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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Has enthusiasm for the monarchy increased?
The Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations have received a surge of interest since the death of the Queen Mother, organisers claim.
Earlier this year there were reports of public apathy towards the celebrations, with only a handful of street parties being planned.
But village parties are now reporting a boom in enthusiasm, and two million people have applied for tickets to see the Jubilee concerts at Buckingham Palace.
Lord Sterling, chairman of the Golden Jubilee Weekend Trust, said: "Undoubtedly the funeral of the Queen Mother, and what she represented to the country, has heightened people's interest."
Has enthusiasm for the Royal Family increased? What are you planning to do for the Jubilee?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Think about this: if the monarchy were to go, what would happen to the Commonwealth of Nations? Certainly it would be entirely irrelevant to have a Commonwealth without its traditional figure head. And what about the other countries who have the British monarch as their Head of State? If the monarchy goes, then the historical and cultural ties Britain has with countries such as Canada and New Zealand will go also.
Lenny, Hong Kong
I will be giving the Jubilee the respect I feel it deserves - I'll treat it with complete indifference. If they don't bother me, I won't bother them.
I don't know where some of these people come from but EVERYONE I know will be celebrating the Jubilee. There is no increased interest in the Monarchy, the Queen Mother's death simply allowed us, the normally silent majority, to express ourselves for once without being trampled on by the replublican fringe!
This is a logical and progressive message, and one that it clearly and concisely articulated. Republicanism is not about moving from a safe and solid constitutional position into the unknown, it is actually about establishing genuine and bidding democratic safeguards. The current situation is a farce of convention - and convention is only as safe as personalities and circumstances allow for.
Carl Williams, England
The continued existence of the British Monarchy is a testament to the slavish adherence to a spurious tradition, to crude pre-democratic notions of divine rights and the survival of a divisive class system dedicated to preserving the status quo, all of which have stunted the cultural and political growth of this country for centuries. Without a doubt the Monarchy must go.
I believe there are too many people who love the monarchy to discontinue it. To take away the monarchy is to take away Britain's identity. I wish the British population could see things the way the rest of the world does. Taking away the monarchy is not the answer to a more democratic government. Being British in the USA, I can say first hand that a president does not enhance democracy - Look at the excuses the US has had (Clinton, Carter, Johnson, Kennedy.) There are not a great deal of people who respect the presidency here. It sickens to think that my home country is actually contemplating this.
The UK is in a terrible state at the moment. We have the worst health, transport and education systems in the Western world. At the same time, the British citizen has far fewer rights over government than his counterparts in other Western democracies. But it's all OK because the dear old Queen mum is dead and her loyal subjects are weeping in the streets.
"Mustn't grumble"? It's about time we did.
I am a 60 year-old ex Brit. Even as a child, I loathed the British class structure headed by the Royals as anti-democratic and antisocial. It is largely why I never returned to the UK. I am an active supporter of Canada ridding itself of the British Monarch as Canadian head of state. This is no longer appropriate for a mature, independent nation. -Dr. Barry Neil
Whether you have liked or not liked some of the things the monarchy have done in the past I firmly believe that the majority of British citizens are proud of our royal heritage and would not want to see it replaced by a presidency. Surely they and their residences are one of our greatest tourism attractions and there are many countries who would prefer a royal family to a presidential one, America being a prime example.
It isn't just a history of accident that puts the Queen on the throne today, nor one of genetics. No, it was murder and war that gives the Queen her position, just as the slave trade stills sustains many rich families in Britain today. If we add in the horrendous exploitation of workers that was the seed money of the rest and you have a big argument for the redistribution of wealth.
My belief in the Monarchy is non-existent, they aren't even English, they are of German descent! They help perpetuate the class divide. We should find true English descendents and create a modern Monarchy (if that's possible).
Well what an interesting idea, but I'm afraid, in my view, the lady misses the point. I acknowledge that there are some (not many) republicans, but the apathy towards politicians and politics has very little to do with the monarchy and its influence (or lack of it) over governments. Apathy has much to do with the fact that so many politicians say one thing and do another. They commit themselves to listening to what the public want and then tell us this is what we really want. I would argue that the very presence of the monarchy can have a limiting affect on the ambitions of people like Tony Blair.
Thanks God for the Queen and the Royal Family. We need the monarchy to keep political impartiality and honour for our head of state.
What is rather sad is that those of us who support the whole concept of the constitutional monarchy do so without being personally insulting to those that do not ... basically, I do not agree with you, but you are welcome to your opinion. On the other hand, the anti-monarchists feel a need to insult the likes of me (the majority), the Queen, and all things "royal" with emotive arguments that are devoid of intellectual debate. The fact of the matter is that the "Monarchy" is largely supported in the country and, for all its flaws, it serves us all very well. And long may it do so.
Sooner rather than later Britain will grow up and become a republic. It's nothing personal against the Queen, just a simple realisation that Britain's "greatness" does not depend on being a Ruritanian theme park that does a good funeral or Jubilee. Forget the horses and carriages, just let's have a decent transport system. I wouldn't like a President Thatcher either, but at least I can vote against a president, and they are not Head of State because of an accident of birth. I know of no-one who is celebrating the Jubilee, but try checking with the airlines for flights, and they seem to be fully booked with people (citizens, not subjects) escaping the sycophancy.
Emma Snell, UK
If you ever get rid of the Monarchy, you will never get it back! Presidents generally come from wealthy and political backgrounds, and are usually less "of the people" than Royalty. Besides from that, you would be chucking out the windows something that is always there despite the good and the bad, whatever the political government. Perhaps the public funding should end, but don't go and buy a "one size fits all" Republic.
Absolutely. Ramblings like this from Charter 88
and the thought of President Neil
Kinnock or Geoffrey Howe (the awful
reality republicans refuse to detail)
just show how lucky we are in the UK to
have an effective constitutional monarchy.
God save the Queen.
I'm certainly putting together a party on the Golden Jubilee date - not because I support the monarchy - but because it's a good excuse for a party. I think thousands like me will be doing the same.
Isn't it funny how most of the pro-monarchy sentiments on this page are from Brits who don't live here! Hey, if you like the Monarchy how about coming home and paying some taxes so that they can continue to live in their enormous stately homes? And don't tell me they increase tourism... without them we could open up all of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle etc. That would bring in the tourists.
Here, here! Removal of the royal prerogative and a fully fledged constitution - incorporating a freedom of information act, is a pre-requisite for a 21st Century democracy. Unfortunately politicians are not the people to do it as they are generally self serving, sycophants. I'm not so sure about the elected head of Government, as this implies power and we have enough people with that. How about a randomly selected President for a day procedure, where a member of the public is randomly selected to be head of State for a day - a kind of a lotto! Now that would be fair.
I do not think that the enthusiasm for the Monarchy has ever wavered among the silent majority. The death of the Queen Mother merely enabled that majority to show their support with their feet by coming out to mark her passing.
I find it hard to understand how people can have such strong opinions on this. Any power the monarch has these days is completely inconsequential and any money spent on them is dwarfed by the income from tourism they generate. The arguing is all about tribalism, if your interested then enjoy the institution, if (like me) you find it all boring as anything, don't follow events. It's not difficult.
Andy, Berks, UK
I think the Monarchy, particularly the Queen, play an extremely important role in the life of the UK - a role that many people don't realise because much is done unnoticed. An article in a leading UK broadsheet earlier this year described some of the work of the Queen, and my admiration for her soared. The work she does, including meeting weekly with the PM and offering her 50 years of diplomatic experience must count for something - certainly no elected president could ever do that.
Oh, of course, it has ''increased''! Isn't it what the TV and many radio stations wants us to admit?
Do we want to be realistic, or just flatter some Royal ears? Monarchy is a thing of the past, for England, so just let it go where it came from!
I think that support for - or interest in - the monarchy is really something that's limited to people over-50; few if any of my generation (who grew up in the 70s and 80s) really care that much about the queen etc - they are seen as distant and largely irrelevant to our lives.
Adam Goodwin, England
The death of the Queen Mother was an occasion for reflection, on what we would be throwing away if the Monarchy were to be abolished. Sure, Republics mourn their Presidents too (I'm old enough to remember the mourning for President Kennedy), but Monarchy is too much part of Britain's DNA to be done away with. At my guess, it will continue, but reduced and reformed - leaner and fitter!
Despite being a staunch Republican I too considered applying for Jubilee Concert tickets. It's the only way I'll ever get the chance to see the Palace gardens that my taxes pay for. Few people I know care at all for the Monarchy and I know of no-one who plans to celebrate the Jubilee. Thank God for football, hopefully the World Cup will give us something interesting to concentrate on over the Bank Holiday.
Peoples enthusiasm will go up and down, that is the nature of humans. What doesn't appear to change is the ingratitude of many people, represented well on this page. The Royal family have helped more British firms get export deals than any person or government has ever achieved. Their apparent ideal lifestyles are far from perfect, and they are not funded half as much as people think. The Queen has given money freely to the treasury (even before paying tax) for years, yet most here choose to ignore this. Anyone who has no good feelings or thoughts to the Royal family or the jubilee should work that day, taking the extra public holiday simply makes them hypocrites!
They are not relevant. They are an outdated, irrelevant institution. I want to vote for the head of my country - I am a citizen not a subject. As for Eduardo Angeleri's comments - most great democratic countries are republics. One country in Europe which got rid of the Queen has had the finest head of state in the last 50 years - Ireland had Mary Robinson as president.
The Queen and the Royal Family have been doing a stunning job, she has always represented this country in the best possible way, never made a mistake and never said anything wrong, we can be proud of her sense of duty. No elected Head of State would ever have that sense of duty. You will always have some privileged people at the top, and I'd rather have a Monarch than anything else. Or would you prefer to be represented by a Tony Blair or a George Bush, or something much worse, like a Chirac or like Schroeder? That would be the worst possible nightmare.
From the previous comments it looks like we are going to need another civil war to sort this one out.
The monarchy are excellent ambassadors abroad, pull masses of tourism into the country, have the potential to tackle political leaders who are acting on their own political agendas rather than for the good of the country and attend a huge number of domestic functions that brings joy to many people. Long may they rule.
Rev. Thomas Murphy, USA
Has enthusiasm increased? Not where I'm from. I'm sorry but it really shows what a naive country we can be to turn out in droves to worship someone who lived a privileged, sheltered life without a care in the world. Does it escape them that they have to make ends meet each day and she never did?
Those who enthuse in the Royals are merely masked by the nostalgia of what it once was, as someone put below, and I see not why I should have any interest in them. If the Royal Family were introduced tomorrow, some unelected house to receive lots of cash and do nothing, would people be enthusiastic then?
When it looked initially as though few people were showing an interest in the Queen Mother's death, some papers said that this represents the true mood of the public. But as soon as it became clear that there was in fact fairly massive interest, and that people were willing to queue for hours to pay their respects, the same media turned around and said that this was merely nostalgia, or whipped up by the monarchist media, or even sheep-like behaviour. So now you know. If you behave the way republicans want you to behave, that's a rational decision. But if you don't behave the way republicans want you to behave, you are merely a sheep. Now ask yourself, if republicans believe their fellow citizens to be merely sheep, how much attention would a republican President pay to our opinions?
Has enthusiasm for the monarchy increased? Perhaps among those who previously had no strong feelings either way. People for some strange reason love all that old fashioned ceremony, but how much has that cost us? How much for the policing and road closures. I'm sorry, but if you are a republican a display such as we have recently seen surrounding the Queen Mother's funeral will not change your opinion.
I think the new found enthusiasm may be a result of compassion for the Queen Mum. Its unfortunate that it takes a tragic event to make the Royal family seem relevant. She was an extraordinary person by today's standards, her passing is the end of an era of royalty and values that inspired. Perhaps in this age of uncertainty we require a constant. I gather some found this reassurance in the Royal family, and now fear that that constant may be slipping. Personally I will probably not mark the Golden Jubilee. The only royalty I follow is the King of Kings.
The Queen Mother's death seems only to have polarised views on the monarchy more than ever. The royalists have become more sycophantic, the republicans more sneering and cynical. Personally, I like it that the Head of State of the state in which I live isn't a politician but I do wish that the royalist sections of the media and public would be a lot less droolingly obsessed with the minutiae of the Royal Family members' lives.
Fellow republicans, I shouldn't worry. This is just a result of the Queen Mum's death. And royalist or not, we all have to agree that the country owed her a great deal, particularly for her role during the second world war. Things are going to be back to normal next year and I doubt there's going to be such a degree of public mourning for the Queen, and certainly not for Prince Philip. It's a question of generations. Give it time.
I am a Brit, currently living in the USA. Before I moved here I had very little interest in the activities of the Royal Family. But it is not until you move away from a country that has such rich and interesting heritage that you really appreciate it. I was proud to watch the CNN live coverage of the funeral and all the pageantry that came with it. Here in America they have nothing that comes close - all Brits should be proud of our past and our present and the Royal Family is an instrumental part of that, and of our future.
Of course this support for the monarchy is merely related to media support, not true public opinion. The Royal Family have got spin docs to save their skin these days just like new Labour. It is now up to those royals that are still alive to prove their worth and protect their future - perhaps becoming more like their public, just like the Queen Mother?
I think there is the same support and enthusiasm as before the death of the Queen Mum. However now people want to make sure the Jubilee celebrations are a success for the Queens sake as much as to have a holiday, and to show we all care about what she is going through with the loss of her Sister and Mother
I don't think that enthusiasm for the monarchy has increased. Recent media interest following the deaths of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother may have made people more interested in them and more inclined to think kindly of the Queen at this time. This should not be confused with enthusiasm for the institution which grows ever more redundant by the day. They have no more social importance than the other soap stars.
I loved the English monarchy yesterday, love it today and will adore and love it tomorrow and beyond.
It is true that media coverage surrounding the sad death of the Queen Mother has produced a sympathetic reaction; and it would be unusual if this were not the case. I believe it will be short-lived. The Monarchy is an affront to democracy in a modern society. Anyone who calls themselves a democrat must believe in a an elected Head of State. It is time to move on.
Emma Mullinger, Ireland
(a British 'subject' abroad!)
Yes I think it has. People have seen the Royal Family as a family grieving rather than a family squabbling or going on endless skiing holidays. Maybe support is also increasing because the elected leaders on both wings of politics have been shown to be sleazy, self serving and hypocritical. And it is human nature to want a little continuity.
I was at football matches when we were asked to give a minute's silence for Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother and can assure you that I have never heard such disrespectful silences. People were talking, whistling, phone calls - you name it. If you needed evidence that people are 'enthusiastic' I suggest you should have visited ANY football ground on the day of the silences.
Ian C, UK
What are you planning to do for the Jubilee? Go to France for a few days, where the head of state, no matter whether it's Chirac or Le Pen, will at least have been chosen democratically, play some golf, and hopefully avoid all the media hype and "Isn't she wonderful?" comments from those who would rather be subjects than citizens!
I think respect is the better
word here. I respect the institution
of the British monarchy as I respect
the US flag. The monarchy
provides stability, comfort and
sanity in a fast-paced world.
Their devotion to duty, honour and
tradition is an example to us all.
As someone who opposes the monarchy, hereditary peers and all forms inequality I have to say that the popularity of the monarchy seems stubbornly high. Just why can't people see the self-evident truth that all men are created equal?
I think the monarchy is an institution that needs to be retained. If you look at the potential head of state in France, namely Le Pen, the monarchy in this country acts as a buffer to extremism, which is good for the people
No way - the monarchy as an institution is on the wane! There was bound to be sympathy for the Royals in the aftermath of recent events, but even now, the recent coverage has become old news.
I'm not sure that I'm any more of a monarchist now than I was before, but I certainly have felt some kind of sympathy for the Royal Family as people, in particular Her Majesty.
Yahya , New Zealand
This sudden surge was inevitable as the Queen Mother was widely popular with, principally, a large number of the older generation. However, whilst I would expect a similar upsurge when the Queen passes away, after that I can only see an accelerated rate of apathy towards the monarchy which continues to grow more devolved from the public with each passing year.
I think the monarchy is as strong as it ever has been. Even though there aren't many street parties planned for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, most people in the country still love her and her family, and all that they stand for. The monarchy, in my opinion, stand for all that is, and was, great in this country. They have no real power, so what is the harm in them? OK, so we spend a few million looking after them, but I think its money well spent! Long live the Queen, and may the leftys leave her alone! If you don't like it, emigrate!!
Simon the Royalist, you said: "The monarchy, in my opinion, stand for all that is, and was, great in this country. They have no real power, so what is the harm in them?" That says it all really. If the Royalty stand for Britain, then does that mean that we have no real power either?
Mary F, UK
I think there has been an increase in curiosity in the Royal Family, but if the words Queen and Camilla ever come into the same sentence, watch it plummet to an all time low!
I don't believe the enthusiasm is increasing, I think the people are just looking forward to the party! An excuse to celebrate something and get ridiculously drunk and when criticised all you have to say is "Hey, I was celebrating the Queen's Jubilee." Call me shallow and narrow-minded but then ask yourself the question - before the press hype, did you even know that the Jubilee was approaching? The majority I fear will answer no.
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