Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Choosing the next monarch

The banner headline on the Sunday Times this week proclaimed that “Public says William should be next king”.  It may, of course, just be an image thing; a desire to go for a younger generation.  It’s a feeling that his father benefited from a decade or three ago, but which the longevity of an even older generation of the family has now seen off.
What interested me more though, was the idea that this was a matter on which the public should have a view at all.  After all, the whole point of a hereditary monarchy is that it’s hereditary – start taking the people’s views into account, and the whole institution is undermined. 
In that context, the very fact that a large majority seem to take the view that the succession should not simply be as automatic as tradition dictates might just lead to a bit more thought about the wider question.  If the job isn’t limited to a single individual, why limit it to a single family?  And why not call it something different – such as ‘president’, for instance?


Hogyn o Rachub said...

Personally I'm neither a monarchist nor a republican, but as a Welsh nationalist I often wonder (apart from the issue of the demeaning title of 'Prince of Wales' given to the monarch's firstborn son) why so many of my fellow nationalists are so anti-monarchist; the reason being if we do believe in Welsh independence surely the monarchy is irrelevent to us anyway and really not worth bothering about? To me it somewhat smells of changing the British state rather than trying to end it!

John Dixon said...

It's not at the top of my list of priorities either. I have an instinctive adverse reaction to the idea of a head of state being appointed through heredity rather then election, and there's a symbolism about us all being subjects rather than citizens, but the question of a proper parliament having all the powers we need is more important than who actually signs the laws at the end of the process.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

I agree entirely with HoR; I don't care who the head of the British state is; I don't want Wales to be part of the United Kingdom and I don't want Wales to be part of the United Republic either, British republicanism isn't a Welsh Nationalist issue and I can't understand why so many in Plaid get so het up about the subject.

Ryan said...

Hereditary or not, a monarch has still got to maintain popular support. If a majority of Brits stopped supporting the monarchy we would soon introduce a republic.

John Dixon said...


I don't particularly get het up about the issue; the real issue for debate is meaningful independence to set our own future. However, I don't think that anyone would seriously argue that Canada and Australia are not 'independent' countries, although they have retained the English monarch as their Head of State. That's not a choice that I'd personally make for Wales, although others would disagree with me. Despite the strong strand of Welsh republicanism within Plaid, the party's official stance has long been for the same status as Canada or Australia, and in that context, it seems to me that the route by which the Head of State is chosen is a relevant topic for comment. And it might even be the case that Independence for Wales becomes an easier case to argue within a republican constitution than within a constitutional monarchy. Ryan's comment on 'popularity' is relevant in that context.

Spirit of BME said...

Mr Dixon,
I have to admit that I have as much interest in the English Royal family as I would having to watch dog do-do dry . However, “our Kate” is marrying Billy Battenberg and I wish her well, as she is entering the most dysfunctional family in the realm. She has good teeth and looks fertile – what more can a boy want.
I thought HoR had a good point about Billy’s Pa, Chuck Battenberg who has the title Prince of Wales. It is demeaning, in fact it is a calculated insult from its inception and based on a dodgy fact, but the English tell me “it keeps the Welsh in their place and celebrates the conquest”. We should campaign to erase this title and insult from our land and to restore our dignity by admonishing all organisations and individuals that use it.

Hendre said...

The revenge of England's Rose, even from the other side of the grave, is truly awesome. That seed she planted during her Panaroma interview continues to germinate.

Should William leapfrog Charles, would the father to the monarch remain Prince of Wales? And should William have a male heir during Charles's lifetime would he strip his aged parent of the title to give to his son? Though somehow or other I don't think these questions are likely to arise!