‘Old man in hat sits on chair’ is one way to describe King Charles’ coronation, but it also represents a man landing his dream job at the ripe-old age of 74, after the world’s longest apprenticeship. Old people are having a bit of a moment currently.
Formula One’s, Bernie Ecclestone, 92, is currently on conditional bail whilst appearing in a £400m tax fraud trial, which will be held in October.
Media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, also aged 92, is currently in the news.
After emailing his wife, Jerry Hall, to tell her that he was seeking a divorce from, he rapidly announced the news of his engagement to Ann Lesley Smith, saying: “We’re both looking forward to spending the second half of our lives together,” only to call it off two weeks later, the old goat.
What is it with these old people? They are running empires, countries and living high on the hog with a gusto that would put most people half their age to shame. People were meant to retire in their sixties and then quietly fade away until death claimed them some years later.
I thought stress was meant to be a killer, but these old men seem to thrive on it. Especially royalty.
The Queen Mum was basically a lush who was propped up by her surgeon till her 102nd year. She used to start the day’s shenanigans with Dubonnet and gin (because she did not believe it to be alcoholic) and just just carried on drinking till she was carried off to bed.
It is said that after one gin and Dubonnet, you’ll need a taxi, after two you’ll need an ambulance, and after three you’ll need a priest. For any normal pensioner such a prodigious daily alcoholic intake would kill them before their mid-70s, but the rich just keep on going.
The mega-rich are literally another country.
So what can we learn from them?
I think having flunkeys at your beck and call helps immensely. If you are a member of royalty, your servants are there to do everything for you and ensure your life passes for as long as possible in a state of perpetual drunkenness, which obviously helps when dealing with your subjects; ie, everyone.
If you are not royal, then your best bet is to marry into a royal family, but as history repeatedly tells us, this does not always lead to happiness.
No, perhaps your best bet, as a commoner, is to become a mogul of some type and surround yourself with talented people who ensure you remain as rich as the royals and live for as long as possible.
I’m thinking Logan Roy, CEO and father, from Succession, for example. He runs a massive media and entertainment company, not too dissimilar from Murdoch’s empire. When he dies relatively early, in his 80s, (obviously for reasons of plot rather than underlying health issues), the story arc can reach its dramatic conclusions, with his children and acolytes fighting to take over the reins.
It is obviously undignified and, funnily enough, Murdoch, who faces succession issues of his own, included a clause in his divorce from Jerry Hall, that she would not speak to any scriptwriters from Succession.
So when you’ve made your billions, have entered the second half of your incredibly long life, how do you best prepare for your demise?
Perhaps you should consider what the world’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, a mere stripling of 73, is doing.
He is the founder of luxury goods brand, LVMH, and is worth around $196 billion.
He has five children and they are all employed equally in a holding company which oversees the company’s various divisions. When he eventually passes they will all have a part to play, but one will become the CEO of LVMH.
To this end, he holds regular interviews with each of his children, to decide which will become first among equals.
In the end, I guess, the majority of us are mere subjects, minions to our overlords, be they royal or industrial. And in both cases, I think there is always a good case for insurrection, for revolution.
If they refuse to go from natural causes; Off With Their Heads…