In some ways it is bizarre that whilst bankers are being bashed and politicians pilloried, the oldest and richest part of the establishment seems more popular today than for a long time. The Royal Family’s image has been helped by the wedding last year, and by the diligence, good conduct and charitable work of (most of) its members. The media is happy to forget its normal habit of building up before knocking down celebrities, or of criticising the ‘elite’, when it comes to Elizabeth and co. The Queen’s actions and judgement are rarely question, especially in the year of the Diamond Jubilee.
However, the Monarchy remains a symbol of inherited wealth and power, without accountability, based on conservatism. At least the Spanish king Juan Carlos I helped transform Spain into a democracy. Our royals remain as an anachronism owing to the fact that the United Kingdom avoided revolution or dictatorship. Overall, as a progressive, it would be difficult to make the case for a Monarchy as opposed to a Republic.
Despite sympathising with Republicanism, I do not think this is the answer. Whilst, as you may have guessed, I do not buy into the royalty circus, many people abroad do. The royal family provides international prestige and tourism revenue (unfortunately both are to an extent unquantifiable). What about the values of inherited wealth and set hierarchy the monarchy spreads? Well, these values are thankfully countered by the historically wave of social progress the country has made.