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Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
What's the enduring appeal of the royal family?
The British Queen Mother has been attracting the crowds to her 100th birthday celebrations.

She has not given an interview in more than 70 years. She hardly ever leaves Britain. And yet, she has an enviable number of fans in every corner of the world.

And so does Queen Elizabeth. And so did, of course, the late Princess Diana. Despite many attacks in the media, the royal family appears to be as popular as ever with the general public.

Why? What is their enduring appeal? Does society need these national figures or are they an expensive anachronism in a modern age? What makes a King or Queen different from a president? Is their future secure in the 21st century?

We have been discussing this issue on Talking Point ON AIR, the phone-in programme of the BBC World Service and BBC News Online.

Select a link below to watch or listen to Talking Point On Air

Read what you said after the programme

Read and hear a reflection of your comments during the programme

Read what you said before we went ON AIR

Have your say

Your comments since the programme

The monarchy is instantly recognisable across the world and a great reflection of historical stability

Michael, Ireland
I can state to you with certainty that a republic would cost the same if not more to the taxpayer. Republics are very sterile, where you don't look to the head of state with any kind of affection. If you saw the candidates at the last Irish presidential election you would understand, there was no passion and even a little apathy about the choice. The monarchy is instantly recognisable across the world and a great reflection of historical stability. My only criticism is that the Royals are not active enough in the other states where they are head of state, like Canada or NZ or Australia.
Michael, Ireland

Well, with political lightweights like Tony Blair in office, it's not a surprise that folks wax nostalgic for the old traditions!
Stephen Kenney, USA

It is nice for Britain to have a Monarchy, because it's a symbol of the traditions and everything that represents Britain as a whole. It's something that gives your nation a support and a continuity no matter what government or what situation the world is in.
Roberto Perez, Vina del Mar, Chile

The UK is not a sailing ship so why do we need a figurehead?

Chris, Reading, UK
What is the point in the monarchy? They are simply a figurehead that no-one but the media and tourists respect. The UK is not a sailing ship so why do we need a figurehead?
Chris, Reading, UK

If I was alive a few centuries ago, then I would have been happy to pay much attention to the Royal Family back then, because things were so different. But now, there is absolutely too much attention being paid and idolising of the Royal Family, to what avail are they to the common people? When I look at the Royal Family, I sense a hint of fascism, and I'm British myself yet I idolise nobody, its beyond me why people have pictures on walls of the Royals.
Miss W Nasser, Liverpool, England

I would like to see the money that has been spent on the Queen Mothers' pomp and circumstance spent on the 1000's of elderly people sitting forgotten and lonely in homes up and down the UK. Maybe then we could better remember the importance of family than spending so much money on one woman who has everything already anyway.
Amanda, UK

Whether people are in favour of the Royal Family or not, there is one very uncomfortable fact that the pro Royalists might like to think about. None of the elderly Royals will ever be forced to sell the homes they have worked for all their lives to pay for such basic human rights as nursing care when they become incapacitated.
Eileen, Oxford, UK

The English Monarchy is of tremendous historical value to the world at large

William, Darien, CT, USA
The English Monarchy is of tremendous historical value to the world at large. Forget about whatever revenue may come from tourism. The Royals are a link to the grand past of the British Empire; they donate millions to charity and inspire a sense of true nationalism. I feel sorry for the citizens of the UK who wish for the end of the Royal Family, maybe they should move elsewhere.
William, Darien, CT, USA

For the British people who agree with the Monarchy - that's only because you've never experienced having a president.
Jane, Ireland

I have no problem with the Royal Family, even though I am not a staunch monarchist. The Queen does a good job as head of state and there's no need for a democratically elected person to do the job because she has a diminutive influence on the governing of the country.
Yilmaz Mamedy, Bradford, UK

They add tourist appeal to your lovely country, so rich in tradition

John Ake, USA
I think the Royals are super! They add tourist appeal to your lovely country, so rich in tradition. I think that every day at the International Arrival area of your airports a Royal should greet all arriving tourists. You have many Royals, so each would only have to spend one day every several weeks shaking hands and asking for our money. They could wear their crowns & costumes, like Mickey, Goofy, & Cinderella at Disneyland.
John Ake, USA

Where do all these Americans get off praising the Monarchy? Weren't they the ones that wanted a Republic?! Personally, I'm indifferent to the raging Royal debate; I don't care if we keep them, I don't care if we don't. But it infuriates me SO MUCH to see Americans coming in here and telling Brits what we should and shouldn't do, ESPECIALLY when they've done the exact opposite! Go away, and worry about the state of your own country!
Aurora Black, Scotland, UK

I cannot believe that in a country that claims to have the 'Mother of Parliaments' and goes on proclaiming that it created modern democracy, continues to widely support these parasites. What the hell has this family done to deserve such prolonged popular acclaim? In my opinion, nothing. We eulogise Prince William for reaching 18 and his great grandmother for 100, but why? They have had the best of everything that life has to offer and they have not done a days' work for it.
Michele Williams, England

Why don't you ship the lot of them off to Hollywood, in exchange for London Bridge?

William Keevers, USA
Except for the Queen Mum, why don't you ship the lot of them off to Hollywood, in exchange for London Bridge?
William Keevers, USA

With a constitutional monarchy we have a head of state that is not tainted by the petty, trendy issue of current politics. They are the heart of national tradition and represent the core nature of the state. For all their human foibles, they are people we can respect and believe in. They are constant in a silly, over-political world.
Kristian, Canada

Get real and move with the times. The whole 'family' are a bunch of spongers! Don't give me all this revenue through tourism nonsense. No-one comes to the country to see any of the Royals, it's the castle they come to see. The castles would still be there if we done what the French and Russians did! The Royals themselves bring in no revenue through tourism and that's a fact!
CC, Scotland

Almost no one has mentioned the tremendous acts of charitable work that the family carries out, day after day, year after year

Tim, UK
Almost no one has mentioned the tremendous acts of charitable work that the family carries out, day after day, year after year. Also, all those whinging about a few million given to the Queen each year remember this; the Royal Family brings in hundreds of millions through the Crown State and tourism. A President would cost much more. Wake up republicans, the argument of cost works in the Monarchists favour!
Tim, UK

My wish is for a country which has rid itself of a range of expensive, archaic individuals who are (in my opinion) only of a basic education and somewhat damaged. Scotland can never be independent whilst it has truck with the royals. Their "aura" is rapidly diminishing! If the Americans love 'em ... they can have them.
Ross Burt, Scotland

After the Queen's death I believe the whole question of a monarchy should be put to the vote

Adrian C Carroll, England
The present Queen has dedicated the whole of her life to public service and this has been above reproach. However, times move on. After her death I believe the whole question of a monarchy should be put to the vote.
Adrian C Carroll, England

I don't think Colin Wright quite understands how the British Constitution actually works. Stripping the monarchy of its few residual powers will not make Britain a "true democracy". The exercise of the Royal Prerogative is, in practice, never more than a ceremonial rubber stamp upon the decisions of the government of the day. You should be worrying about who makes those decisions and how they are reached - not worrying about the rubber stamp.
Henry Case, UK

I give the Royal Family another 10 years before enough people see through the media-created glamour and decide that Britain should become a true democracy

Colin Wright, UK
While the Monarchy and that other remnant of the medieval feudal system, the House of Lords retain ultimate authority over Britain, I cannot see how we can claim to be a democracy. I give the Royal Family another 10 years before enough people see through the media-created glamour and decide that Britain should become a true democracy. I am aware of the Government's reforms to the House of Lords, but replacing one system of patronage with another is not nearly good enough.
Colin Wright, UK

Reading some of the other contributions, you'd think the UK was the only country with royalty. The Belgians, the Dutch, and others get on quite successfully with hereditary heads of state without all this brouhaha.
Joan, UK

The legacies of personalities such as Shakespeare, Newton and Bertrand Russell have endured without their descendants. The very idea that a country needs a living person for its tradition and culture to continue shows those traditions will have difficulty in standing on their own.
Bharat Bhushan, Germany/ India

I have recently been in the UK. The newspaper headlines were stating that senior citizens were to get a 75 pence a week pension increase, the royal family 7.9million. Where is the equality in this? The royal family are very wealthy, why are they subsidised by the British tax payer?
Patrick Snelling, Melbourne

It's not the monarchy that I object to but some of the personalities. Maybe if Prince Harry became King instead of Charles the popularity of the royals would increase. I'm not surprised the queen mother has reached 100 years old. She had never had to do a days work in her life and suffer the NHS!
Phil Swift

It's a bit of a joke to note how many Americans support the British Royalty family and it's continuation. This coming from people who are citizens and not subjects, have a written constitution, and can vote out their head of state via the ballot box - it's called democracy! I wonder how many Americans would want to give all of this up and have our wonderful British system instead! Not a lot eh? Thought not!
Tom, Warrington UK

Why are we still glorifying an anachronistic and dated regime?

Antoni Chmielowski, Southport, England
One of the reasons for increasing social problems in the world is a reducing sense of identity and one of the reasons for this is that people keep taking away our traditions in favour of profit or 'choice'. The royal family is one of the establishments which offers social stability by representing our roots.
Tim Benham (A Brit living in Sweden)

We are now in the 21st Century. Why are we still glorifying an anachronistic and dated regime? People should remember that these people should be called the German Royal Family NOT the British Royal Family due to their ancestry. As I work for the Inland Revenue I find it disgusting the fact they try to avoid paying Income Tax where I don't have any choice. Get rid off the lot of them !!!
Antoni Chmielowski, Southport, England

Here in western Australia we call HRH the Queen Of Western Australia. We have been allies of Britain since day one and always will be while there is a monarchy, but I can't see us having the same allegiance to some like Tony Blair and his interfering wife. We respect the royals yet we are a modern country, and could never be seen as living in the past.
Mosley Jones, Perth Western Australia

Any institution is as good as the people in it. The Queen Mother is a shining star in the Royal Family; she has been a constant example of service and grace with a genuine interest in people. I wonder how differently Britain would have come through the war without the presence and loyalty of the King and Queen.
Virginia Ellis Ottawa, Canada

I am a Fulbright scholar from Cameroon, residing in Columbia, SC. Coming from Africa, I have a lot of respect for tradition, that is, positive and perceptive tradition. I think the basic conflict between the monarchy and democracy is in line with the present priorities of the world today. Yet, there is a significant current of awareness that, even with the cyber syndrome over taking us today, there is evidence from Hollywood to Jerusalem to justify a certain bias for the resurrection, if not the maintenance, of tradition.
Mbuh Mbuh Tennu

Your comments during the programme

In current modern politics in Britain, I feel the royal monarchical structure has lost its values. In the modern democracy of Britain to have a continued royal structure is a contradiction in terms.
Lima Lo-Lima, Australia

Unless Britain extricates itself from the socialist EU, the monarchy will ultimately be abolished or diminished by external forces, ie, the unelected grandees in Brussels
Simon Sweeney, Fukuoka, Japan (British businessman)

We are very pleased with our monarchy system even if they are involved in every aspect of our economical and political life. They are not just a symbol but they are involved in internal and external affairs. I believe the majority of people love our monarchy in Jordan.
Mohammad Sutari, Jordan

It's a wonderful tradition and heritage and adds to tourism in England.

Bernhard Rz, Switzerland
There is more to political authority than democracy, ie. delegation of power from on High over fellow human beings. That is not to advocate the doctrine of the divine right of kings in the way in which King Charles I held it, but it is to say that there is at least a grain of truth in that doctrine, namely, that all authority comes ultimately form the Creator, and that its exercise is therefore not just a function or process, but is the exercise of personal leadership, indeed of sovereignty.
Daniel Wade

I think generally speaking, I would come down on the idea of stability and continuity as being represented by the monarch who at least, in a British context, is above politics. In that point of view, I think they represent the embodiment of the nation - a kind of focal point.
Ian Simpson, Brest, France

Please keep your royals - it's a wonderful tradition and heritage and adds to tourism in England.
Bernhard Rz, Switzerland

We had a referendum recently in Australia whether Australia should become a republic and a lot of Australians were in favour of a republic. It did go down and it was lost because the republican view was split and Australians are notorious for killing referendums as well. I voted for a republic because the person who represented the people should be selected by the people is more democratic and show's our nation's aspirations.
Mark Kennedy, Australia

I am a conviced republican yet a subject of a constitutional monarchy! What bothers me even more concerning the British royal system is that the queen is also head of the church, this seems medieval to me.
Isabelle Grynberg, Antwerp, Belgium

Personally I don't agree with the Prof's view about the Royal Family. Let the British know that the saying, 'You never miss your water until well runs dry' is still. But then they can only find out how useful the monarchy is after throwing it out. A very expensive way of learning.
Pastor Brian, Mombasa, Kenya

The British monarchy will never go away, even if you shoot kings and queens they come bouncing back! There is a pretender to the throne of France. A Russian Czar in a Lada somewhere and an Habsberg emperor, working as a stockbroker I believe. Better by far than some elected flavour of the day, good god that cold have given us Paul Gascogne as head of state!
Paul McCabe

I cannot understand Republicans who want to throw the British CULTURE overboard in one fell swoop. Perhaps the British culture is better understood by those of us overseas who see other cultures and appreciate them, and of course look at our own and thank God we have a depth of culture that we often long to be a part of.
N.L.Brierley, Harare, Zimbabwe

From what I see, to have a president really costs more in taxes than to have a monarchy in taxes. I talked to one of my former English teachers and she complained that her taxes were too high and we're under a president. I've begun to notice that most people in Great Britain want a president rather than a Queen. But you should consider yourselves lucky to have a Queen because our taxes are too high.
Romeo Hillman, USA

At least arrogant politicians have to keep looking over their shoulder, because they know that when they get too big for their boots, the people will unelect them. Conversely, certain members of the Royal Family revel in the fact that they can be as obnoxious as they like, with complete impunity.
Jonathan Williams, London UK

To all you republicans in the UK, may I just say one thing: "President Blair". I think that's enough to bring on the pro-monarchy sentiment in everyone!
Chris, UK

From a continental point of view, it is the splendour and the dignity of the ancient royal ceremonies and the continuity with which they are performed that make up our fascination. It is not only that. I think from a British point of view there are many reasons to keep the monarchy.
Andre Wyss, Switzerland

I think that the whole British family is the most disgusting, repulsive, and anti-democratic force is Europe today. The Queen has no political power, and does virtually nothing for society other than give people who have a huge void in their life something to talk about and admire, by waving her hand once in a while. The royals are a massive money wasting, anti-democratic force. A monarchy and democracy are diametrically opposed forces which cannot co-exist.
Dr. J. Allen

One point in support of the royal family in the UK and other royal families is a continuity of focus, especially in time of turmoil. Such a continuity is rare in a republic, a democratic one at any rate. Look to what the Queen Mother did for the UK in WWII, not to mention the support, the focus of resolve and purpose provided by other European royals of that era. It is a role that continues to this day.
Shelley Booth Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Maybe the reason for the Queen Mother's popularity is the fact that she doesn't give speeches.

Jill Riotor, Paris, France
Maybe the reason for the Queen Mother's popularity is the fact that she doesn't give speeches. Politicians should take note.
Jill Riotor, Paris, France

We had a referendum recently in Australia whether Australia should become a republic. I voted for a republic because the person selected by the people and voted for by the people is more democratic.
Mark Kennedy, Australia

It is sad that a tiny few who benefit from privilege lives and gross inequality are seen by non-wealthy people as something to admire and celebrate, for there is no question that the existence of a minority who enjoy great wealth are the cause of a majority who suffer great poverty.
Max Hess, Folkestone

I am British but have lived in Europe for over 15 years. I cannot support the Royal Family as they contribute to social equality and the lack of change in British society. Whilst being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Britain has older housing and more poverty than the majority of other european countries. I would welcome a British Republic and believe the people of the UK would benefit from this.
Karl Wendlandt

When Germany invaded Denmark they ordered all Jews to wear the yellow star. The first person to put one on was the king. The next day everyone wore one. In a totally different but comparable situation, Prince Charles' stance against genetically engineered food - just when Tony Blair was advertising it - has made a huge difference to the growing presence of organic food in this country. If a royal happens to be a good person (or a bad one, I suppose) his or her voice rings out with a power exceeding all expectations.
Stephen Frank, London

What makes the Queen and her family so special and loved is that royalty today has an almost fairy-tale like ring to it. To Britons, the Queen is a proud emblem of their nation. To the world, she is a symbol of Britain. Without the Monarchy, where would Britain be?
Rowan Schlosberg, Sydney, Australia

Hats off to the globally renowned British spin doctors who have brainwashed the rest of the world into believing that the ancient, antiquated, anachronistic theocratic British monarchy who reigns over the United Kingdom, aided and abetted by a legislative chamber of superior birth is, in fact, a democratic, cool Britannia! Time for the beasts of Bolsover to multiply and replenish the earth!!
Mohansingh, India

Your comments before we went ON AIR

The worst form of leadership, except for all the others: Few peanut farmers, actors or lying lawyers are trained in leadership from birth. The Royal Family are a fine example of commitment to service.
Paul Martin, (Ex Pat) Dallas Texas

What is the enduring 'appeal' of the Royal Family? That it endures. Nothing, not Parliament, clearly not political philosophy, not even the predominant religion (which only secured its place with the conversion of King Ethelbert in 597) predates our monarchy. Our monarchy incarnates the past, present and future years of Britain. It is a beautiful part of a shifting world. That is why we love it.
F N Archer, Hong Kong, China

Whether people respect the royal family for who they are or what they do is irrelevant. The fact that taxpayers money is being used to fund the Queen Mother's pageant brings home the real truth which I cannot accept - that people are not born equal in our society. As long as the monarchy exists in any form, the longer our society will have to wait until it becomes a true meritocracy.
Mike Bolan, Newbury, UK

The royal family is just everything that is British. At the end of the day they are a family just like all the rest of the families in the World. They have their personal triumphs and setbacks and have to contend with them. In many cases they should just be left alone to deal with these setbacks and not hounded by the press.
Chris Powell, Swansea, UK

I don't think that the royal family are that loved it's just that the media keeps telling us how wonderful they are.

Brian Quinnell, London, UK
Critics of the monarchy should look beyond the personalities and realise that the monarchy is Britain's only constitutional protection against the seizure of absolute power by a self-serving politician; whether we respect the person who happens to hold the monarch's position is a non-issue.
Daniel Hartley, Tokyo, Japan (British ex-pat)

We've had to put up with this nonsense for most of the last millennium: at the start of a new one it's high time to ditch this family and consign them to the dustbin of history.
Lyndon Rosser, Cymru/Wales

I don't think that the royal family are that loved it's just that the media keeps telling us how wonderful they are and how much they mean to us all, and that is not necessary so, may be one or two are but certainly not all of them.
Brian Quinnell, London, UK

Its laughable to see the anti monarchists use the financial reason to get rid of them. If the monarchists were 'got rid of' then our taxes would actually rise (due to Crown of State). The civil list is comparably small to the inward investment to the country they bring. So those who don't like, please try and use a real argument.
Peter Brophy , (USA, ex UK)

The Royal family is a part of England and to take it away would be like taking a part of England away. The Queen has no real powers anyway, and she hasn't done anything wrong that would affect us in day-to-day life. The Monarchy hopefully will live on for another century at least, and will continue to be popular with our tourists.
David Jones, Shrewsbury, UK

The Royal Family may generate a lot of tourism in London, but how much of that money makes it to other parts of the UK?
Rich, Newcastle

Based on the comments of bigoted republicans, one might assume the UK is the only monarchy in the world. A quick look at the rest of north-western Europe reveals Norway, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium, constitutional monarchies all. The appeal of a monarchy is clearly international. On the other side are France, Germany and the Irish Republic. Among these, the Germans had republicanism forced on them, against their will. Moreover, considering that republicanism in France led to Napoleon and in Germany led to Hitler, its record is questionable at best.
Tom, USA

From what I see and experience, the Royal Family have and deserve no special respect - they are normal people who live a very abnormal life on account of an accident of birth. As a British comic says, our national anthem is "God save the Queen" - she lives in a house guarded by armed soldiers and paid for by us - that's one saved Queen. I'd prefer something that we could all ascribe to like Jerusalem - at least you could mean the words when you sing them.
Matt Hardiman, London

The Royal family is the best system of government for the UK, an apolitical head of state is ten times better than a president. Look at the various examples the US etc and tell me they are better. To me the greatest argument against republicanism other than the monarchy is the republicans themselves. As can be seen by all the anger, filth and hatred they spout.
Emeka, UK/Nigeria

The UK is held together by the crown. Get rid of the monarchy and you would have a few third rate powers. The monarchy is cheaper than many republics to run.
James Arensen, Aurora, Co. USA

Your saying this gang of layabouts is popular doesn't make it so. When was the last time the Brits were asked if they wanted them or wanted a republic ?
Bill McCarty, Pennsylvania, USA

They are no more immune from personal failures than the rest of us, but they provide stability and continuity to the nation

Robert Leggat, Bedford
As a youngster I lived in a country where you were told in no uncertain terms never to say anything about politics. Several who did simply disappeared. And the expats began to appreciate how useful it was to have a family that, being above politics, was able to unite the country in times of crisis or division. Keep the monarchy. Yes, they are no more immune from personal failures than the rest of us. But they provide stability and continuity to the nation.
Robert Leggat, Bedford

I cannot see how we can get rid of them anyway. Take away their titles people will still refer to them as their titles, taking away Buckingham Palace and their other homes would be like eviction from a home owned by someone and should not be allowed to happen, as it will break several International Laws.
Phil Ohio, UK

Monarchs provide a link with the history and traditions of a nation's past, and thus help to create a sense of nationhood and national identity. Monarchs, who unlike presidents are not partisan politicians or political appointments, can serve as apolitical symbols for the nation in times of joy and celebration. Constitutional monarchies are a stable form of government that have consistently provided its citizens with relative peace and justice. The division of powers makes it much more difficult for one individual or level of government to misuse their authority.
R. D. Thiessen, Abbotsford, B.C., Canada

What an excellent marketing program you have - and a cheap one at that.

Lesley, Oregon USA
What an excellent marketing program you have - and a cheap one at that. Many of my friends when looking at travelling outside the US look to visit the UK. Why? Sorry, but it is not the food (France), the brew (Germany) or the lodgings (Hong Kong) nor exclusive claim to historical events (Greece, Rome...) The one thing which you have - no other nation can offer - is an accessible and yet regal Royal family. Mention the word "Royal" here in the US, which does have some travel dollars to spend, and the House of Windsor is what comes to our minds.
Lesley, Oregon USA,

When I think of the Royal Family, I immediately think of a thin man in a naval suit and a kindly-looking woman plucking through the bombed waste of the East End. I think of a young princess working on jeeps and trucks for the war effort. I think of a Prince of Wales who -- though I disagree with his viewpoints -- has introduced the subject of architecture into the world cultural dialogue. Finally, when I visit Britain, as an American with deep British roots, and I look at Buckingham Palace, the proud history of Britain is made manifest. It makes me envy the people of Britain their good fortune.
Todd Rosin, Los Angeles, USA

Do you Britons ever quit complaining about everything? I find nothing wrong with the Royals. They care/do more for their country than most of their fellow countrymen do, and without complaint. The USA has always had a fascination with the British Monarchy, our founding fathers even saw fit to ask a member of the Stewart Royal Family to become the King of the USA after the Revolutionary war. We don't come to England to see the average everyday citizen, we come to see Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, etc. As the British saying goes "they are a good value for the money"
Sheila, Usa (Chicago)

The only reason they are seen to have such an "enduring appeal", is that the media never shuts up about them!! They are constantly forced down our throats, as people we should respect and look up to!! Why?? Because they were born with the right name? What right does that give them to tell us how we should live and behave? I find this constant coverage very boring, and the whole religion aspect of royalty is insulting. I don't believe in god, why should I sing a song about he/she saving someone I have no feelings for?
Jenny, Essex, England

Republicans are jealous, vulgar, foul-mouthed

Steven Vernon-Browne, Munich, Germany (UK)
Why the monarchy is still around? Well, because we want it! Sorry to break it to you, Mark and others, but when asked (polls), 70+ per cent of Britons would vote to keep the monarchy. Republicanism amounts to just some 15-20% of popular sentiment. Its jealous, vulgar, foul-mouthing supporters are responsible for this, not brainwashing by the Palace!
Steven Vernon-Browne, Munich, Germany (UK)

Royalty appeals strongly to our deeper psyche. The nobility of chivalry, the admirable dedication to excellence in the interests of the people governed, the solemnity of ceremony and the sacred covenant between the governing and the governed. This is all in the mix, although they do not explain it all.
Karl, Boston, US

The aristocratic principle was not all bad - it had its day. But we've invented something better! All credit to the Royal Family for keeping us entertained with their TV soap opera, but nobody should mistake it for real life. The Great British Public are too conservative to dump the Windsors at the moment. But I think the series will emit its last episode when somebody REALLY embarrassing plonks their bum on the throne, and what a great day that will be for British democracy.
Roger Thomas, Wales (Cymru)

Many of the contributors to this discussion have likened the Royal Family to a "living soap opera". What's so bad about that? I'm sure we pay far, far more for Eastenders, through our licence fee, than we do to maintain the Royals, and I'm sure more people are interested in them than in TV!
Neil, Surrey, UK

Britain's decline as a world power has gone hand in hand with the erosion of respect for the hereditary principle

Louis, USA
Monarchy has graced Britain for well over a thousand years...Her Majesty's forebears held thrones in England in the 6th century and in Ireland and Scotland even earlier. Democracy has crept in only in recent centuries, and they have coexisted peaceably enough...but to be blunt, where they can not come to an accommodation, it is democracy that must be forced to yield!! Has it really escaped notice that Britain's decline as a world power has gone hand in hand with the erosion of respect for the hereditary principle that should be seen as the chief cornerstone of your constitution? May the Monarchy reign untroubled over Britain in the 31st,and 121st,centuries as it does in the 21st!!
Louis, USA

As an American who lived in Britain for two years, I can say that the Royal family are very important symbolically and as a tourist attraction. The Royal family plays an important role as heads of state and perform the ceremonial functions of government, leaving the Prime Minister free to carry out the business and un- glamorous work of government. Abolishing the Royal family would throw the United Kingdom into a constitutional crisis, the likes of which has never been seen before.
Jeff, USA

The British are afraid of change and regard it as always damaging to their status. The Royals personify this fear and so we continue to defend a comic and highly regressive institution. The corollary is that we don't have a country built on sound principles and democratic standards. One day a government will have the courage to create a proper constitutional basis and then we will have the freedoms Americans got 230 years ago.
John Hardy, ny,usa

I am sick of the "Media Brainwashing us" attitude. A sizeable proportion want the Royal Family, that is why papers like "The Sun" bring us Royal News. When will the abolitionists learn that their opinions are no more valid or valuable than those who are supporters, and that the majority (Supporters) should make the decision not the few. And they have the cheek to preach about democracy, ironic isn't it?
Ken, UK

We are not the only country to have a monarchy. What's the big deal?

Zoe Warrington, UK
We are not the only country to have a monarchy, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Nepal amongst others all have one. What's the big deal?
Zoe Warrington, UK

As a patriotic Scotsman, I find the idea of bowing and scraping to the English monarchy quite pathetic. Interestingly, a few years ago on an ITV special poll, Scotland voted against the Monarchy while England, Wales and NI voted to keep them. I think Scotland should be independent and have an elected president. Let the English keep their Royals if they want them.
Phil Sands, Scotland

I don't understand how you bash this great asset to your country. Not only do you make money on tourism but the Queen surrenders the Crown Estates to the Government and accepts in exchange a meagre civil list of which she pays back much. Here in the U.S. our head of state/government (President) only costs us money and embarrassment.
Sam, USA

I cannot believe some of the pro-monarchy comments appearing in here. Things like the Royals contribute to Britain's wealth because tourists come to this country specifically to see them. What tosh. The tourists come to this country to see the sights, and if the royal family were abolished, the sights would still be there. It's about time the British public woke up to the huge brain washing exercise being carried out by the British media on behalf of these over-paid, over-pampered, over-privileged parasites, and got rid of this birth-right nonsense.
Les, Holland

The Queen is a wonderful, apolitical representative of our country

Richard, Nottingham, UK
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you President Blair" (or, worse still, President Hague). I dread the day that this might happen. We have enough smarmy, slimy politicians already. Why do we need more? The Queen is a wonderful, apolitical representative of our country, and should be thanked for her hard work and determination. If we get rid of the Queen, we will have to have a President. That means one politician from one political party representing our country to the world. I can't think of a single politician I would want to represent me and my country overseas. The Queen, on the other hand, is a worthy representative.
Richard, Nottingham, UK

Be careful what you wish for Britannia, because it may one day come true. Before you embrace the idea of an elected head of state, take a good hard look at American politics. We do not have a head of state - we have an elected politician whose #1 goal is getting himself re-elected and supporting his political party. And, I should mention, Mr. Clinton's airplane alone costs more each year than your entire monarchy. You have the best of all worlds - an elected head of government and a hereditary (and non-political) head of state. Rejoice in your good fortune.
Chris, USA

As a Brit living in the US, I really didn't realise what everyday things I missed until I left the UK. Fish'n'chips, Coronation St., Harrods and London itself. I would watch everything on American TV to do with the Royals, the Weddings, The Trooping of the Colour, Changing of the Guard and then it suddenly struck me. It's not the Royals I miss, it's the pageantry. Unfortunately as displayed with Diana's funeral, nobody does it better than us Brits. If only we could keep the ceremonies and get rid of "The Firm".
Patricia Dixon, Los Angeles, USA

I do not believe that the monarchy encourages the class system. They are quite a different beast altogether. In any case, the class system is as much perpetuated by the "working classes" as by the "upper classes" these days. In my work in London I do not perceive class in this sense, rather in the sense of people who have made an awful lot of money and those who haven't. I would much rather have an apolitical head of state than an elected politician.
Helen , London, UK

The royals are out-dated in today's modern society

Steve, UK
She's got a lovely smile for a scrounging old bigot. The royals are out-dated in today's modern society. To have a head of state that is born into that position with all the privilege and wealth that this brings is an insult to the people of this nation. I'm pretty sure in his heart William would not like to be king. The Queen should be the last.
Steve, UK

The EU has a number of countries which are republics. If the 20% or so of the UK who prefer this method of government believe in it so much then they should just move to a republic. I am sure poverty will disappear, a cure for cancer will be found, and everyone will live happily ever after. Meanwhile, I choose to live in the monarchy which is Great Britain. As the majority of British prefer having a monarchy over not having one, I believe that the monarchy IS a democratic institution. Yes, most of my friends feel this way. And by the way, we are all under 35.
Sally, London, UK

I think the anti-monarchists are missing the point somewhat. Sure, taxpayers' money is used to fund part of their duties, but it is a tiny amount compared to the investment in tourism and industry they help secure. The value of the monarchy is more than commercial; it gives the British people a national identity. This important in at a time when devolution and Europe is eroding "The Nation".
Daniel, Chippenham, UK

According to both the latest polls by MORI and ICM, the majority of those expressing an opinion one way or the other support the continuation of a Monarchy in the UK. I suspect that should a referendum be proposed, that the Monarchists among us would win handsomely. The income to the state from Royal Estates is over 130M pounds per year. The published cost of the Monarchy for last year was 30M pounds Therefore the Monarchy generated 130 M pounds last year without tourism or any other factors taken into account.
Grahame, New York, NY

I believe that the Royal Family are a statement that whilst the UK is a democracy the values of times gone by are honoured at a minimal cost. The values may be not what we think of as contemporary but they are of use for the youth to gauge against.
Neil, China

If we're serious about creating a true meritocracy then they've got to go

Matt, Canterbury, UK
It's not where you were born but what you can do! The Royals represent a large group of people who still don't see things that way. If we're serious about creating a true meritocracy then they've got to go. The Americans that proudly shout about how anyone can make it to the top in their country and then go on to support the Royals can't have it both ways.
Matt, Canterbury, UK

They symbolise our national identity and the sense of continuity from 1000 years of heritage. They are great value for money: just compare the cost with that of the Dome, or one week's worth of the National Lottery. The alternatives would be drab, or politically compromised - or both.
John, UK

The monarchy brings joy to millions. What actual harms do they do to our society to make some the ant-monarchist comments in this forum so vociferous? Rather than arguing against the monarchy, can anyone actually make a valid argument for a republic? I hope this great institution continues to work for the nation and Commonwealth for a long time to come.
Martin Cooper, East Grinstead, England

Andre Wyss, Switzerland
"It is the splendour and the dignity of the ancient royal ceremonies that make up our fascination."
Romeo Hillman, USA
"You should consider yourselves lucky to have a Queen."
Mark Kennedy, Australia
"I voted for a republic."
Ian Simpson, France
"I think they represent the embodiment of the nation."
Mohammad Sutari, Jordan
"I believe the majority of people love our monarchy in Jordan."
Lima Lo-Lima, Australia
"I feel the royal monarchical structure has lost its values."
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