Well the news came out a few weeks ago. Did you hear about it? William and Kate are expecting their second child. The royal watchers are buzzing with the news and how Kate is doing with this pregnancy. But who are William and Kate and why are they in the news? They are part of the royal family in the United Kingdom. William is Queen Elizabeth’s grandson. Kate is his wife. Lots of people like them because they are young and stylish and probably look good to many.
But what impact do the royal have on your day to day life? What impact do they have on our country? Well, the monarchy still has a ceremonial role to play in our country. I believe that MP’s still have to swear allegiance to the queen. The Governor General serves as the queen’s representative in Canada, who formally signs all bills into law. But those laws are drawn up by elected officials. The royals have not really exercised direct authority over the individual citizens of Canada for decades.
In fact, less and less of us have any experience living under the reign of a king or queen who actually influences our day to day life. Most of us grew up in a democracy. We get to vote our leaders in. And if we don’t like them, we vote them out. Political leaders last for 7-10 years before people get tired of them or the leader is not doing what they want. Then they get someone new.
So for many of us, it’s weird to think of a queen or king ruling over us and actually making demands on our lives. This is not necessarily bad. Many past kings were too authoritarian. The nation functioned based on the threat of the king’s power. So people stayed in line. Anyone even expressing different ideas could get arrested or imprisoned for daring to question the king. The royals often became disconnected from the everyday lives of their subjects. Yet in the revolution against that kind of rule, the pendulum has swung far to the other side. Now, people generally think there is something wrong with you if you give anyone else authority over your life. We might grudgingly submit to the authority of the law. But in areas of personal decisions, morality and choices, we’re pretty used to ruling our own lives.