What does the British Royal Family actually do for the people of England?

What does the British Royal Family actually do for the people of England? I mean, it's exciting to hear about William and Kate Middleton getting engaged, but it feels like they're just another celebrity couple that got lucky being born into wealthy homes. Does the British Family actually work jobs or do they just take taxes and use them as their own personal bank account? Where is the democracy in that?

What does the British Royal Family actually do for the people of England?

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Firstly I wish to respectfully point out that you have mixed 'Britain' with 'England' - a mistake that tends to be an irritation to the British and so often inadvertently made by non-Britons. Furthermore, in simple terms and excluding the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, following the Act of Union of 1707, the term 'Britain' means the largest island in the British Isles so is basically the countries of England, Scotland and Wales. Following the Act of Union of 1800, the 'United Kingdom' included Ireland, but since the Republic of Ireland came into existence the modern term 'UK' means the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' over which HRH Queen Elizabeth is Sovereign.

To now get to your question, I regret the answer cannot be given as a simple response - yes, there is unfair privilege that has been brought about by the evolution of history but despite this the advantages that the system has given UK (and the world) are undoubtedly enormous. The British Monarchy can be directly traced back to the 'dark ages' and through its often turbulent history it has evolved into a stabilising and unique constitutional institution that is a focus and centre of unity for all of the British people - you saw this manifested by the death of Princess  Diana and you shall see it again in the upcoming royal wedding. It also facilitates many millions each year for the Exchequer and for the good of the UK in terms of tourism and business.

However, most of all and because the Monarchy has evolved by consent of the people, conditions for the 'Mother of all Parliaments' to develop in the way that it has, has allowed democracy and freedom to flourish in modern times. The seeds for this were sown in the 9th century by King Alfred the Great and then the fundamentals were set out in the Magna Carta during the 13th century. The concept of a Constitutional Monarchy was then sealed in the 17th century by the English Civil War and the execution of Charles I (who made the mistake of confronting Parliament while expounding his belief in the 'Divine Right of Kings').

This is why I have said above that the world has also reaped the benefit of the UK having this Monarchy in that freedom and democracy has been perpetrated to many parts of the globe because of it. This should therefore address your remark concerning democracy.   

So this answer needs to be viewed in the context I have explained. In many respects the Monarchy, Parliament and the British People are as one. They are inexplicably linked which is why a question such as yours does not have a straightforward reply. Nevertheless, I do argue that the cost to the British Taxpayer is certainly well worth it and especially because members of the Royal Family are very hard workers, despite the perks they also enjoy. I also hope that the reasoning I have presented robustly disqualifies the 'celebrity' wedding comparison that you have made since the British Royal Family outrank any such description in view of the pedigree I have briefly outlined above.

Regarding the Royal Family taking taxes, I must correct you - they do not - it is Parliament that levies taxes - one of the 700 year-old principles defined in the Magna Carta!

Yes, I am a pro-Royalist so my reply should also be considered in this context. I also apologise if my words do appear to be pompous - but this is after all, a somewhat pompous subject!

Best wishes,


(I am Irish/Scottish)

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