#117 What if the UK monarchy was abolished?

horse guards

According to a 2018 poll, most people in the UK are in favour of the monarchy with only a minority wishing to abolish it and these figures are only slightly different to a similar poll taken in 2012.

Recent scandals involving Prince Andrew and Harry and Meghan’s Megxit have been predicted as the end of the monarchy by some quarters of the media but, given that the abolition of the monarchy would require a clear majority in a referendum, it would require more than an annus horriblis to unseat the crown.

There are those who believe that the love for the monarchy is actually a love for the Queen and that, when the Queen dies, the monarchy might not enjoy the same support when Prince Charles becomes king. These people would do well to remember that King Edward VII was involved in many scandals while Queen Victoria was alive but that when she died he became a very popular monarch.

The popularity of the Queen in in part due to her refusal to get involved in politics, the very reason for criticism of Prince Charles. However, it is not impossible to imagine situations in which a monarch could be criticised for either meddling in politics or not meddling in politics. In any case, Charles insists that he will not meddle so one would have to assume a situation in which the Government attempted to pass a piece of legislation which was universally unpopular but which nevertheless had been passed by parluament and therefore, constitutionally, required Royal assent, the monarch, performing their constitutional duty could inadvertently align themselves with an unpopular Government and it is not unimaginable that both could then be removed, remember King Charles I. It would be ironic if the only times in British history a monarch was removed was under a monarch named Charles, though I do hope they don’t behead him this time.

Another factor in the likelihood of the UK becomming a republic is the monarchy’s willingness to fulfill their role. In 2017, Prince Harry told Newsweek: “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.” George VI famously did not want to be King but had little option when his brother abdicated. This thrust the current Queen into the line of succession, something that she, no doubt, had not desired.

The difference between these previous monarchs performing their duties and potential future monarchs doing the same would be if there was an increasing sympathy with the republican cause, this has let to reveal itself.

A big barrier to republicanism is the thought of who might become president. Tony Blair? Nigel Farage? Another accelerant would be if Scotland or even Northern Ireland successfully devolved.

And then there is the question of the Commonwealth. Many members of the Commonwealth might welcome the abolition of the monarchy but there is also the possibility that the UK could vote to abolish the monarchy while some Commonwealth nations opt to retain the monarch as their head of state. What would happen in that situation?

In my current work in progress, a prequel to my dystopian novel, WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY, an increasingly authoritarian government takes the death of the King as an opportunity to transfer the monarch’s powers to the Prime Minister who becomes defacto president. The move follows a decades long political slide to right but is not unimaginable.

About M J Dees

M J Dees lives and works in Sao Paulo, Brazil with his wife, daughter and two cats. He has written three novels, Living with Saci, The Astonishing Anniversaries of James and David, Part One, and When The Well Runs Dry. He is currently editing the fourth and writing the fifth. You can sign up for more information on his book launches at http://eepurl.com/cTnAD5 and receive a free copy of Living With Saci.
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2 Responses to #117 What if the UK monarchy was abolished?

  1. Jane Ballard says:

    Fascinating topic. I agree with you that current love of the monarchy is actually love for Queen Elizabeth, a feeling I share with the UK public. She’s a tough gal who’s served her country well — driving an ambulance in WW2! First radio broadcast at 13! My mom used to talk about how she assumed the throne while staying at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya: “She went up a princess and came down a queen.” Charles seems to be moving toward a smaller royal family with fewer hangers-on, and I have my doubts as to whether Will takes the throne when Charles dies. I’m also happy for Harry and Meghan; I feel Harry is doing what’s best for his wife and son, and therefore for him, and I wish them well.

    Like

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