On the 9th September, Queen Elizabeth II becomes our longest reigning monarch in history. The Queen is the figurehead of an institution that has been a major part of our history for the last thousand years. Despite the high and low points of the institution throughout its history, it has evolved with the times into a constitutional basis and is as relevant as ever. The campaign to abolish the monarchy is far-fetched, you need only look at the latest opinion polls to see how popular it is. The monarchy has the fantastic ability to make most people across the political spectrum agree on something – its existence.
While Prime Ministers of differing political persuasions come and go, the monarchy, as a non-political institution, remains ever-present. This lack of political bias is vital in any head of state, as it allows for continuity over a long period of time, and the needs of the people are placed before any electioneering. The fact that the head of the political system (the Prime Minister) has to have a meeting every week with the Monarch ensures that, privately, any extremely damaging policy to the whole country is taken no further, reminding politicians that even if they have just been elected on a large majority, they cannot exert their every whim on the country. The queen has a right and a duty to privately council the Prime Minister of the day, whilst keeping politically neutral in the public sphere. While the monarch has ‘all’ the power to intervene in politics, the last time this power was used was way back in 1707 – there has been no necessity to since as the present arrangement of the constitutional monarchy is a fantastic way of keeping the politicians in check – it is the best reminder to them that they aren’t bigger that the British state, nor that the constitution is theirs to change at will.
Being a Monarch isn’t all fun and games, wearing expensive jewellery and living in a nice house, one just has to remember that every Head of State live with a similar sort of opulence, and most of this is borne out of tradition, which, as we all know, everyone loves. As well as this, many royal homes are open to the public for most of the year, bringing millions of pounds per year into the economy.
Consider this point also, how many times does the Queen appear in the press per year? The sheer number of events, walk-throughs and dignitaries to meet all adds up, especially considering that Elizabeth II is 89 years old – the world respects our monarchy, and this is shown in the sheer number of events that the Queen and other royals are obliged to attend.
Despite all this arguing over the future of the monarchy, we must still remember that the Queen has dedicated 23,226 days of her life to serving the nation as our Head of State, in addition to her younger years previous to her ascension to the throne. She has garnered worldwide respect – name another Head of State who can command the level of respect or who has served the country as well as the Queen! Gone are the days of despotic Kings and Queens, the constitutional monarchy in its current guise remains as popular as ever. The monarchy is a fantastic uniting factor for people across the political spectrum and should remain as it is for generations to come.