Most republican articles and blogs are about the expense of the Monarchy, or its undemocratic nature. I endorse all of these, but I thought it would be good to write a blog from the other side. What right have we to demand that someone be saddled with a job for life which they may not want and be totally unsuited for? Moreover, to demand that they just act as mere puppets for the Establishment and the government of the day, putting words into their mouths to read at the State Opening of Parliament – things they may totally disagree with. To deny them the right to vote or voice their opinion.
These things only apply to the sovereign, and you may argue they are trained from birth to expect this, and, apart from the fact this is denying them free choice unless they choose to abdicate, it is not always the case. Queen Elizabeth II only took on the role because her father suddenly became King when King Edward VIII abdicated. Any one of the royals in line to the Throne could suddenly find themselves lumbered with the top job for life if there was an abdication, a sudden death, or a calamitous accident (the balcony of Buck House collapses when too many royals get on it to wave at their loyal subjects, for instance.)
Then there are all the other restrictions on the Monarch and the immediate heirs to the Throne. Charles was told to find himself a suitable wife to bear him heirs to the Throne, and Camilla wasn’t thought suitable, certainly not once she married someone else. So Diana was the chosen mother. Charles slept with Camilla before and after the marriage to Diana, and as he himself said it had become royal tradition for the Prince of Wales to have a mistress. No wonder if they didn’t have a free choice on who they could marry. Diana’s life was ruined by this doomed marriage, as were many before her. Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, was forced to dump the man she loved, Captain Peter Townsend, and went from one unhappy liaison to another. Of course King Edward VIII was told to dump Wallis Simpson, and at least he had the guts to refuse so became the exiled Duke of Windsor for the rest of his life living in Paris.
Suppose an heir to the Throne wanted to marry someone of the same sex? In this day and age it is perfectly possible. There are rumors about several of the Queen’s children having gay affairs, and one who is married to a woman has frequented a gay club I know on Transvestite night. I have this from the club owner himself and one of his in-laws. Is this royal in a forced sham marriage? And what if an heir to the Throne insisted that he or she would marry a person of the same sex, would this be allowed and if so how would they continue the bloodline? They too would no doubt be forced to marry someone of the opposite sex in a sham marriage, or abdicate.
What about royals with mental illnesses? They have been disgracefully shoved out of sight, never to be mentioned again, in some institution and forgotten. The whole institution is inhuman.
Those who accept the role of Monarch for life and all the restrictions on personal freedom it involves then have to be willing puppets of the Establishment – acting like characters in Disneyworld/Disneyland by parading around for the benefit of the public and tourists in golden carriages, bestowing honors on certain citizens, and of course repeating parrot-like the speeches written for them, not least the program of the elected government at the State Opening of Parliament.
Of course the royals also enjoy enormous privileges. Palaces and castles with servants, a luxurious lifestyle and great wealth, many tours abroad, at least for the major royals. However with all this comes the onerous and often boring State duties and having to be polite to people all around the world which one may or may not normally wish to meet.
Much of the duties of the Monarch would also be borne by an elected President, but at least they would stand for the office by choice, and it would not be for life, just for a period of say five years, which may, if the public decide, be extended for another five or so years, but the terms of office would be limited to two or possibly three.
Then there are the people brought into the royal circle, like Diana and now Catherine. They have to learn the protocol and cope with all the restrictions, and they have not been trained from birth. It is all very well swanning around in designer clothes, but it can be very difficult if your husband is out shagging someone else and you are left alone with the kids and their nannies, like Diana was.
My point being that this whole institution, apart from being undemocratic, is an anachronism in this day and age. No institution in the 21st Century should demand anyone take on such a job for life, and dictate who they can and cannot marry. And just suppose the day came when a lesbian or gay male couple was allowed to become Queen or King and Consort, how would their heirs be conceived? Presumably some other royal would be lumbered with the job when the Monarch died without issue.
It is often said the Queen has done her duties well for over 60 years, the longest reigning British Monarch in history. What if she had decided, for instance, that she could not in all conscience launch a submarine armed with nuclear missiles which were to be aimed at totally innocent men, women and children (not to mention animals) and which if ever used would kill millions by blast, fire and radiation for years to come? Sometimes ‘doing one’s duty’ is perhaps not something to be admired, and it would maybe have been better had she protested, refused and, if necessary, abdicated. An elected President should have the same right of conscientious objection. Oh yes, that’s another thing, all male children of the Monarch are required to join the armed services, suppose they have a conscious objection to this? Again the whole institution comes across as an inhuman as well as undemocratic anachronism.
Remember the words of little Harry just after his mother died in that crash in Paris. The royals went to church in Scotland near Balmoral, but Diana was in disgrace because she had refused to act like the obedient mute breeding mare and had rocked the Monarchy. So her name wasn’t even mentioned in the service, and instead there were jokes about the comedian Billy Connolly said in church that morning. Harry turned to his father and said: ‘Is mummy really dead?’
That’s how cold and inhuman that institution can be. The nation was horrified that they stayed in Scotland, and that the flag wasn’t flown at half mast on Buckingham Palace. The Monarchy was saved when the Prime Minister and his aides persuaded, or rather ordered, the Queen to come back to London, fly a flag at half-mast and make a speech about Diana, a name she never wanted spoken in her presence again.
This is an institution which demands total obedience and loyalty, and those who do flout these rules become non-persons like Diana and the Duke of Windsor. Totally inhuman. Usually it is dictatorships who airbrush dissidents from history, but it is also the Monarchy which does this by stripping them of their titles and worse. Those who disobey the rules beware, look what happened to Diana!