I was asked by a freelance writer to provide my thoughts on the monarchy. Below are my responses to her questions, which I feel best illustrate my views.
Why, as an American, are you so supportive of the British Monarchy?
A monarch is above politics and is socially unifying. A king or queen is not someone from a particular party that has to toe a party line. The sovereign needs support from the people, first and foremost.
What would you say to a British republican who is in favour of abolishing the monarchy? What reasons would you give to persuade them to keep the royals?
British republicans say that the monarchy is an antiquated system, a throwback to medieval times. That we are now a society that is too modern for such a system. However, having a king or queen doesn’t mean that a country is antiquated or holding on to something because of mere sentiment. Look at Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, for example – these nations are very progressive and yet they have two kings and a queen, respectively.
Just as times have changed, so too has the British monarchy. The Queen, for instance, has embraced many changes over the years and it is evident that she enjoys meeting different people and learning about the latest technology and social challenges. The recent change in the monarchy’s hereditary system, for instance, is a good example. With the marriage of the Queen’s grandson and future king, Prince William, the law of primogeniture has been overturned. Now a firstborn child of the prince, regardless of sex, can be the next sovereign. It was time for that change, and the Queen realized that. Now we may next see the overturning of the Act of Settlement, which bars Catholics from the throne.
Would you like to see a similar monarchy/head of state in the US as well as the President?
I think it would be nice to have a head of state or a leader to look up to that isn’t necessarily a political entity. Someone who could be outside of all of the constant political bickering and mudslinging.
How do you think the British monarchy is perceived by the US? Do the American public generally like or dislike the royals?
The monarchy is well received here in the U.S. Without our own royalty or nobility, the British royals capture the American imagination. However, I think that a lot of people in the United States generally tend to view the royals more as celebrities rather than the representatives of a nation. I hope to change that viewpoint and teach people about the royals through historical facts, rather than through the lens of celebrity.
Who is your favorite member of the Royal Family, and briefly, why?
The Queen, without a doubt. Her Majesty has been an impressive figure throughout her reign. It is because of her that I initially lent my support to the monarchy, beginning in 1998, and continue to do so.
It’s been said many times that the Queen is dutiful and knowledgeable, the very model of grace under fire. I completely agree with all of these assessments. To these I would add that Her Majesty’s appeal also lies in the fact that she is a rare public figure. She has the class and decorum that a majority of politicians lack. She also has the distinction of being a modern monarch but with the values of the great World War II generation.