There have been many calls on social media for the abolishment of the monarchy, one day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II (the longest reigning monarch in the UK), Trending hashtags include #NotMyKing and #AbolishTheMonarchy. A variety of memes and images have also been shared in support.
Some people were less generous than others.
You can ask yourself if this is the best time for the discussion. If not, when would be the best time to have this discussion?
Dr. Dane Kennedy is an Elmer Louis Kayser Professor Emeritus in History and International Affairs at George Washington University. “You get the same type of response that you receive about gun control after a mass shooting,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said, “My answer is that it’s a legitimate moment to ask the future monarchy.” “Republican/anti-royalist sentiments have existed for a very long time, but they wax and wane. These sentiments are now waxing slightly more. Charles III, his mother Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t as warm and fuzzy as he was.
You could also argue that the monarchy was maintained because of Queen Elizabeth II. The desire to abolish it now could only grow with her death. But, it was not immediately thought about what might happen if the monarchy were abolished.
“The British have a monarchy that is extremely important. It gives a strong sense of self and plays an important part in tourism,” Dr. Carole Levin (Willa Cather Emerita professor of historical history at the University of Nebraska) said.
Levin does not see the abolishment of monarchy happening despite calls on social media for it to. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be changes.
She added that Charles has to demonstrate that he can save money and recognize the difficulties people face. This could be a reduction in the number of people on the payroll.
Tourism is a must, however.
Levin stated that the Royals have a significant role in Britain. It isn’t only London. Windsor, Scotland, and all over the country play important roles. “The British monarchy was important historically, but it is still very significant today.”
End of the Commonwealth
Social media has been discussing what Queen Elizabeth II’s death will mean for the Commonwealth of Nations (the political organization of 56 countries). Some on social media have suggested the organization should also be axed – while others have called for keeping the monarchy in place as a way to maintain the Commonwealth.
Kennedy said that ending the monarchy doesn’t mean end to the Commonwealth. He said, “You can still be a Commonwealth member and be a republic.” “India is a republic and doesn’t acknowledge Queen Elizabeth II – or now Charles III – as its sovereign. This is also true for members of the Commonwealth of Nations. It does however have some odd and archaic roots in an attempt to preserve the British Empire.
Although Queen Elizabeth II was one its most loyal supporters, her passing may not have any effect on it.
Kennedy stated that states don’t keep membership unless they have some benefits. It will continue to exist for as long as there is interest. Elizabeth II might have been its most prominent supporter but it doesn’t affect its institutional purpose.
Charles III – A Bad Choice Of A Name?
On social media, there has been much mockery directed at King Charles III. An internet meme was created pointing out the fact that Charles III has been “unemployed” for much of his adult life.
Many others shared an interesting fact about Charles’s choice of “regnal”. Charles is a unlucky name to give an English King. One Twitter user quickly noted that Charles I was executed and Charles II exiled.
One wrote that Charles III was “really unusual” and that he chose the title. It is ironic, and/or fitting, since Charles II, like Charles I and a philanderer, is like Charles II.
Members of the Royal Family traditionally have long names — Charles’ full name is Charles Philip Arthur George — and those who have ascended the throne have as often than not in recent centuries taken a name different from what they were given at birth. After succeeding to King Edward VIII in the King George VI title, Queen Elizabeth II was known as King George VI. However, his actual name was Albert Frederick Arthur George. Family members often call him Bertie.
The tradition to take a different regnal name began when Queen Victoria – Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother – ascended the throne in 1837. Prior monarchs used their baptismal names as their regnal names. The Prince Regent, future King George IV, had prohibited Victoria’s uncle from using the royal names Charlotte, Elizabeth or Georgina when she was born. After Alexander I, her Russian Czar, she was named Alexandrina. Throughout her childhood she was called “Drina” and many people didn’t even know her “regnal name”. Elizabeth II could have been her name but she chose Victoria.
Charles III is a terrible choice. Partly because Charles I, the English Civil War’s victor, was overthrown by Parliamentarian Forces. He was executed later. Charles II, his son, was restored to the throne of England, but is most remembered for his rampant womenizing. He had at least 12 illegitimate kids. There is also the Jacobite connection with Charles Edward Stuart (the “Young Pretender”), who claimed the title “Charles III.”
In other words: King Charles I witnessed the fall of monarchy, and created the 10 year-long Commonwealth, under Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. This Commonwealth was then restored under King Charles II. The UK will not likely be in another civil war. However, social media could ignite the fires and make Charles the last monarch.
Kennedy said that anyone who is familiar with British history knows that Kennedy’s two names predecessors were not the most beloved or successful in British history. While it is difficult to determine if it was the right name for the job, it seems unlikely that it matters to the majority of British citizens.
Young Britons might not know much about the history and reigns of these kings.
Levin said that Charles II, in fact, was a unifier of the restoration. While it is beautiful and can provide continuity, he still has to be the king of everyone. It was remarkable that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II (the monarch whom people can relate to), was so impressive.
Charles could have a bigger problem with his image.
Kennedy observed that “He is in his 70s and well-known but not beloved” due to the fact that he divorced Princess Diana from him and his treatment of her. His late mother was not a fresh face. He is coming to the throne as an opportunity for renewal. He is someone with a lot to carry and can’t get rid of all of that baggage.