Guess who’s not invited to the Royal wedding.
Why is it so unheard of to be a republican in Britain? We aren’t exactly a country in love with bureaucracy – Brexit.
Author of Down with the Royals, Joan Smith, certainly doesn’t understand. “I grew up in a working-class northern family. I have always hated the idea of inherited privilege,” she explained. Joan and her group of distant campaigners envision a future without King or Queen and they aim to find support in a new generation.
This year Queen Elizabeth II tuned 91, continuing her reign as the world’s longest serving Head of State, the term reserved for a country’s chief public representative, the effective head of government. In presidential countries like America this would be the President, the most powerful official. Explaining her disdain for the royals, Ms Smith added: “It seems bizarre this one family has the exclusive right to produce our heads of state. Our next three will all be white, male, middle-class and Christian. A bunch of people who can’t possibly represent the country.”
The Queen may be our Head of State, but she is also the head of a constitutional monarchy. Meaning she reigns but does not rule, and in fact has very little power. Decisions on policy and legislation are left to the government. These days the role of Monarch is very much a symbolic one.
Although many, including Dr Martin Farr, of Newcastle University, believe the Queen doesn’t need actual legislative power to affect our lives, he said: “people may feel that she contributes to the hierarchical nature of British society.” Farr, who earlier this year unveiled Princess Eugenie was initially rejected by Newcastle University, until an admissions officer realised her royal connection, insists his statements were overblown, but republican campaigners seized upon them. Judy Mercer, of Republic, an anti-monarchist organisation with over 30,000 supporters, said: “We pay for a very very rich and privileged royal family, their extended family members and all of their security.”
Well, she’s sort of right. Until 2011 calculating the Royal income was an unnecessarily complicated process, involving several different grants and stipends. Now Royal funds are distributed via one solitary payment called the sovereign grant, which does consist of contributions from tax payers, as well as the personal income of the Royal family. It was reported in 2016 that Prince Charles earned over £20 million from his private estate, The Duchy of Cornwall. Though the Queen does, voluntarily, pay income tax on all profits from the Privy Purse – the account which holds income from the Duchy of Lancaster, the reigning Monarch’s private and extensive rural estate.
Much of the Republican movement has now moved online. A strategic decision to connect with a younger generation.
Mrs Mercer added: “The palace is using the two young princes to keep younger generations engaged, ultimately it is this new generation who will be suffering further inequality and Republic’s job is to highlight the connection with the Royal family.”
Undeterred by the odds, they have hope in the future. Leading online campaigner Revolting-Subject, who upholds his anonymity due to a career in broadcast journalism, said: “Prince Charles looks like a disaster waiting to happen, so I have high hopes there.”