Shut up and smile, Meghan. That’s what royalty does


Shut up and smile, Meghan. That’s what royalty does

The Duchess of Sussex is what the UK royal family needs. She just needs to take some lessons from the queen

Tim Stanley

After many years of trundling along gloriously, the British monarchy is back under review. The Duke of York is in the soup. The queen has been dragged into the prorogation row. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are trying to reset their public image with a tour of southern Africa. And 62% of Labour members say Britain should become a republic.

If the rest of the UK want to keep the monarchy going, they’ve got to keep making the case for it – which is a problem, because that kind of public campaigning is contrary to the whole idea. The monarchy doesn’t justify itself. The queen is the queen by grace of God: the moment she defends her position, she implies that she rules by the will of the people, in which case she might as well run for office. If she did, it goes without saying that she would win.

Part of the challenge with assessing the underlying popularity of the monarchy as an institution is the enormous popularity of its incumbent. Elizabeth II has set such a high standard for her office and held it so long that we’re minded to forget how uneasily the concept of royalty really sits in a democratic age, a paradox we’ve smoothed over with the myth that the monarch is “above politics”...

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