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Andrew Dickens: King Charles makes a useful sideshow from the drudgery of everyday life

Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 May 2023, 2:07PM
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Andrew Dickens: King Charles makes a useful sideshow from the drudgery of everyday life

Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 May 2023, 2:07PM

In less than a week, King Charles the Third will be crowned, sealed and delivered.

Officially invested as the new King of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and our official head of state.

What a thing. In 2023.

Which has led to a number of protests and general grumbling about the anachronism of the monarchy.

Then to make things worse Charles wants us all to stand up and say this in the middle of the ceremony.

 “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God”

That’s not going down well with some saying Swear At the King rather than Swear For the King.

But that’s not enough for me to go off the whole palava.

I think it’s a marvellous folly. A useful sideshow from the drudgery of everyday life. A bit of fun with a handy side serving of pragmatism and finance.

Firstly why should the UK persevere with the monarchy? Well, it’s a real money-spinner.

A recent study found the British people paid 100 million pounds in costs to keep royalty running.  In return, they got 1.7 billion pounds of benefit. That’s an incredible return.

The Royal Seals of Warrant keep firms in business and act as international calling cards. The King’s farms sell 60 million pounds of goods all self-financed and the proceeds go to the Princes Trust charity which then funds programmes for the underprivileged.

And then there’s tourism. London is currently an orgy of overseas visitors and their capital. Even this station has got 4 members of staff there consuming hotel rooms, food, airfares and the like.

The Royal Family is a goldmine for the UK and with Charles promising a slimmer and more modern set up they’re only going to become more profitable.

But then there’s his position as head of State. But really what does that mean?

In the UK he is irrelevant and he is kept out of the national conversation.  

If you worried about hereditary influence then the House of Lords is far more of a thing. For all the opponents of co-governance, how would you feel in the UK where the House of Lords has 777 members all given their place by appointment, who their daddy was or what their job is? Not a democratically elected member among them.

But the King is not one of them. The King does not have a vote.

Here he is represented by the Governor General. There is no interference and the powers exist as an unbiased external regulator just in case of an extreme breakdown in civil order. And in a country of just 5 million, that’s important.  I trust the Governor General and the Court of St James to adjudicate in the case of civil or democratic breakdown far more than I would trust a locally appointed President.

For those who say having the King as Head of State is a sign that we’re immature as a nation, I say stop virtue signalling. It ain’t broke don't try to fix it.

And finally, there’s King Charles himself. A man who had a terrible childhood and absent parents and extraordinary interference in his personal life. But still came out of it as a complex man but with wisdom born of complex issues. I think he’s going to be great.

Far better than his spoilt sons and far more interesting than his cautious mother.

Long live the King.

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