There is a Royal Rumble coming this December, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Washington, if some American journalists’ angry tweets are anything to judge by. Following a Buckingham Palace statement reminding reporters covering the royal trip that they should dress appropriately, some have responded with angry tweets, refusing to wear ties and invoking “the spirit of ’76.” (I was unaware of the Revolutionary importance of the open collar.) The Buckingham Palace statement seems innocuous enough, and asks for little more than common courtesy; after all, dress codes for formal events are not unusual. “Journalists wishing to cover Royal engagements, whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, should comply with the dress code on formal occasions out of respect for the guests of The Queen, or any other member of the Royal Family. Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away. This also applies to technicians.”
On Twitter several members of the Press Corps took umbrage. “I now want to cover the royal visit but just so I can wear pajamas to it,” tweeted Adam Serwer. (Note the added insult to the Brits by former colonial Serwer when he chooses not to spell pyjamas correctly.) Binyamin Applebaum asked “What exactly is the nature of the British crown’s authority to set dress codes for American journalists in the US?” Simon Maloy suggested “A Pulitzer for the reporter who shows up in camo cargos and a ‘Who Farted?’ t-shirt”. The whole thing seems like overreaction, though, and surely no member of the White House Press Corps would wear shorts and a wife-beater while interviewing President Obama. And they all get dickied up for their own little dinner, don’t they?