There are those of us who scoff at the idea of Kings or Queens and a royal family who 'reign' over us. They hold it to be an anachronistic and medieval institution that today is irrelevant, an institution that should be discarded and consigned to the ash heap of history.
Not only do they decry the concept of royalty but howl at the expense borne by the public purse, viewed as an obscene waste of precious public resources.
We are all entitled to our opinion and although I have no special bond or sentiment towards the royal family, my analytical bent causes me to take an opposite view because quite simply the British royal family is an unbelievable bargain, an asset providing tremendous value for what is spent.
Yes... the Royal family is an unbelievable bargain.
First and foremost the Queen or King provides a valuable symbol of statehood, an innocent unifying and inclusive force, representing all the inhabitants of the Commonwealth.
If you think that this is unnecessary and stupid, look to the USA which doesn't have a monarch and generally looks down on countries that do.
But the USA raises the President and his attending First lady to defacto royal status, a dangerous concept that throws back to a time when the King or Queen actually ruled with absolute power.
Many countries that don't have a royal head of state choose to place a ceremonial 'President' over the defacto ruler, an acknowledgement that elected officials make poor heads of state.
When an elected official such as the President of the USA acts as head of state, it presents a unique problem in that a sizable constituency feel unconnected and unrepresented.
It has become a tradition that championship sports teams be invited to the White House for a celebratory meeting with the President, a visit that some members of the team refuse to participate in because of their political alienation from the president.
The Queen represents all citizens of all political persuasions without distinction and as head of state is better able to perform ceremonial functions that unite us all.
More importantly, having an innocent and harmless sovereign as head of state allows us to judge our politicians with a more critical eye, without the trappings of the head of state.
Boris Johnson and his fall from grace was facilitated by having a Queen stationed 'above' him.
While we respect and revere our monarch who today does nothing more than tirelessly cheer on the nation, we remain free to judge our politicians on their personal comportment and public performance without the trappings of any reverence for the office.
|Seventy years of dedicated Service|
While almost everyone in Canada knows who the Queen, her children and grandchildren are by name, I daresay precious few can name our Prime Minister's children, a situation which I find admirable and healthy.
As for the cost, I fear that those citing the expense as exorbitant are dealing from a weak hand.
The British monarchy is an economic juggernaut generating almost a billion pounds in tourism while costing the British taxpayer less than a third of that.
Then there is the all-important pleasure dividend wherein millions of subjects and indeed tens of millions of foreigners enjoy the pageantry and trappings of a royal family.
While not particularly smitten with the Royals, I will never forget my visit to Buckingham palace, one of the greatest attractions I've ever visited.
Now haters are going to going to say that we should boycott such visits based on the fact that the palace and Royal legacy were built on the backs of the poor.
Such can be said of the Colosseum in Rome, the Egyptian Pyramids, Beijing's Forbidden City, St Paul's and Notre-Dame Cathedral as well as the Palace of Versailles, to name a few.
Should we boycott all those as well?
It is our nature and part of our human condition. It does not need explaining or denigration.
We are what we are.
Many little girls still daydream of marrying a Prince Charming and fantasize about their own royal wedding.
In fact, royal weddings are perhaps the number one television attraction in the world, all provided gratis to the general public.
Now while you may think those people fascinated by the royal family are lame and perhaps stupid, it is important to understand that these millions of people are entitled to their own beliefs and entertainment, just as some of us (many fewer) enjoy museums or classical orchestras, all subsidized by the government.
Queen Elizabeth has undertaken over 21,000 royal engagements over her reign, a remarkable achievement by any yardstick.
In the real world, a royal visit to a hospital, a disaster scene or an important occasion or milestone is gratifying to those on the receiving end.
Royalist or not, who doesn't treasure a birthday greeting from the Queen or a letter of commendation or a sympathetic visit in hard times..
A visit to a school, daycare, or hospital reminds those who toil there that their work is important and appreciated on a national level.
A royal visit is a gesture made by the Queen on behalf of the entire country, and what can be more gratifying.
As for the popularity of the royal family, you can safely ignore those polls that show that getting rid of the Royal family is popular.
Few are willing to reveal their guilty pleasure to pollsters, just like few will admit to watching the Kardashians or The Bachelor.
Here in Quebec the Royals are seen as wildly unpopular but when Prince William and Kate visited Quebec City a few years back, the streets were packed with gawkers, onlookers and yes, royal aficionados, belying the fact that they are loathed or disliked.
Those who decry the monarchy are selfish snobs, failing to accept that the royals bring enormous pleasure to millions of citizens.
There is no economic, social or political benefit to be had in dumping the institution and those who propose to do so fail to accept the benefits which are real and tangible.
Speaking to her popularity, how many billions will watch the Royal funeral of Queen Elizabeth on Monday, a monarch who worked tirelessly for seventy years to bring a little sunshine into the lives of all her subjects.