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VIETNAM UNIVERSITY OF COMMERCE FACULTY OF ENGLISH

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BRITISH CULTURE
TOPIC : The monarchy
Class : Teacher: Group Mrs. Xuan Phuong 13

Ha Noi, 2012

OUTLINE
Topic: Monarchy

I. II. III.

The appearance The reality The role of the monarch

IV. The value of monarchy V. The future of monarchy

I.

The appearance

When we mention to The Royal Family as in Britain, some controversial issues of politic system are being taken into account. They are the Monarchy and the real Government. Monarchy with King James I and Queen Elizabeth II has been considered as Majesty symbols.

In the unmodified Constitution of the United Kingdom, the Monarch is the Head of State. Oaths of allegiance are made to the Queen and her lawful successors. God Save the Queen is the British national anthem, and the monarch appears on postage stamps, coins and banknotes.

The acts of state are done in the name of the Crown, such as Crown Appointments, such as the Queens Speech. She says, my government instead of the peoples. Therefore, she also appears to have great power over Parliament. Nothing that Parliament has decided can become law until she has agreed to it.

Queen also embodies the law in the courts. In the USA, when the police take someone to court to accuse them of a crime, the court records show that the people have accused that person. In other countries, it might be the State that makes the accusation. But in Britain it is the Crown. When an accused person is found guilty of a crime, he or she might be sent to one of Her Majestys prisons.

The Church of England, of which the Monarch is the Head, has its own legislative, judicial and executive structures. The Monarch seems to cover all aspects of Britain with its power.
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II.

The reality

In fact, the Queen cant choose anyone she likes to be Prime Minister. She has to choose someone who has the support of the majority of MPs in the House of Commons. Similarly, Prime Minister decides who the other government ministers are going to be.

In reality, the government carries out the duties and all of the appointments are made upon the advice of the Prime Minster. The Prime Minister declares war and peace and concludes treaties with foreign states in the name of the crown. The monarch serves as the ceremonial head of the Commonwealth of nation. The real work of the monarchy consists of signing papers. It includes the entire body of laws enacted by Parliament. All laws passed by Parliament are regarded as constitutional and changes to the constitution occur whenever new legislation overrides existing law. Although the crown gives its royal assent to legislation, this is a formality.

In theory, the British monarch has enormous powers but in reality, those powers are limited and the crown follows the dictates and advice of the ministers in Parliament. The Queen has almost no power at all. When she opens Parliament each year, the speech she makes has been written for her. If she disagrees with one of the policies of the government, she might ask the government ministers to change the wording in the speech beforehand, but that is all. She cant stop the government going ahead with any of its policies.

III. The role of the monarch


The monarch is Head of State and the Commonwealth. The Monarch has power to confer peerages, knighthoods and other honors. The Monarch has powers to enact legislation as well as to summon and dissolve parliament. The Monarch appoints the prime minister and has the right to be consulted, 'advise and warn'. The Monarch plays important constitutional roles in other organizations, including the Armed Forces and the Church of England. The monarch is commander of the armed forces; soldiers will swear allegiance to the crown rather than to the state. In this sense, the monarchy is intelligible as she is the personification of the British State. People can swear loyalty to the state, a social construction, via the monarchy. The Monarch is also Governor of the Church of England. As well as the constitutional role, the monarch also has a non constitutional role. As well as carrying out significant constitutional functions, the Queen acts as a focus for national unity, presiding at ceremonial occasions, visiting local communities and representing Britain around the world. The majority of the Queens workload consists of representing the state at home and abroad. This helps raise the profile of the nation, and attracts the interest of the foreign public and media. They provide a focus, and a great deal of apolitical continuity. They are a figurehead for the country and foreigners are fascinated by them. One of the key defences of the monarchy is that she attracts tourism, and without her role, raising the profile of the nation overseas, and representing

the UK in an apolitical role, tourism would suffer. The effect of this is of course intangible. Although there are figures, the value of them is negligible. It would be impossible and ridiculous to ask all tourists into the country whether or not they were attracted to the country because of the monarchy. An important intangible and non-constitutional role of the monarchy is acting as a symbolic figurehead for the country. In his seminal work Bagehot describes the monarchy as the dignified part of the constitution. He suggests it excites and preserves the reverence of the population. The monarchy is the symbolic head of Britain representing the intelligible part of the constitution for the average Briton. A survey showed 50% of people said they felt the monarchy made them feel more British and 48% of people saw the most important role of the monarchy as a figurehead for the country. It is important to examine the role of the monarchy through the eyes of various theories of the state. The monarchy provides an interesting case study of modern pluralist interaction. For many, the former magic of t he monarchy has disappeared, the Royal Family proving to be fallible. They are merely another group attempting to maximize their interests through the state. Neo-pluralism would note the constant change of modern society, and how the Royal family has coped with staying relevant to the public. Despite their diminishing powers, the monarchy has remained an influential and relatively strong institution. This is in part due to the steady public support for the monarchy. The abolishment of the crown is only sought by a minority; change is not in the interests of British society at large. If there was a majority that wanted to remove the crown, it would undoubtedly happen.
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However, the role of the modern monarchy also affects the position of the state as the arbiter between interest groups. There has been recent concern over the increasingly presidential role of the British PM, and this is primarily tied in with the lack of clarity regarding the role of the head of state. In pluralist terms, this presents a danger to the capacity of the state to maximize the interests of different groups in society. In many ways, the executive is becoming a new monarch.

IV. The value of monarchy

For centuries, the British monarchy has been an essential part of the nations culture and history. As Englands oldest secular institution, it is intertwined with the nations identity and political culture. When functioning properly, the monarchy embodies the best of English society. If abolished or radically changed, the nation would lose an essential element that solidifies its political system. The value of the British monarchy is evaluated on three aspects:
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- Represent the unity of the nation - Carry out certain political functions on the advice of ministers. - It proves useful as a ceremonial head and tourist attraction. In a modern democracy, many have questioned the legitimacy of the monarchy. Such a concern is logical, but the institution performs many important roles for the nation. According to Philip Norton, author of The British Polity, "Twentieth century monarchs occupy a position in which they fulfill two primary tasks. One is to represent the unity of the nation. The other is to carry out certain political functions on the advice of ministers" .

In order to operate as intended, the monarchy needs money to perform its duties as head of state, such as making overseas visits and entertaining

foreign dignitaries. Because the Crown serves as the nations ceremonial head, adequate subsidies are required to properly fulfill these roles. The monarchys operating costs in 1992 were approximately 57 million pounds, the majority of which was spent on palace staff and maintenance. Moreover, increases given to the Civil List, a fund allocated by Parliament to cover the monarchys personal expenses, pale when compared to those of government spending. . Most of the monarchys expenses are legitimate, and its status as a tourist attraction greatly offsets its costs. Nevertheless, in an effort to economize, several junior royals were recently trimmed from the Civil List and the Queen began paying income tax on her personal fortune, effectively ending the Crowns tax-free status. Although it proves useful as a ceremonial head and tourist attraction, these benefits alone do not justify the monarchys existence. However, when they comport themselves correctly, the Royal family embodies the English historical concept of all that is noble and good, providing the people with a virtuous ideal. For example, Professor of History at Columbia University, David Cannadine, says that the life of Queen Elizabeth has been busy, comparmentalized, and ridgedly constrained and controlled.as head of the Commonwealth, she has helped to preserve postimperial connections with and between former British colonies, and she has visited more of the world than any king or queen in human history. Such reliable behavior potentially proves invaluable to a nation that depends upon a strong political culture to preserve its constitution. As the embodiment of virtue, the royal familys political worth is moral and educative, especially in a society with a crumbling family structure. Their

work preserves freedom by inspiring ministers to politically restrain themselves and commoners to adopt gentility.

V.

The future of monarchy

The debate about the so-called royal monarchs of British has been going on for a long time. Some argue that contemporary European monarchs have no real power and serve as decorative pieces that are only a symbol of national traditions and former dignity, while others believe that the monarchs were sent by God for good purposes. The main duty of a true monarch is the implementation of sovereignty. A monarch must be a national arbiter standing above classes and parties. A monarch should regulate social relations and not let demagogues and careerists into power. It used to be the case. What do we see in the modern monarchies of British? There are no monarchs who perform their duties, despite some legislative powers. In addition, the current European monarchs are simply toys in the hands of powerful politicians. The monarchs do not prevent irresponsible politicians from taking office, allowing them robbing the budget and in acting absurd laws. It was partly the powerlessness of the monarchs that led to a severe economic crisis, the fall of morality and the dominance of immigrants. Now, as evidence shows, British monarchs do not have a major impact on the situation in their countries. During the last two decades of twentieth century, there has been a general cooling of enthusiasm. The Queen herself remains popular. But the various marital problems in her family have lowered the prestige of royalty in many peoples eye. The problem is that, since Queen Victorias reign, the public
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have been encouraged to look up to the royal family as a model of Christian family life. The contemporary monarchs in British are a sham. They no longer have authority and dignity; they are mired in scandals and immorality. They are accustomed to expensive palaces, beautiful clothing, plush celebrations and elegant ceremonies, forgetting their main goal strengthening of the national unity and power of the state. It is remarkable how often, in relatively recent time, the British monarchy has been dragged up from the depths of unpopularity again and again by a woman. Following the abdication of Edward V11, and the awkwardness of George V1, his wife, the late queen mother, did the trick. Her daughter Elizabeth has similarly steered the royal family through several rocky straits. Princess Diana added the populist touch and, in death, initiated the partial defrosting of the court. The change in peoples attitude can be seen by comparing Queen Elizabeths 25th anniversary as Queen with her 40th anniversary. In 1977, there was neighborhood street party throughout the country, most of them spontaneously and voluntarily organized. But in 1992, nothing like this took place. On 20 November 1992, a fire damaged one of the Queens favorite homes to the value of 60 million. There were expressions of public sympathy for the Queen. But when the government announced that public money was going to pay for the repairs, the sympathy quickly turned to anger. The Queen had recently ben reported to be richest woman in the world, so people wondered why she shouldnt pay for them herself. Now, the Duchess of Cambridge is succeeding in polishing what the constitutionalist Walter Bagehot called the mystery and magic of the charm of royalty. Last year, even before she became a mother, one not untypical Ipsos Mori poll took a measure of "the Kate effect". It showed that 80% of
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Britons wish to remain loyal subjects of the Queen, with just 13% in favor of living in a republic, the lowest proportion for 20 years. For most people, the most notable event marking Queen Elizabeth 40th anniversary was a television programme about a year in her life which showed revealing details of her private family life. In the following year, parts of Buckingham Palace were, for the first time, opened for the public visits (to raise money to help pay for the repairs to Windsor Castle). These events are prepared an indication of the future royal style a little less grand, a little less distant.

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