As a Yankee, I feel uncomfortable discussing Britain’s Monarchy because I want to show some respect for the institution, At the same time, I clearly don’t understand it.
Aside from American women who get all excited about a Royal Wedding because she finally met her Prince Charming to live happily ever after and they can’t wait to see who designed her dress and shoes, the rest of us are like, “Another one of those, huh? Why are all those Brits smiling and cheering so much?”
The arguments over retaining the Monarchy is certainly not restricted to Americans and other foreigners. The Brits themselves are in incessant polling cycles where they’re asked whether it should be abolished, and the results swing wildly depending on how the Royal Family is behaving that week, plus based on that dress and those shoes.
There is also the issue of whether the current Monarch is actually ordained by God to rule, since the U.K. and its liberal EU partners are moving so far away from the whole “God thing” anyway, not to mention the fact that the Monarch, with little to none religious training and study, heads the entire English Church. (And is the history behind that ever so suspicious.)
What’s more, the Monarchy doesn’t currently rule anything, and there’s ample evidence that the current Monarch isn’t even legitimate because the bloodline was broken a few hundred years ago either due to fraud, or because it’s been so diluted by circumstances of births. (Did God decide that if a direct heir wasn’t available, a third cousin was perfectly fine for the job?)
And of course, the Monarchy costs an absolute fortune to support. The value of the silverware alone is enough to feed a small African nation.
But my biggest confusion is why the British people still support a Monarchy when they look at the Monarchy’s history. We’re not simply comparing the morals of yesteryear to the morals of today, we’re pointing out atrocities that would make Edgar Allen Poe blush. And it’s not like the Brits don’t intimately know this violent history, or that they even try to ignore it; they study it intensely from grade school on, knowing Mad George III from George V and VI, Henry I from Henry VIII, and the names of all the Princes, Princesses, Earls, Dukes, Lords and Wizards. (Wait, maybe not Wizards, Those are from Harry Potter.) And if I mixed up some III’s or V’s there, a common Yankee mistake, so my apologies.
The average Brit knows these biographies inside and out, while us Americans can’t even understand why they have to recycle the names. I mean, how many King Georges does one country need?
As for the familial murder, this has never been one happy lineage of brother always loving brother. More like King killing Queen, Queen killing disputed Queen, King killing King, space prohibits me from listing all of the possible combinations. And not just regular executions, either:
When Henry VIII was in a good mood, he just had your head chopped off. When he wasn’t, they hung you upside down, took a saw from your groin down to your chest, ripped out your intestines, cut off your arms, legs, and head, and tied it all together into a nice little package with a ribbon on top to put on display for all the townspeople to enjoy.
“Gwendoline! Grab the kids and hitch the cart to the horse! They’re executing another one and I got middle fifth-row tickets!”
So to me, the older history of the Monarchy reads more like a Steven King novel than anything else, even with the Magna Carta thrown in there in its defense.
Moving on to more modern times, Queen Victoria turned into a total recluse after the early death of her beloved Phillip, torturing her kids. never leaving the palace, and certainly not “serving the country” as is a Monarch’s duty. In short, a dour, depressed, miserable lady who wanted everyone around her to be miserable as well.
Her son George V did damn better, as did his son George VI during WWII, but VI only ruled because his older brother Edward VIII (real name David!) abdicated in order to marry his twice-divorced American cougar (who was nothing to write home about in the looks department), and he then turned into Hitler’s best buddy, supporting the Nazis because he thought they would reinstate him to the throne after a German victory over England.
Plus, George V wouldn’t allow his cousin Russian Czar Alexander II and his family (the Romanoffs) to escape Russia during the revolution and seek refuge in England, so he and his family were executed by the revolutionists. Likewise, Prince Charles Edward, Queen Victoria’s grandson, was forced to marry a German Royal and leave England for Germany, but when WWI broke out and later came the Nazis, he was estranged and no longer considered British by the family who forced him to become German in the first place!
This is crazy stuff and one tough, unforgiving family who wouldn’t go so far as to even lend each other a lawnmower.
Royal marriages were supposed to bind opposing countries together and prevent conflict, but this hasn’t been true for a hundred years, if ever. As you will notice, the Monarchy in all its glory is now dead everywhere except Great Britain. And We now have the longest-running British Monarch ever, Queen Elizabeth II, and the next in line for the throne is the man with the longest ears ever, Prince Charles.
And as we all know, this family has had its shares of ups and downs as well. They’re not exactly The Waltons and donating their time dishing out meals at the homeless shelter.
So why do the British still worship and support the Monarchy, based on their unpleasant history? Or if they don’t support them, how come they don’t do away with it? Aside from a few rare examples, what do they contribute to the welfare of the nation, especially now in modern times? Is it the hope and optimism that after Charles, his sons will bring glory and respect back to the institution? What am I missing?
I’ll never understand it, but I’ll keep trying to.