The Royal family has been under intense scrutiny in the week since Harry and Meghan’s ‘tell-all’ with Oprah Winfrey. Race, monarchy, and journalistic practice have all been thrust into the nationwide spotlight. It has been an interesting week – for the first time in my 21 years, not a single fellow Brit seems to lack an opinion on the fiasco that affects all of us. Our past, present, and future as a nation will not be decided but reflected by the evolution of the monarchy.
From a financial perspective the Monarchy does cost us money, around £70 million a year in taxpayers funds, on the flipside Royal tourism does account for nearly £1.8 billion in revenue which speaks for itself. When we zoom-out, we can see this is a fragment of our £2.2 trillion GDP. The important debate is a moral one and not financial right now, we must put that aside for a moment.
I have found great difficulty in writing about the royal family because you cannot escape the prying eyes of tabloid news. An institution this significant, has been infantilized into something you would see in ‘Ok’ magazine. You would likely get similar intellectual value from a Katie Price exclusive at the moment. Nothing has been helpful, if anything, complete hearsay from all commentators.
Instead of analysing the role of the royal family in modern Britain, we gawk over Piers Morgan throwing his toys out the pram. Preferring a witch-hunt over whodunnit rather than freely speaking about the implications of race in the royal family. We are going about this the wrong way.
Our excessive philandering over unproven allegations are sucking the life out of the reality. It would be difficult to blame your average Brit for getting involved because this is the diet we are being fed. Gossip and intrigue sells newspapers and provides ample bait to sign up for subscription media but the lack of meaningful talk on what the future holds tells us the monarchy’s future has likely been decided. Data reflects a growing lack of support for the institution with those 65 and older, having more than 80% support for them whilst those below 24 are about 40% likely to support the monarchy.
This should not be a surprise to anyone when the monarchy does not reflect the values of the youth. In the wake of Prince Andrews abuse allegations and revelations over Princess Diana’s marriage to Charles, youth confidence in the monarchy has been rattled. The young are ardent believers in social justice and an increasing cultural sensitivity to issues regarding race and consent appear far from recognised barring a statement from the queen on diversity.
Everything has felt reactive rather than proactive from the family thus far and it only adds to the humiliation they have received from the press since Harry and Meghan departed. It is time for the monarchy to lay low and accept the reputational damage because any further could be a silver bullet for generations to come.
It is unlikely the California dreamers will remarkably return to the fold, but all is not lost for the monarchy. If the transition from colonisers to A – listers is inevitable, a PR intervention can solve this one, in the short term, but to secure a long-term future as a British political institution, we must delve into the mechanics of the monarchy and see some tangible change which can be seen, heard and felt by Britain’s youth.