For those of us who live in a Republic (for example France, United States of America, Germany and Ireland) our Head of State is elected by the People. There is of course a distinction between Presidents who have real political power (France and USA) and those (Germany and Ireland) who have a largely ceremonial office, a unifying symbol of the nation.
I do not think there is a single Republic that would choose to have a hereditary Head of State like Sweden or the “United Kingdom”, even a “constitutional monarchy defies all laws of Modernity.
There is of course a curiousity about Monarchy. It is partly History, Pageantry, Dressing Up, Fairy Tale and Celebrity. And I think Soap Opera.
This is the context of the Big Interview where Oprah Winfrey chatted to “Prince” Harry and Meaghan Markle, They are occasionally the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
In their own way Harry and Meaghan had a constitutional role. In her own way, Oprah has a constitutional role in USA. Mother Confessor. Grief Counsellor. Fairy Godmother to Celebrity. Director of Emotion for USA. Feeling as Oprah does seems to underscore that you are emotionally balanced.
Personally I always think of England’s Royal Family as a long running soap opera. Like Coronation Street…….literally.
It was always easy to think that Larry Hagman and J R Ewing were the same person. And that Linda Gray was S’wellen.
Or if you prefer Coronation Street that socialist Ken Barlow (in the soap from 1960) is actually played by William Roache a big supporter of the unloved and unlamented Margaret Thatcher.
The characters and actors in the Royal soap are interesting.
The Queen…is of course politically neutral. But a look at the actress, Elizabeth Windsor suggests that she is politically conservative. Just one look at her horse racing stables, wealth and tweedy cousinage of Lords and Ladies confirms she is a Tory.
And what of the Duke of Edinburgh. He may wear a kilt but he remains a very unconvincing Scotsman. Not surprising as he was born in Greece to minor German royalty down on his luck. He of course had a good war record in the British navy. But his cousins also had a war record…with the Germans.
Prince Charles loves helping poor youngsters in inner cities. The actor Charles Windsor is a polo-playing aristocrat. He is a bit too old to play the dashing young prince who fornicated his way around the Dominions and the colonies in the 1970s.
Princess Anne…the designated Scot who could not get remarried in an English church as she was in line to be the Head of the Church of England so became a member of the Church of Scotland for a day and is now contractually obliged to sit in the “Royal Box” at Scottish rugby matches and belting out Flower of Scotland which recalls sending Prince Edwards army home to think again.
Pizza loving, non-sweating Duke of York is temporaliy written out of the series. This is due to his unfortunate friendship with guilty and accused paedophiles.
Prince Edward…….what a guy! As you can see from this pic, he is a very brave man. Just look at that impressive medals on his chest.
The actor who plays this hero spent six weeks training to be a “Royal” Marine……and dropped out.
He has largely disappeared from the Royal Family. That happens a lot in soap operas. In Coronation Street, it is a bad sign when a character moves to Southampton. They are never seen again. In Dallas, people were sent to Knots Landing.
Of course all soaps need to renew the format. New characters are tried out.
Remember the English Rose…Diana. The role of Prince Charming has changed over the years. They used to find a princess by trying to fit a shoe on a foot. Charles had the difficult task of finding a virgin in England.
After producing an heir and a spare, Diana was sent to Knots Landing.
And Charlie took up with another woman. A tweedy horsewoman who liked to hunt foxes.
Then there was Fergie. A good old girl. She ended up in Knots Landing also.
Diana and Fergie…it was just bad casting.
Kate… seems a jolly good sort of gal. Good casting.
But hard to see anything at all in Harry. Nowadays nobody mentions the party where he dressed in Nazi uniform (I am not sure if he hired it or if it belonged to a German relative). Either way, he was a bad boy but thru military service became a hero.
And Meaghan …well it seemed like the casting directors had it right but she and her newly emancipated hubby did not learn their lines, follow a script and the producers of the royal farce knew they had made a big mistake.
Of course it is all very 16th century. A court and courtiers at Buckingham Palace and another court and courtiers in California.
Enter Oprah. Enter Piers Morgan. Isn’t that the same Piers Morgan who was had terrible memory loss in the witness box (actually he appeared by satellite from USA) at the Leveson Inquiry into the British press hacking phones etc.
He doesnt like the Sussex royals. He is agonising about the effect that this will have on Elizabeth (94) and hospitalised Phil the Greek (99).
See that is the problem with the Monarchy.
Attack it as an out of date imperialist undemocratic institution and the Queens fans will say that it is an unwarranted attack on an ordinary family with centuries of service.
Attack the relationships with dodgy criminals and the followers will say that it is an unpatriotic attack on the cornerstone institution in the Nation.
Of course, the fall back position of all monarchists is that the Queen, Phil the Greek, Charlie, Camilla (really?), Wills and the rest are good for Tourism. This might well be true. But Mickey Mouse is good for American Tourism and yet he will never be President.
Luckily I am a citizen of another country so I dont have to agonise. Our Irish national anthem speaks of “not “sheltering the despot or the slave”. It is Equality.
Thats the British system…Undemocratic. Unequal. A pyramid of despots and slaves simultaneously looking up and down.