OPINION: Time may come when we have to make the case for the Monarchy again

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Fish Fry in Abaco, a traditional Bahamian culina

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Fish Fry in Abaco, a traditional Bahamian culinary gathering place which is found on every island in The Bahamas, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee. - Credit: PA

Like many across the town, I am waiting in eager anticipation for this summer’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. I know that plans are already afoot to mark the special occasion, laying the groundwork for memorable events to look back on. 

After the bleakness of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living challenges, it gives us all something to look forward to. Although not long ago communities came together in a time of distress, tackling the pandemic and demonstrating togetherness in a difficult time, hopefully this summer can be an example of our communities bonding over a cause for celebration.

The last year must have been an extremely difficult one for Her Majesty after losing her beloved husband, but this summer is an opportunity for the whole country to celebrate the extraordinary and unprecedented service she has provided to our country. Our country has never seen a Monarch like her and I’d be surprised if we ever do again.

It’s unfortunate that the behaviour of certain leading Royals has fallen so far short of the remarkable example set by Her Majesty, but it must not be allowed to detract from what will be a national celebration of the extraordinary achievements of a truly unique and special person who has a firm place in the heart of the nation.

Without doubt, the Queen has been a great source of strength for the Monarchy as she has been for the country as a whole.

It’s therefore understandable that when some supporters of the Monarchy look to the future they do so with a degree of uncertainty and trepidation.

Some recent polling I saw indicates that support for the Monarchy amongst younger generations is not as deep as it is for other age groups. It spells some uncertainty for those who, like myself, are supporters of the Monarchy.

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I would proudly class myself as a Monarchist and accept the fact that the time may come again - in the not too distant future - we may have to make the case for why the Monarchy is so beneficial for our country. 

I do however take the point though that, in order to survive, the Monarchy will need to be open to adapting and evolving.

There are many ways in which it is already doing so. When live broadcasting was nascent, the decision to televise the coronation of our Queen in 1953 was a huge turning point in demonstrating the ability to modernise.

Another example is the decision to ensure that the oldest child, regardless of gender, is considered the future heir to the throne. More generally, I have confidence that key figures in the Royal family, particularly the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are acutely conscious of the need for the Monarchy to evolve with the times.

The recent trip made by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica, received some criticism. Some argued that some of the imagery harked back to a different era.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Memorial Wall to remember victims of the 201

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Memorial Wall to remember victims of the 2019 hurricane at the Memorial Garden in Abaco, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee. - Credit: PA

On the whole though I believe that the Duke and Duchess conducted themselves admirably and struck the right tone on a number of sensitive topics. On the future leadership of the Commonwealth, I believe that Prince William made some sensible comments, including on the right of current members of the Commonwealth to choose an alternative path if they so wish.  

I also believe that Prince William was absolutely right to condemn slavery, but I also think he was right not to personally apologise for it. Why should he? Why should he be pressured into apologising for something that he personally had nothing to do with. 

The transatlantic slave trade was an appalling practice that a number of different countries were involved in. I do think it’s important to remember that it was our own country that led the way when it came to the abolition of slavery. We were ahead of the game when it came to stamping out this appalling practice and British lives were lost in doing so. 

Some on the left are calling for our own country to pay “reparations”. My question to them is, reparations to who and from whom? Why should British taxpayers have to fork out for something none of us have had anything to do with?

Labour leader Keir Starmer actually had the front to criticise Prince William for the comments he made on the topic, stating that he didn’t go far enough when it came to condemning slavery during his Caribbean tour.

I wish the Labour leader could be a bit more specific, Prince William clearly condemned slavery - what in particularly would meet Keir Starmer’s bar for going far enough?

Would Keir Starmer have preferred it if Prince William had personally apologised for something he had nothing to do with or support the bonkers idea of our country paying reparations?

The current Labour leadership can hardly blame many of us to coming to the conclusion that they’re instinctively hostile to the Monarchy. Let’s not forget that Starmer initially rowed to the defence of the narcissistic behaviour of Meghan and Harry before adopting a supposed position of neutrality.

Nor are we forgetting Lisa Nandy’s pledge to vote to abolish the Monarchy if ever there was a referendum.

The great irony when it comes to the recent Royal visit to Jamaica is that this is a country currently in receipt of increasing levels of direct investment from China, a country it appears to be developing a closer and closer relationship with, despite the fact that this is a country guilty of slavery in the here and now.

Stamping out present-day slavery seems like more of a priority to me than naval gazing about which distant ancestor may or may not have been responsible for what hundreds of years ago.

In the meantime, let’s look forward to what will hopefully be a joyous summer as we celebrate the life of one of the greatest Britons. 

- Tom Hunt is the Conservative MP for Ipswich