Hearing about the news that females are now equal to males in succeeding to the British throne, my initial reaction was "it's about time." Why shouldn't a first born girl be in line for Queen'ness, just as a first born boy is in line for King'ness?
Almost immediately, though, my second reaction was "it's absurd that Britain and the Commonwealth still have this monarchy thing."
Yet when I did a Google search on monarchy why, I was surprised to find that most of the top search results were sites defending the monarchy. It took me some scrolling to come to the first Republicanism-leaning result, "Why the monarchy must go."
It's kind of creepy to find myself agreeing with Republicanism, but the word has a very different meaning in Britain than in the United States. This isn't a political party. It's a movement to ditch the monarchy.
Which makes perfect sense from an American perspective. I wonder if British citizens know how weird it seems from a U.S.A. point of view to spend tons of money on palaces and such to keep a royal family in the style they've become hereditarily accustomed to.
Of course, I readily admit that our political system must appear equally strange to Britons. We've got a dysfunctional Congress, including a thoroughly undemocratic Senate where majority rule doesn't exist any more.
I can't understand why Britain clings to the monarchy.
I guess it has to do with tradition. Maybe having a King and Queen reminds people of the old days when Britain ruled the seas, along with much of the world's land mass. The royal pomp and ceremony also looks cool, albeit disconcertingly undemocratic to these American eyes.
Plus, Britain doesn't have anything equivalent to our Hollywood. It looks to me like the royal family fulfills the role that movie stars do in the United States: people to gossip about, whose every move is photographed and clothing choices talked about.
Fine. The monarchy still seems deeply weird to me.
(Here's an editorial in the Guardian that casts some light on how Britons view the monarchy, but I'm still pretty much in the dark on this. OK, the present day royal family arrangement, and a requirement that monarchs be Protestant, goes back to the 1600's. That's a long time. But now always is a good time to change ridiculous social policies.)