The function of the King in promoting stability and acting as a sort of keystone in a non-democratic society is, of course, obvious. But he also has, or can have, the function of acting as an escape-valve for dangerous emotions. A French journalist said to me once that the monarchy was one of the things that have saved Britain from Fascism. What he meant was that modern people can’t, apparently, get along without drums, flags and loyalty parades, and that it is better that they should tie their leader-worship onto some figure who has no real power. In a dictatorship the power and the glory belong to the same person. In England the real power belongs to unprepossessing men in bowler hats: the creature who rides in a gilded coach behind soldiers in steel breast-plates is really a waxwork. It is at any rate possible that while this division of function exists a Hitler or a Stalin cannot come to power. On the whole the European countries which have most successfully avoided Fascism have been constitutional monarchies. The conditions seemingly are that the Royal Family shall be long-established and taken for granted, shall understand its own position and shall not produce strong characters with political ambitions. These have been fulfilled in Britain, the Low Countries and Scandinavia, but not in, say, Spain or Rumania. If you point these facts out to the average left-winger he gets very angry, but only because he has not examined the nature of his own feelings towards Stalin.
I live very near the aforementioned city, but I'm away at a different uni right now so I missed their visit. I did see the queen when she came up to York to do some Maundy Thursday affair. I miss Cambridge, it's a lovely city
I'd actually like to see the Crown take some independent action once in awhile. I understand the constitutional role it has adopted, but with no independent executive in the UK and a toothless upper house in Parliament, there ought to be someone able to put the brakes on governmental stupidity.
I don't see the point of their existence, though the argument from economical utility is a good one. I have nothing against most of them personally, the exception being the bat-eared homoeopathy-loving Prince Charles, who can fuck off.
Monarchies as a concept I find I must oppose. I like to describe the American Revolution as a British revolution left half done.
If I was British, I'd be a bit upset that there's a family who gets paid just to kind of be rich and do rich stuff and attend ceremonies and stuff. They basically just have a license to be incredibly wealthy and are support by the tax dollars of people who work much harder than them.
People will still go there to see the landmarks, don't need to have rich people living there for people to care. How does it change anything if you remove the largest unnecessary expense? The Estates remain the way they are. It's not likely they'll be bulldozed.
No, but their current status is the result of an agreement between the government and the Crown, in return for which the sovereign receives enough money to carry out her official duties. In the event the sovereign was eliminated (and I can't see that happening without resistance) a strong case could be made that the revenues of the Crown Estates should revert to the Royal Family directly. That would be a loss to the government of over 200M GBP annually even once you deduct the present cost of the civil list.
The loss of tourism argument doesn't hold water: You get rid of the monarchy but keep the best relics, buildings and history (obviously) and turn them into even more of a tourist destination than they are already, while auctioning off all the remaining artwork, priceless jewellery, land and relics and using the money to build a few hospitals.
I don't care too much for them. If I was starting a new country I wouldn't choose a monarchy but I see no point in going through the hastle of changing the system in the UK. They serve only a ceremonial role and whilst they have a lot of undeserved wealth, so do many people. Contrary to popular opinion, they pay taxes and those taxes are greater than they get from the state.
I think the royal family as a whole is pretty cool; nothing essential, sometimes annoying, but overall something that I'd rather see existing than being abolished. I would be pissed if a royal visit disrupted classes though.