Down-and-Out in London
Podcast
Down-and-Out in London
Britain is in a tough spot. Does having a monarch help or hurt?
Published on: Oct 4, 2022  

It’s been a turbulent few months for the United Kingdom: the scandal-ridden departure of a prime minister, the death of a beloved queen, economic woes, and the accession of a less-beloved king. We decided it would be best to have an actual British person on the podcast to discuss it all with, so we invited Josh Glancy, columnist for The Sunday Times.

We began by highlighting the strange contrast between the recent upswell of support for the monarchy and Britain’s parlous economic state. Does having a monarchy suppress public discontent by deflecting its attention, and is this a good thing? Also, how can Americans wrap their heads around the monarchy’s function in Britain? Shadi, Damir, and Josh discuss whether the Constitution or Presidency might serve a similar role.

Then, we discussed the monarch who now rules over Britain. Will (now-King) Charles be able to preserve the apolitical, broadly popular place his mother carved out in British life? Or is the institution doomed to become politicized and controversial? The answer, we surmise, might lie in how similar British political culture is to America’s.

In Part 2 (available here for subscribers) Damir asks the question on everyone’s mind: is Prince Charles a secret Muslim? Shadi has his thoughts. More seriously, we discuss the religious role of the British monarch, as the head of the Church of England, and how much Christianity shapes public life there. In a relatively irreligious and diverse country like Britain, are average citizens affected by Christianity’s presence in the state? And does the United States, a far more religious country on paper, “feel” any more Christian?

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