The upcoming coronation of King Charles has sparked much discussion about the necessity of a monarchy in the modern world. The notion of monarchy can feel archaic and unreflective of our modern understanding of the moral equality of all persons. The question has been posed as to how we can hold a group of people in higher esteem purely because of the family that they are born into.
However, this view misrepresents the root of many people’s love for the royal family. It is not their hereditary but rather how the monarchy embodies the strong British values of service and dedication that causes them to be treated with such reverence.
King Charles has been heir to the throne since the age of three and has foregone any sense of normality in his life spending it in preparation for his eventual reign. He was a shy introverted child and his position as a royal felt to him more of a burden than a gift. His public life has constantly been scrutinised and broadcasted and he has had no chance for the luxury of privacy afforded to most people.
However, this did not prevent him from maintaining an unwavering commitment to his role. From 2002 – 2022 he completed 10,934 royal engagements as well as being the patron of over 400 charities and organisations. He has understood the sense of responsibility that comes with his position and the opportunity it presents to make a positive impact on the world. This has led him to start 16 charities which raise over £100 million anually and help tackle issues around young people, education and responsible business amongst other things. Moreover, he has been a strong advocate for considered environmental action with his first speech on the issue taking place in 1970 long before it was a well-publicised topic. Charles has not only continued to speak publicly on the topic most recently at COP 26 but has also adapted his lifestyle by cutting meat and dairy out of his diet for two days a week to offset his own personal carbon footprint. By leading by example and fighting for his moral beliefs Charles has shown dedication to a role which he did not want. This reflects a true sense of service by sacrificing much of his personal happiness to contribute to something larger than himself.
Because of this we must remember that the respect we give to the monarchy is not and ought not to be because of the privilege that they are born into but rather because of the dedication and commitment which they demonstrate through their service to the nation.