Republicans will always try their hardest to persuade us that Monarchy is harmful to the UK and that it does no good. Republic UK make a point of trying to ‘bust myths’ about the Monarchy which Monarchists use to argue in favour of it, so we thought we’d ‘return fire’ and bust the ‘myth busting’.
| ‘Monarchy is Undemocratic’
Is it though? Whilst the system of Absolute Monarchy is obviously undemocratic, Constitutional Monarchy actually compliments democracy.
The argument that Monarchy is undemocratic has been disproved many times, most notably in a recent survey of the ‘world’s most democratic countries’. This placed Norway, a country with a Monarchy, as the most democratic country in the world. Second was Sweden, also a country with a Monarchy and in fact of the top ten in that list, 7 are ones with Monarchies.
A Constitutional Monarchy can be vital to a country’s political system. Take a look at Belgium for example. Their former King, Albert II, famously worked to resolve a constitutional crisis in 2010-2011 when Belgium’s parliament was unable to agree on a government. When the crisis was resolved, Albert swore in the new government too.
| ‘Ordinary people cannot be Head of State’
Part of the system of how Monarchy works is through the Head of State being a fixed hereditary figure. Republicans would have you believe that this is entirely undemocratic and unfair.
They would say that people should be able to aspire to be leader of their own country… but they do. Frequently, you hear people aspiring to be the Prime Minister, because that’s where the real political power lies in a Constitutional Monarchy. The office of Monarch acts frequently as an arbitrator in Political matters, not as a leader of Government.
Having, as we do, a Monarch as Head of State, we prevent two things from happening. Firstly, having a fixed Head of State prevents any leader with ulterior motives from taking power and acts actually to keep the United Kingdom democratic. Secondly, keeping the office of Head of State apolitical means the King or Queen can take a neutral stance in any political conflict without being influenced by personal party preference.
| ‘Monarchy is not good value for money’
Quite simply: yes it is. In fact, Monarchy is one of the cheapest types of Head of State. Below is a table comparing the British Monarchy with two other Heads of State who are not hereditary Monarchs.
- British Monarchy – £36.1 million
- French Presidency – £154 million (just for President’s income alone) per year
- American Presidency – £917.3 million
A lot of presidencies don’t publish their travel costs, staff costs and sometimes President’s salary, so it was very difficult to get hold of other information to compare more presidencies. Conversely, The Queen’s expenses are always published in full every year along with other senior members of the Royal Family.
Each person in the United Kingdom pays just 58p (2012-2013) for the Monarchy – hardly ‘breaking the bank’.
| ‘Nobody wants the Monarchy any more; it’s outdated’
This point is simply unarguable. Every poll taken by a reputable source will show that the Monarchy is more popular than the UK becoming a republic.
The most recent and reliable one from YouGov shows that 73% of people think Britain should continue to have a Monarchy and just 16% support having an elected head of state (11% unsure). There’s no hiding from the fact that Republicans in the UK are a minority – albeit a minority with a particularly loud voice sometimes.
And to say that no one is interested in the Monarchy is completely wrong. It was estimated shortly after its broadcast that the Royal Wedding was watched (at least partially) by a total global audience of 3.126 billion, or 45% of the world’s population.
| ‘Whilst support for The Queen is high, people don’t want Prince Charles to be King’
Polls show that Queen Elizabeth II’s popularity is the highest in the Royal Family with around 90% of people approving of her.
Republicans argument, because of the popularity of The Queen, is to say that nobody supports Prince Charles becoming King and that the Monarchy should therefore end after Queen Elizabeth.
Again, this is not true. Polls in 2012 show that 61% of people think Prince Charles will do a good job once he becomes King, with 26% thinking he won’t.
Even those who aren’t fans of the Prince of Wales aren’t anti-Monarchist because many people support the Duke of Cambridge, in fact 83% of people think Prince William will do a good job as King and just 5% of people saying they don’t think he’ll do a good job.