The Monarchy

  • N. H. Brasher


In a world where social upheavals have become commonplace the power of the British monarchy to survive makes it of special interest. Its existence, rooted deeply in the past, is based on the concept of a definite hierarchy in society of which it is the apex. It might seem, therefore, to represent a view of society which is anathema to the social reformer. Criticism of it is to be expected and involves no novelty in itself, for the institution of monarchy has been subjected to the most violent attacks for over three hundred years. The events of the seventeenth century culminating in the Bill of Rights of 1689 marked the fiercest phase of the conflict, but ripples of the controversy continued to be felt until the end of the nineteenth century. By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, the Crown had tacitly accepted the position that for almost all practical purposes personal intervention by the monarch in politics was undesirable. This largely removed the long-standing grievance against despotic or arbitrary actions by the monarch, but has led to criticisms of a different kind, that, as the political powers of the monarch have dwindled away almost to vanishing point, the retention of a non-functional institution is merely a social pretence out of keeping with the modern world, like medieval battlements on a New York skyscraper.


Prime Minister Austrian Emperor BRITISH Government Commonwealth Unity George Versus 
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© N. H. Brasher 1965

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  • N. H. Brasher

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