What it would take for the UK – or what remains of it – to ditch the monarchy

An overthrow of the royal family in the future should not be excluded, just because it seems inconceivable now, writes Mary Dejevsky

Thursday 11 March 2021 17:15
comments
<p>Pandemics, like military defeats, can have the effect of roiling the existing order; not necessarily at once, but in time</p>

Pandemics, like military defeats, can have the effect of roiling the existing order; not necessarily at once, but in time

B

rexit and the pandemic are already forcing some dramatic reappraisals about a nation – the UK – that was until recently an international byword for stability. From the prospect that the UK could break up, to an overhaul of the NHS and the contemplation of a four (or five) term school year, to a comprehensive review of the UK’s place in the world, this is a time for thinking the unthinkable. And that is no bad thing.

So, let’s throw in another grenade. The Sussexes’ incendiary interview with Oprah Winfrey this week has split UK opinion pretty much down the middle. Recollections, as Buckingham Palace rather delicately put it, may indeed vary; but this split, along broadly generational lines, opens up a much bigger question: could a time come when the UK might ditch the monarchy?

Just to be clear: that moment is not now. We are not seeing a replay of the 1936 abdication crisis. Despite the parallels between Meghan Markle and Wallis Simpson, that situation involved the King; this is the “spare heir” who is only sixth in line to the throne. The future of the monarchy is secure into three generations, regardless of how Harry and Meghan choose to lead their lives.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments