King Charles has greater public support than Edinburgh’s dreary Greens – John McLellan
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Like the majority of teenagers then and, according to a new Savanta poll, 61 per cent of 18-34-year-olds now, I wasn’t a Royal Family fan and hadn’t bought into the sugary myth of Charles and Diana’s fairytale marriage. How distant Saturday’s coronation seems from all that.
My antipathy never extended to the late Queen and my belief in the institution’s embodiment of stability around which political storms can rage has only grown over the years. Although her funeral was seven months ago, the last seven months have felt like an interregnum and the real post-Elizabethan era starts on Saturday.
The Queen’s judgment was usually impeccable, including her wish that the future King Charles’ wife be known as the Queen Consort, perhaps recognising that Queen Camilla sounded like something from Shrek. That will take a lot of getting used to and, for the vast majority, the Queen will always be Elizabeth.
Being fortunate enough to meet her twice perhaps helped, and while I wouldn’t describe myself as a Pearly King royalist I’m certainly in the camp shared by 53 per cent of UK adults and 44 per cent of Scots, according to the last YouGov poll, who think the monarchy is good for Britain.
We won’t have the Union flag bunting strung around the living room this Saturday morning, and I think I’d feel a bit of a plonker standing up in front of the telly to swear allegiance, but even the most miserable republican should accept, even if grudgingly, that Britain does ceremonial so well and it represents a significant moment in national history.
That probably doesn’t include Edinburgh’s dreary Greens, who take their loathing to a different level, with Morningside councillor Ben Parker, sounding rather like the commander of the Bolshevik firing squad at Yekaterinburg in 1918 with his reference to “a family whose existence has no democratic legitimacy”.
Apart from vicious tone, the problem with that argument is just because there hasn’t been a vote, doesn’t mean the monarchy is illegitimate, as poll after poll produces nothing like a majority for abolition. Even the last YouGov survey showed only 25 per cent of Scots thought the monarchy was bad, a view shared by just 14 per cent UK-wide.
Popularity cannot be taken for granted, and much depends on Charles following his mother’s scrupulous example in avoiding public political debate, and for all its imperfections the monarchy’s mandate for continued existence stems from proven support. That can’t be said for a party which won eight per cent of the regional vote at the 2021 Scottish elections and the irony is that Charles was at the forefront of environmental campaigning years before Green MSP Ross Greer spat out his first dummy.
However long they last, the pace of change in the Carolean years will be breakneck compared to the previous 70 years and from that point of view alone, amidst the uncertainty of a post-digital age dominated by artificial intelligence and quantum computing, the certainty and continuity the monarchy represents will be needed more than ever. God save the King.