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Hear me out: why I'm a monarchist

Greta Scott

Posted on February 10, 2021 09:41

3 users

Since moving abroad, I have gotten a lot of questions about my opinion on the British royal family. When I lived in France, the general consensus was that the existence of a royal family is elitist and undemocratic. Even in Sweden, a country that also has a monarchy, people tend to be surprised by my monarchist tendencies. Some Swedes I have met couldn’t even tell you their King’s name. But my opinion remains that a monarchy is useful to keep around, and here's why.

First, I would like to clarify that I support the British constitutional monarchy. I think it works for us – I don’t agree with my friends who think that all of Romania’s problems would be solved if they reinstated the monarchy. For me, the British monarchy is an asset because it has evolved through time. In countries where the sovereign was unwilling to relinquish certain powers, I can understand why revolution was necessary to remove the yoke of absolute rule. However, the English (and then British) monarch’s powers in England have been limited since 1215. For me, the existence of a constitutional monarchy is a symbol of a tradition of democratic values. In fact, the most democratic countries in the world tend to be constitutional monarchies (and not republics). As the table below demonstrates, there is nothing innately undemocratic about having a monarchy, and certainly nothing inherently democratic about being a republic.

 

Having established that a constitutional monarchy can be extremely democratic, let’s consider what got me thinking about this issue in the first place. Simply put, I feel that, in times of crisis, the British monarch really comes into their own. Queen Elizabeth II is an icon. She is known worldwide and is well-respected, and, dare I say it, loved.

In April last year, when the pandemic had just started, hundreds were dying every day in the UK, and people were scared. I was far away from home and from my loved ones, in lockdown in France. When Queen Elizabeth made her exceptional speech on the 5th of April, I cried. I am not particularly attached to the Queen’s person; I don’t read the tabloids, I pay minimal attention to royal gossip. But when Her Majesty said the words, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”, I was quite overcome. 24 million people listened to that speech on the 5th of April. From my perspective, when the Queen speaks, she makes the UK a nation.

I am no nationalist, but I believe that having a monarch who is both popular and respected is useful, especially in times of crisis and when our leaders are extremely polarizing. The current British government is like marmite, you either love them or you hate them. We need someone to rally around: the Queen has an important unifying role, and by jingo is she good at it.

A few days ago, hero of the British nation, Captain Sir Tom Moore died from COVID-19, having raised almost $45 million for the British National Health Service. People capable of inspiring an entire country don’t come around that often, but Captain Tom showed and continues to show the value of uniting people around a common cause. In the future, when we once again find ourselves lacking a national hero, a loved monarch is a pretty good alternative.

Greta Scott

Posted on February 10, 2021 09:41

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Source: Al Jazeera

Pro-democracy protests are held in Thailand on the anniversary of the revolution that ended absolute monarchy.

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