Polly Toynbee’s insightful article on the monarchy is a much-needed wake-up call to the British people. The monarchy embodies a sovereignty that is often abused by prime ministers against parliament, legitimizing a feudal system of inherited wealth and privilege. Moreover, it promotes a fantasy of national grandeur that had the British people “bravely Brexiteering away from our continent.” But that’s not all. The monarchy headed the British empire and continues to defend colonialist hierarchies abroad and at home. Recent events, such as the arrest of a woman holding up a placard reading “Fuck imperialism, abolish monarchy” and the constant vilification of the non-white Duchess of Sussex by the right-wing British press, show that the monarchy is a divisive and outmoded institution.
David Diprose’s letter highlights how the monarchy has become a cosy cottage industry for its members and hangers-on. It is an anachronism that merely emphasizes how the distortion of privilege prevents Britain from advancing into the modern world. Meanwhile, David Murray’s letter questions the neighbourhood website posts calling for people to “Celebrate the coronation of King Charles III” and “Join a local volunteering activity.” He rightly points out that, while the monarchy continues to take in over £1 billion in income from controversial estates, more than 1 million children in the UK are growing up in poverty under a two-child benefits limit.
Graham Smith’s letter provides further evidence that the monarchy is a corrupt institution, with the full cost to the public exceeding £345m per year. He calls for its abolition, a sentiment shared by many in the UK. Finally, Dr Laurence Cox’s letter challenges the comparison of the cost of the UK monarchy to other European royal families, pointing out that the vastly different populations of the countries concerned make such comparisons meaningless.