1886 – 1974
Granddaughter of Queen Victoria
Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
With all the news lately of Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton, there has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not the royalty is relevant any longer. Personally, I would not like to see it dismantled, because it is a system that has worked for centuries, and who knows what we could get in its place. If it ain't broke... But more than that, it is a thread through time that connects all of us to our past. How many of us can trace our lineage like that? But in an odd way, we can. Royalty has given us the Elizabethan era, the Victorian era, the Edwardian era, for example, each with its own achievements and culture. And to give credit where it's due, some of these folks were amazing people, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, specifically. Queen Elizabeth II is decades past the age when most people retire, and she still works relentlessly in public service.
If royalty did not exist, we would invent them. The Kennedys, anyone?Observe what happened to Russia when the Bolsheviks assassinated the Romanovs and Russia became a communist country. It didn't work; in fact, it failed horribly. However, the Commonwealth of Nations does seem to work. It consists of 53 countries, and 1.7 billion (that is billion with a "b") people. That's almost one-third of the world's population. The land area of the Commonwealth of Nations is approximately one-quarter of the earth's land mass. It is a democratic and free association, of which the British Monarch is the symbolic Head of the Commonwealth, and a very active member.
When William becomes king, as monarch, he will inherit Windsor Castle which is 484,000 square feet and has 1000 rooms, Buckingham Palace which is 828,818 square feet and has 600 rooms, as well as Sandringham Castle, Balmoral Castle, Hollyrood House, Kensington Palace, St. James Palace, Clarence House, amongst other private homes. He will also inherit a huge responsibility, and he has no choice but to accept it. When he gets married, his wedding will generate $1 billion dollars (that is billion with a "b") revenue towards the British economy. His coronation will generate even more. And revenue generated by tax on royal properties and by Crown estates this year was $261 million dollars, so they are worth far more to the country than they cost it. The country receives around $4 million in tax per year from Prince Charles' Duchy of Cornwall. Prince Charles was considered "dotty" 20 years ago when he converted the Duchy of Cornwall to an organic farm. Who knew he had been an environmentalist for decades and was ahead of his time?
Personally, I rather like the British royalty. They're colourful, interesting, and often unpredictable. Most of us are people-watchers by nature. We love to gossip about celebrities. So, I shudder to think who we would get in place of the royal family -- Sarah Palin and her two vacant daughters? I'll keep Charlie and his two handsome sons, thank you very much.