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Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Right Royal Irrelevance

[Update at end of post]

Unemployment rose last month to 2.57 million – that’s the highest since 1994. The economy is growing, but slowly, very slowly, and forecasts are being pegged back over time. People are concerned about the rise in the retirement age, the effects of cuts on the NHS, maintenance of local services, law and order, energy security, the cost of food and much more.

So what is Young Dave going to focus his energies on right now? He wants to change the rules for the Royal succession. Now, this might be high on the wish list for the fawningly royalist Sun, Express, Telegraph and Mail, but I doubt that most citizens give a fig about succession only being through the male line. In any case, that hasn’t done those male monarchs so many favours.

Consider the past 200 years, or the period from 1810 to 2010. In 1810, George III was nominally on the throne but was deemed unfit to rule, so his son stood in as Regent, taking over in 1820 as George IV and then being succeeded by William IV in 1830. William’s death in 1837 brought the years of male rule to an end, and he was succeeded by Victoria, who then ruled for 64 years.

Moving into the 20th Century, Victoria was succeeded by Edward VII, who very nearly failed to make his own Coronation, and then managed to last just until 1910. George V at least celebrated his Silver Jubilee before telling his physician to “bugger Bognor” and shuffling off. Edward VIII abdicated before being crowned, and George VI smoked himself to an early death in 1952.

Which means that the male line managed another 51 years, but that it needed four of them. Elizabeth II has ruled since: up to 2010, that’s another 58 years. So between 1810 and 2010, with the present succession rule in place, Kings have ruled for 78 years and Queens for 122. And when there have been problems with the monarchy, as with Edward VIII, they’ve been sorted out at the time.

Cameron should realise that the Royal Family isn’t at present broken, and so does not need fixing. He should have better things to do, given the state of the country and its economy. Time to show some leadership and address peoples’ real concerns.

[UPDATE: the same conclusion has been reached, but not surprisingly with greater longeur, by the overbearingly pompous Simon Heffer at the Daily Mail. He even manages a similar form of words, telling that "The Royal Family isn't broke, and doesn't need to be fixed". I'm not so sure about his assertion that the Succession rule is "why we're not ruled by Germany today", though. That's probably been slipped in to ensure the Mail has at least one reference per issue, implicit or explicit, to the Third Reich, a subject that has been a Mail favourite since the 1930s]


John Ruddy said...

But I thought the Mail was all in favour of fascism? Hurrah for the Blackshirts!

Anonymous said...

The royal family being more German than English, I think Heffer's assertion that we're "not ruled by Germany" is not totally true.