The Royals continue to circle the drain

January 9, 2020 • 1:30 pm

You’ve surely heard by now (read the NYT article below if you haven’t) that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are folding up their royal tent, disassociating to a large degree from the Firm at Buckingham, and probably moving to America or Canada at least part-time.

And I sympathize with them. How can you live a normal life under the constant scrutiny of the British tabloids and the matronly dictatorship of the Queen, who wants her female in-laws to wear pantyhose, carry strapless purses, wear hats, and avoid open-toed shoes? Plus there are all those fawning royal-watchers. I, for one, could never be a Royal, as your life is not your own. And we all know about Markle’s problems with her family, as those have been splashed all over the British tabloids. There is no privacy. This is what drove Princess Diana bonkers as well.

It’s time to think about the dissolution of the monarchy. That won’t happen, of course, as we now have lots of heirs, and even two adults poised to be king when Queen Lizzie goes toes up. But it continually surprises me that even my progressive and liberal friends in Britain think the monarchy is a good institution. The arguments they make for it (e.g., it’s good to separate the ceremonial head of state from the real head of state) are risible and easily answered.

I’m with Harry and Meghan: get the hell out of there!

208 thoughts on “The Royals continue to circle the drain

        1. It sounds like it’s up to the couple, and what they arrange with the Queen. “Stepping back’ is perhaps like abdicating and resigning, though the scant news reports make it sound like they’re going part-time, out of respect for the Queen and royal traditions.

          Canadians are not rabid royal watchers, and though we respect royal traditions, I think it’s possible for this couple to have a relatively normal life here, without having to dodge paparazzi everywhere.

          1. Relatively normal life?
            I suspect as far as they are concerned, common people are those who don’t have their own private jet.

            1. My goodness, a big discovery for me!

              I didn’t even know the meaning of “Biebs”, despite my Cunuckiness, but was aware of this infamous person who had been brought up just down the road, so to speak. But Jake and I used to bike down between Waterloo and Guelph, under the 401, than along to Mountsberg. So now I’ll know I’m in celebrity country. Maybe I’ll take the electric bike and zoom past the pop nasty, the prince nicey, and his movie star bride, so they’ll mistakenly think I’m a rather vigorous old? young? superhero? man. Easy to mistake it (the e-bike designed by Belinda Stronach’s Dad, as long as we’re canuckificating) for a real bike.

              Are you near that part of Ontario? For some reason, I’d mistakenly had Maritimer in my mind previously, Diana.

              1. I’m not near it but I used to work in Waterloo and Guelph so I’m familiar with the area.

              1. Yes! And I read somewhere that 73% (I think that’s the figure) of Canadians don’t want to pay for the security or anything else. I think it would be political suicide for the government to agree to that. The downside is the RCMP are obliged to provide security and M&H can’t even refuse that obligation though that cost isn’t very high.

                A UK paper published some bogus story that Trudeau had agreed to pay all costs and that made PCs in Canada lose their shit because they hate Trudeau so this type of fake news story was gobbled up immediately and what followed was “but what about the veterans and the homeless” which always makes me laugh because if these people cared about veterans and the homeless they wouldn’t be voting PC, the party that slashes health care and any type of social program. When a government official was contacted about the story, he replied that such things haven’t even been brought up for discussion yet.

                But the government has a very clear message from Canadians about how they feel!

              2. Yeah, exactly what you said! I can understand that we are stuck with providing security during ‘Royal visits’ but all bets are off when they choose to live here. With an aging population and the burdens on our healthcare system and our social safety nets, we can’t underwrite these superfluous perks for the privileged! Anyways, I don’t blame them for wanting to put distance between their young family and the weirdness, repressive rules and deviance that exist in that Other Family.

              3. Yes totally agree! And it seems Canadians are coming around more and more to my “let’s get rid of the monarchy” way of thinking of things as I believe around 60% support the Queen as head of state, etc. but that support has dropped recently AND it is presumed it will become less so once the Queen “pops her cork” as my auntie would put it.

              4. I must add that I do value the alliances within the Commonwealth, especially in these too interesting and cursed times. Just wish the wealth were more common, among other things.

              5. Yeah, I think we should still have Commonwealth Club but no monarchy in our systems. In other words, we’re like a community of practice instead of a formal position. 🙂 Besides, we still want to play in the Commonwealth Games.

              6. I’d be slightly surprised if it wasn’t about 60% of NON-French speaking Canadians supporting the monarchy. In that case maybe it would be 60 x .67 or maybe around [40% plus those Francophones who do], but much less than 60% of the latter.

              7. Here is a poll break down from 2015. I think things have moved toward less support for monarchy lately but I can’t find that article. 4 in 10 favour contenting with the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth dies.

                Severing ties with the monarchy has the most support in Quebec but others across Canada feel the same. It supports my reasoning for severing ties because, as a Canadian, I value the support of Quebec more than ties to the monarchy.


                Incidentally, this is interesting:

                If Harry wishes to live in Canada and keep his title, he might face another problem: the Nickle Resolution of 1919.

                That resolution of Parliament, reaffirmed by the governments of Lester Pearson, W.L. Mackenzie King and Brian Mulroney, effectively bans foreign titles of nobility for Canadian citizens and anyone “domiciled or living in Canada.”


                I actually like that and it affirms that my disdain for nobility and titles and basically looking up to someone for things other than merit, is a Canadian thing.

    1. Yes, if Harry and Megan’s plan is to earn a living on the celebrity circuit and social media as a kind of upmarket Kardashians their grievances about the coverage about them in the media so far will pale into insignificance. Be careful what you wish for, as the saying goes.

  1. If there’s a sillier, more anachronistic concept than “royalty,” it fails to spring readily to mind.

    1. Perhaps fatuous U.S. celebrity culture, as especially reflected in the “Styles” section of the NY Times?

  2. European Countries which retain royalty:

    United Kingdom
    Vatican City

        1. A citizen of a country whose political system is circumscribed by the “original intent” of the “Founding Fathers”, i.e. a bunch of 18th-century guys in powdered wigs, has no business sneering at European systems as “behind the times”.

          As has been shown by the establishment of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved governments in the late 1990s, and most recently by the Scottish independence and Brexit referenda, the British constitutional system is far more flexible, adaptable and responsive to the popular will than that of the USA, monarch or no monarch.

          1. The US Constitution has been amended 27 ways since ratification, as recently as 1992. None if these substantively changed the form of government.

            I’d say that 230 years without substantive change to the form of government is an indication of success.

            1. The US Constitution is too damn hard to amend. Of those 27, the first 10 were part of the ratification process, 3 were coerced during reconstruction, and two just cancel each other out. The remaining twelve are, as you say, not very substantive, except perhaps the sixteenth and nineteenth.

              The result—Constitutional change has largely occurred through interpretation by unelected justices. Not a great system, I think.

            2. So how do you explain the presence of the present incumbent at the white house because of some geographical hocus-pocus, and not because of numbers of voters?

            3. I’d say it’s a symptom of ossification.

              As witness the convoluted ways in which your (US) legal system has to pussyfoot around e.g. ‘states rights’ to achieve anything. ‘Commerce clause’ ffs!

              Ultimate proof? – remind me which country has Trump in power?


              1. Our undemocratic way of electing presidents is one of the most significant flaws of our system.

            4. The 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments changed radically as to who can participate in government and enjoy the benefits of citizenship. I would consider this a change in the form of government as much as, let’s say, the direct election of senators.

              1. The direct election of senators was a negative. Back when senators were appointed by their state, the Senate knew its place as protecting state rights. Now senators are directly elected, the Senate thinks and acts like it represents the people as much as the House, and of course it does not.

          2. To which the existence of the monarchy adds precisely zip, zero, zilch, naught, nothing, nada damn thing (even if we accept your dubious premise).

            1. Here’s a monarchy-related footnote in Simon Sebag Montefiore’s ‘Jerusalem’, & surprising in its own way.
              The mother of Prince Philip – himself not noted as a raving liberal – was called Princess Andrew, maybe the original boy named Sue. She is buried in Jerusalem & in 1994 was commemorated by her son at Yad Vashem the holocaust memorial centre. This is because she took in a Jewish family of 3, the Cohens, when the Germans were murdering the Greek Jews.
              She is one of the Righteous among the nations. There’s a bolt from the blue, almost literally.

              1. … maybe the original boy named Sue.

                That one made me laugh, Dermot. Gotta say, I didn’t see it coming. 🙂

            2. I think it’s hard to stomach having your governmental* system insulted (“risible”) by somebody whose country’s own political system is keeping a liar and a crook in power. What should we replace the Royals with? Your system, no thank you very much.

              The only thing that winds me up about the monarchy is the excessive media attention given to them. They really are irrelevant to our daily lives. I don’t care if Prince Harry has decided not to play anymore. I do care if our health service is being dismantled and sold off to execrable American insurance companies.

              * the Royal family isn’t really part of the political landscape. They have no real power ands their roles are purely symbolic.

      1. “It’s time to think about the dissolution of the monarchy.”

        True – but in favour of what? A Trumpity?

        I’ll stick with a monarchy I cannot logically defend on the simple basis that it is a far cheaper system than you Yanks have managed to engineer.

        At least our Head of State complies with the law of the land, is not a cheat nor a thief nor a con-person nor a fraud nor a bankrupt.

        1. But I believe the line of succession contains a man who is a pedophile; and until he abdicated, you did have a king who was pretty clearly a Nazi in the 1930s.

          1. the line of succession contains a man who is a pedophile

            If you have evidence for that, you need to take it to the police. If you don’t, you should stop making libellous accusations.

            you did have a king who was pretty clearly a Nazi in the 1930s
            Are you talking about Edward VIII? He’s far from being the worst person to have been a head of state in the UK. But I don’t think that being guilty of crimes, even of thought, is hereditary.

            1. “…Edward VIII? He’s far from being the worst person to have been a head of state in the UK.”
              Yes, you’re right, as long as you go back enough centuries before his genetic line got their paws on the line of succession. In any case, such worse-than-himmers are not exactly a good recommendation for the virtues of having a monarchy. Recently, I have come to care very little for the country I did live in a few times for about 6 years, and did love 50 years ago, got married there. But all those connections have been trying and succeeding to get away from England in recent years, as should the whole of Scotland and of the Northern Ireland. I do care somewhat about getting shut of that royalty lot having any connection with the governing of Canada, symbolic or otherwise.

              “If you have evidence for that, you need to take it to the police. If you don’t, you should stop making libellous accusations.”

              You know perfectly well
              1/ that both my examples were an attempt to point out that your earlier statement about Liz namely, “At least our Head of State complies with the law of the land, is not a cheat nor a thief nor a con-person nor a fraud nor a bankrupt.”, is very far from the case when looked at as any kind of claim about the monarchy in general; and
              2/ that to state ones own belief in the truth of a criminal accusation, a very public accusation, is neither libellous not does it have the implication that one possesses additional evidence to what has already been reported and is very convincing. I hope the man is tried, convicted and jailed, assuming that the known public evidence has no flaws: very unlikely it does, I’d say. Maybe you could tell me some credible flaws and change my mind.

              1. I was born in England and I’ve lived here for more than fifty years. Until June 2016 I loved my country. Since then, it’s been brought to my attention that some of my fellow countrymen are pretty small minded bigots and others are greedy selfish bastards (unfortunately, they are the ones in power). I no longer think of this as a green and pleasant land.

                However, none of our troubles are anything to do with the fact that we have a constitutional monarchy.

                both my examples were an attempt to point out that your earlier statement about Liz namely, “At least our Head of State complies with the law of the land, is not a cheat nor a thief nor a con-person nor a fraud nor a bankrupt.”

                I’m glad you acknowledge that my comments were about the current monarch. It does confuse me that you were arguing that past monarchs are an indication of how future monarchs will behave. Also, not being a monarch is no guarantee that the head of state is not “a cheat nor a thief nor a con-person nor a fraud nor a bankrupt”. (NB, whilst I did say something similar to that, those exact words were written by Samphire, not me.) Not that it would matter if they were. The British monarch has no real power.

              2. Apologies for my mistake in not checking properly. I had thought, in replying to you, that I was replying to a reply by the same person to whom I’d replied earlier! That last sentence needs a professional logician to disentangle it.

              3. Do not despair, Jeremy. There will always be an England, and England is worth loving. Although I didn’t support it, I do not think Brexit will be a disaster. My guess is that the UK will end up with some sort of Norway deal.

                It would be sad if Brexit leads to Scotland jumping ship, but then again the Scots are always threatening to jump ship.

    1. 12 out of 44, so 25+%. Man, that’s a lot of luxury and sinecures. I wonder if other countries’ royalty are as popular as the UK’s, or Vatican City’s.

  3. While shopping this morning, I looked through the headlines of the British national papers, as I always do. With few exceptions, they were all about this irrelevancy. I couldn’t bear to look at the BBC news today.

    Of course, it’s all part of the Establishment’s plot – fill the heads of the groundlings with this pap and they won’t have time to think of the real issues in the country and the world.

    1. Yes, it’s all an establishment plot. How could I have failed to see that?

      And which “real issues” do you think the media should be covering instead? Brexit? Climate change? Yes, you’re right, I don’t think I’ve heard either of those subjects mentioned for years.

    2. Actually, Alan, it’s not the “Establishment” but mainly the Daily Mail which has driven Harry away just as it would have driven you away if you had had to suffer the same intrusive drivel day in and day out.

      The Mail won’t give up until it has broken every one of the Golden Eggs which has give rise to its vulgar popularity. But, in its defence, it only prints the crap its vulgar audience wants to read.

    1. And apparently the 40 odd year attempt at a form of pan-national federalism didn’t go down well with a large chunk of the populous either

  4. British taxpayers just forked out £2.4 million to refurbish Harry & Megan’s house in Oxford – and now they’re planning to leave it empty for half the year. We Brits also cover the (undisclosed) cost of their security arrangements- which will now be transatlantic. They say they’re going to be “financially independent” – fat chance. They are just going to give up the 5% of their income that comes from the Sovereign Grant (previously known as the Royal List), but that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their publicly funded lifestyle, I suspect.

    1. “British taxpayers just forked out £2.4 million to refurbish Harry & Megan’s house in Oxford”

      Compare that to the $138 million the American taxpayer has paid out over the last 3 years for Chump to go cheating at golf nearly every weekend.

    2. Harry inherited millions which he keeps even if there is a complete break with the succession where he loses his titles – he has around £30M at his disposal [according to the MSM]. The couple also have a brand ‘Sussex Royal’ which they will be selling licenses for the use of even if they lose official ‘Royal’ status – this kerfuffle inflates the value of the brand & my wild guess it’s worth at least £50M a year in the USA alone & just wait until MM* starts her “MM”-branded [just my suggestion] fashion line.

      Then there’s MM’s book on the inner workings of the Royal household – I’m sure she’s kept copious notes.

      Harry & Megan are a potential money printing machine & they have a lot of cards in their hand for the coming NDA-negotiations – keeping quiet about the broad details of Prince Andrew’s ‘loose’ lifestyle & his role as an arms sales ambassador should earn them £10Ms. Then there’s the millions to shut up about the insufferable, arrogant, stupid & loony Prince Charles.

      * MM not for Milo Minderbinder

  5. For all their faults (and yes, there have many) countries with a constitutional monarch as head of state are among the most peaceful, stable, humane, civilized and prosperous places on Earth. The UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Japan. With the exception of Japan, all are magnets for immigrants from every corner of the world, many of them fleeing from various “Peoples’ Republics”, “Democratic Republics” and the like. Constitutional monarchy isn’t solely responsible for that success, but it is a factor in the overall political culture that makes those countries such attractive places to live. No-one would create the British constitutional system from scratch, but that’s the point – it wasn’t created from scratch, it evolved, over centuries, with a lot of bloodshed and upheaval along the way. It works, it ain’t broken, and it doesn’t need fixing.

    If anyone in the UK wants to form a political movement dedicated to abolishing the monarchy, go right ahead, there’s nothing stopping you. I’m sure some already exist, but their virtual invisibility tells you something about how much popular appeal they have. Or, you could just try moving to one of those “Peoples’ Republics” you seem to admire so much.

    1. No different from the “little people” argument in favor of religion.

      Whatever helps keep the serfs and vassals pacified.

    2. You will apologize for calling me an admirer of “People’s Republics” or you won’t comment here again. What a fricking nasty comment about me.

      Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed today.

      1. “British taxpayers just forked out £2.4 million to refurbish Harry & Megan’s house in Oxford”

        Compare that to the $138 million the American taxpayer has paid out over the last 3 years for Chump to go cheating at golf nearly every weekend.

      2. “You will apologize for calling me an admirer of “People’s Republics”

        Ooh, err.

        The Briish Constitution has survived for 1,000 years (nearly). The 233 year-old US Constitution currently seems to be on its knees thanks to a Republican lickspittle courtier of worse character than any I can remember in Britain since the blackguard Lord Blackadder offered to have King Richard III carried around on his naked wife’s shoulders for want of a horse.

  6. At the end of the day it is just another family disagreement, a disturbance. We have all had some of those I would guess, although not spread all over the news like this one. They got through crazy Edward they can surely make it through this. I suspect the only people who enjoy it also watch soaps.

    1. James,

      I feel that it wasn’t the removal of the monarchy that was the problem but the choice of replacement – faults or not, monarchy is significantly better than Theocracy.

      Before any passing USA-ians get too smug about that bad choice (some smugness is understandable) – a bunch of those very same deranged theocrats crossed the Atlantic and got mythologized into your own national story.

      Take care,


  7. I was born in England but now live in the US. If the the English insist on having a King or Queen, and if it isn’t going to be me, they can go screw themselves.

    1. From your name, it seems likely you wouldn’t want to be called the Queen!

      More seriously but not much, a former prim-and-proper neighbour of mine has a son who, after fathering several children within marriage, decided that his sexual preferences were not really heterosexual. If something like that happened in the royal family, and ‘it’ succeeded the throne, and to the point, the new preference was bisexual, is it he, the King, or she the Queen, or it or other pronoun, the what? Is the Brits’ constitution-by-tradition in need of some gap filling here?

      As a Canadian, it gets up my nose a bit that our head of state is the British monarch, though effectively we have control of who’s the Gov.Gen., the representative. (A very successful president of my university got that job between his ages of about 70 and 75.) But hopefully none of our tax money is going to Liz and offspring, nor will go to Harry&Meg Security Unlimited, if they live partly here–I’ll bet it won’t be wintertime, though maybe Whistler would be attractive–I think the Royalty Reality TV show characters all get taught the lazy-show-off form of skiing, i.e. alpine, so that they can hob-nob in Switzerland.

      On the other hand, Norwegian royalty, far from perfect, as we all are, do have a lot of support, and don’t seem to chew up too much in the way of resources. The grandchildren of our good friends in Asker attend a perfectly regular public school where the Crown Prince’s offspring also get their elementary education. His ‘palace’ is just down the road. I’ve often done a bit of skiing in the morning on the sports grounds of that school. Everybody walks and exercises there. But that royalty dates only from the early 1900s, when Norway got out from under Denmark (or Sweden? Can’t remember). At the time, Amundsen beating Scott to the South Pole was a source of pride and confidence for the ‘new’ nation. There is a very good new film, with english subtitles, about the days of the Nazi invasion, called ‘The King’s Choice’ in translation. I think the present king is just the 3rd of this modern version of Norway. If there’s a Norwegian ‘here’, I likely need some correction on some of the above.

      1. ‘The King’s Choice’ was just shown on TV in the UK, an excellent and powerful film with great performances.

      2. Phoffman56,

        That would be one of those “we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it” moments so prevalent in an unwritten constitution.

        Take the present incumbent – she’s known as “the Second” even though Scotland has only ever had one Queen Elizabeth (For those with knowledge of different national histories – Q.E I ruled when the two nations were separate).

        When Lizzie became Queen, they had to settle on a regnal number and came up with the compromise that this would be the next highest number from the (approved, post 1066) rulers of either country.

        If the UK were ever to get another King James (he of Bible fame was first in England and fifth in Scotland), the new King would be “the Eighth” (we also managed to sneak in a James II/VI)

        One can hope that Charlie chooses James or Charles as his regnal name as these seem to end poorly – civil war and glorious revolution!


        1. My initial solution to your puzzle was wrong because of the nordic versus alpine distinction, i.e. cross country versus downhill. So I’ll keep working on figuring out the question and its answer.

        2. Now I understand I think:
          The guy who ‘switched’ after having a family would be now around 53, and lives I’m pretty sure in Alberta now, Calgary I think.
          He is more my son’s age, and I don’t know his children’s names.
          It would be a nice coincidence if it was the same person. He seemed a very solid fellow when a teenager, and I’ve not seen him since, but kept up with his parents when they were alive, despite moving 15 km. away.

      3. I don’t like the whole monarchy in Canada because:

        1)It seems silly in this day and age but I think a lot of the weird pomp and circumstance in all governments seem silly.

        2) It really pisses off Quebec.

        1. ‘It really pisses off Quebec’
          Sounds a good reason to like them.

          After all, the Queen is the Duke of Normandy.

          1. Yeah some Canadians would like to piss off Quebec but I live in Ontario and Ontario and Quebec are secret lovers that look out for each other when the rest of Canada aren’t looking.

  8. I’m not so sure a constitutional monarchy is such a bad system. Of the 18 countries that score better than the US (at no 19) in the happiness index, 10 are constitutional monarchies (there are only 35 in total, out of 160+). Not a bad score. I added their per capita GDP’s which are, one feels, somehow related, but not tightly so. Do I need to add these countries have a low GINI coefficient too?
    Note that no 1, Finland, is a parliamentary republic.

    – Denmark: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 2, pc GDP no 19
    – Norway: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 3, pc GDP no 6.
    – Netherlands: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 5, pc GDP no 12
    – Sweden: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 7 pc GDP no 15
    – New Zealand constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 8, pc GDP no 31
    – Canada: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 9, pc GDP no 21
    – Australia: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 11, pc GDP no 17
    – Luxemburg: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 14, pc GDP no 2
    – United Kingdom: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 15, pc GDP no 26
    – Belgium: constitutional monarchy, happiness index no 18 pc GDP no 22

    1. Moreover, all of these countries are democracies and can elect to abolish their monarchies at anytime if the people want to. The monarchies are not being imposed on them. Why is this a problem?

    2. My point is, as far as happiness (or equality) goes, a constitutional monarchy is not an impediment. Maybe the contrary.

      1. Yes, replacing the monarchy with an elected head of state has its own drawbacks. Chinless inbred royal or Trump? Its a tough call…

        1. Give me the “chinless inbred royal” anyday. After all, he is a constitutional monarch, with little real power.

        2. I like the French system. I’d go for that if we decided to get rid of the monarchy but I still like the parliamentary system. I used to think a presidential system would be better but now that I’ve seen how hard it is to get rid of Trump and how much power a President has, I’m appreciating the fact that in a parliamentary system you can call an election if you decide that you have lost confidence in the government. Other countries have better electoral systems – like NZ that abandoned first past the post. I’d like to have NZ’s electoral system, keep our parliament and figure out the head of state stuff. It wouldn’t be easy but I think it is doable. At the same time, there is so much going on right now that getting rid of the monarchy and all that entails isn’t high on a Canadian’s priority list when Australia is on fire, the US is melting down politically, and Iran shot down an airliner with a bunch of Canadians on the plane.

      2. Unless I missed one, the worst constitutional monarchy, as far as happiness index goes, is Buthan, at no 95, with a pc GDP at no 108, but then, Buthan’s monarchy is not very much of a comstitutional monarchy.

        1. I thought that Bhutan was the country that invented the Gross Domestic Happiness Index (in contrast to the …Product…one), and were high on that index. So I guess the U.N. index is quite different.

    3. It’d be more informative to compare all those countries you mention with all the countries that were monarchies but now aren’t. I’d be interested in seeing the results of that.

      I’d also argue that a rather significant complicating factor is that monarchies were ubiquitous in the west, and the west is where democratic values flourished due to the Enlightenment. So the most one could say is that monarchies are perhaps a helpful step on the way towards liberal democracy.

  9. Before the U.S. gets too self-congratulatory about Britain’s dynastic tendencies remember that there is already speculation about whether it will be Don Jr or Ivanka running for the White House in 2024. Given the Bush family’s successful attempt to pass the baton between the generations and the Clintons’ own efforts to keep the presidency in the family the U.S. is starting to resemble India before Modi and Pakistan before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto!

    1. Dream on, or I should say nightmare. But here is one piece of news for those who seem to hate the monarch.

      The congress has been attempting to get a financial report from this administration as to how much it is costing to cover this president as he parades around from golf course to golf course. The treasure is refusing to release any of it and say they might provide something in 2021. From a one month estimate of travel they believe it is costing as much for one year as it does for 8 years of a normal president. And how much of that money is going directly in to the pocket of this president – they have no idea.

      I would not be too quick to point figures at the U.K. or any other place.

      1. “And how much of that money is going directly in to the pocket of this president – they have no idea.”

        Doesn’t the US government pay the rent/hotel fare when the president resides in rooms at Mar-a-Lago?

        1. Yes and all the other Trump golf course locations. Plus all the additional required security, all the meals eaten, all the golf cart rentals all the additional travel costs and on and on. So whats your point. We the people and congress would like to know the totals $$. The administration has refused.

    2. Much earlier the US already had a second president Rooseveldt.
      And I’m sure the US would have had a second president Kennedy if Robert had not been assassinated, and possibly even a third if not for the suspicious drama at Chappaquiddick.
      Were not the Kennedy’s considered some kind of Royals, the ‘Camelot’ designation?

        1. Yes, the Adamses, very early indeed: 2nd and 6th.
          My bad, I was under the impression Teddy was FDR’s uncle, but he was the uncle of his wife, it is indeed more distant and distantly incestuous too. Very monarchical 🙂

      1. Teddy was but an uncle to FDR I think. Now FDR did marry a cousin. We had two Adams and two Bushes. Damn near two Clinton’s.

        1. Per Wikipedia: “Two distantly related branches of the family from Oyster Bay on Long Island and Hyde Park in Dutchess County rose to national political prominence with the elections of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909) and his fifth cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–1945), whose wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was Theodore’s niece.”

          So, Teddy was Eleanor’s uncle and a distant cousin of Franklin.

    3. The same Don Jr. who got heckled by right-wingers while trying to promote his book?

      The problem with the Trump children is that none of them are or can ever be their father. They are developmentally stunted adult children who even Trump sycophants don’t particularly like that much. They all tend to businesses owned by their father and he is a tyrant who keeps them on short leashes. They will never become their own masters and even when he’s dead they’ll be living in his shadow.

      The Bushes are more on the order of an old fashioned political dynasty. Dubya and Jeb traded on their family name but also made their own political (and actual) fortunes besides.

      1. I’m pretty sure that, as much as I despise a lot of them, there are nevertheless plenty of Trump voters who really, really, really don’t want to vote for him. They don’t really like him, they’re embarrassed that they feel they have to defend him, and they’d jump at any palatable alternative.

        Therefore the idea that Trump’s charisma-free, accomplishment-free wannabe-Gordon-Gecko douchebag-son is going to be a serious candidate it absurd. I know everyone said that about Trump Sr too, but he at least had a certain relentless, dimwitted momentum and a kind of gutter charisma, so it was credible that he’d attract followers. Not Trump Jr though.

        1. Perhaps you’re forgetting that Trump Sr. will have destroyed our democracy by then. Trump Jr. will be President by appointment when Trump Sr. chooses to retire. Not sure what happens to Ivanka in this scenario.

          1. Yes, I was assuming there’d still be a functioning democracy left by that time. I think there will be, but I’m only about 60/40.

      2. I agree about the Trump children….I think it really needs to be Don or no one but then I think about how I just didn’t think the American people would vote for Trump. After all, I told people that perhaps Obama wouldn’t get in when he got in because “stupid is everywhere” so I never really get it right and I fear that there could be a Trump dynasty and god help us all.

        1. I remember distinctly, when Obama was first elected president, thinking that there would be a price to pay for it. Racism seemed way too prevalent in the US for that to happen. I sure couldn’t imagine that Trump would be the price and that it would be so high.

          1. I read a sci fi novel where the US elected a theocratic president and then as a response an atheist president was elected and then all hell broke loose and a civil war happened where an entire theocracy developed as a result. This was written before Trump and I suspect the author was a bit amused writing it, but now you can see how it can happen. I’m actually worried about the future and what it holds regardless of who gets elected because this whole Trump thing is a symptom of something bigger that isn’t going away.

              1. Don’t think I did that. I read this fiction after the reality already happened (the backlash). But I think we should all read more Philip K Dick (not where this story came from) because his dystopian future is playing out more and more.

            1. There’s also “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, also a popular TV show on Hulu, where religious types overthrow the US government and install a brutal theocracy. I would imagine some of the more religious Republicans would like a country like the one in the story.

            2. I’m reading ‘How Democracies Die’, that came out in 2018. It’s fascinating, and they really know their onions. They adduce rigorous statistical evidence to back up their arguments; it’s no polemic.

              As you can imagine it’s pretty much all prescient, one passage stood out in particular:

              “we fear that if Trump were to confront a war or terrorist attack he would exploit this crisis fully – using it to attack political opponents and restrict freedoms Americans take for granted. In our view, this scenario represents the greatest danger facing American democracy today.”

              It’s the bump in popularity that such a crisis gives a leader that is so dangerous, and they identify that bump as the one thing that would enable Trump to chew straight through all the guardrails and norms that would otherwise take decades to undermine.

              It is a frighteningly perceptive book. They should make a pop-up version and airdrop it into red states.

              1. They’ve taken the first few steps already, threatening those who merely question the administration’s Iran actions and plans as un-American and potential traitors. And by mentioning Dems specifically in such claims, they are basically asserting Republicans are patriots and Democrats are not. This is doubling down on the old theme that one should start a war to win reelection.

              2. I think I started reading that book but got too depressed to continue and have now taken refuge in fictional works to cope.

  10. are folding up their royal tent, disassociating to a large degree from the Firm at Buckingham

    I agree with the pundits who say this is all about having their cake and eating it too. It’s not real loss to them at all.

    First, just to be clear, they’re giving up the ~5% of their income the UK gives them for expenses such as upkeep of the royal properties they personally inhabit as well as appearances at official functions.

    Second, they are NOT giving up the 95% of their income that comes from his father being the Prince of Wales. That title and position comes with ownership of many high-value royal properties, which make money. Charles, with the permission of the UK government, turns around and supports his sons with that money. If the UK were serious about ditching royalty, all those properties would become government-owned and the profits would not go to Charles or any other Windsor merely by way of their noble title.

    At the same time, there’s a law on the books that say royals can’t hold real jobs (don’t ask me why, I don’t know. And AIUI it’s only loosley enforced). So what this really does is give them access to more potential sources of wealth, not less.

    Fourth, they still don’t pay for their own security, which costs the UK doesn’t disclose and doesn’t consider part of their “income.” UK taxpayers still pay for this.

    Lastly, had this not been for show, they could’ve made exactly the same decision without announcing it. I take the fact that they’re making a big deal out of it one more indication that this is really their way of shining the spotlight on themselves, getting more followers, etc. etc. in order to sell more books or get paid more for tweets etc.


    They’ll keep going to all the royal functions they want to. They’ll do none of the ones they don’t like but the UK government would like them to do. They’ll continue taking public monies from UK taxpayers. And they’ll now make more money on the side.

    1. There is a lot of confusion in your post, but there is certainly no ‘law’ that says the royals can’t hold real jobs. Many of them do. Some of them do so while also performing state duties from time to time

      1. AIUI Senior Royals are officially ’employed’ by the monarchy. Those are people close in the line of succession, of which Harry is one. I think that employment is also what makes them eligible for the Sovereign Grant funding (the 5% of their income they’re giving up).

        Here is the BBC’s explanation. I WAS wrong about one thing: Charles’ money comes from his title as Duke of Cornwall, not Prince of Wales. But pretty much everything I wrote about the money aligns with what the BBC is saying. Oh, and I forgot the ~$4 million the UK taxpayers paid them to renovate their house…which they now just decided not to live in.

  11. Harry would have to kill 5 of his relatives to get to the Iron Throne – not really feasible these days. So why bother even playing that game? Take a step out of that system and enjoy life.

      1. I ‘m a great fan of Alec Guinness. Some decades ago they had a whole series of his films on TV, but I must have missed “Kind Hearts and Coronets”. ‘

        1. Watch it if you can – Guinness plays nine members of the same family, and six of them in a single shot! A major special effect of its time.

    1. I am a mild republican but even I get a bit annoyed by this argument. The security that surrounds the royals is a necessity over which they have no choice, not a privilege. From the moment they are born they are at risk of assassination. Even if they give up all official roles and income the Sussexes would be a target for the rest of their lives.

      1. It’s not a big issue to me for regular royals, former Presidents, and the like…but this couple made a large, intentional public statement (which evidently wasn’t cleared or discussed with other royals or the government) about how they were going independent. That’s not consistent with the expectation “well, of course the UK will pay for our security for the rest of our lives.”

        They’d both be millionaires in their own right, without any support from the crown. He has ~$6-7 million from his mothers estate, and she earned (reportedly) $50k/episode of Suits for, what, 7-8 seasons? And she, at least, should have no problem finding a high paying job. They can afford a couple full time bodyguards while living in the very safe city of Vancouver. And if they want to continue to attend official UK events as royals, I have no problem with the government covering their security at such events. What’s unreasonable about that?

  12. The income of the royal family is controlled by parliament. They are well paid employees if the british government. The Britush monitor the income the family brings in from tourism. The government is way ahead financially by the present arrangement. The arrangement could be changed at any time if the British people wanted it changed. The properties except for two private estates owned by the queen belong to the government and cannot be sold by the family.
    I agree that they are overpaid but that is the decision of the brits.

    1. Take away all the palaces, castles, and estates; let ’em do honest work running a souvenir shop.

      Better yet, put ’em in a petting zoo. Tourists’d no doubt pay plenty of pounds for a privilege like that.

    2. It’s not “the decision of the Brits”. We’ve never had the slightest say in it, although we’re constantly told how much everyone bloody loves the royalty.

      Come on Brexiteers, let’s have a referendum on the royalty next. Democracy, taking back control, etc.

            1. How? It’s a major decision about the future of the country. Why shouldn’t we be given a say on this too?

              This is the problem with the Brexiteer stance: you want to be able to change things with a referendum…but only if you don’t like them in the first place. If they’re things you like, like the monarchy, then they’re somehow ‘different’ in nature from whether or not we stay in the EU, and we can’t have a referendum on them. And that makes no sense.

              This is the pandora’s box that you open when you start having referendums on major national issues.

          1. True.

            But you obviously don’t understand the British constitution. It is not a matter in which Parliament can adjudicate.

            1. I have no idea what you’re trying to say and I don’t think you have either. Holding a referendum on the subject is a way of gauging the public mood. It doesn’t have to be some kind of binding measure, and parliament doesn’t have to adjudicate on it.

          2. But this is different from Brexit snd requires a different solution. Parliament has reduced the number of royals receiving grants and I believe will continue to reduce their income snd duties. The queen used her grant to manage the estates, staff and other things. It would be more efficient for parliament to hire someone qualified other than having the monarch do it. Future monarchs may not be as able and qualified as this one. I see the royals withering away and having less exposure, much like they have done in other counties where they are hardly noticeable.

  13. I think @Nicolaas Stempels, @darwinwins, and @eric pretty much have it right. Not to mention @JezGrove’s noting the Bush, Clinton and Trump families’ dynastic pretensions. And lest we forget, the Kennedy’s too.

    And Princess Di? The tabloids were horrible, but she played along. The arrangement suited both (although, doubtless, the young sons suffered).

    One anecdote: the weekend Di died I called up Mercedes engineers in Germany. “I thought your saloons had a reinforced passenger zone, so why did she die?”

    “They do. The passenger compartment survived [a 70 mph head on collision with a concrete column] intact. If you notice, the doors opened perfectly well after the crash. It wasn’t compromised.”


    “She wasn’t wearing her seat belt. She bounced back and forth inside the protected box. That is what killed her.”

    Turns out its true. Di, Dodi and the driver who weren’t wearing seatbelts died. The bodyguard, in the front passenger seat, who was wearing his seatbelt, survived.

    1. It’s called celebrity. Have you not noticed how the common people slobber all over Hollywood personalities. You can now kiss my ring.

      1. Some people in Hollywood have genuine talent. The royals are more like “celebutantes,” such Paris Hilton, or the Kardashians, or old-school Eurotrash, like the sisters Gabor.

          1. Sure, but that modicum of skill has naught to do with the royal blood coursing through his veins.

            It was earned, not a birthright. I would never deny him earned military rank, merely the divine right of royalty.

            1. When we are discussing the intelligence of people who follow celebrities of all kinds we have pretty much scraped bottom. Henry is pretty much what he is by birth. If he chooses to be something else, good luck with that but I don’t think he has a clue really how normal people live. He still wants the nice 2.5 million dollar place they fixed up back home and all the security protection. But leave me and the wife alone. Poor boy.

      1. Jerry and the visitors to his website are by and large intelligent. I wonder why this post is here. If I wanted to hear about the Kardashians or the royals, I would go somewhere else.

        The only time I care about the royals was when they named Prince William after the street I lived on.

  14. People line up for hours just to get a glimpse of the Queen, but I saw her one night when I was taking out the garbage.

    It was in Tasmania in 1988. She was returning from an event in the Hobart Casino (the closest thing to a posh venue at the time), and I was walking around the corner with a garbage bag in each hand. Apart from that, she hasn’t played any direct role in my life. (Apart from sacking the Prime Minister in 1975.)

    1. I saw the emperor of Japan once.

      But to me, the royals thing is about the damage that can be done by having relationships with the ultra woke. Of course it ends in chaos and misery. Colin Kaepernick was a promising football player before he started dating one.

      1. Yes, everything bad is caused by political correctness. Meghan and Harry retiring from royal duties? Wokeness. Trump? Wokeness. Iran? Probably the fault of wokeness somewhere along the line.

        You fixate on this one utterly insignificant thing that you don’t like, to the exclusion of everything else going on in the world. It’s frustrating.

        1. I don’t think that is accurate. Harry was raised in that life. I am sure his mother’s separation from the family, and especially her death, had large effects on him.
          But Markle has a different background. She is a lifelong Hollywood progressive, marrying into a system that might be the opposite of progressive.
          The British press has been full of articles about how she would need to change substantially upon taking on the title. It does not appear that she is willing to do so. Instead, she and Harry have withdrawn from his friends, his brother, and now the whole situation.

          1. Nothing in your reply justifies your claim that excessive ‘wokeness’ had anything to do with this situation. You’re just shoehorning it in because that’s what right-leaning types do whenever they get the chance. What does ‘wokeness’ have to do with the two of them taking a back seat from their royal duties?

            The rest of your comment is kind of unpleasant, with the insinuations against Markle’s character and the excuse-making on behalf of Harry, a guy who dressed up as a Nazi not that long ago.

  15. An excessively long time ago, I took a course on British history. One of the surprising things I learned was the “use it or lose it” principle of monarchical power. If/when British kings/queens didn’t use certain royal prerogatives for a period of time, that prerogative ended up in the control of parliament. Over time, British royalty essentially had little to no power and were figurehead puppets subsidized by the people. Maybe it is better to have a relatively useless British monarchy than to have the U.S. president we currently have.

  16. Churchill once said that ‘democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time’. For many of us in the UK, it might be said that a consitutional monarchy is the worst headship of state except for etc etc.

    Regardless of what you lot in our former colonies might want to believe, the monarchy actually remains fairly popular in the UK. Certainly there is no general support for an elected Head of State, still less for the way in which he or she might be appointed, still less for the sort of candidates we might be faced with.

    President Blair? President Farage? Even President Attenborough or President Dench? Even King Big-Ears would be preferable. At least he’s had enough years of training for the job.

    1. I have no little with the UK having a royal family. And I understand and somewhat accept the tourism argument (it may be true most of the time, but unlike a real business arrangement, I can’t imagine the UK “laying off” any royals in a year when the royalty tourism becomes less profitable. So it’s really only a quasi-business relationship).

      What bugs me about this case is specifically the ‘we’re going to be independent’ claim. It seems to me analogous to our own US libertarians, who claim they want to be independent and not pay taxes, while in reality they continue to benefit from government funded infrastructure, schools, police, legal system, and yes health care when they inevitably don’t pay their medical bills. In the U.S. libertarian case, most of us see that as a combination of cluelessness (i.e. not understanding what they really get from the system) and selfishness (i.e. not wanting to pay their share for what they get from the system). These two aren’t really going to be independent. They know it. So, act mature and accept that you have some responsibilities to support the system that supports you.

      I wonder after reading sted24’s post #23 whether some of this stems from Diana’s death. Specifically, I wonder if Harry feels a very strong need to protect his son and their nuclear family from what his mother went through. Vancouver is really far away from London’s paparazzi. I do wish them well. It’s a wonderful city. It’s just the public ‘we’re going it alone!’ thing that bugs me.

  17. The tourism argument is a strong one though. It is really part of England’s character that I suspect draws in tourists and their cash. Unlike in some other countries with royalty, the UK Royals really have been good about not getting involved in politics, AFAIK. The complaints would have a lot more weight if they were to put their royal feet on the scale for any political decision.

    1. Well, you could get rid of the monarchy but keep the Queen’s guard and let them parade around Buckingham palace for the tourists, sort of like Goofy and Snow White at Disneyland.

          1. Now that’s an idea: a royal-themed amusement park! I suspect that it would have to be sanctioned by the Royal Family which they would probably never do. Cheapens the brand and all that.

      1. Interesting. I didn’t know that, assuming it’s true.

        I’m very dubious about this Royals-massively-boost-tourism argument. Even if it were true, the idea that we can’t attract tourists without pimping out a bunch of chinless, pampered mediocrities doesn’t say much for us as a nation.

  18. I may have missed it, but instead of slamming and praising the system in different countries, and how things have developed there, maybe giving a slightly detailed ‘abstract’ system one regards as best possible for heads of state would be interesting.

    For example, it’s not the words “king” or “monarchy” that’s of any interest, it’s the method of ‘succession by gonad activity’, length of term in power (lifetime??), amount of pomp and tax money spent, .. that we non-supporters of monarchy mostly don’t like. But a head of state with mostly ceremonial power seems to have some advantages over one which produces Drumpfs and other dangerous dunces with great power over all humans or just those in the country. Succession by some kind of democratic choice seems however the best of a bad lot of methods.

    For example in my Canada, how about having the Governor General elected by all the senior judges in the country from a set of candidates created by all the living recipients of the Order of Canada, and having only the small amount of genuine political power as at present, and with no connection to Britain, especially its Royal Family Reality Show.

    As for the US, it’s none of my business other than wishing not to be incinerated by nukes and wishing future humans not to suffer an ugly species death caused by Murdoch and his media empire, which puts people like Drumpf in power. So I do offer the opinion re US that constitutionally restraining very drastically their presidency is important for humans to thrive in the future.

  19. I think for most people in the UK it’s an irrelevance. Some like the soap opera nature of it.
    I’m indifferent to it’s continuance. But if it makes some people happy…

  20. On Royal matters. If you have access to the BBC iPlayer there’s a 3 parter titled “The Killing of a King”. It’s about the events leading to the execution of Charles I.

  21. I used to study baboon behavior, and at one point, a pair of very minor royals visited our field site. They had a lead party that taught us how to properly curtsy and communicate with royalty (don’t speak unless spoken to, call the woman by her title plus her husband’s first name). As Americans, we “accidentally “ forgot all of the ridiculous rules as soon as the royals appeared. I remember that the woman was particularly impressed when we explained that young baboons inherit their mothers’ social ranks. She thought it was clear evidence that the monarchy was the pinnacle of evolution (amusing for several reasons, not the least of which was that she had married into her position).

  22. 2 things spring to mind
    !. The terrible treatment of Megan by the Tabloid Press which has been racist & extremely nasty. Experience suggests that the Tabloid press is out of control & equivalent to Fox (so called) News lots of clickbait & propaganda rather than verifiable facts
    2. The purposes of the Monarchy is in question when a Prime Minister (elected by the party members, not by the people of the UK) can close Parliament for 5 weeks against the wishes of Parliament simply by asking the Queen. Unless the Monarchy can insist that Parliament confirms they wanted this the Monarchs role becomes one of a Rubber Stamp to the Prime Minister as elected Dictator.
    Fortunately, the Court was able to counter this time but the same mini Trump PM has plans to curtail the power of the Judiciary by appointing people he chooses.
    The UK is fast becoming a tinpot dictatorship.

    1. She was never going to be accepted. Apart from the obvious xenophobia and racism, she was ‘stealing’ sweet little Harry away from us. That’s been the argument of the tabloids over the last few days: that she’s turned cheeky, Nazi costume wearing scamp Harry into a boring scold.
      More reasonable people might interpret this change in Harry as the process known as ‘growing up’, but nope, it was the evil American witch, the Woke-O Ono, who corrupted our sweet little Harry and brainwashed him.

      Our tabloids have always been rancid, but at this point in time, as they desperately try and stave off the inevitable transition to online news and print more and more extreme, hateful crap as a result, they are more despicable than they’ve been at any time since they were openly supporting the Nazis.

      1. The newspapers said
        She’s gone to his head …

        Christ you know it ain’t easy
        You know how hard it can be
        The way things are going
        They’re going to crucify me

    2. The attempted suspension of Parliament was judged illegal by the UK Supreme Court. The position of the monarch is to rubber stamp whatever the Prime Minister submits. Anything else would cause a constitutional crisis

      The Prime Minister does not appoint people to the UK Supreme Court. Appointments are recommended by a four person “commission”. The commission is made up of: The President of the Supreme Court plus representatives of the three legal jurisdictions within the UK (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).
      It’s very different from the American system. Sensibly, there’s also a compulsory retirement age of 70 for members of the UK Supreme Court.

  23. Fine. No more 24/7 security paid for by the taxpayer.
    No more subsidised hosing the UK. Try AirBnB next time.
    Harry and family lose press privacy in the UK.
    Relinquish royal titles – so Harry and Megham Windsor.

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