On Sept. 9th, 2015, Queen Elizabeth the Second
surpassed her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria to become the longest running British
monarch in history. But although the Queen is quite popular in the United Kingdom, about
one in 6 Britons feel the monarchy should be completely abolished. So, why do we still
have monarchies? Well, the United Kingdom isn’t the only
country to retain a royal family. In fact, there are around 40 nations worldwide with
monarchs – with various titles like King, Queen, Sultan and Emir. Many of these countries
are leftover British colonies who still acknowledge the authority of Queen Elizabeth the Second. Several are still ruled through absolute monarchies.
Nations like Swaziland and Qatar have hereditary rulers who exert full control over legislative,
executive and judicial branches of the government. One of the most successful absolute monarchies
is in Vatican City, which is governed by the Pope. The rest are primarily in the Middle
East and Africa. These nations tend to be plagued by human rights abuses because there
aren’t sufficient checks on the monarch’s supreme power. But in most nations with royal families, like
Sweden or Japan, monarch power is minimal, and they have few if any official state duties.
They retain mostly symbolic power, and exist as the face of the country for ceremonial
functions. Known as the “head of state,” they differ from the “head of government,”
who would be the actual political leader of the government. In the United Kingdom, one expert summed up
the Queen’s duties as, “the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the
right to warn.” The Queen’s political powers DO include appointing the Prime Minister
and declaring War or Peace. However, traditionally, the monarch’s decisions in the UK have aligned
with the constitutional government’s. If they ever were to disagree, these laws could
change to remove the monarch’s authority. For example, in 2008, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg
refused to sign a euthanasia bill into law, although it had been approved by parliament.
Luxembourg’s parliament then promptly amended the constitution so that bills no longer needed
the signature of the Grand Duke. Today, one of the most important royal duties
is with philanthropy. Queen Elizabeth the second is said to have “done more for charity
than any other monarch in history”, helping to raise more than a billion dollars in aid.
Overall, British royalty is said to contribute to more than 3,000 charities worldwide. Royal
families also play a role in preserving a nation’s culture and history. The British
crown jewels and a number of castles and palaces are owned by the state, but they are used
by royalty to keep the UK’s historical traditions alive. Monarchies may be a thing of the past,
but royal families are invaluable for cultural preservation, diplomacy, and philanthropy. Some British citizens, however, think that
monarchy is outdated. Should Britain still have a king and queen? Learn more in Seeker
Daily’s video. Thanks for
watching TestTube News! Be sure to like and subscribe to keep up with new videos daily.