Queen Elizabeth turns 90-years-old today. The Queen has been on the throne of the United Kingdom since 1952, almost three-quarters of her life. Queen Elizabeth became Queen aged just 26, and many are celebrating what they see as a life of dedicated service to her country. Queen Elizabeth is a record breaker, the oldest and longest serving monarch in the U.K.’s history. The Mirror reports today that more often than not, the Queen has adopted just the right tone during times of difficulty, earning her popularity and entitling her to bask in the celebrations of today’s landmark birthday.
As an individual, the Queen undoubtedly has the respect of the majority of people, but she has presided over a period when the monarchy became seen by more and more people as an anachronistic and outdated institution. The Queen and the royal family are increasingly seen as a drain on the public purse. Despite being one of the world’s richest people, the Queen draws money from the public purse, and the upkeep of her palaces is at the expense of the U.K. taxpayer. The Queen’s private residence, Buckingham Palace, is estimated to be worth £5 billion.
The reality that Queen Elizabeth has to face is that many people do not want Prince Charles to become King and, as a result, see the monarchy as an increasingly unnecessary and outdated institution. Official government surveys in 2015 show that the majority of Britons believe that the monarchy should be slimmed down. Put simply, most believe that only the Queen and those immediately in the line of succession should receive anything from the public purse. This would mean that other than Prince Charles, the Queen’s other children and their offspring would receive nothing.
While the Queen is the head of state by precedent, the royal family stays above politics. Unlike the Queen, it seems that Prince Charles is unable to stay out of politics. As the Daily Mail reports, secret papers have revealed that Prince Charles lobbied ministers and tried to influence government policy.
The Spectator reports that the Queen should pass the throne to Prince William rather than to Prince Charles. Many believe that Charles is a danger to the very future of the monarchy.
The Independent reports that the Queen is not just the beneficiary of huge chunks of public cash; she also has a range of bizarre privileges. The Queen is above the law and is immune from prosecution. While she is supposed to be independent of politics, the Queen is required to sign new laws. The Queen is even exempt from the U.K.’s Freedom of Information Act. Bizarrely, the Queen owns all of the swans on open water in the U.K. and even has the power to dismiss the Australian government.
The video above captures the feelings of many Britons who see the Queen and the monarchy as irrelevant and a drain on society. While many will spend today celebrating the Queen’s birthday, many others will be hoping that Queen Elizabeth will be the U.K.’s last monarch.
While the Queen is celebrating her birthday by posing for official photographs with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, others are hoping that when Queen Elizabeth passes, the rights and privileges of her family will pass with her. Many Britons simply believe that the monarchy is no longer relevant.
The degree to which the British public is moving away from the Queen and the monarchy is perhaps encapsulated by the response to the “Clean for the Queen” campaign. As a means to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, the campaign organizers have decided to try to encourage people to clean up the U.K. countryside. The idea was widely ridiculed on social media by many people.
[Photo by Annie Leibovitz via Getty Images]