Queen Elizabeth II has been the central figure of the Royal Family for nearly 70 years, and has thus become one of the most recognisable aspects of British culture. However, recent years have provided challenges which have even led some to question the monarchy’s role in society. Prince Andrew faces criticism for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who was due to stand trial for sex trafficking last year before he died by suicide in prison.
While Andrew comes under scrutiny, Buckingham Palace was also shocked when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to leave behind royal duties in January.
For now, the Royal Family remains a popular aspect of the UK, as shown when YouGov asked more than 3,000 British adults whether they thought the UK should retain its monarchy.
The results, published on February 18 this year, found 62 percent of people believed the UK should keep the monarchy.
But experts have previously warned that life after Queen Elizabeth II’s reign could pose new challenges.
Dr Anna Whitelock, a reader in early modern history at Royal Holloway in London, said support for the monarchy was linked to the Queen and not the institution itself.
She even warned that by 2030, the monarchy could be on its “last legs”.
Dr Whitelock said in 2016: “All of those questions about ‘What the hell do we want this kind of unelected family (for)? What does that represent in Britain today?’, all these profound questions have been held in check because of the Queen.
“I think there’ll be a discussion and a debate in a way that there hasn’t before.”
When the Queen’s reign does end, Dr Whitelock warned that there is likely to be an increase in scepticism surrounding the monarchy.
She said that some will even call for it to be eradicated.
She added: “As the older generation who are generally more wedded to the monarchy die out, the question of the future of the monarchy will become even more pressing, and then potentially more critical voices will come to the fore.
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“I would say by 2030 there will be definite louder clamours for the eradication of the monarchy. I can’t say that there won’t be a monarchy.
“I would definitely say that the monarchy – its purpose, what it’s about, will be questioned and challenged in a way that it hasn’t been before.
“I don’t think it’s out of the question that the monarchy would potentially be on its last legs.”
Her sentiment echoes concerns raised by historian and TV presenter Dan Snow, who warned in an interview with GQ that the monarchy may never be fully safe from opposition.
He said in 2017: “If there’s one thing the last few years have proved is that you can’t take anything for granted.
“Nothing is sacred in a turbulent democracy with an electorate pissed off by economic setbacks and fired up by fake news.”