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In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
heleninwales
heleninwales
I think "reluctant royalist" describes me perfectly
Ian Dunt has lots of wise things to say about Brexit, but I've just discovered that I agree with him about the royal family too.

In theory I dislike the idea of a hereditary head of state. Why should someone, due to an accident of birth be given a life of wealth and privilege at the tax payers' expense? But the minute I think about the alternatives, I start to think the Queen isn't too bad after all.

A country does need a head of state and it's nice to have an apolitical one. Otherwise they will be disapproved of by all the people who didn't vote for them and might alienate countries they visit. Or at least alienate a large part of their population. You only have to see how divisive Trump is in his own country and the British opposition to a state visit. But how can you hate the Queen? Yes, she's royalty, but has no power. She quiet and gracious and does the job of queening well.

I do believe that we should seriously downsize the royal family. I will not be watching the royal wedding and resent my taxes paying for it. I've seen people claiming that it will increase tourism and bring money into the country, but here in Wales we won't see a penny of it, even if it does increase visitor numbers in an area of England already pretty saturated with tourists. Ideally I would like to see a small royal family who live more modestly whilst most of their palaces and royal residences are opened to the public. That would bring in money. People still flock to Versailles even though the French got rid of their royalty a long long time ago.
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tx_cronopio From: tx_cronopio Date: May 19th, 2018 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Funny story for you --- being American, I pretty much grew up with Monty Python and I thought that all Brits held the monarchy in the same contempt. Imagine my suprise the first time I visited, way back in 84, and realized that, no, those Charles and Diana teatowels were NOT meant ironically :).
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 19th, 2018 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always regarded the royal family as something that's just there and mostly useful. I'm mildly in favour of them, but I can't stand all the excessive adulation. My favourite royal has always been Princess Anne, but she does the living quietly and just getting on with things really well.
karinfromnosund From: karinfromnosund Date: May 19th, 2018 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed. Except that I think the strongest reason against it is that these poor people *are not allowed* to have normal lives. I like your suggestion of downsizing, but there may be limits to how much is possible. They will probably still need security to a degree, and press people, and some other things.

I usually think of it as a non-issue. As long as the (Swedish) royal family says "ok, we'll do it", and they do it reasonably well, I don't think it's worth the trouble to figure out something else.

My husband, now, has this opinion: "I like the royal family. I'm a royalist. But given the chance, I'd exchange the whole lot of them for Margarethe. *She* has class."

Margarethe is the Queen of Denmark, in case anyone wonders.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 20th, 2018 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I take your point about the downsizing. But do they really need Buckingham Palace, Sandringham, Windsor, Balmoral, Kensington Palace, Charle's place down in the SW of England, he also has an estate somewhere in Wales and so on and so forth? Let them keep Balmoral for their holidays and part of Windsor Castle for their main base and open the others to the public. They will of course also need staff and security because they'll be doing a high profile job, but I think there are still too many minor royals who receive an income from the state but do very little for it.

karinfromnosund From: karinfromnosund Date: May 21st, 2018 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're quite right.

I'm not sure how open the Swedish royal palaces are. I seem to remember that people sometimes visit the parks, and there may be exhibitions and the like.

Wikipedia tells me there are eleven official palaces, all within two hours from Stockholm and some more places (like Solliden on Öland and Sofiero outside Helsingborg). That's an awful lot.
eve_prime From: eve_prime Date: May 20th, 2018 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
As an introvert, I think it would be something of a nightmare to be born into the British royal family, especially with all the tedious duties of attending events. It's certainly useful to have a head of state who can do all those ceremonial things without having to spend time on politics, especially when she can also act as a resource to prime ministers who don't have her years of perspective. But then there's always the risk that someone frivolous will end up with the crown - at least that's very unlikely to happen in my lifetime, as both Charles and William seem pretty conscientious.

Edited at 2018-05-20 06:37 am (UTC)
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 20th, 2018 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the Queen was something of an introvert before she learned to do the job. I agree about the risk of someone becoming monarch and leading a wild life -- though it has happened before in history! But as you say, Charles and William seem sober enough.
birdsedge From: birdsedge Date: May 23rd, 2018 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you. The royals (mostly) do a decent job and I wold not like an elected head of state. Boris? No thanks!
benicek From: benicek Date: May 25th, 2018 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
The tourism argument doesn't stand up to examination. Tourists come to the UK for the same reason they go to the Republic of France, because it a historically, culturally and linguistically significant European country, not to see the Queen.

I've probably arrived at a neutral position on the monarchy, like you. As long as its members don't do anything stupid (like attending a fancy dress party in an Afrikacorps uniform with Nazi armband, Harry) it generally stands in the way of ethnic nationalism and little Englander extremism and keeps mainstream social conservatives in the centre.
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