It has become increasingly common amongst our generation to criticise the British Monarchy and its role in modern society. While some condemn the Royal Family as no more than leeches drawing from the taxpayers’ money, others recognize the importance of their symbolism and the benefit to the British tourism revenue.
The British monarchy can be traced back to its origins in 1066, when William the Conqueror was declared King of England, thus creating one English monarchy. However, although there were times before that when England was ruled over by one King, William the Conqueror was the first to become King in the way we know it today, permanently unifying the Kingdoms.
Our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth the Second, ascended to the throne in 1952. She’s now 89, and has lived through 18 different Prime Ministers and 15 US Presidents. At some point, her reign will come to an end.
Britain will grind to a halt. Stock markets and banks will close. TV networks will be taken over. The words of the national anthem will be changed.
Deaths in the royal family, such as Princess Diana, have brought on waves of public mourning. But with the Queen being such an integral part of British society, this will be on a whole new level.
The vast majority of the British population have never known life without the Queen.
And although many have questioned the possibility of the crown leapfrogging Prince Charles to Prince William, it is unlikely that this will happen as Prince William himself has denied it. Prince Charles will become the monarch from the moment of Queen Elizabeth’s passing.
There is never not a sovereign on the throne. The Royal Standard will never be flown at half-mast.
Prince Charles’ coronation will not be the end. Hundreds of changes will happen up and down the country: new currency, new postage stamps, a new insignia for the police.
Chances are Queen Elizabeth’s death will spell the end of the Commonwealth. Since many of the Commonwealth countries were part of the British Empire against their will, and declared independence a long time ago, this would be an opportunity for them to end their union with Britain once and for all.
While some of Britain’s population, 17% in fact, believe that they would be better off as a Republic, there’s no chance of this happening in the near future. The monarchy is still deeply entrenched in the people’s lives.
For now, the British monarchy is here to stay.