It’s time to abolish the monarchy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks you will have seen that Charles is set to be crowned as the King of England today.

Whether you turn on the news, scroll on social media or read a newspaper you can’t escape the wall-to-wall coverage as our media goes into overdrive spewing out puff pieces about the Coronation Quiche the Royals want us to eat, the diamond encrusted carriage they will travel in or the gold ‘upcycled’ chair that Charles will sit in.

From witnessing all this you’d assume that our media is just reflecting the views of the British people who can’t wait to don their plastic Union Jack bucket hat, wolf down some quiche and swear allegiance to their billionaire King (via their TV screens) – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

A poll by YouGov found that 64% of people didn’t care about the coronation, while support for the monarchy has hit an all-time low. 45% of respondents in the recent British Social Attitudes Survey either said the monarchy should be abolished, was not at all important or not very important.

Among young people the future looks even less certain for the Royals, with 18-24-year-olds being the only age group where support for a republic outweighs support for the monarchy with 40% supporting the idea of an elected head of state compared with 36% preferring a sovereign.

So, is it time for the monarchy to go? We at Breakthrough think so and here’s why.

Let’s start with the money. The main argument made by royalists is that the monarchy brings in tourism, lots of money into our economy and if we removed them this would disappear.

But their financial benefit is somewhat overstated. The £500 million per year figure which is usually quoted (but widely contested), includes revenue of every single ticketed visitor attraction that had even the slightest connection to royalty past or present.

And even then, this only represents 0.3% of income from Britain’s tourism industry and 0.01% of the UK’s total economy.

Chester Zoo is a more popular tourist attraction than Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle isn’t even the most popular attraction in Windsor, with Legoland getting more visitors every year.

And when you put the £500 million figure up against how much the Royals cost to maintain it’s very little. The estimated total annual cost of the monarchy is £345 million, but when you throw in a year where there’s a royal wedding or say a £250 million coronation (during a cost-of-living crisis no less), the monarchy is a loss-maker.

And once you figure out how much they ‘work’ to earn that money you feel like you’ve been short changed.

Our political and media establishment loves to demonise the ‘work-shy’ poor, but it’s funny how the real scroungers don’t face the same level of scrutiny. Instead the monarchy are described as ‘hard-working, tireless public servants’, when they’re anything but.

Soon-to-be King Charles is considered the most hard working Royal and he does the equivalent of one and a half days a week. That doesn’t scream ‘value for money’ now, does it?

The sheer wealth that the monarchy has amassed over the centuries is nauseating, with Charles now worth almost £2 billion, which includes a £330 million land and property portfolio.

With this level of wealth comes a hell of a lot of power and that is something that this unelected and unaccountable Royal Family uses a lot.

The monarchy have exempted themselves from 160 laws from animal welfare to workers rights and even from paying the taxes we pay.

And it would be amiss of me to not mention a certain sweaty Prince who has managed to use his power and privilege (and a lot of cash too) to avoid being taken to court over sex assault allegations.

So, where did this wealth and power come from? It was off the back of others, specifically black and brown people they enslaved and colonised through the British empire.

The monarchy has been a racist endeavour throughout its history. From being instrumental in supporting the transatlantic slave trade (and inheriting a large personal fortune from it), to offering support to the Nazis.

Over the course of 400 years, hundreds of trillions of pounds were plundered from India, the Caribbean, Africa and other parts of the world and this wealth made its way back to the monarchy.

All the while millions of people were enslaved or slaughtered as victims of empire. These crimes have yet to be atoned for.

And this racism manifests itself in the 21st century too. Several Royals have been accused of racist abuse, most notably a senior member of the family raising concerns about what skin colour Harry and Meghan’s child would be.

Who can also forget Will and Kate’s ill-judged Caribbean tour last year, which saw them shaking hands with Jamaican children through wire fences.

How can it be right that in 2023 we still have people that are born to rule? Hereditary public office goes against every democratic principle in the book.

We can’t vote Charles out if we don’t like him, he can’t be held to account and as we’ve seen there’s nothing stopping him or the rest of the Royal family from abusing their power.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II many people said ‘now’s not the time’ to talk about the monarchy’s role in 21st Century Britain and now on the day of Charles’ coronation no doubt those people will do the same again.

But if not now, when?

Far from being the glue that holds this country together, the monarchy papers over the cracks of a grotesquely unequal society.

It’s a broken institution that’s long past its sell-by-date, it’s time to ditch it for good.

Breakthrough members will be joining Republic today in Trafalgar Square to protest Charles’ coronation. You can find out more information here.