Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The under-appreciated Monarchy

What does the British have that the rest of the world does not? Big Ben and Westminster, which are instantly recognizable British icons have already been replicated although at a much smaller scale elsewhere. If you've not realized already, I'm desperately trying to hide my ignorance. Though I know for certain that Belgium and China have got a much scaled down model of both, I am not certain exactly where.

Anyway, when the South Korean TV series hit 'Palace' was shown in Asia, there was a resurgence in interest in the monarch. In fact, a man, who claimed to be the direct descendant of the deposed Korean monarch tried to get public support to reinstate him as the rightful heir albeit with little success.

In my opinion, the British royalty is indeed under appreciated by the very people they swear to serve. Believe it or now, the very notion of 'Britishness', to this Singaporean, lies in it the heart of the Monarchy, with the Queen at its helm.

Simply put, without the Monarchy, Buckingham Palace would be just another museum, so will all other palaces. There will be no princes for the ladies to ogle on. There will be no Princess Diana who captured the imagination of millions around the world. The Royal Marines, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force will be just another run-the-mill military force. No service person will 'fight for the Queen', which has a certain ring of romanticism (I must state that I absolutely abhor war and violence).

There will be no royal scandals, no distractions when the Labour Party government lost yet another laptop with sensitive information. The Royal Ascot would just be another horse race.

And the best thing is that the entire Monarchy costs each taxpayer only 69p (S$1.85 or US$1.35) per year! Compared to a drug addict who cost the state 8,000 pounds per year, I think Britain should just ship all its drug addicts out.

At least the Royalty do provide some good entertainment every now and then. More for on the English Monarchy, refer to England and Her Rulers from the Tudors to the Windsors.

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12 comments:

SheR. said...

What should I say? Love Live the Queen! ;P

Jasmine Shanea said...

I don't understand why we need monarchies now in such a world where we are moving more towards democracy (or so we think). Maybe people just need a little fantasy that becoming a prince/princess can come true in real life.

I'll tell those people - DREAM ON.

kyh said...

Monarchy may not be having great political importance as in the past, but it is still a symbol of a nation's sovereignty. Presidents may come and go, but monarchs will stay till the end of their lives. Like in Thailand, people may be rioting against the government, but they all respect their King and seek His Majesty for advices on the nation's future. They listen, revere him as if the King is their father.

The British Monarch has always been a royal icon throughout the 20th century. We do not need to denote her as Queen Elizabeth II. Just a simple generic term 'the Queen' will immediately remind us of her. After all, her empire has had the greatest impact on today's modern world other than America.

And, without the British monarchs, all those royal armies and organizations would have to erase the keyword ROYAL from their titles.

Rudy said...

This Queen Elizabeth II is the symbol of what is right about family values and tradition. For that, I respect the English monarchy. When Prince William come into power (if he will) then all bets are off, back to square one.

C K said...

@sher.
Hey, if you practice a bit, maybe you can even do the curtsie!

C K said...

@jasmine shanea,
That's what a sizable portion of British is thinking. But it's something that is older than many things that we ever know and the Royalty is something that is relatively consistent for most of the time.

It's rather comforting to have something to hold on to as the rest of the world trottles on.

C K said...

@kyh,
Haha, you're indeed a sentimental one. I was thought that without the Monarchy, the British will lose the only thing that they have over the Americans. If the Monarchy goes, so will hundred of years of culture.

C K said...

@rudy,
I was thinking that Prince William will enjoy the goodwill that his mother enjoyed. Provided that the 'helicopter' incident doesn't repeat.. :)

Sheila said...

I confess to having anti-monarchy feelings. I have respect for QE and realise if we didn't have her, we'd have to have a president. We wouldn't need quite so many family members though. There are just so many royals and I will never forget the way they treated Diana.

But I don't know where you costs from. I've never investigated it, but I can't believe it's so little. Just the other day Prince William was invested with the Order of the Garter. How much can that have cost? The costumes (uniforms? outfits?) alone cost a fortune, and they all have to be maintained and preserved. And this was only a fringe activity with little tourist attraction. Invitees only.

Then you have the fact of their incredible personal wealth on which they pay little tax. I seem to recall a wheeze which involves the Duchy of Cornwall paying itself for growing timber on its own land.

Sorry, this has developed into a bit of a rant, but my opinions of the monarchy changed after I saw the Crown Jewels a good few years ago. Is it right to have all that wealth sitting behind glass, used rarely if at all, when so very many people can barely get by?

C K said...

@sheila,
Hmm... as an non British, I can assure you that the Monarchy is much more valuable to the British than anything else.

Do you know that when the Queen visited Singapore in 1970s, it was such a huge event that tens of thousands of people just lined the streets waiting to catch a glimpse of her? She visited a flat in Queenstown (!) and the owner has kept the cup that she used untouched after all these years.

As the head of Commonwealth nations, Britain enjoys a certain prestige that no other nations can even dream of. Its political power lingers on even though its no longer a colonial power that spans all over the globe. The symbolic power of the Crown is something that no amount of money can ever buy.

Have you considered how many tourists throng into London each year just to take a picture of the Buckingham Palace? Each of them spent on airfare, accomodation and transport that is priced several times as compared to back home but yet they still come.

That is the intangible economic benefit of the Monarchy.

Btw, I got my figures from the Consumer Group studies after the budget was announced last year. The figure of 69p was brought up because it's really very little as compared to the perceived amount.

sharzilla said...

Absolutely. The British monarchy get utterly taken for granted. I definitely read somewhere they cost only 69p a year per taxpayer or some ridiculously small amount and in true British fashion people still had a big moan about it.

C K said...

@sharzilla,
I guess it's easy to hit out at the Monarchy when the economy is down and people are made redundant. I mean, you can't exactly give the Queen the sack, can you?

I just hope that the revenue that the Monarchy generates will be made more transparent so that the people will be more informed.

But I guess the bankers are now getting the all the negative press now. :)