The latest heir to the British throne is finally here! Sadly, Prince William and Duchess Catherine declined our request to be the first site with close-up photos of their bouncing baby boy, so here’s a generic baby wearing a crown instead.
Sadly, if some party-poopers have their way, the newborn King might never get a chance to reign. Arguments that the monarchy should be abolished continue to pop up, and don’t show signs of going away. Well, in order to stop those dastardly Republicans and their Cromwell wannabes, here are 10 reasons God should save the Queen, instead of letting her get pushed out of a helicopter into an erupting volcano (we assume that’s how they’d abolish the Monarchy if it came to that).
10. Tourism Revenue
Attractions related to the monarchy bring in roughly 500 million pounds a year from overseas tourists, which we’re told converts into “a lot of sweet, sweet skrilla.” To be fair, many of these attractions are physical buildings that presumably wouldn’t spontaneously combust if the monarchy was abolished, but the continuity of the Royal Family helps keep them relevant.
Two significant tourism attractions that weren’t made of brick and mortar were Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The former brought in an estimated 620 million pounds, while the latter was believed to have injected 10 billion pounds into the British economy. Think of all the tea, crumpets and other hackneyed British stereotypes that could buy! The Jubilee was a massive success for British tourism — the country could have announced the Year of Free Chocolate and Sexual Favors and brought in less coin. More weddings and anniversary celebrations will come in time, which means more big bucks are on the horizon.
9. They’re Cost Effective
Okay, so the Royals brings in their fair share of cold hard cash. But what good is that if they cost taxpayers an arm and a leg? Well this may surprise you (if you don’t read the titles of list entries for some reason,) but the monarchy is cheap enough to actually turn a profit. It only costs British taxpayers 51 pence a person, not counting the annual arm-and-leg tax, when the Queen gets to cut off the two finest limbs in the land for use in building a monster.
The cost fluctuates with the state of the economy, so in tough times the royal budget is slashed, presumably with a halberd. Private funding, ruthless fiscal management, and profits raised by royal projects also ensure the monarchy stays in the black. So unless the Queen is secretly bathing in unicorn blood, wastefulness is one thing you don’t have to worry about. We know the British budget was keeping you up at night, so you’re welcome.
8. Entertainment Value
As a nation where the news media spent more time covering the birth of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s child than it did the Syrian Civil War, America understands the entertainment value of celebrities. Well, the Royal Family are the ultimate celebrities, with scads of reporters dedicated to letting the world know about everything from the latest on Prince George (we say they should’ve named him Spaghetti; that way every day would be Prince Spaghetti Day,) to what Harry thought of his most recent bowel movement.
And that coverage isn’t limited to Britain — in America, the Royals receive more coverage than climate change, which is a bit ironic considering that climate change is one of Prince Charles’ pet causes.
But the point, aside from the fact that we may all be very dumb, is that the world loves to hear about the Royal Family. We’ll eat up everything from scandals, like Harry dressing as a Nazi for Halloween, to Prince Charles doing the weather report.
If you need further proof of their popularity, pay attention to how the Family is received by the public while on tour. William and Kate’s 2011 trip to Canada drew huge crowds and massive amounts of media coverage, and was generally considered to be a roaring success. Now, whether we should be paying so much attention to them is up for debate, but Lord knows if we didn’t have them we’d just dedicate more coverage to Tila Tequila, or whoever the hell is popular that minute. We might as well stick with the Royals and keep things classy.
7. Extra Holidays and Parties
Not every discussion of the Monarchy has to come down to economics and international diplomacy. Some of its benefits are much simpler — more royal celebrations mean more holidays, and that means less time at the office and more time barbecuing spotted dicks, or whatever you’re supposed to do with them.
Whether it’s a holiday that’s been celebrated for centuries, like the Queen or King’s birthday, or a one-time bash like a Royal Wedding, nobody’s going to say no to an excuse to sit on the couch and play video games all day. Sure, republics have their fair share of holidays too, but we’re not getting time off to celebrate Obama’s silver jubilee (because happiness will be banned in the Atheist Communist Socialist Muslim dictatorship he’s planning, according to credible sources we’ve seen on the Internet). Monarchies just have more fun.
Some people, probably those who don’t get invited to parties, will argue that extra holidays are bad for the economy. But as discussed earlier, the tourism value of the Royals more than makes up for that. Also, get a life and go get drunk next Victoria Day or something. Seriously, you guys.
6. Diplomatic Value
One of the downsides of being a President or Prime Minister is that half of your country didn’t vote for you, and therefore hates you with a fiery passion usually reserved for rapists and puppy kickers. If you’re a leader of a world power, this problem extends to foreign trips; it’s hard to improve relations with a country you’ve recently ordered the bombing of.
That’s an issue the monarchy can sidestep. The Royal Family is apolitical, so they can represent their country’s culture without being a stand-in for controversial policies. It’s not a coincidence that the well-traveled Royal Family represents a nation that, time and time again, is found to be one of the most well-liked in the world.
Sure, being an empire that once dominated the globe is handy for spreading cultural influence, too. But having a bunch of fancy people who can travel the world to judge crumpet competitions and give tea to orphans definitely helps. So no matter how unpopular British foreign policy may become, the Royals are there to remind the world that the average Brit just wants to watch footie and drink a lager, and also that British people do less stereotypical things as well.
5. Charity Work
It’s hard to motivate people to give to charity. Sure, the happiness that comes from knowing you helped improve a stranger’s life is nice, but wouldn’t a trip to the bar be even nicer? You’re never even going to meet those whiny war orphans. It’s only worse when you’re trying to get people to volunteer their time, because who wants to pick up garbage from the beach on a Sunday morning when they could be sleeping off a hangover?
The Royal Family does their best to set a good example, and for some of them charity is almost a full-time job. It’s impossible to determine exactly how much financial benefit their work provides, though one study estimates that the Queen helps bring in 1.4 billion pounds a year, which sure beats the two bucks you gave to the latest office United Way drive. Regardless of that figure’s accuracy, nobody disputes that the world has benefited from the Royal Family’s charitable work.
For starters, there are the charities that members of the Family started, such as Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People which, you guessed it, helps abandoned circus animals find new homes. Royal charities do everything from providing mental health services to military veterans, to teaching dance to juvenile criminals, because apparently someone in the Royals really wants life to resemble Step Up.
Then there are royal patronages, where a member of the Family slaps their stamp of approval on an organization’s work, usually while giving money or doing work for them in the process. Royal patronage is highly coveted, as it’s seen as a credible public announcement that they’re making a difference. It also brings oodles of attention to issues that would otherwise fly under the radar; Princess Diana shed light on AIDS during a time when talk of the disease was still taboo, and also highlighted the underappreciated seriousness of landmines, before finally reminding the entire world of the importance of seatbelt safety. When a royal supports a charity, people take notice, and we could always use more people seeing ways to improve the world.
4. Other Monarchies Are Doing Well
Any modern debate about monarchies inevitably revolves around the British royal family, much to the chagrin of King Harald V. But Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, the Netherlands and Japan, among others, all maintain their royal families, and most are immensely popular. Really, can anyone not like King Carl XVI Gustaf?
And those countries are clearly doing something right, as you’ll constantly find them near the top of development indices. The top four counties on the IDHI, one of the best methods of judging a country like a prize pig at the county fair, are all constitutional monarchies, and there are 11 in the top 20. The US doesn’t check in until 16th, right behind Belgium, which prompted Albert II to send President Obama a communiqué reading “Suck it!” (note: this probably didn’t happen).
While there’s obviously much, much more to making a country tick than to shove somebody onto a throne and hope for the best, we doubt it’s a complete coincidence, either. Maybe it’s their slow, steady approach to modernization and social change, unlike those uppity republics and repressive dictatorships. Or maybe people just work really hard when there’s a chance a King will come by and give them a medal for it. That’s for the historians to decide.
3. They’re Popular
Before you run off to the comments section to paste in a quote from Wikipedia’s list of logical fallacies, we’re aware that just because something is popular it doesn’t mean it’s any good. Popular opinion gave us Dane Cook’s career and the Nazis, among other crimes against humanity. Following the mob can end badly.
That being said, popular opinion on the monarchy subscribes to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, with polls consistently showing that the majority of the Queen’s subjects want the system to stick around. That’s not limited to people in Britain; polls in Canada and New Zealand, among other Commonwealth countries, have found that most people believe the monarchy remains relevant.
One of the most pro-monarchy countries is actually the United States, where one survey found that 71% of people believe that the monarchy is good for Britain. In fact, 18% of Americans think that it would be good for the US of A to have their own Royal Family, so apparently there’s a staunch group of Loyalists in America who are still bitter about the Revolution.
The popularity of the monarchy drifts around based on economic conditions and the current gossip, but the general trend is that more people remain in favor of the Royals than against it. And since they’re a pretty harmless bunch, there’s nothing wrong with giving the people what they want.
2. The Queen is a Badass
When most heads of state inspect the troops, they shake hands and point at stuff. When Queen Elizabeth II inspects the troops, she practices icing haters.
Look at that photo. Look at it! Everything about it is wonderful, from the Queen’s steely-eyed gaze to the soldier’s expression of amusement and pride. This is a monarch ready to kick ass and take names.
In an era where even the slightest faux pas by a politician is torn apart on social networks and subject to hours of “analysis” by the news media, our elected officials are rightly terrified by the prospect of embarrassing themselves. The Queen doesn’t have to worry about any of that crap. She can go out, do something awesome, look rad as all hell, and make people proud to call her their leader.
So whether she’s cruising around like she’s about to commit a drive-by…
… or starring in a short film with James Bond …
… we can always count on the Queen to act like a stone cold boss. And sometimes that’s just what we need.
1. National Identity
We could argue about this issue all day, if we didn’t have better things to do. But when it comes down to it, the Royals are an integral part of Great Britain’s national identity. Britain without the royals would be like France without wine, or Russia without horrific human rights abuses. No wonder the majority of Brits believe they’re a key part of what it means to be British.
And really, if the Royal Family went away, what else would the English be famous for? Bad food? A soccer league where only, like, three teams are any good? Some third stereotype? No, the Royals give everyone, from the dapperest rich man to the toughest football hooligan, something in common to be proud of (or complain and gossip about.) If Britain gets rid of the Royal Family, who knows what will happen? America might follow suit and get rid of hot dogs and soft drinks, and then the whole world will just go straight to Hell.
You can read more from Mark at his website.