Last week, the media was flooded with the news of Queen Elizabeth’s ninetieth birthday and the extensive celebrations which the royal family and the public had planned for the occasion. Whilst ninety years is an admirable age to reach by anybody’s standards, the excitement which surrounded the Queens birthday raised some questions for me about if the position of a Monarchy in a democratic society.
In the UK, as we live in a democracy, we vote for our representatives (MP’s, counsellors) based on who we feel represents us. We vote in referendums like we will soon do for Britain to stay in or opt out of the EU, and like we did in Scotland for independence. This is a generally democratic means of representation which proposes the first problem with a monarchical reign – the head of State is unelected. I can’t claim to speak on behalf of everyone, but I can confidently say that I don’t feel like the Queen reflects me or my lifestyle. I don’t feel like she proportionally reflects the general lifestyle lead by the people of the countries in the UK. She has not been elected by the people of the UK which leads to questions surrounding the suitability of such an individual in a democracy.
Furthermore, the funding of a monarchy costs the UK taxpayer around £40m yearly. It is difficult to comprehend how this can be funded without question, whereas when we need to dig deeper for further education investment, international aid or the recent refugee crisis that our economy is strained and we ‘don’t have the money.’ It is difficult to justify how we can’t find the money to lift a great deal of our nation out of poverty but we can fund the lifestyle of a monarchy, their expensive possessions and exquisite (numerous) properties. The juxtaposition between an individual who is recognised primarily as the face of the UK is so far from the reality that so many of its people contend with everyday. People see the Queen and her family as a well-off, fortunate and glamorous family. What is often forgotten is that behind the Palace and the grand public outings and the diamonds is that over Christmas, 7,000 families had to rely upon foodbanks whilst the glamourisation of the monarchy leads a perhaps global misconception that the nations citizens live in admiration of the figures that encourage the social and financial inequality in our otherwise hierarchical society.