Friday 8 September 2023

The Stagnant Monarchy

It's been a year, Gawd rest her soul. Though there hasn't been the outpouring of sycophancy you might expect on this first anniversary from official channels. Still, one can always rely on the Telegraph to publish something suitably cringing, and Camilla Tominey is just the woman for the job. There is almost nothing in her maudlin piece to write about. Her Maj has left a gaping hole in everyone's life, the constancy of her presence no longer there to offer reassurance in an uncertain world, and the example of her commitment to duty - so at odds with modern life - died with her. This is a case of projection to be sure. Tominey's entire career has revolved around writing unbidden prettifying copy for the Windsor firm, but a set of sentiments shared by the sensibilities of Telegraph readers.

I said almost nothing. There is an absence in her lament of the absence; the King. He and Camilla get a mention, but only about how the House of Windsor "feels a little diminished". One might pick up a scinittla of anxiety in these words. While most of her fellow Tories were toasting the jubilee last year and regarded the monarchy was as safe as houses, we get the sense that Tominey suspects reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete is present. Consider the year in royalty. The coronation passed without a hitch, even if Penny Mordaunt inadvertently stole the show. The ongoing trouble with Prince Harry doesn't seem to have rebounded unfavourably on the monarchy. There have been no major scandals or controversies that have splashed all over the papers, though some were a bit annoyed when the King was wheeled out to anoint Sunak's Brexit compromise. And there was the rare moment of amusement when he met the post-crash Liz Truss with a "dear-oh-dear". The monarchy is steady as she goes, it seems.

And it's this that tugs at Tominey. The institution relies on a mix of passive acceptance and tolerance, as demonstrated by the lack of popular take up of the coronation celebrations. But when establishment politics have been badly shaken in recent years, and the incumbents and next likely government commands zero enthusiasm too, renewing the state and the monarchy doesn't have any mass buy-in. If the constitutional monarchy is to survive, something more than business as usual is required. While the Queen was alive she could inspire a degree of deference. The worry is, a year in, that Charles doesn't and never will. Which is fine, if it wasn't the case that ratings are down and trouble is brewing in the future. When the whole system needs an overhaul to put the relationship between state and monarch, and the people they preside over on sturdier legs, from whence will it come?

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1 comment:

Graham said...

The monarchy should have been abolished centuries ago.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen as the crown is a no-go area for politicians.
It may be that many Labour MPs consider the monarchy an anachronism but, apart from Clive Lewis, we will never know.
There are no votes in opposing the monarchy and a lot of flak in criticising it.

The issue of the monarchy is like the question of the role of religion in society.
If Parliament in anyway reflects the beliefs of the population than a third of MPs must oppose the monarchy and the majority don’t believe in God.
However, its best to keep quiet about these issues to avoid being denounced by the media.

That there is no debate on the monarchy, the 20 bishops in the House of Lords or the fact that most of our primary schools are run by various religious organisation demonstrates the backwardness of the UK’s politics.