GP Taylor: Our Queen should be Elizabeth the Last

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) in her pram, taken when she was under six months old.
Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) in her pram, taken when she was under six months old.
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IT was at the time of the death of Princess Diana that I lost my taste for anything to do with the Royal family. As flowers filled the streets of London and the flag flew at half mast over Buckingham Palace, I began to have serious doubts about the place of the monarchy in a modern democratic society.

It was as if all that was on the news and in the papers was a modern day soap opera being played out in real life. They were a family that was being torn apart by divorce, death and deceit and we, the British public were being manipulated by the press into a deference to this unelected elite.

Credit has to be given to Elizabeth Windsor who, as the current head of state, has done a remarkable job of holding it all together. I have to say that regardless of my apathy towards the institution of monarchy, I have a lot of respect for the character of this woman. Her stoic charm and professional ability is beyond question. Without her, the Royal family would have a much lower approval rating.

At 90-years-old, she is a remarkable woman. It would therefore be fitting that not only should she be known as Elizabeth the Second, but also Elizabeth the Last.

She in her glory should be our last reigning monarch. I pray that she has an even longer and healthier life, but when it is over and the State has laid her to rest, then will be the time for a national debate.

As more and more people are starting to favour the idea of a new republic, Britain needs to decide if it has to call time on the current place of the monarchy in our society.

Despite the BBC wishing to convince us otherwise with its over the top coverage of Royal births and birthdays, there is a growing apathy towards the monarchy.

Only last week the BBC made out that the whole country was celebrating Elizabeth’s birthday when, in fact, most people were just getting on with their lives.

As the older generation dies off, so attitudes are changing. People want to be citizens of a country and not the loyal subjects of a King or Queen.

In an age of austerity, questions are being asked about how much the monarchy costs and whether it offers value for money.

The Queen alone gets nearly £38m of taxpayers money each year and the personal finances of the Royal family are so complicated that we will never know how much they really earn or what they are worth.

It is an old wife’s tale that the Monarchy is good for business and tourism. The tourists who visit this country never get to meet the Queen and the buildings will still be there long after the Royal family has gone.

In the back rooms of Westminster, there are grumblings whether it would be expedient for Charles Windsor to become our next King. Here is a man who regularly interferes in politics and uses his position to influence others with regard to whatever fad he is supporting at that moment in time.

Pro-monarchists would try to have us believe that the Queen has no real power and that she is just a figurehead. That isn’t really true, the reigning monarch has significant influence on day to day politics.

With regular meetings with the Prime Minister and others in Government, the monarch has every opportunity to dabble in politics.

This is dangerous ground for someone whose only reason for being in that place is due to an accident of birth and the consequences of the abdication crisis 80 years ago. This type of power should only be in the hands of a democratically-elected person.

There is no place for the interference of kings or queens, no matter how innocent it may be.

The rise of the republican movement will keep on growing, despite the best efforts of the razor-sharp Palace PR machine who are trying to make the young Royals into a British version of the Kardashians.

The Royal family belongs to the past. There is no place for deference based on a hereditary title.

The grumblings for a republic have never gone away since the times of Charles the Second. As we approach the time of Charles the Third there is a very real need for an urgent change. May God save the Queen, but let her be the last monarch we ever have.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster and can be followed @GPTaylorauthor.