The Essential Monarchy
What would this world be like without any form of monarchy? Would we live fuller, more democratic lives or would we feel lacking? Would we replace the British Royal Family with Bradgelina or the Kardashians? Have we already?
C.S. Lewis states that, “There, right in the midst of our lives, is that which satisfies the craving for inequality, and acts as a permanent reminder that medicine is not food. Hence a man’s reaction to monarchy is a kind of test. Monarchy can easily be ‘debunked;' but watch the faces, mark the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut: whom no rumor of the polyphony, the dance, can reach - men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire equality, they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”
My research is specifically invested in the importance of the British Monarchy because they are the Royal Family the world is most connected with. The British have historically controlled many countries and these colonies still have strong ties with the British and their monarchy. There is also a lot of current research and articles on the British Monarchy at this point because the Royal Wedding of Kate and Will happened just last spring. What I have discovered so far, through a survey of my peers and reading many articles, is that people have split views on the monarchy. Some think they are outdated and others think they stand as important figureheads, a reminder of traditions and eras past.
My topic of monarchy is important because it deals with the big issue, does society need a figurehead, a monarch, a guiding family with good intentions for the people? My answer is yes. John F. Burns says “...the monarchy has proven to be Britain’s spine of steel throughout a century of decline and declension” and many people seem to agree. I thought about C.S. Lewis’ quote saying that without a monarchy, society will turn to celebrities to try to fill in for a “spine of steel.” While Americans have turned to honoring celebrities, they, and the rest of the world, still appreciate the solidity of a monarchy, shown through viewings of important events on television. 4.4 million viewers watched the Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries wedding in 2011 on the first night of the two part series. This seems like a staggering number but it actually pales in comparison to data from the Royal weddings. 750 million people around the world watched Charles and Diana tie the knot in 1981. In 1997, 2.5 billion people watched the funeral of Princess Diana, ‘the Queen of people’s hearts.” Even bigger then both these statistics is the fact that in 2011, 3 billion people watched the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding (also known as Will and Kate) and there were many spin off shows, movies, wedding specials, magazines, and interviews that stemmed from this Royal love story. This great spike in care and interest in the British Monarchy shows that people still care about and need a national figurehead. These facts simply go to show that the monarchy is still needed and appreciated in today’s world.
Many people agree with Tim Stanley as he writes, “The Queen’s reign encompassed an extraordinary breadth of social history, covering both the highs and lows of British life—throughout all of which, the Queen was the one constant... To review her history is to review a history of ourselves: like flicking through an old family photo album... In an age of economic crisis, largely spurred by visions of social reform that spiraled hopelessly out of control, her 1950s conformity brings comfort.” From the view of a British citizen, Stanley communicates his respect for the Queen. She is essential to the very nature of Britain. She represents power and wealth but also hospitality, history and family.
Some people believe that the monarchy is outdated. This is pretty obvious in the fact that only 44 sovereign nations out of 196 countries in the world still have monarchies. Perhaps the monarchy is an outdated form of government, but many monarchs are only lightly involved in politics today. Their most important role is to represent the people. They provide stability and are an example of what to do or what not to do to their nation. Without them, a country can forget it’s background and roots. Monarchies provide a sense of comfort and tradition. If lost, a country will simply turn to celebrities for the same sense of awe and leadership. The problem with this is celebrities tend to be bad role models and get overwhelmed with power. With a monarchy, the entire family has been raised to serve the people and perform their duty to their country. Monarchies are just as important today as they were hundreds of years ago. As Stanley says, “God save the Queen for as long as is humanly possible.”