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God Save the Queen
Why British Monarchy Is the Best in World
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
HRH Queen Elizabeth II

"Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements."

HRH Queen Elizabeth II

I hate Royal-bashers. I hate them with a passion. I think they should be charged with treason and ejected from the United Kingdom because they don’t deserve to be here.

Every time I hear them whining about the monarchy being out of date, and how much the civil list costs the taxpayer to keep them, I feel sick to my stomach. Our monarchy is what makes Britain great, it is they who unite us in times of turmoil, and – when you think about it – they’re all we have left!

Britain is no longer the imperial power in the world it once was. Whether this is a good thing or bad, I will leave you to argue amongst yourselves. However, Britain is not the industrial giant it once was, its armed forces are not the mighty warriors they once were, football is our national sport and our national team haven’t won a major trophy since 1966, and with the Beatles gone, and The Who and the Rolling Stones qualifying for pensioners’ free bus passes, we don’t even dominate the music industry anymore.

The monarchy is all we have left, and frankly they’re worth all of the above put together. Our Queen is on our money, she is on our stamps, she is the symbol of Great Britain, and like the MacDonalds arches and the Microsoft Windows logo, she is instantly recognisable. Ours is the most famous royal family in the world. Go out and ask people if you don’t believe me – ask them to name a monarch from anywhere in the world, and I bet nine out of ten will name Queen Elizabeth.

The royal family are the biggest tourist attraction we have. No one comes to Britain to see our beaches, no one comes to see the disastrous Millenium Dome, now renamed the O2 Arena, and they certainly don’t flock in their millions to see the Prime Minister. However, they do for the Queen. People come in their millions, from all over the world, to see places like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, and all stand outside, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pride of Britain.

You don’t have to hold an MBA to know that tourism = money, and in the case of the royals, lots of it. It’s difficult to get an accurate figure of how much revenue they actually generate, but in 2003/4, they put £179million into the British Treasury. Now, that money only came from royal properties. The people that come here to see the royal family have to stay somewhere, so hotels gain from it; they have to eat, they have to travel. No one comes over here, takes a look at the Palace and then flies home; they look at other tourist sites as well, generating further revenue for them. People buy souvenirs, postcards, they take trips and tours. The knock-on effects are endless, but what it all adds up to is what must be a billion pound plus tourist industry on the back of the royal family alone, and countless jobs generated from the demand that this creates.

Say “The Royal Wedding” to someone, and they will immediately think of Charles and Diana. Their wedding attracted one of the highest number of television viewers in history. When Diana tragically died, the global outpouring of grief was amazing. People came from all over the world to be at her funeral, and many slept on the streets up to two days in advance to secure a good position. How many other royal families have generated so much attention?

The Queen was criticised at that time for appearing distant, and stiff. Comments were made about her coldness and apparent lack of emotion. Those who defended her said she was the Queen; she was just being regal. No – she was just being British!

The British are distant and stiff – we’re famous for it. In many countries around the world you can see men greeting each other with hugs, and kisses on the cheek. If I tried any of that with one of my British friends I’d either get a punch in the face or a firm hand on the chest accompanied by, “Easy, tiger.” Over here, you greet someone with a firm handshake and that’s it.

British men don’t talk about our emotions. If our girlfriend or wife dumps us we keep a stiff upper lip. If you do decide to share it with one of your male friends, the best you can hope for is him wriggling uncomfortably in his chair, spouting clichés like, “there’s plenty more fish in the sea”, and quite visibly trying to find an excuse to make a fast exit. The main response, however, is, “Come on, we’ll get you down the pub and get some beer in you. That’ll make you feel better.” But it won’t! You will inevitably get so drunk that you can barely stand, you’ll start crying to a complete stranger about how you’ve been dumped, and in the morning you’ll have a massive hangover to add to your misery.

The Queen embodies all of that. She is the symbol of all that is good, bad and just plain mental about the British. She is a beacon of hope and integrity in a country with a shortage of both at the moment. She is, has been, and always will be the best thing about this country, which is why British soldiers will say they’re fighting for Queen and country. How many American soldiers say they are fighting for president and country?

So, to all those who want to do away with our monarchy I say this: In less than two months, the world will come together for the biggest football tournament on earth. Most of the best players in the world will be on display, competing for the privilege of holding aloft the Jules Rimet trophy. As always the England team will go into the tournament with the expectations of a nation on their shoulders. No doubt it will be the usual rollercoaster ride. However, I say to all you royal-bashers: What do the England fans do when things are going badly? They sing “God Save the Queen” to lift their spirits. What do they do when things are going well? They sing “God Save the Queen” to express their national pride.

Ours is the best monarchy in the world, and brings British people together like nothing else. If you get rid of them then you destroy the bond that unites us. Besides, if we don’t have a Queen anymore, what do you suggest for our new national anthem, the theme from Eastenders?



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Shane Clarke serves as London Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He has been involved in humanitarian work for numerous years. He’s also a freelance management consultant. Having completed an honors degree in Law at Wolverhampton University, he then moved on to an MBA at Warwick Business School. He’s heavily involved in the fight against international parental child abduction to Japan.

 

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