The Royal Family of Britain has extended over a millennium, but their influence has seemingly declined as time passed, which begs the question – how important are they to current British society?
The United Kingdom has properties usually associated with traditional economies such as preserving the power of the royalty, with the Queen of England having to agree to all bills passed through the House of Parliament and also being able to declare war on any country if they choose to do so. The royal family is also highly wealthy as it receives money using a portion of the overall tax revenue of the UK, with the members having a combined net worth of approximately 88 billion dollars or 63.6 billion Pounds, among which includes various castles and thousands of acres of land across the United Kingdom. However, some of their power is simply symbolic and holds no actual influence over the proceedings in the UK, as it is not helpful or relevant. Although the Queen has to pass all the bills and proposals that the Parliament has approved, this is more of a formality than a necessary process, as it would be outrageous if the Queen decided to go against the democratically elected government, as this would be equivalent to denying the millions that voted the government into power through elections. In addition to this, even if she does not allow the bill to go through, the Prime Minister can use his power as the democratically elected leader to bypass her decision and overturn it.
Furthermore, the Queen of such a powerful country like the United Kingdom is not simply going to challenge another country to war, at least not without consulting the Prime Minister first. This would be extremely shocking and could cause a possible World War III or, at the very least, the removal of royalty from power and transferring to a fully democratic government-run system. However, the royal family is still vastly influential, as they and their ancestors are why a tiny and relatively resource-poor island became a global superpower. At the peak of its reign, the British Empire spanned 25% of the entire world. As a result, they still wield significant control over many processes in the UK if they wish to use them. One of the main reasons that the royal family is still kept in power by the government is that they are the longest-standing royalty in global history, having lasted 12 monarchs and over one millennium, or 1126 years in total. This makes the UK itself and anything associated with the royal family tourist hotspots, as people from around the world come to the United Kingdom to learn about the rich history of the royals.
The royal castles and properties attract thousands of visitors every year, with the Queen’s figurehead residence Buckingham Palace drawing in 578,000 visitors by itself in the 2019/ 2020 period alone. However, this is not the biggest attraction, as the Windsor Castle alongside the nearby Frogmore Cottage attracted 1.6 million tourists in that same year. The collection of royal houses, castles, galleries, and more are categorised into a group known as the ‘Royal Estate’. Together, all of these properties brought in 3.3 million tourists to the UK, accommodating over 8% of the total visitors to the UK in 2019. This means that although they may seem to receive taxpayers’ money undeservingly, they also allow British businesses like hotels, airlines and other companies that cater to visitors in the UK, like tour guides, to thrive as more tourists will be buying their products and services, creating jobs for thousands and allowing the companies to grow and profit. Part of this revenue will also be pumped back into the economy through business tax, which means that millions will indirectly benefit from the tourists attracted to the UK by the royal family.
This boosted tourism will also indirectly help other companies near the royal property locations. More people will be around who want to explore the local culture and try new things. This results in local restaurants, taxi services, museums, etc. The tourists who came to visit the Royal Estate purchase their services, as they will not spend their entire time in the new country only focused on one thing. The sheer number of tourists and the bonuses to the UK economy, its members and the businesses that power it has all been caused by the reputation and rich history of the royal family, and exemplifies that maintaining the royalty is not just a socially charged choice based on cultural tradition, but also an economically beneficial decision.
 Data on the number of visitors to specific establishments owned by the royal family were obtained from Statista https://www.statista.com/statistics/373081/uk-royal-tourism-admission-numbers-by-establishment/
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