Recent polls suggest that young Britons want the monarchy to end. According to previous surveys, there is a great divide between the younger generations — many favor Harry and Meghan over their older counterparts, who have negative feelings about them.
When the queen was still on the throne, there was no possibility of an end to the monarchy. But, after her death, the younger Briton’s support declined. Only 53% of 4,870 adults ages 25 to 49 support keeping the monarchy, reflecting a 5% difference from a 2019 poll. Moreover, approval of an elected figure was up four points.
YouGov survey revealed that 41% of those between 18 and 24 think there should be an elected head of state, whereas 31% wanted a king or queen.
The British monarchy has a long and storied history, dating back to William the Conqueror in 1066. Over the centuries, the institution evolved and adapted to changing political and social climates, but it has always remained a symbol of national identity and continuity.
However, in recent years, there has been a noticeable rise in anti-monarchy sentiment in England, with some questioning the relevance and value of the institution in modern society. This article will explore the challenges faced by the royal family, including the Prince William and Prince Harry brothers, and the potential implications for the monarchy’s future.
Rise in Anti-Monarchy Sentiment Is Multifaceted
One major factor is the cost of maintaining the royal family, estimated to be around $440 million (£345 million) annually. Many taxpayers question whether this money could be better spent on other public services, such as healthcare and education.
Additionally, some argue that the monarchy is no longer relevant in a democratic society, where power is supposed to rest with the people rather than a hereditary monarch. Others point to controversies surrounding some royal family members, such as Prince Andrew’s association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as evidence that the institution is out of touch with modern values.
The Sovereign Grant is a fixed amount, but the actual spending varies yearly. Most of the British monarchy funding is publicly accounted for. Still, the picture of the actual cost of the royal family is complicated because of the disagreement about the institution’s financial benefits.
For example, Buckingham Palace’s ongoing refurbishment went up to 128 million dollars in 2021-2022 using the new funding from the previous years.
Some years are higher for events like the queen’s funeral and King Charles III’s coronation costing the taxpayers more in security fees.
Royal family supporters say that the money they receive from taxpayers is only a drop compared to the benefits they bring, and their effect on the economy is considerable.
An attack on the government by Prince Harry, tacked onto the end of his witness statement in his case against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for phone hacking, is “extremely difficult and uncomfortable” for the monarchy.https://t.co/hp3ROs7EIL
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 11, 2023
Princes William and Harry
Prince William and Prince Harry, two of the most visible and famous royal family members, have faced challenges recently. William is under intense scrutiny from the media and public as the future king. He has been criticized for lacking engagement with significant social and political issues, such as climate change and racial inequality. Additionally, his relationship with his younger brother, Prince Harry, has reportedly been strained since Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle, who has faced intense media scrutiny and racism.
Prince Harry, for his part, has been increasingly vocal about his struggles with mental health and the trauma of losing his mother, Princess Diana, at a young age. He and his wife have also been the targets of vicious media attacks. Some outlets accused Meghan of being a “diva” and a “social climber.” In January 2020, Harry and Meghan declared that they were stepping back from their functions as senior royal family members and pursuing financial independence. This decision, dubbed “Megxit” by the media, has raised questions about the monarchy’s future and its younger members’ role.
The potential implications of William and Harry’s challenges and the broader anti-monarchy sentiment are significant. Some argue that the institution is in danger of becoming irrelevant and outdated, particularly as younger generations become more politically engaged and demand greater transparency and accountability from their leaders. Others point out that the monarchy still has symbolic and cultural value and serves as a unifying force for the nation.
Prince Harry’s Action Troubles the Monarchy
Prince Harry’s comment during the witness statement for his phone hacking lawsuit against MGN (Mirror Group Newspaper) vexed the monarchy.
The Duke of Sussex’s actions reportedly became an exasperation for King Charles and were troubling for the monarchy.
Harry told the London High Court that his country is judged globally by its government and the press.
His statement made the Buckingham Palace associates uncomfortable because the monarchy is constitutionally mandated to be past politics.
Sources say the situation underscored Queen Elizabeth II’s decision at the infamous January 2020 British royal family meeting. This occasion was after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were stepping back from royal life that year.
Those determinations are currently the royal family’s insurance when one of the working members representing the nation breaks the law. And there is the irony about a royal family member being judged worldwide.
The Future of Monarchy
Ultimately, the monarchy’s future will depend on how well it adapts to changing social and political realities. While maintaining traditional and social justice, it must engage with the public on climate change and social justice. It will also need to address the concerns of taxpayers who question the cost of keeping the royal family. And it will need to find a way to support its younger members, who face unprecedented scrutiny and pressure.
The rise in anti-monarchy sentiment in England has implications for the institution’s future and its role in British society. The challenges and criticisms outweigh the benefits of maintaining the monarchy as a national identity and continuity symbol. The key will be balancing tradition and modernity and addressing all stakeholders’ concerns thoughtfully and constructively.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Insider: Here’s what would happen to the royal family if Britain abolished the monarchy; by
Mikhaila Friel and Lloyd Lee
The Guardian: British public support for monarchy at historic low, poll reveals; by Amelia Hill
Reuters: Young British people want to ditch the monarchy, poll suggests
CNN: Britons’ support for the monarchy is in long-term decline, suggesting King Charles faces challenges; by Jennifer Agiesta, Ariel Edwards-Levy, and Sana Noor Haq
ALJAZEERA: Taxpayer ripoff or bargain? The cost of the British royal family; by John Power
Robb Report: King Charles Is Reportedly Feeling ‘Frustration’ Over Prince Harry’s Behavior; by Justin Ray
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