Why is there still a Royal Family in Great Britain?

Markus Spiske – Unsplash

The British royal family looks back at tumultuouslast years – from Prince Andrew’s involvement with the convicted sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein to Meghan Markle’s claims about the racism and lack of support within the family.

Only in the year 2020 around 69 million pounds of taxes were used for the royalfamily – more than ever before, according to Statista.Meanwhile, the UK homeless charity “Shelter” estimated the number of homeless people to be around 280.000.

In the UK, there is a rising republican movement. The political movement seeks to replace the monarchy with a republic that has an elected head of state. “Because we can’t hold the Queen and her family to account at the ballot box, there’s nothing to stop them abusing their privilege, misusing their influence or simply wasting our money”, states Republic.org on their official webpage.

At the same time, they believe the monarchy harms the monarchs. In Johann Hari’s book “God save the Queen?” he argues that every member of the royal family has suffered psychologically from the system they were born into. Meghan Markle, former American actress and wife of Prince Harry revealed that the trauma of being part of the Royal Family seriously damaged her mental health, leaving her on the brink of suicide.”My father and my brother, they are all trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that”, states Prince Harry inhis interview with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

But why does the monarchy still have such a high approval in Great Britain and worldwide?

In Great Britain, the Prime Minister is the head of the government while the Queen is the head of the state. The Queen keeps in close contact with the PM – yet no final decisions are up to her. Little is known about her political standpoints – if they were publically known that might divide the nation. In weekly audiences at Buckingham Palace, she is available as an experienced and unbiased voice. Having served during the term of 14 prime ministers and 12 US presidents she gained plenty of expertise.

Michael Garnett – Flickr

More than that, the royal family provides a point for unity and tradition. They have nostalgic value.Politicians come and go – but a successful royal family creates a sense of comfort and belonging. People get to know their royals – the ones they look up to and the ones they do not.

The networks they built up gives them power in diplomacy. Forbes put Queen Elizabeth at number 46 of the most powerful women in 2020. Even though the costs for the taxpayers are enormous, there are estimates that tourists spent more than a billion dollars while visiting London for Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

A major part of their work is their contribution to charities. Members of the Royal Family hold around 3000 patronages to charitable organizations, with the Queen showing her support for more than 600. Diana, Princess of Wales used charities to break stigmas during her lifetime. “HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: Heaven knows they need it.”

If we take a look at the foreseeable future, a lower approval rating for the royal family can be expected though. Queen Elizabeth is now 94 years. After her death, her son Prince Charles will become the next King of Great Britain.Despite theimprovement seen,in the last decades, of the public perception of him, he will likely continue facing disapproval for his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles in the 1990s. In an interview with Oprah, Prince Harry revealed that his father Charles stopped taking his calls in 2020 and that he cut him off financially.According to the website yougov.com.uk, the Queen has an approval rating of 72%, while Charles has only 47%.

Only the future can tell if the monarchy survives – for now, they are still pretty powerful and it is difficult to imagine Great Britain without a royal family.

Clarissa Leute

Sources:
https://www.statista.com/chart/18569/total-cost-of-the-uks-royal-family-by-year/
https://www.republic.org.uk/what_we_want
https://www.cbs.com/shows/oprah-with-meghan-and-harry-a-cbs-primetime-special/
https://www.statista.com/chart/18569/total-cost-of-the-uks-royal-family-by-year/
https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/about-homelessness/
https://www.forbes.com/power-women/#9b617985e252
https://yougov.co.uk/topics/arts/explore/title/British_Royal_Family
https://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/14/the-monarchys-royal-gift-to-britains-economy.html
https://www.royal.uk/role-royal-family#:~:text=Members%20of%20the%20Royal%20Family,strengthen%20national%20unity%20and%20stability.

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