Britain is one of the leading countries on the world stage, promoting equality, freedom of speech and cultural diversity. Yet it is still a sovereign state with an active monarchy. The British Royal Family is one of the most famous families on the planet, which is headed by Queen Elizabeth II. In today’s day and age, is her role and the future role of the royal family needed?
In the following article we will try to argue for and against having The Royal Family, whilst trying to remain unbiased. But ultimately only you know which you would prefer. What do you think? Does Britain still need the Royal Family?
At the time of writing this article, Britain and the world is captivated in the build-up to the royal wedding between William and Kate, the future King and Queen of England and the Commonwealth. The majority of people in the UK are looking forward to the wedding, (mainly because of the additional days off work due to it having been made a national holiday) but the question that comes up every few years is being asked again – Do we still need the Royal Family? But before we begin asking whether we do or not, it is probably beneficial for people that are a bit unclear, to outline the current role of the Royal Family.
The UK is a unitary state, which consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each has it’s own devolved form of government (apart form England) that is ultimately controlled by Britain’s central government, which is located in London at the Houses of Parliament. Here the current government, comprising of a ‘Cabinet’ of 22 Ministers (Government Department Heads), are led by the Prime Minister who collectively run the country. The current elected Prime Minister and ‘Head of Her Majesty’s Government’ is David Cameron and his coalition of Cabinet members from the Conservative and Liberal Democratic Parties who are accountable for their policies to the Parliament, their own political parties, the electorate of the UK and the Queen. The Queen ‘s and future heirs’ role within the government is limited to non-partisan functions, such as granting honours, the Queen’s speech, the annual opening of Parliament and welcomes a new Prime Minister after an election.
The Queen is also the Head of State of 16 of the 53 independent states of the Commonwealth, which includes Australia and Canada. Additionally, Her Majesty is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
A selective few of the Royal Family act as representatives of the Queen, participating in hundreds of public and charitable functions throughout the world. Each member of the immediate family may formally visit other countries, where they may meet the Heads of State, which usually results in vast amounts of public and media attention.
The British Royal Family is clearly a very busy family aside from their own personal lives, but it can still be argued that their purpose is no longer needed in the modern world. So, let’s look at each camp that are squabbling it out over this debate. Does Britain still need the Royal Family?
Yes – Long live the Queen!
The Royal Family benefits the United Kingdom in many different ways. The most prolific one of all is their economic impact. The history of the Royal Family and their many residences and ceremonies help generate a huge amount of income from tourism. The upcoming Royal Wedding of William and Kate could generate an estimated 1 billion+ for the UK economy, which more than covers the 20 million cost of the event. With the emergence of wealthy nations such as China, Brazil and India, more and more tourists are flocking to Britain to sample the culture, with the Royals playing a very big part. They are a link to the British history that people find fascinating; a link that couldn’t be artificially created overnight.
As stated previously, the Royal Family do a lot of charitable work across the globe, raising millions of pounds for good causes, whilst improving relations and the image of the UK. It could be argued that without the Royals, Britain wouldn’t have such a prominent influence on the world stage.
No – Not in this day and age!
The whole monarchy can be seen to be undemocratic. The British Monarch is not elected. He or she is there because of who their parents are. This is not reflected in modern society where we encourage our children to better themselves by working hard not marrying up the social ladder.
In a world where we are participating in wars against terrorism and dictators, then trying to implement democracy in the aftermath, it could be seen to be slightly hypocritical to have a monarch. Not only that, but we are invading Islamic nations with British troops who happen to serve a Queen who is head of the Anglican Church. This may be seen by some as a confirmation that these wars are holy wars.
The Royal Family is funded by the British tax payer. It is them who pay for the quality of life that they have, with all the palaces in which they reside. In a time where the general public is facing excessive cuts throughout society, is it fair that we are continuing to fund the Monarchy?
There are many valid points from both sides as to whether or not we still need the Royal Family. Which ever point of view you agree with, there is not going to be any change. Not in the immediate future anyway. Currently the Queen has an approval rating of 75%, which most Presidents and Politicians will look at with envy. The Queen however will unfortunately not rule forever. It will be at this time when Charles succeeds that this whole can of worms will be reopened again for the people to squabble about. But ultimately only you know what you believe is right. So do you think Britain still needs the Royal Family?