The Royal Obsolete

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Charles and Camilla, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall respectively (and I’m kind of ashamed to know that), are travelling across Canada right now on a royal visit. This is because, for some reason, we’re still part of the British monarchy. We have Queen Elizabeth II on our coins and $20 bills. She is, technically speaking, our head of state. Prince Charles and his mistress-turned-missus are visiting for the typical reason of PR, so citizens will swoon over them and start loving them again. After all, Charles is next in line to the throne – at some point, depending on how long Liz lives, he will be our king.

Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year, meaning she has been in the throne for 60 years, which rivals the longest monarchs as far as my half-assed, largely disinterested knowledge goes. Prince Charles is a few years older than the reign of his mother, meaning he is nearing retirement age. And yet his destined career is still to come. Given his mother’s longevity and that his father, Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh, is in his 90s, he may still get to serve a couple decades of his own. By that point the next in line, Prince William Duke of Cambridge or something like that, will be past the peak of his life expectancy. Simply put, without major disasters Queen Elizabeth may be the last monarch to start her reign before several uncomfortable annual screenings are recommended by the NHS.

In plays and movies about kings and queens, the Divine Right is passed on through dramatic events, upon premature deaths through war or sudden illness, and passed onto an heir unprepared to take on the responsibilities. Reality, or at least modern reality, doesn’t produce such intense theatrics, and so Charlie has been anxiously awaiting his turn and preparing for it his entire life. The death of the Queen will not likely shake the unprepared world. And since the monarchy’s continued existence is largely ornamental, what’s the point in maintaining such a bore?

And even further – who wants to see Charles’s face on our currency? I’d rather pay in currency bearing an ugly face from my own country…like Diefenbaker.

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