Keen on the Queen, or Rotten Republican?
By: Matthew Groves, BMS Blogger-in-Residence
Republicans strike a sour note before Her Majesty the Queen’s Historic Address At a time of national emergency such as this, the underlying importance of the Monarchy is very much highlighted. There was something very encouraging and reassuring about being addressed by our head of state, who reigns above partisan difference and holds a position with ancient roots, at such a difficult time. Only a hereditary monarchy can touch the hearts and create the reassurance needed in the time of crisis. Furthermore, Her Majesty the Queen herself, through her upbringing, years of experience, her faith and her personality is more than suited to the task of being our national figurehead at this troubling and strange time. Her address via public broadcast to the nation was welcomed by nearly all, even some embittered republicans. Nonetheless, one organisation failed to understand the national mood – the resentful Republic Group, which campaigns to destroy our most dignified and well-loved institution.
With tin ears to the general views of Brits, the group ploughed on in its narrow-minded and insensitive way just as people were turning to the Queen for moral inspiration. It has been said that there were no atheists in the trenches. In a similar way it could be said that there are no republicans in a pandemic. Given the call by this group to abolish the monarchy during a national emergency, that is not quite true. Nonetheless, what is revealing about such a tragic crisis is how, when things really matter we turn to those things that are most important: family, the community, faith and the most venerable and trusted institutions such as the Royal Family. While the Royal family carries out its duties every year, charitable, national, in support of the armed forces or in support of our communities, at a time like this its vital role stands out strikingly. We always need the Royal Family, but in a national emergency we realise what is important and why we need a Royal Family. Her Majesty the Queen is not merely an elected politician allied to one political perspective, she is rather a unifying figure. The unity that her presence and role achieve is the unity of the present time, but also the unity with people from the past, our historical nation and all that it has gone through before now. Furthermore, in her life and upbringing Her Majesty has learnt how to be a head of state and such a role requires not only a lifetime of experience, but also growing up and existing within a family that has been devoted to this vocation for time immemorial.
We all understand this deep down, even if we do not articulate it. We know why the Queen is there and how much we need her as that constant in our lives, linking us to each other, our parents, grandparents and through the institution to our forebears. We know the Queen is the daughter of the Royal husband and wife who as our King and Queen did not abandon us for their own safety during the London Blitz. We also know that Her Majesty is the head of that family today, which can be traced back to Alfred the Great. Of course, as Republic has shown, not everyone agrees nor understands. While the vast majority of the British nation is enthusiastic in its Royalism, there is a tiny, but vocal minority that wishes to impose its own discontent upon the rest of us. Those who support Republic are alienated from their nation, their history and their Queen. This state of alienation, which probably has more to do with what is going on inside them rather than anything else, is so all-consuming, that at a time like this, when everyone rallies around the Crown, they make such a mistake as to attack our Monarchy. Well, as the nation pulls together in such difficult times, all Republic has succeeded in doing is to show just how out of touch, insensitive and unaware it actually is; perhaps now, given the vehement public response to their ill-timed opining, those who run this resentful little ragtag group might reflect upon just how wrong they are.