9 January 2020


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Duke and Duchess of Sussex "Step Back" from Royal Duties


This journal is ardently republican. There is simply no reason for hereditary monarchy to exist in the third millennium. That said, this journal has no quarrel with any member of any royal house. Through that lens, one sees the decision of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to "step back" from their royal duties as an opportunity for the House of Windsor to streamline itself and preserve the monarchy for a generation or two. That presumes that the Firm sees this chance and seizes it.

Whatever the personal reasons for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to lay down with regal burdens and raise their son Archie in Canada part of the time, there is a very good political reason for them to do so. They are surplus to requirements. The monarchists in Britain (easily a majority) must defend the expense of a royal family, and they often do so by pointing out how much tourism and UK branding depend on the royals. Often, some of that is canceled out by boorish behavior or worse on the part of one or another of Elizabeth II's relatives. Most recently, Prince Andrew was effectively fired from his position because of his inappropriate friendship (or worse) with convicted child rapist Jeffrey Epstein. The fewer active royals there are, the less they cost and the fewer opportunities there are for disaster.

Looking at the current arrangements at the House of Windsor, Her Majesty's succession is secure for at least three generations. Presuming their regnant names are the same as those by which we know them (Edward VIII was known to the family as David), her successors shall be Charles III, William V, and George VII. All of them first sons. Charles is the eldest of four, William and George of two. The chance of the dynasty coming to an end, even with the cuts to the National Health Service, is approaching zero.

So what good is it to keep extra princes and princesses around? This journal maintains that monarchy is bad not only for the country but for the monarch, too

Imagine how much happier Charles might have been had he not had to leave Cambridge to attend Aberystwyth for a term to learn Welsh, or indeed, had he been free to marry Camilla rather than Diana in the first place. Imagine the kind of career options that are closed off. Prince Edward's time in the theatre suggests that being born farther from the throne increases the chances that one might be allowed to do what one wishes.

The current Sovereign Grant, the funds that pay for the royals, amounts to £82 million. Now for most mortals, that could be split 82 ways and none would ever have to work again. Yet the royals have different requirements. These must take care of travel, security, dental floss and socks for the family. The bigger the family, the less ostentatious its lifestyle. And ostentation in part of the royal mystique. George III had 15 children in the days before birth control; it is no wonder he needed to hold onto the American colonies.

One hopes that the personal lives of the Sussex family are long and healthy and happy. At the same time, the House of Windsor may wish to entertain the idea of cutting the younger siblings of the heirs out of the picture more than is done today. It doesn't mean that are not part of the family, rather that they simply don't work for the Firm. The current hard feelings over the lack of consulation will pass. A leaner, not meaner royal family is more likely to survive.

© Copyright 2020 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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