We Don't Do Revolution In The United Kingdom
As Modern As Tomorrow But With A Lot of Time For Yesterday
I never thought I would change my mind about the idea of a constitutional monarchy. A republic always seemed a much fairer and more just system to me. Born in England, I am proud to be English. After spending over 25 years in the USA, I am pleased that my children and grandchildren are American citizens and not subjects. And yet the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and my return to the UK after four completely insane years of Donald Trump have made me reconsider my previous beliefs.
Let me be honest right upfront. Over my adult lifetime, I have never been particularly fond of a monarchy. As an academic and historian, I found the whole idea unfair and unjust. When I say unfair, what I mean is the idea that one person or family can be so privileged while multi-millions more are not so. Remember, the land was not freely offered to a guy who called himself King. Kingships were a creation. Think about that idea for a few seconds . . . Monarchy tied with divinity was invented to obtain power and privilege. Just because over a thousand years we are now at a point when today's UK population sees a lovely dedicated old lady doesn't mean it's fair. Tony Benn described my lifelong concerns succinctly.
Okay, I've got that off my chest! So what happened to change my mind?
As King Charles III addressed Parliament this morning for the first time, I saw a very different person than the buffoon I had viewed him as over my lifetime. In fact, since his ascension to the throne, he even looked different. Indeed, his demeanor and communication were different. When asked to describe Charles III and his upcoming reign, commentator Gyles Brandreth noted that Charles III was "As modern as tomorrow but with a lot of time for yesterday." This description touched me because I thought it also described myself. It also described many of my academic colleagues. It then occurred to me that it represented my country of birth to a tee. It describes many British people too.