Belgium is still painfully divided, not so much because of the royal family and their new King supposedly being able to ruin them financially, but there is a lot of tension between the Dutch speaking part and the French part about other conflicts. Many critique and few know the answer. However, today the old King, Albert ll, decided to finally step down and hand over the crown and throne to his son, Philippe. It was not really a surprise. Some countries in Europe who still have royal families prefer to hold on to their throne until the day somebody has to pry the crown of their cold-blue-blooded heads. (For sure Queen Elizabeth of the UK for one doesn’t seem to want to budge an inch. She will be there until her last breath. The same goes for the Spanish King.) The Dutch Queen started the abdication trend by deciding recently that she too didn’t want to be queen anymore, and handed the crown over to her son. She has certainly passed any retirement age and her son has been ready for the throne for many years, so there was also no element of surprise there either.
It might be a splendid idea that there is a new king in Belgium. Perhaps King Philippe might get the two rival parts working together as a team. There are many things amiss and one can only think that the King might not be the person who will be able to get this mess straightened out. It might be more of a task for the government and re-negotiations. Therefore, once again, people everywhere are wondering: why are royal families still around in 2013? Isn’t it high time that this tradition gets filed away in a museum? Isn’t it too expensive to keep the whole royal family afloat especially now during these financially difficult times? Might it be possible, that the new King in Belgium might ruin them financially? Are there any reasons to keep these Royals on? Or should they all step down?
- One might argue that the Queen or King is like a PR person for their respective country. For example the New Dutch King and his Argentinian Queen are very popular within the country as well as abroad, but there is also a prime minister. This prime minister is like a president, the one who calls the actual political shots. The Royal Family is just for show but the prime minister has real power. (Or at least more than the Royals.) Should the prime minister not be the PR person? Might that not be more cost-effective?
- Another argument is that the royal family is part of the heart and history of the country no matter if that history was pretty or not. (Probably not, because name one country with a blood-shed-free history and if you can then that country should be the one telling others what they did wrong and how awful that was.) Some see it as an anchor, a life line, something they can depend on even in these trying times.
- The last and probably most entertaining argument is that the Royal Family guarantees gossip, drama, fun memories and usually scandal. (Countless bastard children, relations with unsavory people, illegal deals and just plain stupidity. This makes for some good stories when you are in need of one. Just like Amanda Bynes, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West etc. but with more money and family heritage.)
However the question should be, not if the Royal family and the new King in Belgium are socially relevant, but more, if it will ruin them financially. Should money not be spent more wisely?
By Georgina Pijttersen