This week, London is dressed up in Union Jack flags signaling the upcoming Coronation. For some, this will be the second Coronation they witness. There’s a particular buzz of excitement, pride, and nostalgia among the elderly who recall their earliest memories.
For many younger Brits, however, the celebratory buzz seems to pass them by. Not every corner of London is draped and glamorized like it was in 1953. Nearly 40 per cent of the population do not even find the Coronation interesting to tune in for. Many also dismiss the idea of pledging allegiance to King Charles, an act that seems just odd.
With the Palace struggling to pull off their original plan for the celebrations, the Coronation seems disconnected in many ways. Major stars have turned down their invitations, the broadcasting might be disrupted due to strikes, and the excitement is rendered lacklustre by the current economic climate.
Is the Coronation needed? How relevant is the monarchy?
If the monarchy still exists, then the Coronation has to happen as it is part of tradition.
But there is a strong case against the monarchy. There are many reasons why it should be abolished. The institution is the same one that has perpetuated economic inequality for the last 300 years. Is it really that different today?
The Royal Family continues to showcase class division. With social media, those from the least wealthy backgrounds can see their vast wealth and recognize how excluded they are from “upper class” society.
Inequality is visible. And to them, the monarchy upholds and benefits from that exclusion.
For many, their sense of freedom is not tied to the monarchy at all — so they see no reason for it existing?
But what would the country be without the Royals?
The Royal Family offer a sense of unity for British people. They are supposed to represent everyone. Unlike the government which is elected and only represents its voters, the Royals provide a sense of long term stability amidst political turbulence.
For example, they were still a cornerstone to British identity for many while government saw four Prime Ministers in the last five years.
It might surprise readers to find out that the Royal Family only costs the British taxpayer £1.29 a year. This is less than half the cost of the Presidents of the United States and France!
Over the last 50 years, especially under the late Queen, it has taken up a much more charitable role in society. The Royals have raised awareness for charities and community initiatives that help during times of crisis.
They have tried to shine light on the same people who have been completely ignored by the Tory party. For example, Charles set up the Prince’s Trust which has helped over 1 million underprivileged young people.
It is also an apolitcal institution which is needed today.
In recent years, with the Tory party espousing beliefs that are more right-wing than ever, the Royal Family offers an important apolitcal voice, both overseas and at home.
They have used their position to express an opinion towards distasteful policies, such as Suella Braverman’s Rwanda idea. Although limited to subtle channels, they can show the international stage that Britain is not a unified voice behind right-wing agendas.
Throughout history, Royals like Charles have had strong views on topics which the government do not comment on. As early as the 1970s, Charles was campaigning to raise awareness on climate change, for which opponents labeled him as the “out of touch” Royal.
Would it even be possible to transition to a system where we would elect an apolitical Head of State?
King Charles: a new era?
Although the late Queen may have dialed down the influence of the Royals on politics, the questions over the monarchy are being voiced louder than ever.
Those who dislike the monarchy tend to argue that the Royals are out of touch with the population — they are. Their vast amounts of wealth make them disconnected from the everyday lives of the population.
A fair redistribution of wealth, however, would improve that relationship.
Charles is also making efforts to modernise amidst young people demanding social justice.
He is supporting efforts to investigate Royal ties to slavery along with his continued campaigns to raise awareness around climate change.
Do recall the Tory politicians who dismiss the presence of racism in British society and those who initially refused to attend Cop-27.
Nevertheless, those who feel excluded by what the monarchy represents rightfully question how the Royal Family can benefit them or the future of Britain.
Final Thoughts: Can Charles bring about enough change to make them popular again? Or is this going to be the beginning of the end for the monarchy in Britain?