Crowning Glory: The Merits of Monarchy

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In this study of the merits of the monarchy, Charles Neilson Gattey writes about the concept of the constitutional monarch whose role it is to look after the long-term interests of the nation above the changing spectrum of party political strife. By the end of this century, there will be only five Kings left - those of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, Clubs and England . This prediction was made in 1951 by King Farouk of Egypt after he had lost his throne, the latest in a long line of monarchies swept away since the Russian Revolution. The contagion was spreading to the Middle East and Asia - the tide seemed unstoppable. Not only has Farouk's prediction not come true, but six of the most stable countries in Europe have retained their monarchs to this day and in Spain the reinstatement of the monarch was part of the process of restoring democracy against an attempted army coup. While monarchy is mainly a conservative force, helping to maintain stability, this very fundamental stability , the author argues, enables the country to absorb more radical changes in its political and social structure than would otherwise by possible without risk of disorder . As Malcolm Muggeridge expressed it: Monarchy is the bridge between what is fluctuating and what is everlasting in human affairs . The author writes entertainingly of the patronage of the arts and the many varied institutions which owe their origin to the wisdom and foresight of past monarchs, beginning with a King about whom only good (except that he burnt some cakes) is known . He shows how, during the reign of Queen Victoria, the concept of a constitutional monarch first emerged, looking after the long-term interests of the nation above the changing spectrum of party political strife, and how subsequent monarchs have played that role according to his or her strengths and to the circumstances of their time.