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The British Monarchy – Do we still need it?

Prince Harry and his American girlfriend Meghan Markle and are due to be married in spring 2018.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will get married next year. (Image: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The nation as a whole swooned over the news, but for some it sparked questions about the validity of the Royal Family.

Recent years have seen a lot of controversy regarding the Royal Family and growing calls for the Monarchy to be replaced by an elected head of state.

Britain has had a Monarchy for around 1,500 years and in fact, it is one of the few developed nations to still retain the Monarchy, is it finally the time to get rid?

In a recent survey which asked the people of Teesside if they think the Monarchy should be abolished, 91% of them said no.

Although the 9% of people who said yes is only a small number, it does pose the question why?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the British Monarchy and find out what people really think.

The Royal Family is engrained in our history, people from all corners of the world come to Britain to be a part of it and in turn spend money here in the UK.

According to Business Insider, the Royal Family are valued to be in excess of £44 billion at the time of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, 3 years later and that figure rose to around £57 billion.

The British tourism agency has reported that the Royal Family generates close to £500 million every year in tourism revenue, drawing visitors to historic royal sites like the Tower of London, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

The level of global recognition is huge, 2 billion people tuned in to watch the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate in 2011 with 14 US television channels broadcasting the event.

In a recent survey conducted on the people of Teesside, 85% agreed that without the Monarchy, the UK would not receive the same amount of global recognition that it does now.

Removing the Royal Family would potentially alienate a massive portion of people who follow the Royal Family, after all, would Buckingham Palace attract the same number of visitors if it was empty?

Majesty Magazine provides its readers with insights into the privileged lives of the Royal Family through monthly issues talking about personalities, lifestyles and fashion.

Editor-in-Chief, Ingrid Seward, said: “I believe Harry and William are involved in modernising the British Monarchy, not for themselves, but for the greater good of the people.”

“The union of Harry and Meghan will be instrumental in encouraging the younger generations’ interest in the Monarchy.”

Many events in the political system require the presence of the Queen or a royal.

The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history. (Image: Getty Images Europe)

The Queen’s duties include opening new sessions in parliament, granting royal assent to legislation and approving orders and proclamations though the Privy Council.

Removal of the Queen would mean all of these would have to be changed or scrapped completely which surely isn’t as easy as some would like it to be.

A common question that is asked is what actually do the Royal Family do?

Well contrary to belief many members have full time jobs, Prince William is currently an air ambulance pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance and Prince Harry is still active in the army.

Many roles of the Royal Family include hosting heads of state, diplomatic trips, opening new sessions in parliament, honouring knighthoods and other titles and they are patrons to around 3,000 charitable organisations across the world.

In total, the Royal Family have to entertain around 70,000 guests, have 2,000 engagements and answer over 100,000 letters from the public every year, which debunks the myth that the Royal Family do nothing.

So if they were to be replaced, who on earth would take over all of this?

Republic is a membership-based pressure group campaigning for the abolition of the Monarchy and its replacement with a directly elected head of state.

According to them, the claim that the Monarchy is good for tourism is untrue and irrelevant.

Graham Smith, CEO of Republic said: “Tourists come here for our world class museums, beautiful scenery, fantastic shopping and captivating history, not because they might catch a glimpse of Prince Andrew.”

“In place of the Queen we want someone chosen by the people, not running the government but representing the nation independently of our politicians.

“The Monarchy is a broken institution. A head of state that’s chosen by us could really represent our hopes and aspirations, and help us keep politicians in check.”

Republic argue the fact that the royal prerogative powers are exercised by government is a serious problem.

The powers have been transferred from the Monarch to the Prime Minister without needing the approval of parliament, effectively shutting out the British people from important decisions, which is fundamentally anti-democratic.

There is also the problem of parliamentary sovereignty.

Over time all power that the Monarch had has moved to parliament and is now held collectively by 650 MPs, however, the nature of that power hasn’t changed.

Parliament can make or scrap any laws just as the Monarch could in the past, meaning our freedoms are never actually guaranteed – a direct result of having a Monarchy.

Republic’s opposition to the Monarchy is not about money, it is about principles.

Nevertheless, the British Monarchy is expensive.

The royal finances report showed that in 2016 the Sovereign Grant was £43m and at current rates would reach £45.6m in 2017/18, which would be a 57% increase since 2012.

Republic state that the true cost of the Monarchy to the British taxpayer is £334m a year – nearly 10 times more than the figure published by the Royal Family.

As opposed to many people’s opinions that the Monarchy is what makes Britain great and unites the country, Republic believe none of that would change with an elected head of state.

In fact, abolishing the Monarchy and replacing it with a new, uniquely British political system would be just another thing to set us apart from the rest of the world.

Click the video below to see what the people of Stockton think.

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