of the riches she enjoys are only for royal use, i.e. public property that the monarchy borrows indefinitely. But this distinction, too, highlights the monarch’s audacity. Elizabeth is independently rich as hell and gets public assistance in the form of absurd instruments.

The queen’s gold piano is no surprise. But it is proof positive that delighting in royal weddings and fawning over babies with titles is a ridiculous and dated pastime that should have been abolished with monarchy itself.