“I remarked again how much the comfortable circumstance that we still had a King made for the reputation of England in this world of Asia. Ancient and artificial societies like this of the Sherifs and feudal chieftains of Arabia found a sense of honourable security when dealing with us in such proof that the highest place in our state was not a prize for merit or ambition.” — T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom
That “the highest place in our state was not a prize for merit or ambition” seems to me a point still in constitutional monarchy’s favour. I think the monarchy’s probably the only issue I’ve never really changed my mind about, even as my faith in the union of the parliaments has waned. A ceremonial head of state of some other sort would be one thing (though in practice this would likely be an ex-politician of some sort, so hardly a unifying figure), but to have a political one would be frightening. Look no further than George W. Bush’s presidency, for instance, to see the perils of allowing an individual to merge the political powers of the nation-state with all of its semiotics and paraphernalia. This dangerous combination made it so much easier for him to question his political opponents’ patriotism at a time of national crisis, to skew the debate and to accumulate more powers for himself. Our consitution of course allows the prime minister too many similar powers, but that is an argument for strengthening parliament, not for dusting off the guillotine. No argument yet put forward by republicans in this country has convinced me that abolition would be worth the risks inherent with a politicised head of state, or worth the bother of a non-politicised one.
As for the wedding itself, and given the ill fortune some of his male relatives have had in this department, I can do no better than offer Prince William this quote from Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra… “Careful have I found all buyers, and all of them have astute eyes. But even the astutest of them buyeth his wife in a sack.”