Can God save the King?

Opinionated piece questioning the relevance of the British monarchy in modern society.

Adriana Newbury
15th October 2023
Image source: Pixabay, Chunyip Wong
Left-wing commentator Owen Jones has said that monarchists should enjoy the coronation festivities because the monarchy is doomed; is this true? Is Charles’ reign the beginning of the end of the monarchy?

The popular narrative running on social media is that the youth are completely against the monarchy, painting the royal family in a negative light. Young people are scared to admit their support for the royal family because the anti-monarchist movement is so opinionated and forceful. In reality, a lot of young people enjoy the presence of the monarchy in our country, potentially one of the only bits of original culture that the UK still has. Although the royal family costs around £80 million a year, that is proportionality not that much compared to the 19 billion pounds they add to the economy, according to Forbes. In comparison, the amount of taxpayer money that goes on defence is £48.6 billion. Anti-monarchists act like the Royal family are the reason of the cost-of-living crisis, when they have always been a key part of the fabric of the country long before the economy crashed. The monarchy is undisputedly a key factor in why tourists come to the UK; think of the classic interaction with an American, “oh my God, do you know the Queen?!”. 

Nonetheless, the Royal family have their questionable members. Andrew is the obvious one to name and shame; he long-ago should have had all his royal titles revoked and all taxpayer money cut off. They’re not all good apples and eliminating the downright scumbags would clean up their image. Or, perhaps slimming down the Royal family to purely the main members would be an effective compromise. But the recent coronation had the most diversity ever seen at a royal ceremony, notably with multiple different religious leaders involved in the service. This expansion of the ceremony was clearly a conscious effort to adapt the Royal family to the contemporary political climate, with King Charles even saying that he was the defender of all faiths rather than the faith, acknowledging the multicultural population of the UK. 

There was an evident shift when the Queen died, but I think it is an idea the media is perpetrating that the monarchy is ‘doomed’. For example, the headlines about the coronation concert read that all major British pop stars refused to perform. Yet on a recent radio show, Ed Sheeran cleared up that no one from the Palace had ever asked him because he assumed they knew he was on tour, and that he would have very much enjoyed playing the concert. The truth is that a majority of people feel indifferent towards the monarchy 90% of the time, and when they’re in the spotlight find them somewhat entertaining and a token part of British culture. 

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