Is the royal family capable of maintaining a constitutional role?

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I suspect I have blogged about the royal family before. At one time I seemed to be quite regularly working on television documentaries on their tax affairs. But today that is not my concern. I am interested in the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are seeking to withdraw from royal life.

Quite what that means for them, and who is upset or not by their decision, really does not worry me. What is of interest is the bigger question that this poses. What this decision suggests is that these two cannot work within the royal system as it has been developed by the Queen and the fiction-mongering media.

I stress: I am not speculating as to why they have decided, and I do not really care. I note it as a fact. And that fact suggests to me that we are heading for a crisis when the Queen does eventually cease to reign, whether because she dies or because she decides to appoint Charles as her regent.

The absurdity of being a constitutional monarchy has been maintained in this country because the Queen has survived from what is very clearly a bygone era. The power structures surrounding her, and the mythology that has been created around them cannot endure now. My point is that even the royal family can see that. This latest decision is evidence of that point.

I noted my disagreement with the rhetoric and tone of Rebecca Long-Bailey with regard to fighting the establishment yesterday. I stand by that. But that does not mean that the structures of power in this country do not need reform. And the mythology of monarchy has survived because it has suited part of society - and most especially the upper echelons of the Tory party - vey well. Nothing suits their style of government more than the exercise of the royal prerogative.

My suspicion is that very soon the royals may no longer be willing, or even able, to play this game. It's a simple statement of fact that never again will there be a monarch displaying quite such abnormal personality traits as the Queen has managed over such an extended period. And as a result the whole charade is likely to collapse.

The wise thing to do in that case is to imagine what happens next. Harry and Megan can do what they wish, without much consequence. Their decision does however suggest a coming crisis that few have prepared for.

What is the future role for the head of state in whatever the UK might become? That is a question that needs to be asked. And at the same time the question as to who might have that role, and why, needs to be addressed. The assumption that it should be a royal seems, to me, to be naive.

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