The British Monarchy Under Stress Essay

1870 words - 7 pages

The British Monarchy Under Stress: A Political Inquiry The British Monarchy has long been a subject of great reverence as well as much debate in Great Britain. The current reigning monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who inherited the crown from her father, King George VI, in 1953. Her role in the United Kingdom is that of Head of State who also "acts as a focus of national unity" (www.royal.gov.uk). Often times, her role is perceived as a very symbolic one, and the question is often raised regarding the questionable future of the crown. One seemingly key aspect of the Queen's role in government is her role as a key legislator. She does, by law, hold veto power as she is the final person to sign acts of Parliament into law. However, the last time this was done was in the eighteenth century by Queen Anne. To say that the Monarchy is not actively involved in government and policy-making would not be accurate. Queen Victoria in the nineteenth century as well as the current queen being very involved show that the monarch can have influence on the state. Unlike many other monarchies, the British Monarchy linked itself with democracy while many others crumbled. However, under the right circumstances, there could very well come a time when the government would seek to abolish the Monarchy. In 1998 the New Labour government called for modernization and reformation of the Monarchy. They pointed out that many nations now have a ceremonial monarch who is simply the symbolic head of the country. This would, in effect, strip the crown of all political and legislative power. In June 2000, a poll showed that only forty-four percent of people polled said that thought Britain would be worse off without the Monarchy (www.britpolitics.com). Also, noting that the future of the House of Lords is uncertain, it would not be a stretch to say that the monarchy as it stands today could be in jeopardy at some point in the near future. Those who argue against the monarchy have a number of points against it. One of these is that the system is outdated and reflects the system that was in place in medieval times. Also, this argument says that to have a hereditarily successive monarchy does not coincide with the way governments are set up around the world today and does not give a true representation of the diversity of the nation in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Another point often made is that the Monarchy is simply not democratic. The United Kingdom is a democratic system, and the queen is not elected by, and therefore not accountable by the people. Some people feel that to have a true democracy, a reigning monarch cannot be present. They feel that the crown, to an extent, stifles the system and takes away its credibility. Also, some people feel that far too much money is invested in the monarchy, and that this money could be much better spent elsewhere. Another argument says that the Monarchy creates a class...

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