The Crown is a winner for Netflix. The lavishly produced series focusing on the reign of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth garnered rave reviews and is expected to drive up the streaming network’s fourth quarter subscriber numbers, according to Yahoo Finance.
Audience interest in The Crown is understandable, as over 2.3 billion people live in ex-British commonwealth nations. However, Queen Elizabeth’s recent health problems have many people wondering what will happen when she dies and if the monarchy should be abolished.
For example, an Ispsos poll conducted in late December found that 53 percent of Canadians think it may be time to cut ties with the British monarchy after Queen Elizabeth passes away. That number is the highest recorded since 2010, and it represents a 10-point jump since September when Prince William and Princess Catherine toured Western Canada with their young children.
According to Sean Simpson, vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs, it’s understandable that support has dropped significantly since the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s visit.
“Almost every year there’s a big function, a big celebration, which tends to inflate support for the Queen and the monarchy,” he explained. “Polls that we tend to do about the monarchy are done around these exciting times, so we actually capture inflated (support) … we thought it might be interesting to run the survey now at the end of the year when there’s nothing particular happening in the news that would have Canadians excited.”
Other polls testing Canadian support of the monarchy have been conducted around events like William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the birth of Prince George in 2013, the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015, and Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Australians are flirting with dropping the monarchy in favor of a republic again, according to a recent report by the Guardian. Back in 1999, Australia held a referendum to abolish the monarchy Down Under. Proponents of the referendum, who used a slogan claiming that Queen Elizabeth II would be “Queen Elizabeth the last,” seemed to be headed for a victory. However, Australians ended up voting 55 percent to 45 percent to keep the Queen as the country’s ceremonial figurehead.
But current Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball is an open Republican, and the Australian Republican Movement claims it now has the backing of 81 members of the House of Representatives and 40 members of the Senate. However, public support for the Queen has risen since 1999, and experts predict any new referendum attempting to cut ties with the monarchy would be trounced.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom also continues to ponder the merits of its royal family. Last spring, Britain’s Republican movement, Republic, announced it would campaign to hold a referendum on the country’s monarchy after Queen Elizabeth dies. The grassroots movement boasts over 5,000 members and 35,000 supporters and claims the British royal family is not the “harmless tourist attraction some people think.” Instead, the organization claims the monarchy is a politically meddling waste of public funds.
“It will be the first time most people have seen a change in the head of state,” says Republic Chief Executive Graham Smith of the looming end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. “I think that’s going to be a slightly odd, jarring experience for a lot of people. All of a sudden you’ve got this this other monarch who has been hoisted upon us and no debate about who it is going to be.
“For once, actually seeing hereditary power in practice – you’ll actually see the inheritance of the throne taking place.”
Even with opinion polls showing some erosion of support for the monarchy, the Queen herself remains wildly popular. Reuters reports she is popular among all age groups of British citizens, and the success of The Crown, which features a nuanced and sympathetic portrayal by Claire Foy as Elizabeth, has renewed interest in her legacy across the globe.
Do you think the monarchy should be abolished after Queen Elizabeth’s reign? What do you think of The Crown?
The Crown Season 2 returns to Netflix later this year.
[Featured Image by Netflix]