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Why monarchists will be better off living in a republic.

July 11, 2015


Above all, because deposed royals are far more romantic than reigning monarchs.

I once met an Austrian monarchist.  She couldn’t tell me enough about Otto Von Hapsburg (now sadly no longer with us).  Everything that Otto did was of interest to her, and he was a busy man with an interesting life – a life far more interesting than had he been glued to the throne in Vienna.  He was certainly emperor of her heart.

And this is something that monarchists need to be reassured about.  If people in a republic want to go on venerating a particular family then they can do so.  If people in a republic want to have commemorative mugs made with the weddings of those family members then they can arrange it.  If people in a republic want to believe in a particular aura that adheres to a particular dynastic inheritance then no republican law on earth can or should interfere with such private beliefs.

Monarchism, in a republic, will be sustained by monarchists – voluntarily, rather than by the entire population – involuntarily.  Monarchism will be purer, more special.  And such monarchism takes on a kind of nostalgic melancholy that makes it aesthetically far more satisfying.  Clinging to a lost cause has a poetry to it – which adhering to an establishment can never have.  Furthermore, in a republic, you stand a far better chance of actually meeting your beloved dynasts, maybe even having them round for tea.

Meanwhile those of us for whom the hereditary principle is both undignified and dull, those of us who find it impossible to venerate people for whom a birth certificate and a curriculum vitae are essentially the same document, will have our rights protected too.

In monarchy, republicans are forced to support the hereditary principle.  In a republic, monarchists can carry on venerating the hereditary principle.  With their own money.

There are Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns across Europe.  They seem cheerful enough.  Indeed, George Friedrich of the Hohenzollerns – head of the Prussian and German imperial family – has said that he’s sure he’s happier than his ancestors.  I’ve seen a number of photos of him smiling – something the British royal family is remarkably bad at.

If British monarchists really loved the Royal Family they would campaign to make Britain a republic.  Not only would their own monarchism be more poetic and interesting, but they’d be giving the objects of their affection the chance for a happier, more interesting and more dignified existence.

I don’t have a lot of time for the British royals, but I have more sincere affection for them than any monarchist I know.  I don’t see how “love” for the royals is in any way compatible with imprisoning them forever within the cruel shackles of the hereditary principle, within an institution that degrades and infantilises, an institution that has proved incompatible with secure family life or honest friendship and affection.

As the man says…  ” If you looooooove somebody.   I you loooooooooooooove somebody. Set.  Them Free.”


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