I have long been against the maintenance of an expensive, powerless Monarchy in the United Kingdom. In school debating competitions on abolishing the Monarchy I would sigh with relief if assigned to the seeking team, so that I could talk with ease and conviction about the excessive expenditure, the untaxed funds and of course the raw unfairness of it all on those who never stand a chance of accession.
The family Windsor is an incredibly wealthy group of individuals who are not even German, who were raised onto their pedestals by accident of birth and under whom we all sit. They are not elected, yet they supposedly represent our values at home and in the many, many countries where Elizabeth II is revered.
Just yesterday, the BBC aired a new documentary profiling the life of the modern Monarchy in a changing age, and implicitly comparing this life with how it was forty years ago. Reading various comments from very different people on the BBC website and elsewhere, I have come to two possible, opposing conclusions:
The perceived "nice feeling" of having a representative family is not worth Â£31.1m per annum (untaxed) especially when the NHS is struggling to treat patients without giving them deadly plagues, nor is it worth every Briton living without choice under the figurehead of an archaic, unrepresentative system from a bygone age of empire.
On the other hand, the apolitical nature of a Monarchy does provide some sort of stability that lasts well beyond individual terms of political power. The position of republic head of state potentially changes hands every four years; in this time, the "official" social mood of an entire nation can turn on its head.
But is stability over fifty years actually a good thing? Could it not be causing a fatal stagnancy that has Britain still reeling in a sort of naÃ¯ve chaos over the loss of an Empire that fell decades ago?
I think maybe so.