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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 13:09 GMT
Monarchies: Are they outdated?
Wednesday 6th February marks the fiftieth anniversary of the accession to the throne of Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Later this year there will be a series of events throughout the United Kingdom to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee including two special public holidays in June.

Her Majesty will also visit Jamaica, New Zealand and Australia next month, and Canada in October.

Are monarchies throughout the world an unwelcome reminder of times when most people were denied political rights and subject to arbitrary rule?

Or are they a welcome symbol of national traditions, continuing heritage and social stability?

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.


Your reaction:

Monarchy, like other human institutions, changes with the times. For example, Queen Elizabeth's role today is much different to the role Henry VIII played. The reintroduction of monarchy in some countries which today are deep in the bowels of political strife might help to stabilise them by providing a ceremonial figurehead who can mediate between the factions simply because he/she is placed above politics. This has worked to some extent in Cambodia and might be worth a try in Afghanistan. Most monarchs today play the role as the expression of the totality of a people rather than that of an unelected overlord.
Chris, USA

In India, we did away with the last vestiges of monarchy when Mrs. Ndira Gandhi, our late Prime Minister abolished their titles and priviliges. But erstwhile kings and queens are active in public life and enjoy considerable popularity and goodwill. It seemed amidst the socialist rhetoric of the 50s and the 60s that the monarchy was oudated. But with the exception of Iran where the Shah was overthrown , the other kings are widely revered. Examples can be provided from Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Japan, Malayasia where the monarch is the credible symbol of national identity and this alone shows us that the monarchy still has a role to play.
Shantanu Dutta, India

The only reason to keep a monarchy is for historical continuity. It is important from the economic point of view of tourism and a sense of stability. Nevertheless, there is no logical reason why someone should be entitled to (or subjected to) the monarchy by birthright.
James, England


Queen Elizabeth's role today is much different to the role Henry VIII played

Chris, USA

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17 Sep 02 | UK
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