The Americans have a Royal Family
We humans are tribal and I think that’s good, up to a point. Taking pride in who you are and where you’re from is perfectly fine. There are certain things that bind us… that make us a single tribe.
Often these things are symbols, like the Union Jack or Queen Mum. The Queen may not appreciate some random Yankee reducing her to a mere symbol, but I think it’s true.
Take away these things and you are left with generic — something. What do you stand for? Do you have any beliefs? Are you even British anymore? I say the UK needs a Queen!
Roger and I were with a group of friends last week and we were discussing ideas for a new blog and the Royal Family idea came up. I looked at Roger and said: “The Americans have a Royal Family, you know” and another British friend said: “Yeah, the Kennedys!”
That was true forty years ago but that wasn’t the family I had in mind.
Yesterday, as I’m writing this, the ABC News website carried four stories on the British Royal Family. Notice I didn’t say BBC, I said ABC. It seems Harry & Meghan went someplace I’ve never heard of and did something, then it snowed. The end.
Out of curiosity, I went into my BBC Account and changed my Postal Code to Central London and logged-back in. On this same day, the BBC ran no stories (dated 2, Feb) on the Royals as far as I can find. Interesting.
Still think I’m exaggerating? Local television station WPTV, West Palm Beach, Florida ran a LOCAL Story: “Britain’s Prince Philip has been spotted driving without a seat belt just 48 hours after his car crash in which the 97-year-old’s Land Rover flipped onto its side.”
Notice this TV Station has links to other articles embedded in this text? That means they have been following other stories about the Prince.
We are also aware of your presses treatment of Meghan, as of late. As far as we know, she is getting on well with her Sister-in-Law and Queen Mum, so what are you lot on about? (I’m always proud of myself when I talk British)
However, not all Royals are loved by the Americans; you’ll find George III remains as unpopular as ever. Have you ever seriously considered that?
George III was so arrogant that he left the loyal British on the left side of The Atlantic no choice but to revolt. George Washington had even applied to be a regular in His Majesty’s Army. Almost nobody wanted the revolution that followed. What we wanted was to vote.
Consider this: if we had a vote in Parliament, most UK citizens today would live on the other side of The Atlantic and Donald Trump would be your PM. Enjoy the rest of your day…
A Royal family: good or bad for Russia?
In 1912 Russia widely celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Romanov’s House. It was a big deal back then and nobody expected that Russia’s royal family and the Russian empire itself would vanish in a bloody conflict in just five short years.
Compared to 1612, Russia had made terrific progress as a country and as a society, too. It was a vast empire spread out from Finland to Chukotka and from Poland to the Pamir mountains. The economy was booming, the army was strong and the political system was developing at fast pace. The Emperor and the monarchy stood strong as a moral authority. Picture perfect.
Like I said, it all went down in flames in 1917. Surprisingly fast and loud.
Nothing helped to save it. Historians may discuss why, but I believe that it was some especially bad combination of conditions that led to the dramatic fall of the empire in February 1917 and then to another fall of the democratic provisional government in October. Bad luck, really.
But, there’s, in my opinion, a key to it: the extremely, cosmically weak figure of the Tsar Nicolas the Second. The man, by the way, used to shoot crows and cats, just out of his desire to please himself: it is a proven fact. What a pervert!
He stood on the way of the reforms and was implementing them only when there were really no other options. He made a giant mistake to get his country into the World War, though all other rulers of the time in Europe made the same mistake, too.
He couldn’t stand up to the crisis of 1917. He, basically, created it. Even his generals turned away from such a Commander-in-Chief, refusing to obey his orders. He was the front man of the empire
and the people, fed up with war, along with the elites, fed up with his weaknesses, just sent him to hell.
Now there’s no chance for restoring a monarchy in Russia. Some funny people talk about Vladimir
Putin setting up a new dynasty. Some others think of getting somebody from the remaining Romanovs – the people who don’t even live now in Russia.
It all looks very archaic and artificial. Plus the idea of getting rid of the republic rule, even what it looks today, still would be taken by many as regressive.
So no chance: we don’t need any royal family today as, whoever it would be, they won’t have any moral authority to reign, just to be rejected by majority.
We don’t need no Tsar. We need understanding where we’re now and what direction to take to avoid another 1917.
A Royal Family – good or bad for my country?
Today, there are 26 monarchies around the world, ruling over 43 countries in total. My country has had a monarchy since the year only had three numbers in it.
Yes, the concept of monarchy is archaic, and if I tried to explain it to someone who has no idea of what a monarchy actually is, it would appear totally irrational. (What’s the point of a monarchy? Well, actually, it’s to *cough* procreate, so that more heirs to the throne can be raised…)
It can also be argued that the royal family exists merely as a glaring symbol of the unearned privilege and inequality that invades the roots of British society.
About 70% of people in Britain favour keeping the current monarchy, rather than becoming a republic with an elected head of state (YouGov 2015). But, side by side, there’s also a long-running campaign for the monarchy to be abolished. Those who campaign for a republic will complain how much the privileged monarchy costs the country. They also say that Kings and Queens are not necessarily fit by birth to be head of state. Why should someone be given the opportunity to be head of the nation according to birth and not ability? A Royal Family does not bring stability to a country – the government and ordinary folk do, otherwise surely every country would have a monarchy; most countries are republics.
Those who still think the monarchy is ok respond that it is traditional and we British are a very traditional lot.
So let’s first look at those financial figures. The Crown Estate shows that the royal family spent £56,800,000 in 2016/17. About one-quarter of this was paid for by the Royal Family. The remainder, £42,800,000 was funded by the taxpayer, around £0.65 per person in the U.K.
In 2017, it was estimated that the annual contribution of the monarchy to the U.K. economy was £1,766,000,000! This puts the taxpayer’s payment into the shade. I accept that it is not possible to verify that last figure, but I reckon you can certainly bank on the Royal Family producing a huge profit for the country overall.
They represent, for better or for worse, Britain’s love affair with the past. It’s argued also that the strength of our royals is that they are prepared to change when necessary. While that has certainly not always been the case, I know that the televising of our present monarch’s coronation back in 1953 was definitely using the latest technology of the BBC’s fledging TV service. However, the actual anointing and crowning had to take place behind closed doors, as the family’s advisors did not want to shatter the almost mythical, magical fairy-tale occasion that the unseen crowning had always been in the past.
Then, in the later 1950s, it was deemed necessary to televise the traditional Queen’s speech on Christmas Day, making it much more personal and relevant to the population than the usual radio broadcast.
But even as late as the mid-1990s, the Royal Family showed a complete misjudgement and misunderstanding of the outpouring of grief and shock in the country following the sudden death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The reputation of these modern Royals reached an all-time low, and it took a long time for the family’s credibility to be restored.
So where are we today with Britain’s Royal Family? The head is a queen who in now well into her nineties, and still working hard, paying taxes, sending a token tweet, and who once joined her grandson Harry to play a prank on the Obamas. And who can ever forget her appearance, on film, in a James Bond spoof, at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games?
Maybe that’s the real secret to, let’s face it, a very successful British monarchy – its connection, not always to the stodgy old ways of the past, but sometimes to the new age of modern Britain. But do we need it?
The presence of royalty at an event helps ensure its successful organisation and presentation. People try harder if a royal is attending.
Tradition – in an age where change is ever more frequent, the family can help give people a sense of continuity and recognition. We also get a chance to celebrate those traditions.
Being born or marrying into it brings permanent changes to their liberty. Despite the undoubted privileges, this is a life sentence with the people watching your every move for up to a 100 years. Could it be that we have nagging admiration for that?
Maybe those in favour of the monarchy realise that in many ways, they are much like every other family in Britain. Some of the same flaws – some smoke, some swear, some drink, they drive their own cars if allowed to, (and sometimes they crash), and they appear to have a sense of humour. It’s possible that connection sways most of us to think yes, we still need the old family around.