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Who needs the Windsors when you have the Kardashians?

The parallels are clear when you look at how sex tapes, bad marriages, racism and tragic deaths have been part of both families' stories – but at least the Kardashians aren't as lazy and entitled
Thu, Nov 26, 2020

As the cool kids say, "the devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder".

But you know who they don't say that about? Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, the woman we commonly refer to as the Queen. This is not because the Queen, according to one of her titles, is the 'Defender of the Faith', or even that she has sat on the throne for 65 years while Kris Jenner and her brood will leave our television screens after only 14 years when Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK) airs its last episode next year.

Despite all the pomp and circumstance, as far as I can tell there is not much separating the Kardashians from the Windsors. Are they both not wealthy families mainly imported into their home countries from elsewhere – the Kardashians being Armenian and Windsors German – who enthral the world with their drama?

But as Zoe Msutwana put it in her piece on why she's a Kardashian fan, the Kardashians "are an unstoppable force". For me, however, I could never claim to be a fan. Yet despite never having watched KUWTK I am all too familiar with them. I say all too familiar because despite my indifference I also accept them as a fact of modern life.

For many, they first came to be known in 1994 through Robert Kardashian's role as a lawyer to OJ Simpson during the "trial of the century". But of course, the Kardashians' current prominence has to be traced back to the leaking of a sex-tape featuring the now settled and married (after two prior attempts, one famously for 72 days) Kim Kardashian just months before KUWTK launched in 2007.

Similarly, the Windsors have been a fact of my life since the '90s when the world's media followed every twist and turn in Charles and Diana's marriage. Or, as Diana described her marriage, Diana, Charles, and Camilla. That saga ended with the tragic death of Diana in 1997 and the inevitable marriage of Charles to Camilla in 2005. But nobody can ever forget that Camilla was firstly Charles's mistress and the woman whose tampon he said he wanted to be in a leaked phone call in the sex-tape scandal known as 'Tampongate'.

Considering they are overwhelmingly white, it is not surprising both families have struggled with racism.

When Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced their decision to "step back as senior members of the Royal Family", commentators were quick to point to the racism faced by the first black British royal, both from within the Royal family and British tabloids as an explanation. Then there was the issue of the Queen mother's racism and the Queen's uncle, a former King, being a Nazi sympathiser.

For the Kardashians, racism scandals seem to come as often as a black baby is born into the family. Most of them have been embroiled in various racism scandals, often more than once, during the 14 years of their fame.

When you look at how sex tapes, bad marriages, racism and tragic deaths have been part of both families' stories, even the most ardent monarchist would see parallels between the Kardashians and Windsors.

But even as these stories and scandals are the crux of what makes both families impossible to ignore, I'd choose the Kardashians over the Windsors in a heartbeat.

While the Kardashians may have their issues, you can't deny they do a modicum of work for their immense wealth. The Windsors, however, would argue that cutting ribbons for charities is 'work' and why British taxpayers should continue to pay for them, while the bulk of their billions are 'earned' through centuries of royals being at the top of the British class-system, and an Empire that dispossessed its colonies to the extent that the ultimate expression of British monarchy, the Crown Jewels', most notable gemstones are Indian and South African.

So, with both Kardashians and Windsors only being useful as wealthy families we can gawk at and judge for the one thing they are poor at, decision-making, I say let's choose to keep up with the Kardashians and forget about the Windsors.

  • You can catch KUWTK on Showmax and on E! (channel 124)