I’m a reader of the Guardian newspaper. I’m a big believer in equality of opportunity. I’m not a fan of a class based society. I should be very much entrenched in the republican camp, dreaming of the day the monarchy is abolished. Plotting, perhaps, to bring about its downfall. But I don’t identify as a republican.
When I got back from Mexico in 2011 I went along to see the Royal Wedding. It was a good day out. A year later Mrs P and I braved the rain* and went to see the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London. Last week we went to see the HMQ90 birthday celebrations at Windsor. We even saw Her Maj herself, albeit from a distance. So I’m a royalist. By some definitions. Except I don’t really identify myself as a royalist.
I would describe myself as a status quoist. Not the band, obviously. They are terrible. But the Royal Family for me are nothing more than another old institution embodying the traditions and history of the country. Just like a castle or palace. Or a Shakespearean play. Or a Constable painting. It’s something to look at. Or when an anniversary is due, something to celebrate. It’s a show.
It is true that our Royal Family is a ridiculous concept to stick to in the 21st century. But it’s not the most ridiculous aspect of modern British society by a long shot. The royalists and republicans argue endlessly about the costs and benefits of maintaining the royal family. Both sides cherry pick data and offer frivolous and/or misleading opinions dressed up as facts.
Either way, I just can’t quite get excited enough about these alleged costs and benefits to really care. Because they simply don’t have sufficient impact on my pay checks to really matter. And besides, if we abolished the monarchy then we’d end up with an equally expensive and unrepresentative presidency. Frankly, our new president would likely be as an obnoxious a twit as any monarch we’d ever had. And there is the true benefit of a monarch in that we have someone to represent the country internationally who is not a politician.
What I do benefit from are the occasional extra bank holidays to celebrate a wedding or jubilee. We can’t be too far away from having a day or two off to mourn at a royal funeral either. And then there’s the shows. We enjoyed catching the end of the Royal Windsor Horse Show. And we enjoyed the queen’s 90th birthday show in the same arena later in the evening. We hope to enjoy a few more royal celebrations in the years to come. To see the (fairly poor quality) photos I shot with my iPhone, click here and you will be whisked off to Flickr.
*This is a little bit of a lie. The crowds were too deep and the rain was too heavy. We ‘braved it out’ in a Cafe Rouge near Charing Cross station and watched it on their television while eating a boeuf bourginon.