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Redefining royals: The role of modern monarchy

By Lauren Wilson Nov. 10, 2022

Until the 20th century, monarchies were one of the most prevalent forms of government. Once regarded as a death-defying icon of royal power, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning British monarch, passed away on Sept. 7. While her death was mourned by thousands of visitors who waited in 30-hour lines to pay their respects, it also sparked debate over whether monarchies should continue to exist.

Quincy Han Art

Traditionally, a monarch is a leader that inherits power at birth and leads a state their entire life unless renounced. Today, it is rare for monarchs to have absolute power over their government, as the majority of the world has transitioned into representative government systems. Most monarchs hold ceremonial roles as a figurehead of tradition and religion. For example, Penn Today states that modern Japan is built around a constitutional monarchy; the emperor is a ceremonial symbol, taking on roles such as promoting cultural practices. Meanwhile, Pope Francis of Vatican City is the only absolute monarch in Europe, with legislative, executive and judicial power.

“It is unnecessary to dispose of ceremonial monarchies, as long as they do not hold any actual political power. In most countries, they are deeply embedded in the nation’s cultural fabric. However, like any other institution, they should be open and subject to criticism. Nearly every monarchy has played some role in inherently oppressive practices, and parties demanding reparations should be listened to. Measures designed to make the monarchy untouchable, such as the police arresting anti-monarchy protesters after Queen Elizabeth’s death, are unacceptable,” Senior Ilinca Flacau said.

According to World Population Review, the United Kingdom’s constitution prohibits the monarch from making independent decisions. However, many U.K. citizens still oppose the monarchy system. A poll by Third Face News with over 6,000 responders reports 74% of individuals surveyed believe the United Kingdom’s monarchial system should be abolished, while only 26% favor maintaining it.

Republic, an advocacy group, preaches abolishing the British monarchy. They claim that the current system is unreasonably expensive and allows politicians to have unchecked power. Supposedly, the monarchy violates Parliament’s consent through Royal Prerogative—rights that allow the prime minister to sign treaties and declare war.

“Ceremonial monarchies are important and should be maintained because leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II represent the history of a country. Despite not holding a major role in the government, she still represents the United Kingdom,” Sophomore Jonathan Li said.

The majority of monarchs currently have considerable restrictions on their governmental powers. Monarchs are mainly valued as a token of unity and embodiment of the country’s traditions, except in the rare exceptions of absolute monarchies. Modern monarchies are not as influential as the past, yet they are still upheld.


About the Contributors

Lauren Wilson

staff writer

Lauren Wilson attends Leland High School as a sophomore. She is a staff writer for journalism. Activities she enjoys doing consist of walking her dogs, painting, taking naps, and cheerleading.

Quincy Han


Quincy is a senior at Leland High School and an artist for The Charger Account. He likes to play video games and listen to Will Wood.

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