Harry, Meagan and Marx

So reads the headline for Bagehot’ s column for The Economist on January 18, 2020.

A sub-head warns that ‘Brand Sussex represents the biggest threat to the monarchy so far.’ The Suss-exiters threaten ‘to unleash the spirit of
capitalism on the very core of the monarchy.’ (Full text follows.)

What’s new? ‘By Appointment’ has adorned labels for soap, biscuits, whiskey, and soda water for twice as long as one of world richest has been allowed to reign over us. In 1934, the Sydney Morning Herald approved of the Prince of Wales’ performing as ‘England’s commercial traveller.’ In recent decades, one or other parasite has been dispatched to Saudi Arabia and like bastions of the English Tree of Liberty to flog weapons.
Sovereignty under capitalism is supposed to reside with the consumer. But too much freedom of choice eats into profits. How to resolve that
contradiction?

A 1928 Report on the seasonal employment patterns in the rag trades conjectured:

There is nevertheless some possibility of forcibly educating the consumer, as it were, by the action of manufacturers and salesmen, either
individually or in concert (the latter a more remote possibility in the present state of organisation in the clothing industries). (Emphasis
added)

In 1930, the British garment industry dispelled the ILO’s gloomy prognosis when it established a Colour Council to limit the range of colours on offer.
The marketers portrayed their educational efforts as a service to the consumer who would be able to coordinate her e􀀠·tsemble· with greater ease. Each season, the Council’s charts make it possible for you to buy French silks that will match Scottish tweeds, an English umbrella or match Viennese shoes, Czechoslovakian jewellery to tone with your evening frock, and even the sewing silk for making up your new season’s model.

That service had been made possible because what the industry still pictured as madame’s whims and fancies had been standardised more than two years before.

The British Colour Council secured two forms af Royal Patronage: first, a female Royal acted as patron; secondiy, the Palace. ccndescended to allow the Council to apply the imprimatur of the throne whe,t announcing the
fashionable colours for Coronations, Royal Tours and Weddings.

from Humphrey McQueen

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