Op-ed: It’s time to change the British monarchy — or completely abolish it


Kayla Shiao

British Monarchy graphic

Ava Alaeddini, contributor

The British monarchy has been a constant fixture throughout the United Kingdom’s long history. While the crown has been handed down to multiple different monarchs, it has prevailed despite the rocky relationship between the royal family and the British public especially after light has been shed on the abusive, cruel treatment of those within their own circle and the protection they give to those who do not deserve it. However, with the recent news of Queen Elizabeth contracting COVID-19 and having to postpone multiple duties due to her symptoms, some people are wondering what the future of the British monarchy entails. 

Is there truly a solid future for this family to survive in the modern world when they have refused to adapt to the rapid changes of society?  Due to the royal family’s archaic nature and traditions, the monarchy needs to either adjust to the 21st century or be completely abolished. 

The public has witnessed this family ruthlessly do everything within their power to hold on to archaic traditions while rejecting modernity and even driving out members of their own family with bullying tactics. Throughout the last hundred years, they have endured the dissolution of their image as the face of the United Kingdom. Oprah conducted an interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that revealed how the British royal family used hateful racist tactics to drive the Duchess of Sussex’s mental health to a point that it forced her and Prince Harry to step down as senior royals in 2020. Prince Harry said in the interview that his biggest fear was “history repeating itself,” a clear reference to the cruel treatment and fate that was also imposed on his mother, the late Princess Diana. The interview provided a harsh, but truthful, glimpse into the archaic views of a family whose internal beliefs and morals have been rooted in prejudice. It became clear to me that with their treatment of Markle, the royal family showed the world that they really have stayed in a whitewashed, elitist bubble. 

Queen Elizabeth II responded to the interview by stating that they were “saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.” They followed that statement up by mentioning in the next sentence that “some recollections may vary,” which is a way of trying to discredit both The Duke and Duchess’ experiences. The monarchy’s only mode of defense is when they turn to the press and spread false accusations about the Sussexes in attempts to try and damage Prince Harry and Markle’s reputations while refusing to admit there needs to be some serious changes within their own system. 

Queen Elizabeth recently celebrated 70 years on the throne, which has prompted speculation about what will happen once her long reign is over. What happens when the crown gets passed down to her son? Public support has wavered throughout the decades for Prince Charles and his wife Camilla with the queen’s recent request that Camilla be crowned queen consort when Charles becomes king, a title that was originally meant for Princess Diana. Some thought it was extremely disrespectful to Princess Diana’s memory and another stunt from the royals to erase Diana’s legacy. The obvious course of action to crown Prince Charles as king might not be the one that the public prefers. Charles seems to have a much lower public approval rating than his mother, and with shows such as The Crown portraying him as the manipulative husband he was to Diana, and his reputation would have to be revived to new heights to encourage supporters of the monarchy. 

Additionally, Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse case shined light on the fact that the monarchy defends the abusers within and shames those who speak out against their flawed practices. There has been immense public distrust of the royal family, and I do not think that they will ever go back to the old-fashioned way of life that states every monarch is to be respected within their own right. The sexual abuse case, as well as Prince Andrew’s connections to Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, showed the world that the royals would go to any length to protect the wrong people in their own circle. I find it especially disappointing to see that Prince Andrew is still in line of succession for the crown, further proving that the royals have chosen tradition and silence over decency. 

The British royal family is ultimately an archaic system that has not changed throughout their many years in power. It is obvious looking at Princess Diana’s treatment, as well as the racism pointed towards Markle, that the royals refuse to acknowledge the cruelty that is endowed on certain members of their family because they strive for an unattainable image of perfection. It is this particular image they have of themselves that serves as their downfall and will perhaps force the public to demand drastic changes to occur when the crown does pass down from the current queen. The monarchy will have to make drastic changes and forgo their rejection of modernity otherwise they won’t survive. It is clear that this is a family built on the pretense of fear and tradition, and for the sake of their future generations, it cannot keep going on like this. 

Ava Alaeddini is a second-year English major. She can be reached at [email protected]