I've never been especially bothered about the monarchy debate. In principle I'm against a person having such excessive power and wealth by virtue of their birth, on top of being entirely supported by the state, but I wouldn't say it's ever actively bothered me.
As the years pass though it's becoming a steadily more pressing issue. Individual royals popularity may be in a constant state of flux, but, and I hate to be rude, perennial favourite the Queen isn't getting any younger. Government cuts on the other hand, they look set to just keep growing.
The Queen's speech this week prompted another flurry of discussion about whether or not the monarchy is still viable. My personal favourite headline came courtesy of Huffington Post writer Ryan Barrell: "Woman in £1,000,000 hat tells Britain to 'live within its means'". And that's kind of the crux of the problem, can we, in good conscience, justify one family having that much unearned wealth whilst simultaneously accommodating cuts after cuts after cuts.
It's hard to put this into perspective because nobody really knows how much the royal estate is worth. For a ball park though, estimates for the crown jewels range from £2 to 25billion. Assume it's the minimum estimate, the average NHS nurse earns about £23,019 a year so selling the crown jewels for £2 billion would pay for the salaries of 43,478 nurses, as well as 34,482 teachers on an average of about £29,000 a year. Similarly, when Trussell Trust reports that over a million three-day emergency food supplies were given out in the year 2015/16, the colossal upkeep of Buckingham Palace is hard to accept as a priority.
On logic alone the monarchy just doesn't make sense for austerity Britain. It's an unwillingness to confront bad traditions which has saved them so far. Far easier to let a problem slide as long it's not causing too much trouble.
But relative ambivalence towards the royals won't last forever. Will and Kate represent a move away from an elite aristocracy that may not translate well into being heads of state, post fairytale wedding and beautiful baby the media surrounding them is already turning sour.
So what will it take? The continued cuts and rising cost of living might start to show the cracks. Perhaps one of the more prominent royals will cock up massively -- that would be the fun way to go. Or maybe nothing can stop them now, like a family member who's awful but you nevertheless can't imagine life without, we're stuck with them.
The monarchy problem is far from the most pressing issue facing this country right now. It's worth thinking about though, how many British citizens are living in substandard housing, how many children are going hungry within our own borders. While the most famous Brit of all chills in her 775 room palace, working her fabulous £1,000,000 hat.Suggest a correction