23 August 2012

The British Monarchy Explained (An Alternative View)

I must say I have always been rather fond of Prince Harry, despite my natural aversion to monarchy, constitutional or absolute.  I think the decision by TMZ to publish pictures of the young prince when he was obviously off duty was morally reprehensible.

Still it only went to confirm what we all knew already – that he is pretty much a party animal with something of a penchant for exhibitionism (who does have his earnest moments it must be said). So far so harmless: his antics might be a little vulgar but they are only what a million other young British men do each year in various holiday locations around the world (hardly an excuse or indeed likely to curry the British any favour with their hosts but that’s another story).

Yet it made me think.  What do the rest of the world think of the British monarchy – and do they assume that the Brits are all flag waving royalists? We were pretty much the first country in Europe to chop off the head of a reigning monarch but we got the rather miserable Interregnum period and had to put up with Oliver Cromwell telling us not to celebrate Christmas and the like. So they were invited back (that’s a potted history to say the least) and we have had them ever since. Some have been mad, some bad and others just plain miserable (Victoria didn’t just have an annus miserabilis - she had decades of them).

Yet we stuck with them, somehow. That doesn’t mean to say, however, that there isn’t a big streak or republicanism in the UK – just that for the greater part it gets tucked away out of sight and the knee jerk reaction to any question of us becoming citizens rather than subjects is often extreme. I have seen people pose the idea in public (OK, public houses) and be threatened for their throneless philosophies.

So, if you are wondering just why the British put up with an unelected head of state you might want to watch the video by Gary Dunbill above.  In fact, it doesn’t really answer the question but it does give some facts and figures that monarchists would rather keep hidden from the rest of us... it will make you wonder, if anything, even more, why we put up with them!

And I know, haters are going to hate as the current in vogue idiom goes. So, read and, if you feel the need to comment, make it cogent, literate and polite.  Imagine you’re talking to the queen. Just don’t mention Harry....

Image Credit Flickr User Walking With The Wounded