Monarchy is illogical but we are so lucky
12:30pm Monday 11th June 2012 in Colin Baker
ITHINK it very inconsiderate of Her Majesty to have her Jubilee in the same week as I opened a new play. I spent all of Monday and Tuesday closeted in a theatre, and missed all the bunting, celebrations and cake.
There has been a lot of activity on the phone-ins this week, where the researchers have pitched ardent monarchists against tumbrel hauling republicans in a pointless bout of Lilibet canonising and bashing respectively.
It is unlikely, were you starting a constitution from scratch, that you would end up with an inherited figurehead in a modern democracy. However, we have been phenomenally lucky in comparison with other inherited dynastic monarchies, in having Queen Elizabeth II for the last 60 years. The best argument in her favour, aside from her success in being relentlessly careful, polite and uncontroversial for all those years (I wouldn’t be capable of doing that) is that no one has yet come up with an alternative that would stop the political estate from having absolute sway constitutionally. Every suggestion ever mooted for presidential possibles has appalled as many as it has pleased.
Yes, it is illogical. But the logical alternatives are either dull or just wrong. Our Royal Family (and I refer to the Queen and her descendants) is currently one of the biggest pluses for the UK worldwide, in terms of tourism, publicity and kudos.
In any other job, you would be unlikely to find an 80-year-old carrying on with the same vigour and resolute devotion to duty.
I have an instinctive disinclination to bow to anyone, especially if told to do so, but I raise my hat to you ma’am for a difficult job well done in the face of a few anni horribiles, premiers even more horribiles and overseas leaders that would tax the ability of Ken Dodd to raise a smile that wasn’t a rictus of horror.
I was lucky enough to be asked to compère part of the D-Day Celebrations in Hyde Park some years ago and was hugely impressed by the level of briefing and preparedness of the members of the royal family that I met.
And at most parties you or I can slide off and have a quiet glass of bubbly away from the madding crowd. They have to be ‘on’ all the time. I wouldn’t fancy it, despite all the palaces and privilege. Would you?