As the Platinum Jubilee holiday weekend in Britain draws to a close with the inevitable mention of the “r” word (rain, not Regina), it is worth considering the sum and substance of the British monarchy.
It sits atop a class system that can allow mediocre people to occupy positions of great authority because of the accident of birth.
And yet, as Ed Luce, the British man who is US national editor of the Financial Times, recently noted (paywall), it is possible to admire Queen Elizabeth II without envying her.
“Going through your entire life without being able to offer an opinion, being watched constantly for the slightest indication of bias, or error, or weakness, getting up every day to perform solemn duties mostly scripted by others in the knowledge that you can never retire, is not an existence to which any sane person would aspire. At 96, Elizabeth faces a working life that will not end until she dies. I would rather live an anonymous life on median income than inhabit her claustrophobic, gilded cage. I could not begin to imagine the discipline and willpower that enables her to do all this without offending anyone.”
That may sound hideous but it is hideously true. It is no advert for the monarchy.
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