Sunday Blog: Royal Service: Many Questions

The Queen is perhaps more popular now than at any time during her reign. She is loved, admired, respected, even revered all over the world. She has been there, as Queen, throughout the lifetimes of the majority of humanity.

I am not a royal watcher. I am agnostic about the monarchy. If that is what the country wants, that’s fine by me. But I do draw a line about confusion between crown and state. To many the crown is the state. To me and many millions, it is not. It is a tradition. It is part of the fabric of government, now stripped of the last vestiges of its power by parliament, without whose authority it would disappear overnight.

It is the property of one family, by inheritance rather than merit and very not by universal franchise. That family has a turbulent history of deceit and cruelty, especially to each other, making it one of the most dysfunctional families on record, a spectacle rather than an example. And yet it enjoys preferment and privilege without equal anywhere, much of it at direct cost to the taxpayer.

Its rules are archaic, possessive and spiteful. You have to belong to it like some mafia gang and woe betide you if you step out of line. All of this is to preserve the ownership of the crown by the family Windsor. They will go to any length to keep it. But that crown is not the state. That belongs to all of us. Post Covid we maybe understand that better than we ever did before.

Three cheers for Harry, Meghan, little Archie and their baby to come. As they say, service is universal.