Her Majesty’s Bloggers

Been home from London for three hours and am too tired to do much reflection, but thought I had to crank out a post. It was a great trip, the kids had fun, and Michelle and I are already planning our next trip to the United Kingdom.

Yesterday we toured the magnificent Windsor Castle. The history, pageantry and opulence was staggering. To be in a place walking the same paths trod by the Kings, Queens and people of noble lineage I’ve only read about in history books was at times both humbling and intellectually stimulating while also making me even more aware.

I was humbled to be aware of how distant I am from power and intellectually aroused as to how power is rapidly shifting away from those who’ve historically held it into the hands of the people — and how the powerful will find a way to ensure threats are kept at bay.

One great example is what happened with Charles I, king of England, Scotland and Ireland. While I always thought a King’s power was absolute in times of old, political factions, civil war, and the people’s concern with his meddling in the religious underpinnings in the kingdom eventually caused him (and the monarchy) to be overthrown and Charles tried, convicted for high treason and beheaded.

I was in awe at the Castle. But that is the point of this display. Seeing the bullet that killed Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, the art, weapons, furniture and other historic items boggled the mind. While we toured, I wondered why the Queen would allow the common folk such free run of Windsor Castle. Then it struck me: what better way to show the peasants how far removed they are from the aristocracy? Or could the motivation be to simply share the depth and texture of the shared history of the British people with all comers? Or to allow the unwashed masses a glimpse into the buildings they’re funding to the tune of tens of millions of pounds per year?

So what does this have to do with my post title, “Her Majesty’s Bloggers?” There don’t seem to be any pro or con bloggers discussing the British aristocracy. The UK has some of the deepest thinking bloggers, penetrating journalism and analytical thinkers in the world. But the phrase “bounded by tradition” seems to aptly portray how the country seems tied up tightly and not “in the game” with blogging, podcasting and other grassroots journalistic endeavors when it comes to the British monarchy and aristocracy.

After days of poking around the ‘net looking for people from the UK outwardly discussing and critically thinking aloud about the “constitutional monarchy” in the UK (a euphemism for nicely decorated figureheads hanging around opulent palaces keeping history alive) and what it costs the citizenry in money, diverted resources and attention, I’ve come up empty. Let me know if you know of any worth reading.

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  1. Mark Taylor on April 23, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    As one hailing from that sceptred Isle I think it’s worth pointing out what the royal family does cost.

    They have almost zero political power.
    The UK tax payer funds them to the tune of £40M per annum.

    You demonstrate the value that then brings in tourist income. I would suggest that tourists who come to marvel at that history and pageantry, like you, recoup that cost many many times over.

    The work that the Queen and other members of the royal family do around the world also helps build relationships and raise the United Kingdom’s visibility on the world stage.

    And if we got rid of the Monarchy? A parliamentary democracy needs some form of head of state. What form would it take? I doubt that would be any cheaper for the UK tax payer. But it would be so much less some how. And places like Windsor Castle are still a home to some extent. I think the commercialism is more respectful, more understated (and better for it) than a place run just as a tourist destination.

    Why water down that incredible history and pageantary?

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