Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Modern Monarchy?

by Clemency Flitter

It seems that the monarchy in Britain is more popular than ever! After the relatively recent royal wedding and the more recent Diamond Jubilee people are in love with the British monarchy more so than ever; after all our monarchy is something that is quite rare in these times. Since the French Revolution having a monarchy became something that was increasingly rare as many European countries such as Russia (who got rid of the Tsar) and Germany (who dispatched with the Kaiser near the end of World War I) have left their monarchy behind and moved on. However, maybe Britain’s decision to stick with our traditionalist monarchy has paid off rather well in the long run.

queen, queen in china, diamond jubilee
The "Queen" arrives to great crowds in Shanghai
As one of very few surviving monarchies the Queen and Buckingham palace attract many tourists to London each year. There is also a lot of foreign media attention in large events in which the monarchy feature. America, in particular, had a lot of media attention spent on the Royal Wedding and even made a film about it! On the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee President Barack Obama sent out a video message to the Queen and there were many American tourists in London to get a glimpse of the Jubilee procession. The Queen is also very popular in China, recently a lookalike was present in Shanghai to try to give Chinese people the feel of the Diamond Jubilee, this caused a big stir as thousands of people flocked to see the fake monarch as news spread of the arrival of “Queen Elizabeth”.

Of course there are still many people saying that there is no place in modern Britain for an old institution such as the monarchy. Though the monarchy does appear to still be very popular there are still many naysayers who believe that the traditional monarchy doesn’t accomplish much to the good of the country and costs a lot of money which the country shouldn’t have to find, especially in these times of austerity. The monarchy isn’t elected some believe that there shouldn’t be any heads of state, no matter how little they have to do with the rule of the country, that are born into the job; people should always chose who runs the country even if they are a figure head. There are also many questions being asked as to whether descendants of William and Kate will still be on the throne. Some believe that, though the monarchy is popular now, it will be a lot less so in years to come. In addition to this with people living longer than ever before, and the monarchy being no exception to this rule, there are questions being asked as to whether there should be a retirement age for monarchs or whether they should still reign however impractical and even if they become no longer capable of public visits themselves.

A picture of the Royal family at the wedding of William and Kate
Though many people believe that the monarchy is something that has changed very little over many years in many ways this is not the case. If you were to look back a couple of centuries there would be very few royal visits to ordinary towns. It used to be considered big news if the monarch were to drive through a town on their way to visit someone elsewhere (even though often not even the carriage windows would be open); in modern times a monarch is very much expected to make visits all over the country to meet people other than the very wealthy. The royals of our time are often making visits to schools and businesses all over the country, notably would be the Queen’s recent tour around the country for her Diamond Jubilee. As well as this nowadays even us commoners get to join in the celebrations of big events such as royal weddings as they will broadcast on TV for everyone to enjoy.

Will the monarchy last forever?
All these efforts make the monarchy something that is more for everyone that for foreign dignitaries and a select few upper classes. In a way this has made the British monarchy more successful than ever, just think about all those people who crowded along the mall to see the Queen’s jubilee procession. So has the monarchy come through the rough patches of history to be stronger than ever? Well, in my opinion this is simply not the case, nor do I think it ever will be the case. I tend to feel that hardships will come and go for an institution as old as the British monarchy, certainly it has come out well so far, but there are bound to be more times where questions arise once more and I can’t help but wonder if the monarchy will come out quite as strong next time, in however many years this “next time” will occur. However for now I’m pretty confident in saying that the British monarchy is here to stay.

So does this new, more accessible monarchy make it a modern monarchy or is that an impossibility? Where do you think the British monarchy will be in a hundred years’ time? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Love this, it's so relevant to the major events that have happened this year in Britain :)


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