UK Monarchy Today


Almost a year ago the UK and half the world went mad with excitement over the birth of Prince George, son of the glamorous Kate Middleton and Prince William. The universal appeal of the good looking and charming couple have made the British monarchy more popular than ever. But the ineffectiveness and impracticability of having a monarchy may soon overpower all the allure the Windsors offer.

The sovereign is suppose to be a symbol of national unity and a source of strength for the British people during difficult times. But since her reign began in 1952 almost no one can quote a memorable speech Queen Elizabeth has made that has struck the hearts of her subjects. The Queen’s political power is almost nonexistent as she has no power to change government policy. The real political power lies with Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet as the sovereign’s role is “honorary.”

With limited power and lots of money the sovereign and royal family have become the representatives of the UK. They go out on royal tours where they play cricket and sail and host garden parties and official dinners of their own for the rich and elite. In all fairness the royal family has an independent fortune and revenue which funds a lot of their own expenses and lets them patron charities of their choosing.

“They attract tourism!” monarchists yell. Except not really. Research has shown tourists go to the UK for its museums, history, and shopping. Windsor Palace is ranked #24 in tourist attractions in the UK.
So the UK is left with a very rich family with a grand title who know how to throw a party.
Yet there is something about a hereditary ruler born into immensely high status and wealth that goes against every democratic ideal. Are they necessary? No, there would be no fundamental change if the sovereign and royal family disappeared. This family’s non-necessity has fueled a movement towards Republicanism. The movement calls for an elected head of state chosen by the people, not the lucky product of an old bloodline. It would be a modern reform for an old nation. Yet those in favor of the monarchy bring up the failed UK republic that took place in the seventeenth century. Perhaps a monarchy is essential to the UK, but only the future will tell if baby George ends up wearing the crown.

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