The British monarchy has ruled the United Kingdom and her colonies for years — but if a growing movement in Britain has it’s way, it will all come to an end soon.
Queen Elizabeth II is ailing, reportedly with a bad cold, and The Horn News wishes her a quick recovery.
But with the queen now at the age of 90, Brits are already looking to the future – and many are wondering if the nation might be better off without the pomp and circumstance of a royal family.
There’s a growing push for a different kind of “Brexit” in the U.K.
And this one could change the nation forever, ending centuries of tradition and redefining everything from the official head of state to the nation’s currency.
A group called Republic is urging the nation to hold a Brexit-like referendum when the queen passes, before Prince Charles has a chance to assume the throne.
“It will be the first time most people have seen a change in the head of state,” Graham Smith, the group’s chief executive, told The Independent last year.
Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II has ruled for a positively pharaonic 65 years. The only people alive today who knew life under the previous head of state are senior citizens!
“I think that’s going to be a slightly odd, jarring experience for a lot of people,” Smith said. “All of a sudden you’ve got this this other monarch who has been hoisted upon us and no debate about who it is going to be.”
That “other” monarch, of course, is Prince Charles.
And while Queen Elizabeth II has in many ways been the living embodiment of an apolitical figurehead, the same can’t be said for the crown prince.
Mark Bolland, a former aide to Prince Charles, said in 2015 that the would-be future king used his position in an attempt to influence policymakers, lobbying the highest levels of government.
According to the Guardian, Bolland suggested that Charles “routinely meddled in political issues and wrote sometimes in extreme terms to ministers, MP’s and others in positions of political power and influence.”
A series of memos the prince sent to government officials detailing some of his efforts were released to the public in 2015 after a protracted legal battle.
Would the prince be any less meddling as king?
The referendum would give voters a clear choice.
The first choice, of course, would be to continue with centuries of tradition. Charles would become king, and the monarchy would be preserved.
The second would be to do away with the royal institution.
The family would become ordinary citizens – albeit incredibly wealthy ones, even without their generous taxpayer support – but would no longer have the power and access that come along with their ceremonial roles.
Republicans who want to abolish the crown have a tough road ahead, however: A poll last year found that three quarters of Brits support the monarchy and want to keep it.
Then again, if we learned anything in 2016 – from Brexit to Donald Turmp – it’s to never, ever trust the polls.
— The Horn editorial team