Lee asks why Americans are so enraptured by the visit of the Queen to the US. Apparently coverage is 24-7.
Now this is something that has often puzzled me. I can understand why tourists coming to these shores want to have their picture taken outside Buckingham Palace and the like but this "reverence" does strike me as a bit odd. Dubya has just held his first white tie banquet in her honour (for your info the menu was pea soup, Dover sole and a saddle of spring lamb followed by farmhouse cheeses). Do Americans show similar interest in other Monarchies? I don't think so. You fight a war to be a separate nation and then when the monarch of that country turns up you cheer! There's logic there no doubt, although if the founding fathers had seen the last few presidents I wonder what they think.
If I'm honest this international fascination with the monarchy generally puzzles me. The Australian's seem to be keen to gain their independence and become a republic but whenever the Queen turns up they appear on the streets to cheer.
I suspect that many people in the UK regard the monarchy as an anachronism but I'm pretty sure if you asked people if we should become a republic they'd vote no. I suppose for "foreigners" ;) the fascination is that it is different. It is a system based on privilege and birthright which is very politically incorrect these days. I mean shouldn't we all have the same chance? National lottery on the death of the monarch to determine the next one?
Logically I think the monarchy makes no sense but the alternatives don't strike me as any better. As I MUST have said before the idea of President Brown or Cameron isn't an appealing prospect.
Perhaps the reason an anachronism like the monarchy works is because in an everchanging world its a symbol of continuity and change. House many Prime Ministers have we had since 1952 for instance? The Queen goes on doing her job and causes no embarassment. Or does she? There are stories circulating about the marriage of the Queen and Prince Phillip but these stories attract minimal public attention. Certainly in the 1950's the press would never say a word if things were discrete.
Of course whether younger royals are prepared to accept that the privileges they get means some restrictions in how they behave publicly is the great challenge for "The Firm".