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.