So, Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged finally. Good for them. All of the talk about what her title will be, and the wedding, and all of that got me thinking...
How strange is it that the United Kingdom still has a Queen? (And for that matter, Canada and Australia.) I read a lot of historical fiction books, like Alison Weir's books about Henry V, and books about other monarchs and dukes and such from the past. European history fascinates me, and I love reading about all the crazy things the monarchs did in the 1500s through around the 1800s. But after the 1800s, I kind of lose interest in the monarchy, because it all seems so absurd.
Now, granted, Elizabeth II doesn't have the power that monarchs used to have, and is basically just a figurehead now, and many other countries in Europe also still have monarchs. But still, by virtue only of her birth, she is Queen. And someday Prince Charles will be King, and then Prince William will be King, and on and on. Oh, you happened to be born into this family, so guess what? You get to live in castles and wear crowns and be supported by and spend taxpayer money and be revered for no reason other than that you lineage says you should be.
Back in the olden days, when monarchs were viewed as the next thing to God, it's understandable that people were fine with this. But now? In this day and age? I don't view the UK or Canada or Australia as being that much different than the United States. The people are pretty much the same, and people do stupid things over there they way they do stupid things over here, and we all like many of the same singers and movies and books and fashion designers, and we all go into the same types of careers, and we all speak English. It's kind of surprising -- especially given economy issues in the UK nowadays, similar to what we have going on here -- that the people are fine with the taxpayers supporting this kind of thing in addition to supporting the actual government.
Can you imagine if President Obama wore a crown, or if we were stuck with some figurehead who might be a complete imbecile just because they happened to be born into the right family? I mean, regardless of what you think of the President, at least we get to vote for our leader, and we don't have to support some additional figurehead and all of their expenses on top of our actual leader.
Thank God for the Revolutionary War, and all of the men who died to make sure we didn't have to deal with this monarchy business.