Royals In Crisis

April 4, 2021


A 300+year old monarchy that remains one of the few of its kind in the world

Are we witnessing a moment that will change it forever?

Why It Matters

The United Kingdom is one of the few surviving constitutional monarchies on the planet.

Constitutional monarchy: royals share their mostly symbolic power with elected officials who legislate.

Others include Belgium, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand.

The Stakes

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, want to create a new hybrid role, one that has no precedent.

  • maintain their royal titles but step back as “senior members” of the royal family
  • become financially independent to pursue their own charity work while also maintaining *some* royal duties
  • partially split their time abroad

The Modern UK Monarchy

  • Dates back to 1707 when the English and Scottish kingdoms merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
  • There have been 12 monarchs (Kings or Queens) and four Houses (dynasties) since 1707. Currently, led by Queen Elizabeth II of the House of Windsor.
  • Since its inception, the UK monarchy has fought to stay in existence with its strength largely dependent on the support of its citizens.

The House Of Windsor

Did You Know? 3 of the 4 monarchs were not born likely to ascend to the throne.

  • 1917: The Queen’s grandpa King George V was born 3rd in the line to the crown
  • 1936: The Queen’s father (the second son of George V) became King after her uncle, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee.
  • 1952: Queen Elizabeth II (25) ascends to the throne after death of her father.
“I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Edward VIII resigning his role as King to marry his American lover Wallis Simpson. Although he had no children, when he abdicated or renounced his royal title to marry Simpson, any potential descendants forever lost their chance at the crown.

Not Just About England…

  • “The Commonwealth” is made up of 53 independent nations, many once ruled by England, who support & recognize the Royal family (i.e. Canada, India, South Africa).
  • Commonwealth countries’ financial contributions vary & citizens who don’t reside in the UK don’t vote in UK.
  • The Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth and head of state in 15 of its countries.

In February, the Queen (93) will mark 68 years on the throne. In 2015, she became the UK’s longest-reigning monarch, beating a record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. In 2016, she became the world’s longest-reigning living monarch.

Statement from Her Majesty:

  • Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.

My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.

Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.

It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.

These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.

by Jenna Lee,