The United Kingdom or United Republic?

With all of the recent celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, we Brits were able to remind ourselves of the fact that we have the most popular monarch in the whole world as our head of state. Indeed, other kingdoms around the world have felt a certain amount of envy as they watched our country celebrate with what we are best known for: pomp and ceremony. As for the republics in the world, let’s face it, we all know how certain countries love to lap our royal family up, and you definitely get the sense that these countries can regret their republican status at such times.

Whilst statistics and polls show that the vast majority of people still strongly favour retaining our monarch as head of state, there is always a minority who feel that as a country we would fare much better as a republic now. Arguments in favour of a transition to republicanism tend to emphasise the fact that this country would be more democratic if we had an elected head of state; the royal family is considered to be a very outdated institution; and republicans also state that the cost of maintaining a royal family is just far too high a price to pay for this nation.

To be honest, all of the arguments relied upon by people looking to convert the nation to a republic can very easily be quashed. Our country would not be any more democratic than it is now if we were to change. The monarch does not have the power to go against the will of Parliament; he or she can advise the government, but the extent of the monarchy’s true powers is virtually nonexistent. Our present Queen is well aware of the fact that the nation would not stomach too much interference by the monarch. She is there in a ceremonial role only.

The fact that the royal family is considered to be an outdated institution will obviously be a fair opinion for some people to maintain. However, in a country that continues to lose its national identity over time, others would argue that the presence of the royal family is one constant element that can be relied upon to help maintain our connection with the cultural traditions from the past.

As to the cost of the royal family, when you consider the levels of revenue that are generated through the monarchy and the fact that they have estates and assets bringing in money to actually pay their way, this is another myth connected with the royals. Tourism from overseas is very often connected with our royal family. If we were to become a republic, millions and millions of pounds would be lost every year from the nation’s coffers in this industry alone.

One of the biggest factors that republicans struggle to deal with in connection with the royal family is that these people enjoy far too much status and privilege. They maintain that it is unfair that people born into this family should have the right to enjoy such a lavish lifestyle when the people of this country have not been able to have their say. Indeed, other minorities in the country may not necessarily favour a total transition to republicanism, but would like to have the right to decide who occupies the position as monarch and all of the important roles beneath. Such people do not appreciate the idea of being forced to accept a line of monarchs through birth.

Following a period of all-time unpopularity in the late nineties, it was almost as if the royal family recognised that their position was in jeopardy. Modernisation occurred at the fastest pace ever, and the Queen definitely managed to turn the corner as far as the affection of the nation towards her was concerned. This would undoubtedly have been a very difficult task for a monarch who actually still believes she occupies her place in some connection with God.

It really did leave a lump in your throat, during the jubilee celebrations, to realise the amount of affection that we generally feel toward our monarch. Lately, there are very few times when British people can feel that true sense of pride where our country is concerned. But for once, these celebrations were just such an occasion and we really did do everything well. Queen Elizabeth II has embraced change and modernisation in order to remain the head of the United Kingdom, and it is amazing that she still manages to do what she does in her mid-eighties.