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This Group Wants The British Monarchy Abolished. Find out why


As the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle approaches, you're bound to see lots of positive, feel-good stories about the royals popping up on your feed. You may like these stories, but
statistically you probably feel totally indifferent

But there are some people who would like to see the monarchy — and with it royal clickbait — abolished.
Republic is an anti-monarchist group, with 5,000 paying members and 40,000 supporters. Their mission statement reads: "We want to see the monarchy abolished and the Queen replaced with an elected, democratic head of state."
Mashable spoke to head of Republic Graham Smith, to ask what motivates him to oppose the monarchy so actively. 
"It’s very simple," he said, "we think that we ought to take democratic principles seriously."

Why does it still exist?

For Smith, the reason the monarchy exists is largely down to public indifference.
"Most people don’t care that much," he said. "The idea that the British are in love with the royals is complete nonsense. Most people are completely indifferent and couldn’t care less, but they’re happy to go along with it for the time being because they haven’t really stopped to think about why they should get rid of it."

IMAGE: YOUGOV
However, Smith also believes an ascension to the throne could shake things up a bit. "A lot of that is bound up with the fact that almost none of us now can remember a time when there wasn’t the Queen," he said. "When we witness a succession, that’s going to make people sit up and think about how that works."
Charles in particular is seen to pose a potential political problem. In the past he has been criticised for trying to influence public policy by privately corresponding with ministers, and some commentators speculate that if he continues that trend he could potentially trigger a constitutional crisis.

Political implications

Smith believes that a hereditary monarchy has no place in a modern society, but there's also more complex political reasons for wanting the institution dismantled. "It’s about not only changing the person at the top," he said, "but also changing the way in which our constitution works and making it genuinely democratic."
The UK has an unwritten constitution, which means it is made up of lots of different laws and conventions. The crown remains an integral part of that constitution, and in theory the Queen has the power to refuse any bill passed by the other two houses of Parliament (the House of Commons and the House of Lords). However she has never actually refused a bill; in fact, the last monarch to do so was Queen Anne in 1707. In practice she acts as a figurehead, because were she to use her authority to go against the government, she would risk Parliament dissolving of the monarchy.
To Smith's mind the monarch's involvement in our political system poses a big problem to democracy in the UK, as it essentially confers a lot of crown powers (e.g. the ability to award lordships) upon the prime minister. This is called power of patronage.
Crown powers wielded by the Prime Minister also include the power to go to war. This was in the news recently as pundits speculated whether Theresa May would consult Parliament about going to war in Syria.

Points of view

Mashable talked to a few more members of Republic to find out why they joined up.
For 32-year-old Dani Beckett the issue is a mixture of symbolic and political.
"All the things I care about changing in society; economic inequality, gender inequality, racism and poverty, seem to be epitomised by the monarchy," she said. "It seems ridiculous to me that in 2018, a diverse and democratic country should have an unelected head of state who holds enormous power over the decisions that are made that affect everyone's day to day lives.
"They're far from it. The media like to make out that we all love the monarchy and can't wait for the royal wedding when actually over half of young people say that they couldn't care less."
IMAGE: DANI BECKETT
"Many people say the the Queen never really interferes with the decisions of elected representatives, but the systems have no transparency so we really can't be sure of that. And I feel certain that when Charles inherits the throne he will jump at the chance to get involved."

Beckett also finds the media representation of the royals troubling. "I find it frustrating how harmless the monarchy are portrayed to be in the British media," she added.
For Beckett, the coverage of the royal babyencapsulated her concerns about the relationship between the media and the royals.
"It's the epitome of hereditary privilege," she said. "There are parts of the UK where over half of children are living in poverty and yet there's been masses of saccharine coverage of this one child in the media. It's easy to get swept up in because a new baby is a lovely thing for the family, but you have to ask how many other babies were born [on April 23rd] without the privileged access to power that the royals have."
IMAGE: JUAN LEAHY
34-year-old Juan Leahy was a "casual republican" up until 2012. "The 2012 Jubilee blew my mind," he said. "I couldn’t believe the adulation and flag waving for such an archaic institution. The monarchy doesn’t reflect me at all and I couldn’t get my head round the fanfare."
Leahy stands against the symbolic significance of the monarchy, and feels it has a real knock-on effect.
"Its existence hammers home the message that we are not equal," he said, "that we are not born equal and that some people deserve more power and respect than others."
"That message filters down and all of a sudden we have a Cabinet stuffed with Eton-educated university chums who have long benefited from the privilege denied to everyone else."
For 27-year-old Matthew Reilly anti-monarchism is a matter of political principle.
IMAGE: MATTHEW REILLY
 "No-one in a proper functioning democracy should enjoy the privilege of unchecked hereditary power. It's just not on. No-one should be 'born into' a position of such importance as head of state. And I am afraid there is simply not one good reason to keep things the way they are.
"It's nothing personal to do with the royal family. I am sure they are perfectly nice people, but Britain is a modern country filled with lots of brilliant people who could be our head of state."
"We should be trusted to elect our own head of state who acts as our ambassador around the world. Simply, we can do much better than a monarchy!"
So as the royal wedding approaches, in midst of the usual media feeding-frenzy and interviews of tearfully excited visitors to Windsor, there'll be a substantial number of Brits turning off their televisions for the day. 

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