"Vive la republique!!"

Yesterday, my workshop group was set the task of asking the general public what they think of the Queen's upcoming visit to Sheffield for the annual Royal Maundy service, and to comment on any opinions they have about the monarchy in general.
Naturally I asked my dad, and his reply was nothing short of insightful: 

"I think we shouldn't have a head of state. As it stands, the cost of running them [the royal family] must be reduced. If that means getting rid of some estates and especially the travel, so be it. The lesser royals also need to be shunted out.
The maundy service is a nice old tradition but is of no benefit to Sheffield apart from a few column inches and a few reels on TV!
I wouldn't be too upset if the monarchy as it stands is abolished. Vive la republique!"

This scrutiny of the monarchy was echoed by two friends I asked, James and Jen:

Jen - "I think it [Royal Maundy] is quite a nice tradition to have, sort of like the heritage of England. But they [the royal family] are completely redundant in this society, I think, they don't do much. Just public viewings...
I'm not sure there would be any benefit. Maybe just, like, the day she's here the sales in shops will go up simply because there will be a lot more people, but I can't see any long-term benefits [to Sheffield]."

James - "I personally think that the monarchy is a completely outdated system that allows over-privileged individuals to have control over a country just because of their ancestry.
On the other hand the royal family has served as a welcome distraction from the many issues we have as a country with events such as the royal wedding.
I think the Queen's visit to Sheffield will bring great publicity for the city and a sense of occasion for the public. However, I don't think the visit will interest the younger generation, as it has done in the past." 

These comments are particularly important to me at the minute, because another module of the course is Public Administration, in which we study what the monarchy actually do for the country as well as how government/parliament operates. Turns out 'Liz actually does a fair bit more than we assume - apart from writing the Queen's Speech, which the Prime Minister does. So perhaps the monarchy as a whole is a huge sap of public money and column inches, but the Queen herself is quite a dominant character in the grand scheme of things.

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