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What are some positive and negative aspects of having a monarchy?

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Quick Answer

Some of the positive aspects of having a monarchy include its symbolic role that can generate tourism and having a figurehead that represents all people and having someone who can halt laws. The negative aspects of having a monarchy include the expense, promoting elitism and having an unelected head of state.

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Full Answer

Monarchs often play a symbolic role, such as in Britain where events surrounding the monarchy generate significant interest at home and abroad, leading to extra income for the country. In addition, Spain's monarch remained as a symbol of unity following an attempted coup in 1981. Some may also see monarchs as people who represent their citizens as a whole, while heads of states like presidents only represent those who voted for them. Although constitutional monarchs like the ones in Britain mainly play a ceremonial role in passing laws, their ability to veto them brings an extra layer of balance to the legislative process.

By the same token, some may feel uneasy about the idea that a person who is unelected and inexperienced can control state legislation. As monarchs are born into their position, they often enjoy unfair advantages. For example, Prince Edward of Britain entered Cambridge University in 1983 with poor grades, simply because of his royal status. This demonstrates how a monarchy enshrines elitist values. Finally, monarchies cost money as well as making it. For example, the British royal family costs the state £204 million a year and brings in £200 million in income, creating a deficit.

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