To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Cassian Siminicianu writes about the importance of the Monarchy and attempts to tackle some of its common critiques. He puts forwards the vision of a ‘Social Monarchy’.
So far, 2022 hasn’t been the best of years. Recent months have spelt out for us ‘chaos’, ‘crisis’,’ conflict’ and ‘confusion’ as the war in Ukraine has led to heavy disinformation campaigns on social media. The cost of living emergency rages on as an incompetent, uncaring government is too tangled up in its own string of corruption and infighting. ‘Instability’ is the word of the year.
In this context, then, the British nation and many around the globe are about to celebrate the unshakable longevity of our current monarchy, Elizabeth II, in her 70 years on the throne. In this dark context of uncertainty and fragility, comes the celebration of one of the most certain and stable institutions on planet Earth: the British Monarchy.
Many on the Left and particularly the British Left, have clanged onto a deep-rooted scepticism of the monarchy. In their noble quest to question established power and pick apart the Capitalist machine, they have taken as a casualty the institution of the monarchy in this country. I believe they are wrong to do so.
The British Monarchy is not inherently subservient to Capitalism as it isn’t to any other social-economic system. Members of the royal family may be personally persuaded by one ideology or the other but that is to miss the point of the monarchy being an institution, it is an impersonal legal-political body. It is for that reason that we often talk of the ‘crown’ in reference to it. Any monarch at any given time is merely serving their role in this institution. The monarch therefore is not, nor has ever rightly been, a ‘dictator’ - a dictatorship is inherently against a monarch’s duty to serve the realm and institution in which they were put by God. Nowhere is this more understood than in Britain, a country whose monarchy is renowned for being a ‘Constitutional Monarchy’, meaning the monarch is legally limited in their power by their legal duty to serve the people and be accountable to the democratic institution of Parliament.
This constitutional model has proven itself to be the best arrangement. When one looks at the countries in the world which have had the most stable, prosperous rule over their citizens, one soon will notice an emergent pattern. Most of them are constitutional monarchies!
Of the Nordic countries, much cited for their prosperity, three out of five are constitutional monarchies. The monarchs of Sweden, Norway and Denmark have ruled over countries which have been subject to some of the most extensive Socialist reforms on the planet. They have embraced a ministerial role: for the monarch, the role of being the nation’s father or mother. Their children, the princes and princesses of these countries, have become model citizens. They are role models for what a good Swede, Dane or Norwegian should aspire to. Nordic monarchs have not been impediments to Socialist change but indirect enablers of it as they have themselves, in their very culture, adopted a very Social attitude to their rule. The framework of stability offered by the monarchies of the Nordic countries have enabled Reformist, Gradualist Socialist change which is peaceful and lasting; this kind of change is much harder to achieve in the inherently unstable framework offered by a Republic where the rule of law is not embodied by any active authority but is left as a passive abstraction. This leaves it vulnerable to becoming trivialised and being rendered obsolete as has happened in nearly all of the revolutionary republics of the last 300 years. Besides being Social Democracies, the Nordic countries have become Social Monarchies.
Unfortunately, we have yet to have seen the same development here in Britain. And, for this reason, our monarchy has understandably come under attack from those believers in progressive social and political change. But it doesn’t have to be so. In order to embrace Socialist change which, I believe, is inevitable as a consequence of democracy in Britain, the British Monarchy must itself become a Social Monarchy. The throne standing high in the House of Lords must be brought down on the level of the members of the house, not to lower its own crucial importance to the stability of the rule of law in Britain, but to uplift its subjects relative to its own position. The Social Monarchy is to be a people’s monarchy; it’s a monarchy in which the Queen does not stand overlooking us from the vantage point of some high castle but dwells amongst us, its loyal subjects.
This, not any kind of overthrow, is the truly genuinely revolutionary vision I put forward. To be a Socialist, a genuine revolutionary in this world, isn’t to lower yourself to its power struggles and squabbles but to uplift it to a higher reconciliation. It is in love of what we have and each other that we truly become revolutionaries, revolutionaries of the heart. As I always say, love is the most revolutionary act of all. Let us love the monarchy, let us create a truly loving and truly Social Monarchy.
Cassian Siminicianu is a Young Fabian keen on shining a light on things we all face but no one speaks about. He shares his views and impressions on his Twitter at @Cassian_Sav.
Resource for cover photo by DrKay, accessed via Wikimedia.