Sunday, 17 April 2011

Royal Succession

As a Liberal, an egalitarian and, I hope, a rationalist I ought to be in favour of a republic. However, in the highly unlikely event of my doing something brave and being awarded a medal I'd prefer to receive it from a member of a royal family rather than an ex-politician, and certainly not from Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair or even Charles Kennedy. (Jo Grimond would have been acceptable, but unfortunately there aren't many of his calibre around.)

Consequently I welcome the proposals to abolish the discriminatory law that puts girls at the back of the succession queue in favour of boys. Raising the issue will inevitably raise those of discrimination against Roman Catholics (that should go too,) the role of the monarch as head of the C of E, and, inevitably, republicanism.

I hope the style of the monarchy will be discussed and that the Windsors will listen.. If I remember correctly Walter Bagehot argued that there was a place for a splendid monarch but no case for a mean one. I believe this is now outdated and that we should move to a "bicycle monarchy" on the Scandinavian style. Surely one palace is enough and massive wealth is not longer acceptable.

However, it is important to preserve a bit of the glamour. I was working in Papua New guinea when it became independent in 1975. Prince Charles came to do the honours and I was fortunate to be invited to most of the ceremonies. Those at which the prince was present were very well attended, those which he didn't much more sparsely so. We must be careful to preserve a bit of magic in the affairs of state and government, and not leave all the glamour to the winners of X-factor.

1 comment:

  1. Hear, hear! The Royal Family are undoubtedly from any perspective a plus in the balance sheet, for just this reason and more. Of course, we must also recognise that the Queen is also head of state in many other countries, and this in turn also brings us greater links through trade and co-operation. Events with the "magic", such as the Royal Wedding or the upcoming Diamond Jubilee, will only see a renewed interest and fascination with our country from the international community, whilst helping forge a common identity and sense of community at home (and of course, being a boon to retailers in today's climate).