Monarchy in the Modern Age (In-person)

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Bunting of King Charles across a shop window

The world shows no sign of losing its fascination with monarchy. The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of her successor, King Charles III, were global media events, while the continuing saga of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex continues to stir up a mixture of sympathy, hostility and indifference.

But what does monarchy mean in the modern world? Is monarchy in Britain just a colourful survival from earlier ages or is it a distinctive but vital component in our democratic constitutional framework? Is the choice of realm or republic really so straightforward? Why is Britain still a monarchy? Why have some other democratic countries retained their monarchies while others have opted to be republics?

Looking more widely, monarchy plays a key role in some parts of the world. The Middle East, for example, is clearly a land of monarchy. Moreover, many republics have morphed into monarchy, and not always with a crown: how else can President Putin or Kim Jung-Un be described if not as monarchs? Even in democratic republics, monarchy can seem tempting: how else are we to understand Trumpism if not as an attempt to turn the United States into a sort of monarchy?

This lecture will look beyond royal ceremonial to consider the phenomenon of monarchy in the modern world, what it means to people, how and why it survives and flourishes - and how it might help shape our future.

Talk by Sean Lang, Anglia Ruskin University. Sean is a historian, broadcaster and playwright. His theatre work has been performed in Cambridge, Oxford, London, Norwich and at the Edinburgh Fringe.

This event takes place on our Cambridge campus. You can also join us virtually.

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