So…how does this work?

2 Feb

Before I begin, I give the following disclosure: As I was writing this blog, I spent a lot of time focusing on things I was trying to learn about England and its culture. Eventually, I realized that my blog had started to morph into a research paper. At that point I realized that an apology may be necessary.  Hopefully this will be interesting for you.

Well, the more I begin to feel accustomed to British life, I think the less I understand it. I began making a concerted effort to find out how the Royal Family works, how Dukes and Duchesses are appointed, etc. It’s not going so well. I know that Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen. She’s married to Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip is…the Queen’s third cousin and he was the prince of Denmark. He had to renounce those titles and switch religions to marry her, and now he is His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.  Also, for his 90th birthday the Queen made him Lord High Admiral because…she can? Well, I sort of have that figured out. Now…their children are Philip Prince of Wales, Ann the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew Duke of York, and Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex. Prince Philip married Princess Diana, of tabloid fame, and then he married Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, who is also the Duchess of Rothesay, the Countess of Chester and the Baroness of Renfrew and…the Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada… and I think this is where I must admit I’m officially lost. It’s certainly interesting, though confusing.

And on the matter of royalty, I went to Winsor Castle, and just as most things here have been, it was really incredible! It did however, get me thinking more about a topic that I had always sort of wondered about, but never been too invested in; how English citizens feel about the current monarchy. I began asking around and trying to do a bit of research on who funds the monarchy and how much it costs, and how that is perceived by citizens.

I would say that generally the people I asked seemed to be quite neutral on the subject. Of course, then I went to internet forums-where neutrality doesn’t exist and got a bit more passionate opinions. On the one hand many people think that the Royal family alone draws in enough tourism that they basically pay for themselves and the taxes that fund the Queen and her expenses are not significant enough and easily worth it for the value of tradition and culture. On the other hand, many people say that the costs aren’t worth it and they are in fact much higher than people are aware because many of their publicly funded expenses don’t get released. They also rebut the tourism claim by saying that tourism exists for the history, culture and architecture. Even if the Royal family dissolved, the state would still maintain the history and culture of the country. They cite Parisas an example, where the surplus generated by tourism goes back to the state fully, without the additional expenses of a monarch.

However, the Sovereign Grant Act of 2011 may change the circumstances of the debate. With this act, the civil list will no longer pay for the Queen, thus no actual taxpayer money goes to the Royal Family. Instead, they will receive 15% of the Crown Estate’s surplus. The Crown Estate is essentially a company owned by the government that owns a significant amount of land, and tourism spots in England. The debate will likely dim down after the passage of this act; however, it will likely not die out.

And just now, I realized that it sounds like I’m writing a research paper.  I did actually do other things this week. I went to St. Peter’s Church in Brighton the last couple Sundays. It has a pretty big student population which was refreshing to see and the worship was almost fascinating. It is a beautiful old Cathedral.  I still can’t believe how awesome English architects were/are, but the worship is contemporary. The worship team was incredible, and the lighting and reflections of the sound made it an incredible experience. The service wasn’t quite as deep or significant as I prefer, but it may be geared towards people who haven’t spent as much time studying the Bible as myself.

Also, it’s maybe possible that I ate potentially the best sausages on the south coast of England…maybe. There’s a place nearby where I live that advertises “Probably the best sausages on the south coast!” So, I obviously had to take them up on that sooner or later. Well, after ordering, I instinctively doused it in their hot sauce, forgetting that there is in fact, such a thing as too-hot hot sauce. Well, anyways, they may be the best sausages on the south coast, I don’t know. I would say take them at their word, because after all, why would an advertisement embellish the truth?

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