Why It’s Time for the British Monarchy to End

Sean Lahey, staff writer

Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch of Britain for over 70 years, passed away earlier this month. And hopefully, the monarchy itself has too. The United Kingdom is a constitutional democracy, meaning that although there is an official monarchy related to the state, the monarchy has little to no control over the government. While this may sound fair on paper, the legacy of the monarchy is one of colonialism and inequality. And not to mention that the mere existence of a monarchy itself suggests that being born in a certain bloodline makes a person above others. Despite this, Queen Elizabeth II was a Queen who was devoted to service to her people and was beloved by Great Britain. But with Elizabeth gone, it is time to reflect on the existence of the monarchy — and realize that it no longer has a justifiable reason to exist. With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, it is clear that it is time for the British monarchy to end.

This is an opportune time to end the monarchy by removing the power that the Royal Family has left. In an article titled “Should Britain abolish the monarchy?”, an author for the Economist criticizes the system of hereditary appointments that Britain uses to determine its head of state. They said: “The case against hereditary appointments in public life is straightforward: they are incompatible with democracy and meritocracy, which are the least-bad ways to run countries. Royalists say this does not matter because the monarch no longer ‘runs’ Britain. Yet in theory, at least, she has considerable powers: to wage war, sign treaties, dissolve Parliament, and more.” At its core, the monarchy is an institution that is unhealthy for the democratic process in Britain. The monarch does not derive his or her power from the people, they get it from the bloodline. If the United Kingdom abolished the monarchy and became a true democracy, the people would be much better off. Hereditary appointments have been unpopular for centuries, in fact. “For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others forever,” Thomas Paine wrote about the monarchy all the way back in 1776. Aren’t we all created equal? Because monarchies do not adhere to that idea at heart, regardless of their power.

The monarchy’s legacy is also clouded by colonialism. In a CNN article by Stephanie Busari titled “Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa,” professor of communication at Kennesaw State University Farooq Kperogi said: “The Queen’s legacy started in colonialism and is still wrapped in it. It used to be said that the sun did not set over the British empire. No amount of compassion or sympathy that her death has generated can wipe that away.” Many who have lived under the British empire have similar sentiments: while the Queen may have been a good person, the oppression caused by colonialism overseen by the monarchy far outweighs the popularity of a single person. This applies to the monarchy’s legacy to this very day. In fact, as Busari points out in her article, independent nations across the globe like Barbados and Jamaica are removing the British Monarch as the head of state in the name of accountability for the monarchy’s past actions. 

It’s time for us all to come together to advocate for the abolition of the monarchy. We have the perfect opportunity to finally end years of institutional oppression, the perpetuation of colonialist behavior, and hierarchical thinking in societies, so we must put it to good use.