Why are we still celebrating British royalty?

Why are we still celebrating British royalty?

Sophie Blanchard, Contributing Writer

With Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee over, I am reminded that Americans rarely analyze the British royal family’s role in, well, anything. As a society, why aren’t we asking ourselves, who cares? Why are we so stuck on British royal family drama, giving them more attention, more money, and more praise than they already have? Britain does not need the royal family–and neither do we. 

With so many scandals happening over the past year (colonialism, racism, classism, Prince Andrew) it’s hard to like the royal family anymore. Communicating via email with British royal family TikTok expert Amanda Matta, I realized how little the royal family contributes to the world. She stated, “They serve as a reminder of the UK/England’s status as a world power, but they don’t do much in the way of influencing public opinion or impacting people’s welfare–beyond those they directly employ.”

Arguments to keep the royal family in power typically highlight the revenue from tourism. However, France formally abolished their royal family in 1792, and they are the most visited country in the world with people going to see the Palace of Versailles with no royal family inside. Although the royal family does offer notable pride and identity to many people in Britain (with the Platinum Jubilee being a great recent example), when Prince Charles becomes the next king, pride among his “subjects” may not flourish, as his popularity in the UK (not to mention worldwide) is questionable.

Talking with Scituate High School’s royal expert, SHS history teacher Kristen Emerson, I learned more. According to Emerson, “The UK would be better off if the queen died and changed from a monarchy. At that point, they don’t need a unifying figure.” Emerson also commented, “Prince Andrew is sweaty.”

Speaking of Prince Andrew, how can people support the royal family after his multi-million dollar sexual assault settlement? Prince Andrew’s accuser, American-Australian Virginia Roberts Giuffre, was trafficked by the disgraced Jeffery Epstein when she was only 17 years old. At the time, Prince Andrew was a grown man with two daughters who were only a few years younger than her. 

As much fun as it is to enjoy royal drama, royal weddings, and royal jubilees, we have to remind ourselves that the British royal family represents a group of privileged people who have occupied the throne since 1603. In more modern times, the only thing keeping them in this elevated role are the citizens of the UK, or, as Prince Andrew might say, “those common people.”