British Monarchy: valid and useful institution or archaic stuff of nonsense?
As you’ve probably heard, Queen Elizabeth II visited Pope Francis here at the Vatican on Thursday. She’s nearly 88 and looking on form. The visit was short and sweet involving legendarily simple gifts like whisky and shortbread biscuits. This queen if anything else certainly has panache.
That’s pretty much all there is to say on that one.
However the occasion did get me thinking about the Queen and the Monarchy as an institution. Being a Brit who was brought up in a rather anti-royal, working class background, I found myself musing over the reason why I looked at the pictures so fondly of this grand old lady, and asked myself: ‘why, why on earth am I, a person of pauper Irish ancestry, actually very pleased to have a royal family, and would even go so far as saying, am proud of the Queen herself?!’ (My grandpa would be turning in his grave right now).
You may be wondering what could possibly be good about having a Royal family. You’d have a fair case: archaic institution, far too much money, get away with a lot, use taxpayers money etc. etc.
However, I think that in looking past the slight absurdness of it all, the British monarchy, when all said and done, is actually a pretty good thing in this day and age.
Here are 4 reasons why:
This for me is the first and most important reason. And I can’t stress the word “family” enough… yes the family,
(perhaps I can).
The UK is a society, like many others, that’s already in quite a bit of a pickle. At the clutches of relativist and nihilist visions of reality ingraining themselves more and more within our cultural identity and practices, our nation is descending at an ever increasing rate into a complete lack of consciousness of the true dignity of the human person and of the importance and true nature of the family (that is, mother, father, and children within the secure and loving environment of a traditional marriage).
I think the fact that at the head of our nation there is the figure and image of the family – even if only for nostalgia and tradition’s sake – is one of our saving graces.
The royal family is the most elevated institution and identity of our society. It is comprised of Father, Mother, and children within the context of a traditional Christian marriage.
Keeping this traditional idea of the family at the forefront of our cultural identity is an important aid in us not forgetting it altogether as our culture spirals further and further away from the truth thanks to the various bad influences of today.
When there are royal celebrations such as the Queen's Jubilee and Kate and William's wedding, the whole county gets together in jovial celebration. It unifies us as a nation.
On these two recent occasions I remember, communities, villages, towns, neighbours, families, all did their part in creating a beautiful day of festivities: some put up the bunting, others got the BBQ’s heated, there was the mowing of village lawns, litter picking, music arranging and so on. People were all working together, cooperating, and generally enjoying themselves by spending time with one another in a real spirit of friendship.
What’s more, on Will and Kate's joyous occasion, people were unified by the celebration of a wedding; yes friends, an actual honest-to-God, real life, traditional, in-a-church-wedding, between one man and one woman. And the bride even wore white. People from all creeds, races, ages and backgrounds were celebrating a Christian wedding in a Church; with prayers and everything.
That’s not too bad a thing in my books.
The Royal family, after having got its act together thorough a rather embarrassing spot in the nineties, went through a massive PR revamp and now brings our nation a heck a lot of revenue each year through tourism and publicity.
Definitely worth their weight.
Say what you like about Queen Lizzy 2: like her, love her, despise her, agree with the institution or not, it can’t be denied that this lady has lived a life of duty. And there is real honour and goodness in that.
I would even go so far as saying that this old gal, in always doing her duty, stands as a pretty good example for the young people of the UK of taking responsibility for one's self and taking one’s duties seriously in life.
She didn’t choose to be queen; she was born into this position. And along with it come a lot of restrictions on what she could and couldn’t say, what she could and couldn't do. I’m sure there were plenty of times in her earlier years when she just wanted to kick up her heels and ‘paint the town red’, but she couldn’t. And she didn’t. I’m sure there were other times when she wanted to literally leg it for the hills, but she couldn’t. And she didn’t.
She did what was asked and required of her as princess and then Queen of England. She did her duty. There is something actually really Catholic about that: living for the other, accepting the Will of God for your life, seeking not your own personal satisfaction whenever it happens upon you, but a deeper and more profound peace and joy in fulfilling your duty for the common good.
I’m not saying that the queen necessarily searched to do the Will of God with her life; perhaps she did perhaps she didn’t, that isn’t something I could possibly tell you. All I am saying is that she has lived a life of duty and service towards others, and that is something I could aspire towards.