Comment - Miscellaneous
Do we need the Royals? by Jean Robertson-Molloy.
Well, it's all over now - the Jubilee,
the Olympics, the frantic flag waving, the Queen with starring role,
culminating in a trompe l'oeil paraglide into the stadium itself.
But I'm left asking: How much has all this pageantry cost us?
We'll never be told. But we already know that it was a failure for
And how much was the whole thing being manipulated by the
government to divert attention from less happy events around us?
Like Mrs. Thatcher's cynical use of the Falklands war?
And what about the media? Are they too, glad of the diversion,
after all their scandals?
So what is the power of the Royals? Perhaps it's something almost
sacred. The Queen is Head of the established Church of England,
Wales and Northern Ireland. The title 'Defender of the Faith' has
been passed on from Henry the Eighth, to every succeeding
Scotland of course has its own established Presbyterian church, but
the 'King and Head' is said to be Jesus Christ. Interestingly
however, even in Scotland, royalty fever seems to pervade quite a
number of bosoms among the so-called dour Scots. At the Jubilee,
many Scots braved cold and wet for hours to cheer Her Majesty.
And it should be noted that the Nationalists have now quietly
forgotten their earlier declarations of republican sympathies.
One popular argument for retaining the Royals is "Well, who would
we have instead?" These defenders of the Royal role can see no
substitute as viable.
There have of course been suggestions that after this monarch,
things may change. Yet a recent BBC poll claimed that 55% of
people thought that the monarchy 'would last forever'.
And then there's leadership. People may be ambivalent about
leaders but at the same time there does seem to be a primitive need
for a leader, even if only a figurehead. No sailing ship in the old
days ever felt safe to sail without one.
And perhaps this issue of safety comes near to the centre of the
conundrum. We like things the way they've always been. Change
is seen as dangerous, especially in difficult times. And ironically, it
may be that the more unpopular this present government becomes,
the more we cling to some sort of magical substitute - if not God,
then at least God's representative on earth.
First published in the EGP members newsletter, October 2012