British Monarchist League
Matthew Hone
Member, The British Monarchist League
The affection for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II around the world can only be produced by a hereditary and constitutional system.

Yesterday President Obama of the United States began his state visit to the UK, a symbol of the bond between the two countries. He and his wife Michelle stay as guests of the Queen at Buckingham Palace, and they are known to have a close relationship with both Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

I think what the Queen symbolises not just to Great Britain, but to the entire Commonwealth, and obviously the entire world, is the best of England”, Obama said in an interview last week with the BBC's Andrew Marr. While the reference to England is unfortunate (the Royal Family take care to keep their links to Scotland and Wales strong), it is still high praise indeed, because this is exactly what the Queen should do.

The role of any country's head of state is to symbolise the nation. Once they fail to do that, they lose their legitimacy. This year Elizabeth II beat her ancestor George III to the title of second longest reigning British monarch. Next year will be her Diamond Jubilee. In her 59 years on the throne, she has seen drastic changes in society. Governments, Prime Ministers and indeed empires have come and gone, but she has remained throughout a loyal servant to her people. On multiple occasions she has defied the predictions of republicans that the monarchy was an antique soon to be consigned to the annals of history. But her Golden Jubilee in 2002 saw millions celebrate in the streets of London, and this year's wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton had a worldwide audience of at least 300 million, 25 million of whom were in the UK. There has never been more evidence that the monarchy connects with the general public.

I believe this sense of history and stability could not come about through an elected system. Political heads of state come and go, often using their office for self-serving purposes and ultimately losing their legitimacy in the eyes of the people. One only needs to look at the approval ratings of the last President of the United States at the end of his tenure, or the embarrassing spectacle of the Italian President being hauled through his country's courts, to see the dangers of switching our time-proved system.

Of course, an accountable democracy must have its party political system. But for the idea of the country itself to have any meaning, there must also be tradition and continuity. These symbols are embodied to the people of the world in one person. The office of constitutional monarchy is uniquely suited to this task. 

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