Some brief musings on the constitutional monarchy
"One of the things that keeps Britain from becoming a dictatorship,
is having to go and kneel before the Queen once a week, and explain your
job to her." - Harold Wilson, Former Labour Prime Minister, 1964-70,
I don't agree with there being quite as much spent on the
Monarchy as we do spend on them currently, in times of supposed
austerity (there is a perverse irony in a woman sitting on a throne in a
crown worth millions of pounds being forced to lecture the poor on why
spending cuts are necessary for us to 'live within our means' - though
as I say, more down to what the sitting government writes for her Speech
in that instance).
I don't agree with any sitting Prime Minister being able to use the powers of the Royal Prerogative to bypass Parliament.
But ultimately, I agree with Mr. Wilson's sentiment. Far better to have a
head of state that sees her role as a duty, as opposed to another rung
on the ladder of personal advancement. Much better to have a
constitutional, rather than ruling, monarchy that the Prime Minister is
answerable to. Good to have someone above them in the hierarchy to keep
them in their place.
It is rare indeed for the monarch to
actually veto government actions, but who knows what goes on in the
Prime Minister's weekly audience with Her Majesty every Tuesday? Perhaps
there are many that are stopped simply in that room, by Her Majesty
saying "I wouldn't advise it"...
I have always had a curious
fascination with the Royal Family, and indeed the Queen herself. It is
not a perfect system, and I understand many of the arguments against it.
But for me, personally, it's one of the few age-old British traditions
I'm very happy to keep.
Queen Elizabeth II became the longest serving British Monarch today.
Long may she reign. :)