I was kicking back and enjoying the last few days of spring break as any high schooler would, binge watching an anime which I had fallen behind on, when my mother broke into my room and stared at me with the most glaring, pale, concerned face I’ve seen in my nearly 17 years of existence. I immediately assumed the worst; maybe I bombed my last math test and my grade dropped a letter, or there was an AP Lang assignment I missed, but when I mustered up the courage to ask “What do you want?” thoughts were racing through my head. What did I do this time? Why is she looking at me like that? Does the car have enough gas for me to run away? “Prince Phillip… died.” Oh my god… someone died? Who was it? I didn’t recognize their name. “Who” I say with much concern. “Prince Philip” my mom says, a tear starting to form in her eye.
Just about ten days ago husband of queen Elizebeth II, Prince Phillip, had passed away, and within hours just about everyone I knew was talking about it. Texts from my friends, tears from my mom, and posts on instagram all for this member of the royal family who I hadn’t even known existed until seconds ago. It seemed like for a second the whole world stopped to mourn. But I started to wonder. I thought monarchy stopped being trendy right around the Revolutionary war and French Revolution era, so why are so many people rambling about these outdated leaders?
The most obvious reason they are kept around is for morale boosters. Royalty, especially the British Royal family, are figureheads for their country. They attract tourists from far and wide to marvel at their lavish estates. Aside from the figure heading the country as a whole, the ruling monarch, currently queen Elizabeth II, is not only the symbolic leader of the british government, but also the Supreme Governor of the church of England. This brings many questions about the separation of church and state in the British government, but regardless, the ruling monarch plays a very influential part in both religious and governmental aspects of the country, and not to mention the other commonwealth countries. Whether or not this power is necessary is obviously debatable, but there are other benefits which the crown play in British society. Profits made off to the thousands of properties owned by the royal family go, in most part, back to the people, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into the British Treasury every year.
It’s obvious that the British Royal family supplies some advantages to the British People, but are these advantages really worth keeping around the remnants of one of the most outdated, and least democratic systems in the world? Is it fair that the crown gets to live a lavish lifestyle with their thousands of estates and manors while over 28% of the population lives in poverty? Also, what about the other monarchies still around today. Are monarchies still practical in the modern society which we live in today? Even decades after we left monarchy behind, it seems like we can’t shake the few remnants of it, but maybe that isn’t necessary. In the end, the royal family has survived more years than most institutions, so clearly they play some useful part in British society.