The Need For Kings

The Need For Kings illustrated by 4 generations of monarchy

Queen Elizabeth II and Kings for the next one hundred years.

People since the beginning of time have felt the need for kings. They need something bigger than themselves. Something outside themselves. Something to look up to and respect. They need a warrior, a leader – someone to make the big decisions for them.

God, the king of kings, is invisible. People want to see their king in the flesh. He has to be present, paraded, painted, a photograph in every school room and public building, as omnipresent as Orwell’s Big Brother.

In the British monarchical system, the king – or queen – is also the head of the Church of England. As above, so below. 

The need for kings is championed by the courtiers, the hierarchy who own the land and make the laws. Once you establish the need for kings, the need for dukes, earls, barons and lords is only a small step. They word ‘lord’ is an eponym for all the aristocratic ranks, as in the House of Lords. This reinforces the belief that, like the Lord above, the Lords who rule us are there, like the kings, by divine right. 

In Britain today admired celebrities, pop stars, TV personalities, chefs, footballers and dancers may find themselves with titles. This ring of dames and knights is a cushion that adds legitimacy to those with inherited peerages and privileges. When Mick Jagger accepted a knighthood, Keith Richard, the true face of rock-and-roll, had just one word to say beginning with the letter c.

Spain’s Need for Kings

During the Peninsular War (1808 – 1814), Spain’s King Fernando VII fled while French troops raped and ravished his kingdom. Incredibly, he spent his exile in France cosying up to Napoleon and congratulating him when his troops crushed the Spanish.

The Need for Kings illustrated by the king of Spain

King Fernando VII

In 1812, four years into the war, 300 men from all across Spain travelled in secret to Cádiz. They were writers, poets, intellectuals, reformists and young army officers sick of war.

Working on draft after draft, arguing and compromising, they drew up what became known as The Constitution of Cádiz. This was a set of democratic principles that put the Spanish people – not the monarch – in charge of their own destiny. What they envisaged was votes for all men, the right to own land and start a business, freedom of the press and a constitutional monarchy with limited financial support and powers.

This was the first written constitution in Europe and set the standard for the form of liberal democracy that spread across the western world – albeit after two world wars the following century.

When the Peninsular War ended, the landowners and bishops returned to their estates and castles. The Liberal 300 who had produced the Constitution of Cádiz demanded that the king comply to its precepts before he returned. Fernando signed every document put in front of him and set off back over the Pyrenees with his exiled court of advisers, clowns, escorts and hangers on.

The newspapers – owned by the selfsame wealthy and titled men who owned the land and made the rules – printed celebratory stories about the king’s valiant return from exile and the crowds cheered as the string of coaches rolled across the nation. They wanted to get a glimpse of their king dressed like Napoleon, the military dictator he admired.

When the party reached Valencia, people crying with joy pushed forward and unhitched the horses pulling the king’s carriage so that they could pull it themselves. Vivan las cadenas, they cried, Long Live Our Chains.  

‘Fernando was a vile human being,’ Jason Webster wrote in Violencia, his magnificent history of Spain. ‘…being at once revengeful, petty, treacherous, cowardly, deceitful, self-obsessed … and utterly lacking any aptitude to be king.’

With his villainous landowners, aristocracy and bishops, King Fernando strangled the infant liberal state at birth. Universities were closed – you don’t want uppity peasants learning stuff; censorship returned and, it beggars belief, the Inquisition was reinstated ‘as a symbol of national identity.’ With the backing of the Church, Fernando’s new force of secret police set out across the land to hunt down the 300 men who had written the first liberal constitution in Europe.

Richer than God

Elizabeth II decreed that the wife of King Charles III was to be known as the Queen Consort – even though Mrs Parker-Bowles is divorced and married in a Catholic Church, not the Church of England, of which Charles is now God’s man on earth. Rules, for monarchy, like Lords and Cabinet ministers, are flexible. 

The Queen had a personal bank account of some £530 million and an art collection worth a sum far greater than £1 billion – and as much as £10 billion. She owned vast tracts of land across the world and was the owner, not the tenant, of Balmoral Castle and the Sandringham Estate. Prince Andrew received an undisclosed allowance from the Queen from her Duchy of Lancaster estate, millions of pounds of which were spent  fighting sexual abuse charges in the United States. To protect the Firm, as the Royal Family calls itself, Andrew was been stripped of his titles, though not his protection and privileges. 

Every year the Queen was provided with living expenses that cost the tax paper £50 million – and never once in seventy years when an extra bill dropped on the doormat did she say – “Don’t worry, I’ll pay for that, use that money from the public purse to feed the country’s hungry children…” now standing after 12 years and two Etonians inmates No 10 Downing Street at three million. THREE MILLION British children go hungry every day in this Constitutional Monarchy ruled by the House of Windsor.

For those who say making sure hungry children are fed is not the role of monarchy, I would say it is the role of every decent human being, especially those with the power and such staggering wealth it would make God’s eyes water.

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12 Comments

  1. As usual your narration is sad, humorous and so easy to read. If we did not have a Monarchy we wold have another type of Monarchy equally as treacherous and corrupt . Anyone in power becomes corrupt . Voltaire said “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” there is no answer or solution to eventually having a just and equal society. Neither the Queen nor Boris will give us that. We may have had one chance with Corbyn but that was quickly quelled.

  2. I m probably in favour of a pared-down monarchy, who would put some of
    those vast stately piles to better use, and I don’t mean sell them to Russian
    oligarchs or pop stars of any nationality.
    The best thing about the monarchy is the horses – the grey carriage horses
    which I hope we will see at Chazza’s pared-down coronation, the Household
    Cavalry, the Fell ponies driven by Lady Louisa in Windsor Park, the four
    driven by Prince Philip in the cross-country event at Windsor Horse Show.
    I haven’t read all your blog and am looking forward to doing so.

  3. Margaret Spector,
    Imagine if Corbyn had been given a chance! An honest man in power! What an opportunity we missed. Tragic.

  4. Royalty is needed to support the noble classes, which in turn supports hereditary and life peers, which in turn supports giving political parties large donations to buy a peerage.

    If you ever argue against one of them, all the others are used to justify their existence, but the whole system is corrupt and only serves to preserve the political and social inequalities in this country.

    FPTP keeps it simple as not only does it preserve the two party state, it consequently also preserves that same injustice of non proportional representation in the Lords.

  5. “People since the beginning of time have felt the need for kings. They need something bigger themselves. Something outside themselves. Something to look up to and respect. They need a warrior, a leader – someone to make the big decisions for them.”

    No. No. and No. Let me put a different point of view: Some people need kings, and some people only some of the time. I’ll hazard a guess that 20 percent of people are predisposed to the tendency to need kings, and ten percent do need kings. I am a student of the psychology of authoritarianism. I have spent a lot of time trying to understand why 10 percent of people need kings and another 20 percent need them under certain conditions. However, I am among the 70 percent in accord with the post-modern age, and I do begin to bristle when the 30 percent tell the 70 percent that we should still organise the world anachronistically around them. Yes, I know the 30 percent can become highly aggressive and violent in defence of their kings, and God knows they’ve done a lot of that throughout history, but please folks let’s move on….

  6. Corbyn was behind the push for Gender ideology. He lobbied Teresa May to push it through thereby joking men in women’s prisons and the ‘transing’ of children, puberty blockers, breast binding ‘born in the wrong body’ delusions et al. So I’m afraid good Mr Corbyn is very very much part of the problem.

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