An economic defence of the British monarchy

Earlier this year I remember hearing someone complaining about the British monarchy, that it was paid for doing not much at all by the British taxpayer, blah blah blah.

Please look at this lovely little animation to see a simple yet compelling defence of the monarchy on purely economic grounds… by an American. By all means object to the monarchy on ideological grounds, if you must. But let’s hear no more fallacious economic whining on behalf of the poor British taxpayer… at least when it comes to the monarchy.

Mind you, to the ideological objectors I still say



11 thoughts on “An economic defence of the British monarchy

  1. Herewith follows a rant on the so-called Britannic Majesties:

    I object to the fact, (amongst a host of deep seated ideological reasons), that the present monarch and her husband are about as English ( or Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish [at least getting close on that one]) as me.

    Except that I’m not from pure German stock.

    I say this sitting in a building owned by the Anglican Church in Australia, named after the wonderful St James Church on Phillip Street.

    In a room where the previous occupant ( a high church Anglican barrister) had covered the walls with pictures of Charles the Second, by the grace of god King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith; – through whose family, via Diana Spencer, at least Prince William may at least have some standing to call himself an English monarch; – who of course had a death bed conversion and; whose brother was the last Stuart and Catholic Monarch.

    The whole palaver reminds me of Ben Elton’s wonderful line in Blackadder Goes Forth where Blackaddder accuses Capt. Darling of being a German spy. Darling beseeches Edmund ( a good Old English name) that he is in fact as English as Queen Victoria – to which Blackadder retorts:

    “So, your mother was a German, your father was a German and you married a German.”

    I can highly recommend Norman Davies “Vanished Kingdoms” a fascinating work written as he says by a descendant of a vanished kingdom (Wales) and in particular his entertaining chapter on Duke Albert of Saxe Coburg Gotha , if for nothing else, the wonderful list of Germanic families from which the present House of Windsor has its source.

    There is also a wonderful chapter on Dumbarton Rock noting that the last British king, in the true sense, disappeared well before 1066 and all that jazz.

    Auf weidersehen.


    1. Hello Bede!

      I am going to resist the urge to shout “phooey” and instead glory in the evidence you furnish of a good Aloysian education: a wonderfully literate rant.

      Now I am not sure at all that Her Britannic Majesty is of pure German stock. There is a lot of German in her background, to be sure. But pure?

      Even if it were so, what you fail to furnish is an argument as to why this is a bad thing. The foundation of your argument seems to be an implicit nationalism (surely not racism!): the Queen is German, how dare she reign over me. And nationalism, as 20th century history shows, is a very dangerous thing.

      In fact, the British monarchy, and thus ours, reflects an aspect of European history that is centuries old: borders are porous, royal families even more so. “England” has been ruled by Danish, Saxon, Norman-French, Dutch, Scottish and German (well, Hanoverian really, as there was no “Germany” as such till the latter half of the 19th century) monarchs since the middle ages. It is quite a tradition that sits well in the context of the modern European enterprise to defuse nationalism. So we could say that the last British king disappeared before…. well…. er… never existed. Even the Britons (Boadicea and her gang, for instance) were originally invaders.

      Australia’s Prime Minister was born in Wales. Are you Welsh, Bede? Can you abide being governed by a Welshtrix?

      Perhaps the most compelling argument for any system of government is how well it works. Ours works pretty well when compared to the rest of the world. Some tinkering could improve it, as the need arises. But the monarchy plays more than a bit part in the drama of government. It is the foundation, in practice unseen but still holding up a vast structure of historically good government. It is the product of centuries of evolution and experience.

      If our monarch is of largely German stock, then I for one am happy. Germans run things so well… well, except world wars, but then I think perhaps their heart was not really in it.

      Peace upon you!


    2. The Queen, be it remembered is the offspring of her father and her mother.

      The Queen’s mother, Queen Elizabth the Queen Mother, was born in Hertfordshire, the Hon Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of Lord Glamis and Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck, later the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. Hardly a Germanic background !

      In any case, the British royal family, even before it adopted the English name, Windsor, regarded itself as thoroughly British. Was it George V who objected to his family being described as “this boring, ugly, alien dynasty” ? I think it was. At any rate, the royal reply was swift and to the point. ” I may be boring, and I know I’m ugly, but I’m hanged if I’ll be called alien !” said the King. Or so the story goes.

      The cost to the nation of havng a monarch is an old canard. The Queen is a wealthy woman in her own right. Does anyone seriously think an elected president would give bettter value for money ? (Anyway, England has tried being a republic, and it was not a resounding success. Or has everyone forgotten the name Oliver Cromwell ?)


  2. I keep imagining the Queen twirling around sprinkling fairy dust on ‘banal every-day objects’ to make them more attractive to tourists; like a Fairy God-Mother !

    You will be sad to hear that the politicians are trying to fly the Republic Debate again as part of the Australian federal election in September.

    What the Republicans keep forgetting is that the authority of the Australian parliament is derived from the Crown so if you remove the Crown, where will the authority come from ?
    (I think the ultimate authority actually comes from God via the Crown, but I have not done enough research to confirm if that is still the current constitutional legal explanation.)

    I suspect the Republicans will rely on the general lack of Australian Civic Education to create a simplistic argument. People like me will know that they are wrong but won’t be smart enough to defend the Monarchy properly.

    A bit like the situation when people attack the Catholic Church in Australia; most lay-people are not well-educated in catechesis; so we know they are wrong but we don’t know how to prove it.

    Have a good one !
    cheers Brigid


    1. It is no surprise that the politicians are trying to raise the ugly spectre of republic again for the election. Lord knows their policies won’t compel attention, so it is better to distract the masses from them entirely. I hope that someone works hard to expose this ploy.

      Perhaps the best argument, even for those with little civic education (as you rightly point out) is Mr Howard’s argument back in the 90s: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Australia has a system of stable government, an economy and a social cohesion that are the envy of most of the world, despite its imperfections. Why ruin things?

      Australia’s jingoism is the smiley face of an incipient nationalism, and nationalism has been the blight of 20th century history, and is still working harm in this century. Australians should learn from the hard lessons others have endured. Maybe a secular version of the New Evangelization is needed?



    1. Good morning! Believe it or not, these things came to me almost by accident, with little time involved. One of life’s little miracles. Mind you, Youtube does learn what one likes!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.