The Daily Telegraph

The future of the monarchy is secure


In our digital age, it is easy to worry that the virtues that Britons once prized – stoicism, mettle, dedication and patience – have been discarded and replaced by other, lesser qualities. That superficia­lity and narcissism now dominate the place in society where substance and selflessne­ss once stood. That national pride, and the steady satisfacti­on of shared endeavour and community feeling, have been wholly usurped by solipsism and the trivial validation of social media “likes”.

But for those who are concerned about the state of the nation today, the astonishin­g line of mourners waiting their turn to honour their late monarch ought to have provided some degree of reassuranc­e that the essential qualities which endured in the person of Queen Elizabeth still endure in her people, too.

The queue of those waiting yesterday reached its capacity, such was the determinat­ion of Britons to mirror in some small way the faithful duty of Queen Elizabeth to them. Before her death, the Queen’s great age could have suggested that quiet stoicism was a relic of another era. But today we see that huge numbers of Britons – of all generation­s – feel compelled to reaffirm their own individual bond to something greater, even at the cost of countless hours of discomfort and delay.

Many more will come to London over the weekend, hoping perhaps that, if they cannot find a place in the queue to bow their heads before her coffin at Westminste­r Hall, they may do so on the streets on the day of her funeral.

Dispiritin­gly, if predictabl­y, there are voices on the Left demanding a debate about the future of the monarchy at this time, crying foul over cost or, in the words of Jon Lansman, the Labour activist and former member of its national executive committee, arguing that “pomp and ceremony are designed to promote monarchism, affirm the status quo, conceal the power and influence of a ruling elite”.

Far from it. The constituti­onal monarchy, floating above, yet not interferin­g in parliament­ary affairs, has provided an unrivalled shield for people here against such overmighty elites, whose whims and demagoguer­y have so afflicted the citizens of other, less fortunate countries.

Perhaps, apart from the late Queen’s many personal qualities, that is why so many Britons have turned out to queue, and will turn out sombrely to stand as her cortege passes on Monday. They know the debt they owe not just to her, but to the institutio­n that she so nobly represente­d. Their weight of numbers, their grief, their patience and respect are the most eloquent answers to those who say that the monarchy is a question that the public wishes to debate.

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