Hi! Welcome to Chromatic Conflux.
As you probably know, this is my first post in over a month. I used to keep a weekly schedule for the blog, but on July 28, I decided that it was no longer serving its purpose. I announced the end of Chromatic Conflux.
Sort of. Here's a direct quote from my announcement:
"This doesn't mean I'll never post again. You should definitely expect plenty more content to come. But it won't be weekly, and it won't just be on Tuesday. It'll be when I have something to say."
I have something to say.
So let me explain to y'all my proposal to reform monarchy.
Intro Music Plays (If I Had Intro Music, And Also If This Was A Podcast, YouTube Channel, Or TV Show)
Granted, it's frivolous and irrelevant, but I think a little frivolity and irrelevance is what we all need right now. So let me explain to y'all my proposal to reform monarchy.
A long time ago, monarchs did actual governing and stuff. A few monarchs still do lead their countries, of course, like King Salman of Saudi Arabia.* But that's the exception, rather than the rule. Today, most monarchs are ceremonial figures who give speeches and host receptions. The actual work of government is left to presidents and prime ministers.
The best-known current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.** Her reign has lasted for a whopping 68 years, since February 1952. (She's also 94 years old, by the way.) Now, I have nothing against 94-year-olds, but I do think that it's good to have some diversity in monarchs. The same person has been queen for 68 years!
The same person has been queen for 68 years!
Here's the problem. Prince Charles, heir apparent to the throne, is 71. After Charles is Prince William,*** age 38. Not to be cavalier, but if this was many centuries ago, Queen Elizabeth would probably be dead, and Prince Charles might be as well. So the king, William, would be in his thirties. But now, what's likely going to happen is that when Queen Elizabeth dies (or abdicates the throne), Charles will take over as monarch, and he'll live for decades. Then the same thing will happen with William. Rinse. Repeat.
Now, I'm happy that longer lifespans have become the norm for the world's monarchs. It means they have much longer to contribute to the world as people, and more time to experience the earth's wonders. But it seems that young monarchs are becoming rarer and rarer.
I made a spreadsheet of the 17 ceremonial monarchs that fit the criteria, as well as their years of birth and when they assumed the monarchy (as well as some other data.) Here's a scatter plot of the results:
It makes sense that the left side is sparsely populated and leans younger. After all, a 68-year, Queen Elizabeth-style reign is quite rare, so you wouldn't expect the average person crowned in 1952 to still be around. But what is striking is the slope upward as the graph moves into the right side. Six monarchs crowned in the last decade are still reigning, and all of them were over 40 at the time. It will be more and more implausible as time goes on to have a young monarch.
It seems that young monarchs are becoming rarer and rarer.
So now we have the evidence. What's the solution?
Why Even Have a Ceremonial Monarch?
Many countries, such as the United States, go without a ceremonial monarch. So you might be asking, why bother reforming the system when you could just abolish it? The answer comes from something I vaguely remember reading in Pete Buttigieg's biography Shortest Way Home, but can't find on the internet: that the role the royal family plays is important.
What is that role? Monarchs can spend their time attending ribbon cuttings and galas, while the actual politicians can work on how to best serve the people. You know, that important stuff. At the moment, even ceremonial monarchs sometimes have actual powers (Queen Elizabeth can declare war) so that would need to be removed, but that's an easy fix.****
Monarchs can spend their time attending ribbon cuttings and and galas, while the actual politicians can work on how best to serve the people. You know, that important stuff.
The Better Way to Monarchy
The royal family is abolished. That was never necessary. Every ten years, an election is held for the position of monarch, and whoever wins can be thought of as the nation's spiritual leader. The election is conducted using approval voting, meaning that people can vote for any number of choices. (It happens to be the best way to vote, period, but that's neither here nor there.) Probably, a candidate needs some number of signatures to be on the ballot, or some other system to filter out people who are just running for the heck of it.
If the monarch dies or is incapacitated during their term, it passes according to absolute primogeniture, the same system used now. (So their child, basically.) Or a special election could be held sometime. I'm not partial.
This system guarantees a monarch who is popular with the people of a country, and can set the stage for a more diverse system, looking at age, race, and other factors. I think it would be an improvement over the status quo, and, furthermore, an improvement over the monarchless system.
Every ten years, an election is held for the position of monarch, and whoever wins can be thought of as the nation's spiritual leader.
I hope you found reading this highly unviable plan interesting! Talk to you again sometime.
*Actually, he's pretty old, so his son Mohammed bin Salman does most of the actual governing in practice. A better example is Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.
**Also 15 other countries, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Together they are known officially as the Commonwealth Realms, but I like to think of them as what's left of the British Empire.
***While doing research [read: Googling] for this post, I learned that prince and princess don't just apply to the monarch's kids, they apply to pretty much anyone in the line of succession for the throne.
****In the magical Christmasland where my plan will actually be enacted, of course.