Long-serving: Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen has returned to her normal duties.
I have no idea how many of my fellow countrymen and women felt the same sense of small discomposure on first hearing the news of her admission to hospital. In my case such came as a surprise.
The front page of my Sunday newspaper, still a tradition for many on the nation's most leisurely morning of the week, featured a picture of Prince Charles, clad in lime green ski clothes at the Swiss resort of Klosters, with a caption reporting that he and the Duchess of Cornwall would be departing on a visit to Japan
Thus are our senior royals so insidiously intertwined into the very fabric and substance of our country's life.
Yet the Queen cannot endure forever, a moment of transition will inevitably arrive and great questions are brought to mind that appear to have not been yet addressed when the full possible implications of her recent hospital visit are carefully considered.
Should we allow present arrangements to continue and remain in effect up to the moment succession occurs, or might we not be better to already correct existing anomalies in a calm, equitable and unemotional manner, while we still have the benefit of the Queen's experience and expertise to smooth what is certain in these straitened economic times to be a somewhat bruising and painful experience?
High up on any list of anomalous arrangements completely unacceptable in a 21st-century constitutional monarchy and supposed democracy are the financial privileges granted to the heir to the throne. These revolve around the provisions for the Prince of Wales and the financial arrangements for the Duchy of Cornwall
I would doubt there will be many in Britain today who could be found to argue that the present privileges and special financial arrangements enjoyed by Prince Charles should be transferred lock, stock and barrel to Prince William upon the death of the Queen - yet such seems to be the present effect of the existing provisions, even after passage of the legislation regarding succession now before parliament.
Other graver issues than the financing of the royal family are now at issue, however, due to the clear existential crisis faced by the EU to which we have incredibly attempted to abnegate a portion of our sovereignty by ministerial abuse of the puzzling powers of the royal prerogative. Background to some of these problems may be obtained by typing "Royal+Prerogative" in the search box of my blog Ironies Too or for those with time and a strong desire to be perhaps sickened by the real mess in which our constitution now stands read the evidence from Hansard of the present foreign secretary provided to parliament together with the great constitutionalist Tony Benn.
A pdf file on the deliberations of the House of Commons public administration select committee on the subject from 2002-2003 is linked here.
The death of a monarch, particularly one as long serving and dedicated as Queen Elizabeth II, is bound to prove a traumatic event in the life of any nation, never mind one locked into a non-democratic schizophrenic power bloc of supposed trading nations fearful for their own economic survival.
Britain would perhaps be best to use this precious period of domestic constitutional calm provided by the restored good health of our constitutional monarch to prepare better structures and procedures for the handover to her heir.
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