I hate to be a cynic about the British monarchy on the heels of the great Queen’s death, but a story that details aspects of King Charles’ personal investments and net worth brings up a number of issues that really should be addressed by the Brits.
Note: I want be perfectly clear that I don’t intend to denigrate the amazing service Elizabeth has given to her people for nearly a century. She was queen during my entire life. I have issues, but a monarchy does not exist in America, which I’m thankful for. I expect that some Brits will say, I should mind my own business. I say to all Brits, celebrate this amazing woman.
The British monarchy at one time truly dominated its Commonwealth and a large part of the world politically, economically and socially. The king or queen was the commander in chief of the military and operated as an authoritarian regarding all matters of state. This included what places would be colonized, what wars should be fought, whom should be taxed, etc. The authority of the reigning monarch was absolute. No one questioned the wealth of the monarchy because it provided so many things to the people including safety, support for agrarian activities and manufacturing and it was a reign of great power.
In the mid 1600s, Britain committed to a constitutional monarchy that transferred many powers away from the monarchy to parliament. Part of the deal enabled the monarchy to hold sway over some government and to keep their accumulated wealth. Thereafter, numerous ways to control the monarchy we’re installed as Parliament increased its power. Parliament also provided millions of dollars of spending money to members of the royal family, perhaps to gain its concurrence.
The big question is why should individuals who are born into high society by a twist of fate be entitled to favors that are not available to commoners? This includes a (very large) spending allowance, no taxation and a great many perquisites such as security and care of the family’s vast real estate holdings.
It’s ironic that questions are now being raised, after the incredible record-breaking reign of Elizabeth II. For seven decades, the queen seemingly gave her constituency what it wanted, a high-end global presence with no real power or influence, goodwill to commoners located around the world and a smiling face to greet heads of state who were equally excited to meet the queen. All diplomacy was conducted by elected MPs. The chit chat and schmoozing was left to the senior members of the royal family.
But we also enjoyed happy moments like living vicariously through the Royals that included Charles and his spectacular marriage to Diana, and the births of William and Harry, the likely heirs to the throne after Charles passes away. It was a great day for the world when there was an heir and a replacement if needed.
And, of course, there were some dark moments. The untimely death of Diana, the uncomfortable marriage of Harry to Meghan and numerous bizarre activities indulged in by various members of the royal family. Most of the royal family moments were weird things chatted up in the gossip columns, the worst of which wa affiliation to a convicted pedophile.
All that is fine and things everybody knows about. The Brits get off watching the queen and king mount steeds in full battle uniform to motivate the military. They don’t go into battle or do anything dangerous. They just ride around in a circle and stir everyone up. I’d love to know what Charles did to earn all of the metals in his on his uniform. What wars did he participate in?
By now, you know the direction I’m going. My concern was encouraged when I saw how much money the royal family has and how much Charles accrued while waiting for his turn to assume the throne. He’s a regular entrepreneur using tax free money from his constituents to enrich himself. No number was given in the Times article about Charles and his fortune or the rest of the family for that matter. I suspect that the number if calculated would be in the multi-billion dollar range.
My question is what have the royals done with the money they received over hundreds of years? It appears that Charles has been investing in polo fields and shopping centers lately. If Brits want to continue to give tax free money to the Royals to invest in all kinds of commoner things, visiting other countries and getting dressed up for galas, so be it. I kinda have a problem with it. Sorry to bring this to the surface so soon after Elizabeth’s death. May she rest in peace.