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The end of the Monarchy? I FUCKING WISH!

“Just get rid of the fuckers… biggest benefit scroungers on the planet. America was built on republicanism, the French did it… The Russians did it in spectacular fashion! The Brits are hundreds of years behind the curve on this one!

That’s one thing that really pisses me off about Americans! How much they love the Royal family. I’m like “You’re American! If you like them so much, fucking have ’em back!”… And then I say “Did you like Diana?” “Yeah man, we loved Diana” “YOU DO REALISE IT WAS THE ROYALS WHO HAD HER WHACKED!”

Anyway, their not going anywhere anytime soon, because the Brits are fucking stupid… and they got William and Kate. KATE WILL RULE!

(Damn right they where prepared to do a deal with the Nazis! If Germany had invaded, they would have sold the British Jews out… Rothschild knows it)

‘The Crown’, the prince and the end of monarchy

Is it time to ask the public what role we want the royals to play?

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C), with (L-R) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, Sir Tim Laurence, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Carrie Symonds attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 9, 2019. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The royal family at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 9 © POOL/AFP via Getty Images

   November 22, 2019 5:00 am by Joy Lo Dico

How we love to admire the flick of Princess Margaret’s cigarette ash and the gleam of well-polished marble in The Crown. Evenings are spent gawping and sniping at the lavishness, the cynicism and the political intrigues from the comfort of a sofa in a darkened room. In private we are hardly deferential.

But snap back into the real world for a moment and ask the question “is the monarchy fit for purpose?” and you get a different answer. Boris Johnson, when posed this question in the ITV leaders’ debate on Tuesday, pretty much stood to attention as he declared that the monarchy as an institution was “beyond reproach”. Even Jeremy Corbyn was broadly polite.

Of course, there is reproach about the royals, but it is on a personal level, a patter of gossip and criticism. The middle classes might be too sniffy to discuss them openly around the dinner table but in many a household they are the bread and butter of conversation. A friend of mine from Llanelli, a working-class town in Wales, tells me his family argue incessantly about the relative merits of Meghan v Kate, the two duchesses destined to be future stars of The Crown.

It is that family’s version of the open versus closed world or the Brexit versus Remain debate. Official polling commissioned by Tatler this autumn asked who was the more popular — it was Kate.

But the Prince Andrew issue is not just table talk or tittle-tattle. Mere reproach is not enough. His behaviour was worse than “unbecoming”.

The Duke of York had been our roving global ambassador for trade but took on a second, informal role — that of a magnet for all sorts of questionable characters who’d like him at their dinner parties to burnish their reputations.

The royal family is viewed as a long-running soap opera: we’ve been seduced into thinking they are somewhere between real and fictional. Andrew’s association with Epstein has for some time been regarded as more like a future plot line in The Crown than the scandal it really was. The Queen’s son simultaneously wore the title and took the benefits while damaging the monarchy’s reputation. It is good that he has now recognised that, but in a real firm the shareholders would have demanded his suspension long ago.

I don’t expect Brits will abandon their Queen, with the threat of a President Blair or Johnson to follow

That we can discuss the individuals but not the institution seems all the stranger given the events of the past few years. Complaints about unelected overlords in Brussels and their gravy trains, an arrangement we voted for in 1975, led to a referendum. Meanwhile, back here the Queen received £82m from the public purse in the last Sovereign Grant, which could have paid for, say, a lick of paint for a few NHS hospitals rather than Frogmore Cottage. Not only do we pay for the chefs to make the gravy, we also pay for the royal train. And a royal helicopter. And Boris Johnson has in the past suggested bringing back the royal yacht, priced at £100m — incidentally the same amount required for a public information campaign to “Get Ready for Brexit”. The yacht may come in handy as an emergency cargo ship one of these days.

I might sound like a raving republican but I am not. I’m in favour of the Queen and a constitutional monarchy of sorts. But it has been 330 years since the Bill of Rights, in which we last formally revisited the public’s relationship with the Crown.

There have, however, been a few advances over those three centuries — mass enfranchisement and taxation and a free press — and so it is curious that the arrangement continues unquestioned. In the age of democracy, the public has never been asked what role we want the monarchy to play.

Do we want the firm to run the country? Apparently not. The authority that once came with the throne is now largely in the hands of ministers, whose decisions need only a royal rubber stamp.

Of those reserve powers still left, the most potent — that of the ability to sack the prime minister — came into question in this autumn. If push came to shove, would the Queen still have the authority to shove?

One could say the royals are here for the financial return. Two years ago, Forbes magazine put a valuation on the British monarchy, both on its assets and its brand, of about $88bn, pictures and palaces included. The Queen’s stamp collection alone is valued at £100m. And in return, they were estimated to contribute £1.8bn to the economy through tourism, royal warrants on jams, people following the Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion and media such as The Crown.

That seems a modest return for the cost of all that pomp. If they are just here for our entertainment, it would be easier to write a cheque directly to The Crown’s writer, Peter Morgan.

Might I suggest, in the spirit of provocation, that once Brexit is done, one way or another, we discuss a referendum on the monarchy? The audience for The Crown and the current British political trauma means we are highly informed. I don’t expect the Brits will abandon their Queen easily, particularly with the threat of a President Blair or President Johnson to follow.

But it is a question that we should be allowed to ask — and should not be reproached for doing so. A vote — even the threat of one — is a check on power. After all, when one thinks one’s mum might get sacked because of one’s dodgy friends, it does sharpen even the dullest of minds.

Prince Andrew’s behaviour has put the very future of the monarchy in doubt

Gaby Hinsliff

Contributor image for: Gaby Hinsliff

The Queen has been a point of stability in a precarious world, but the prince’s misjudgments over Jeffrey Epstein have refocused scrutiny on the institution that produced him

Thu 21 Nov 2019 13.23 EST

The institution of the monarchy, said Boris Johnson, is beyond reproach. It was such an odd response to the scandal engulfing Prince Andrew – so stiff, so forelock-tugging, so initially lacking in sympathy towards the teenage girls abused by the prince’s late friend Jeffrey Epstein – that it stuck in the mind long after the televised leaders’ debate ended. Perhaps, I thought, he was simply afraid of offending the Queen any further after dragging her into a shabby, unlawful prorogation of parliament.

Yet now one wonders if Johnson had an inkling of what was coming, when he chose to defend not Prince Andrew personally but the institution from which the prince has essentially resigned. For it is the institution itself that is now in danger. Had the infant Prince Charles been a girl, then Andrew would be our future king and this would be a constitutional crisis

Parents cannot sack their children. That is the immense power of ordinary families, but the fatal weakness of dynasties and, stupidly, the Duke of York has exposed it. Priests can be defrocked and politicians lose the whip, but a child born into a royal family cannot be unborn from it; merely hidden away in the hope that people forget about him. That now seems to be the fate of the Queen’s second son, who will undertake no public duties and take no public money from the government-issued sovereign grant for an unspecified period of time (although he will continue to be supported by his mother’s private estate). But his departure from the stage serves as an uncomfortable reminder that the people have no formal mechanism of redress against a royal figure who does something incompatible with public life, beyond hoping that they do the decent thing.

Had the infant Prince Charles been a girl, then under the rules of male primogeniture Andrew would be our future king and this would be a full-blown constitutional crisis. As it is, the odds on one have shortened, with speculation that he could end up testifying in the US courts. For republicans, this is thrilling. It’s a far bleaker moment for those of us with no great love for monarchy, but who fear worse would emerge from an elected presidency in this febrile climate. The Queen has been the one point of stability in a precarious world of late, but now she too is being sucked towards the vortex.

The rot doesn’t stop with the prince’s sexual conduct, whatever the ongoing legal process might ultimately conclude that to be. Why was he hanging around someone like Epstein in the first place? If it wasn’t for the girls, the answer can only be that he craved a billionaire lifestyle – one he felt befitted his royal status – on a £250,000 income, which may sound a fortune but is chicken feed to the super-rich. Epstein lent him private jets and exclusive holiday homes, introduced him to business contacts, wrote cheques to bail his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. And he’s not alone. Remember the Kazakh oligarch who helpfully bought the Yorks’ marital home for £3m more than it was worth after the divorce, then left it empty for years? And just as they seem to have done with his Newsnight interview, the palace indulged all this. It has arguably lacked not only integrity, but a sense of self-preservation.

If the defence Prince Andrew outlined to Emily Maitlis is the one he gave the Queen and her advisers all along, arguably they should have withdrawn him from circulation earlier. But perhaps that’s what happens when one’s boss is also one’s mother. The genuinely historic miscalculation, however, was allowing the prince to breach the convention that royals stay under the parapet during a general election campaign. If December brings a hung parliament, in which the Queen must exercise even the most marginal of judgments about who can form a government, then those contrasting verdicts from the party leaders at the end of the televised debate – Johnson’s that the monarchy isn’t up for debate, Jeremy Corbyn’s that it “needs a bit of improvement” – might well return to haunt the process. Will one look retrospectively like a promise, the other more of a threat?

The greatest fear of senior royals has always been that when the Queen eventually dies, the monarchy might collapse. For the majority of Britons who are neither sworn republicans nor particularly ardent monarchists, the Queen is the one who really commands respect and affection, having earned the kind of trust that enables unelected power to be tolerated. But trust is not automatically inherited along with the crown. It is significant that Andrew’s resignation came after the Queen consulted her heir.

Prince Charles is said to favour a slimmed-down future monarchy, focused on himself, his wife and his sons, although it’s never been clear what would happen to royals deemed redundant. The Duke of York can hardly spend the rest of his life playing golf and, to put it mildly, it’s difficult to see him succeeding in the working world strictly on his own merits. Some kind of restructuring looks almost inevitable, but it should be accompanied by a broader review of the family’s role in public life and of the monarch’s constitutional powers, which recent political turbulence has exposed to the limelight.

Twice in my lifetime, the royals have emerged unscathed from potentially serious trouble; first, when Prince Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles became public, prompting concerns the nation would reject him as king, and, second, after Princess Diana’s death, when senior figures seemed out of touch with public grief. But this time it’s worse, because this goes beyond a prince’s individual flaws to reveal something about the institution that produced him. If the monarchy cannot put its house in order, it should not be surprised if the nation ultimately seeks to do it for them.

• Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

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