THE MASSES WANT PRINCE WILLIAM as the next King. If the young Prince has any sense, which I suspect he does, he'd reject the idea as abhorrent. It flies in the face of tradition, of course, but the tradition teaches us also that a violation of the hereditary principle undermines the stability of the monarchy. If monarchy becomes merely a popularity contest then its not a monarchy. This doesn't mean that monarchy may exist practically or rightly with contempt for the popular view, it takes them into account as any public institution should. As a national - and Commonwealth - symbol it must speak to national values and aspirations. Victoria provided the model family for a middle class society, George V the grave eminence of a mature Great Power and George VI projected the image of honest conviction and hard effort required to win the Second World War.
Britain favours Prince William over his father Charles as its next monarch, with widespread approval for William's girlfriend boosting his ratings, a poll shows. More than half of 1,000 people polled said they would prefer the second-in-line to be the next to take the throne. Prince William's popularity is greatest among the younger generation, with 70 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds favouring him as the next king. That is compared to just 47 per cent of 55- to 64-year-olds.I suspect much of this apprehension will vanish once Charles, whom rumour has it wanting to style himself George VII, assumes the throne. Being monarch in waiting for sixty plus years is scarcely the easiest of positions to maintain, especially with any dignity. It takes an unusual talent to not embarrass one self after so long in the public gaze, a task only made harder by the nature of the modern media. There is one hopeful sign in this report:
"Prince Charles does seem to have a real image
problem," said former royal correspondent Jennie Bond.
"Even though he is undoubtedly the best-trained heir to the throne we've ever had, the public seem reluctant to accept him as king. The damage to his image caused by the breakdown of his marriage to Diana seems irreparable," Bond said.
"I think it's sad; we should be more forgiving as a nation and accept that Charles is a far wiser head on more experienced shoulders than a boy of 25 who still has much to learn and do."
Over all, three-quarters of Britons said they were in favour of retaining the monarchy, but the same percentage questioned whether it delivers value for money and want it to use less of taxpayers' money.Well, if the NHS delivered the same value for money as the monarchy, British health care would be the envy of the world. It costs the average Briton about a Canadian dollar a year to finance the monarchy. Is there any prominent public institution in modern Britain that is so cheaply run? Don't let the gilded coaches fool you, those were paid for some time ago and get used for state occasions. Unlike Gordon Brown's Jaguars.