Why do people not care about the coronation?

We’re often told the monarchy is an essential institution, so why are so many people not thinking about it?

On the 2nd of June in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation took place, and for almost 70 years Britain didn’t have a coronation, until now.

When Elizabeth passed away last September, the period of national mourning was a massive event, the queue to see the grave stretched across Westminster, and world leaders came to London to pay the seemingly immortal sovereign respect.

However, this was also a crisis for the monarchy, as it seemed to many people that the monarchy relied on the goodwill that the public had for Elizabeth, mostly because for a lot of the population the Queen was just always there and it provided a sense of security, after all she had reigned through 14 US Presidents.

But with her gone, the public would have to reckon with the rest of the Royal Family, who had for years hidden in Elizabeth’s shadow. Several scandals had broken in the last years of her reign that shook the monarchy to its core.

After Prince Andrew’s scandals and removal from public life in 2019, the perception among young people of the Royal family was significantly hurt, especially when the King was speculated to be paying £3 million for Andrew’s private security[1].

If the Duke of York wasn’t enough for the monarchy’s reputation, the revelations of Meghan Markle’s experience in public life led to another skeleton in the closet falling out. Markle recounted how she had been denied mental health treatment because it was bad for public perception, had been informed of a conversation behind her back about her son’s skin colour, as well as having her credit cards and passport taken from her before her wedding.

These are just recent reasons however, there’s some issues that were being argued about before this.

People often complain about the public money that the monarchy is paid for their existence. While some can be hyperbolic about it, the royal family’s secrecy about their bank accounts does raise some questions, especially because they’re meant to be the public face of the country. Despite this, the most commonly thrown-around figures for their salary are around £86 million to £127 million[2].

While this may seem excessive, it’s actually even more excessive than the other monarchies on the continent. Spain’s royal family costs £7.4 million, and other European monarchies cost around £10 million-£20 million, with the most expensive, the Dutch monarchy, costing £44 million, almost half of what the royal family costs[3].

While it may seem trivial to talk about around £100 million when the government spends around £1 trillion annually, during an economic crisis, isn’t every penny needed? The money sent to the monarchy could be invested into social programs or increasing wages to put more money in the economy.

The point is, that as more families go into poverty and food bank usage increases, should the government concern itself with ensuring one rich family remains rich?

Support for the monarchy is currently estimated to be the lowest among young people, with just 12% of 18–34-year-olds viewing the institution as “very important” when responding to the British Social Attitudes Survey, compared to 42% of those aged 55 or older believing so. Even more concerning for monarchists is that 20% of the responses were “not very important”, and 45% of responders gave anti-monarchy responses[4].

In modern times, as more and more people call for systemic change and a reassessment of how our government works in the face of corruption and constant resignations, it feels as though the monarchy feels more and more unnecessary for it to exist.

Why should the government be nominally run by someone who doesn’t have a mandate from the people? What’s so wrong about having a presidential figure who can fulfill the duties of the monarch? These are questions that people are beginning to ask.

While a world without a monarchy can intimidate some, it’s not as though it’s impossible. Barbados became a republic in 2021, with soon-to-be King Charles in attendance, and the past two years have seen most people be completely indifferent to it, as a commission to draft a constitution works on developing a new chapter in Bajan history. As Barbados has a relatively easy transition, the monarchy seems even more unnecessary.

The monarchy debate isn’t just about how they affect budgets or perceptions of certain members, it’s also about the government.

The House of Lords is the upper house of Parliament and is closely linked to the monarchy, as well as being unelected. The peers are appointed by the monarch, and costing the taxpayer £323 per day per peer, which considering there are around 800, is a high cost to pay unelected politicians[5].

As housing crises and cost of living crises cause more and more issues for the average person, devoting their time to venerating the rich seems less and less appealing. Young people can’t afford homes, and with inflation, people are struggling to put food on the table as the ruling class enjoys taxpayer subsidies.

Young people want control over their lives, and that includes influence in society. Seeing a government of unelected old people doesn’t engender many feelings of national pride, but rather a feeling of alienation from the people that are supposed to have their best interests in mind.

As more and more young people gain a political consciousness and see the country around them, they don’t see a future with the monarchy in it, mostly because they don’t have the feelings to spare for a rich family that seems to get paid to go on trips.

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/royal-family/2022/12/19/king-charles-pay-duke-yorks-private-security-refusing-do-prince/

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/apr/05/windsors-v-borbons-comparing-the-public-pay-of-european-royal-families

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/apr/05/windsors-v-borbons-comparing-the-public-pay-of-european-royal-families

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/apr/28/public-support-monarchy-historic-low-poll-reveals

[5] https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1322563/House-of-lords-peer-cost-uk-taxpayer-medical-workers-boris-johnson

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