17th September 2023 – (London) 8th September marked one year since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, ending her historic 70-year reign. In her place, King Charles III has assumed the throne. But behind the pomp and ceremony lies an uncomfortable truth – the British monarchy is fast declining into irrelevance. While Elizabeth was widely revered, public support for the royals has dropped. Polls show youth increasingly view the monarchy as an obsolete relic. Meanwhile, Charles lacks his mother’s popularity. With his reign now underway, it’s time to acknowledge that this antiquated institution should be phased out.

Make no mistake, Elizabeth’s passing was a watershed moment. She served as the living embodiment of tradition, providing a thread of continuity back to Britain’s past glories. Her dedication to duty was admirable, as was the sheer length of her rule.

However, the deference and respect she commanded masked growing apathy towards the royals, especially among younger Brits. To them, the monarchy seems like a taxpayer-funded anachronism that entrenches inequality based on birthright, not merit.

These sentiments are increasingly reflected in opinion surveys. One poll earlier this year showed only 31% of 18-24 year olds thought the monarchy did any good. Over 40% preferred an elected head of state. Another survey revealed a 5% drop in overall support for the royals just in the past year.

The tepid response to Charles ascending the throne confirms this. Despite symbolic shows of public mourning after Elizabeth’s death, there is little passion for the new King. His reign so far has inspired indifference rather than devotion.

Some of this is due to Charles’ less charismatic public persona. But he also faces the impossible task of following an act like Queen Elizabeth. Her stoic dedication to duty allowed supporters to overlook how bizarre the notion of a modern monarchy truly is. With Elizabeth gone and those blinders removed, the absurdities of such an elitist, taxpayer-funded institution are laid bare. The royals serve no substantive governing purpose, yet receive vast public resources simply for existing. Their extravagant lifestyles are subsidised by taxpayers who get no say in the matter.

Worse still, revelations of royal bigotry and callousness continue emerging. Prince Harry’s recent memoir exposed a culture of cruelty behind the scenes, including physical attacks on him by William. The Royals’ appalling response to Princess Diana’s death also ruptured their public image.

Meanwhile, Prince Andrew’s sordid ties to Jeffrey Epstein and damaging sex abuse lawsuit have become major embarrassments. So too have Meghan Markle’s accounts of racist mistreatment by royal insiders. All of this contradicts their carefully-groomed illusion.

Add in the monarchy’s despotic imperialist history and refusal to apologise for the slave trade, and it’s unsurprising young, woke Brits see them as oppressive villains, not wholesome role models. This growing distaste from the next generation bodes ill for the Crown’s future appeal.

Some argue the Royals should be retained simply as profitable tourist attractions and symbols of tradition. But the costs to taxpayers make this argument dubious. So too does the absurdity of maintaining a privileged caste just for show.

If Britain is to consider itself a modern, egalitarian state, the monarchy has no place. Even if a constitutional role for them is preserved, stripping away public funding and the remnants of aristocratic privileges is overdue. The pomp and pageantry hobbyists can self-fund. But a better approach is to phase the monarchy out entirely and transition to a democratic republic. Ireland has demonstrated this can occur smoothly. The president could assume the same ceremonial duties at a lower cost.

Some insist ditching the royals would diminish British prestige and culture. But retaining antidemocratic institutions out of misplaced nostalgia makes little sense. Plenty of major countries like France and the United States thrive as republics. Britain losing the royals may be disruptive initially but will not undermine its global standing.

With Charles III now King, these questions will only grow louder. Rather than papering over the monarchy’s cracks, its diminished relevance should be acknowledged. One day replacing Elizabeth II on banknotes with Charles III will seem rather silly.

The Royals have served an important cultural purpose, cementing national identity through wars, tragedies and triumphs. But what Britain needs now is not contrived pomp designed to prop up visions of a bygone imperial era where monarchies dominated. What it needs is a streamlined modern state that embodies democratic principles, not archaic feudalism. The monarchy has had a good run, but it’s time we move on.