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Long Live the King: Why Do People Want to Abolish the Monarchy?

Long Live the King: Why Do People Want to Abolish the Monarchy?
Photo by Church of the King / Unsplash

The British Royal Family is in the news again.

At this point, they're in the news every other day and the gossip wheel is always turning on fresh new interesting points of discussion. Whether it be people gushing about a royal wedding, whispering in hushed tones about scandalous family history, or the death of her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II- the Royals are on everyone's mind.

More recently, thoughts have turned towards the health of his Majesty, King Charles III.

As my readers are likely aware, his Majesty has been diagnosed with cancer. This is unfortunate, but not unexpected at his advanced age. Our health tends to take a turn as the decades roll on by.

But along with news of the King's ill health and even since his late mother passed away, there has been a steadily growing call for something incredible. In spite of the popularity of the Royals as a tourist draw, there have been many raised voices clamoring for the unthinkable. An end to the institution itself.

People are calling for monarchy to be abolished. Not just in the UK, but as a concept.

Support for the monarchy falls below 50 per cent for the first time, new poll says
SUPPORT for the monarchy has fallen below 50 per cent for the first time, according to a new poll.

Lest I give you the impression that this is a new phenomenon, the call for ending the monarchy is not new at all. Heck- why do you think the American revolution happened in the first place?

But it is noticeably becoming more and more of a popular idea, and I've heard people expression confusion over why. I thought we could go over a few of the more commonly cited reasons for why some people want to see an end to this ancient and enduring tradition.

Now, I'm a Canadian citizen. Some of my readers may not be aware, but my country is still technically part of the British Commonwealth. I am, on paper, a subject of the King.

Here in Canada, we're pretty split on the idea of being ruled by the British crown. We've all grown up as a part of the Commonwealth, we're all aware that we have a King- formerly Queen- who technically stands as our Head of State.

But for most of us in modern North America, the monarchy hasn't really intruded on our lives in the practical sense. We have the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors -one of whom I've met in person, and even sold jewelry to.

Couldn't resist the humble brag.

But beyond that and the occasional painting of the reigning monarch, the closest thing to an impact on our lives is the faces staring up at us from the cash in our hands. And frankly, even that's going away as people turn more and more to debit or other digital payment options.

We think of the Prime Minister as our true leader, and we mostly function as if the King has no actual power.

But the symbolic impact of the crown is much heavier. And the price tag to maintain that symbolism has a hefty weight that the average citizen is being made to bear.

When I say price tag, I do mean that literally. Maintaining the monarchy is freaking expensive. Just take a look at the financial reports from 2022-2023! Look at how much it costs to pay for all of the official duties, residences and events that the Royals take part in and own.

This year, the cost came to £86.3 million.

The cost per-person of the Sovereign Grant may not seem too high, at a meagre £1.29 but it's important to keep one simple fact in mind: The Royals do not pay taxes.

Is it any wonder that people might be a little bit upset about their lavish, subsidized lifestyle as the cost of living continues to rise for the Average Joe?

Lest you think that's only the UK, let me remind you of the office of the Governor General here in Canada. We shell out roughly $1.53 per person, with an annual $58.7 million going towards the offices appointed by the Crown. That's for residences and duties, as well as security details for any Royals who visit the country.

How much does the monarchy cost Canadian taxpayers?
While Canada might not pay money directly to the monarchy, the country’s ties to the House of Windsor could cost taxpayers more than $58.7 million per year.

Again. Imagine what that money could be used for if it were turned to a more practical purpose for our local citizens!

So the tax thing is a big issue for a lot of people, but it's not the only gripe that they have. On top of all of the money and the splendor and the gratuitous display of affluence, there's the matter of what it all represents.

After all, a monarchy is not a true democracy. Those of us with an eye towards freedom and human rights can develop a little bit of a chip on our shoulders when it comes to hereditary rule.

But a big part of the movement has to do with the facts of history. It's no surprise that countries that were colonized by the British would have reason to call for the end of the British monarchy!

Heck, there were people who celebrated the death of Her Majesty Elizabeth II due to her having been the very public face behind a lot of England's historic crimes around the world.

To many, the crown is as much a symbol of racism and colonial authority as anything else.

Queen Elizabeth II Death: A Mourning or Celebration? | Bowie State

Now, as I said, these complaints are by no means restricted to the British Royals. They aren't the only monarchy in the world, even if they are some of the most recognizable.

43 sovereign states around the world currently live under a monarchy. Some of them are constitutional monarchies like the British Commonwealth, and some of them are absolute monarchies like Vatican City and Saudi Arabia.

A lot of these concerns can be applied to virtually all monarchies, along with many others. Every reigning monarch has their own level of support and disdain, and some nations are more staunchly traditionalist towards their own Royals than others.

You don't want to walk into Vatican City and talk shit about the Pope, and countries like Denmark still hold to Lèse-majesté; intentionally insulting the Royals can get you an extra penalty on top of the typical libel laws.

There is no shortage of reasons why people might want to see the concept of monarchy abolished. I'm sure my lovely readers can think of plenty more that I haven't covered today.

Personally, I grew up in one. And while I'm burdened by a certain level of nostalgia and appreciation for the tradition, I can't condone the idea of a monarchy in our modern world. It's outdated, it's expensive, and the symbolic boot on the throats of our global neighbors should be removed.

That's just my two cents. Or rather, it's my $1.53.

Solidarity wins.