thumbnail of The shadow of the lion; Modernization of the Monarchy
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Admit the shadow of the law. Emerging from a memorable immovable task of defining this hour a story you can tell this is but an apparition yesterday. Listen to me. It's up tempo transition. Heard in London misconducts in Coventry in Oxford
and rhythm off a new revolution in the in Britain. Programme tend modernization of the monarchy. Indiana University Radio a documented essay about contemporary Britain. We present the shadow of the lion with William Kinzer as your narrator. Who today rules Britain. It would be difficult to say but one would guess that it really happens behind the
dingy grey facade of Whitehall that Victorian jungle of government offices and ministries whiskery secretaries and civil servants diplomats and politicians and to which the world looks for indications of Britain's future. Beyond and across the park facing the mom. Amid the high rise heresy of towering office blocks and surrounded by traffic. Buckingham. Palace. Home of the sovereign a symbol of fantasy in an age of Commerce and then a third in the utilitarian advantage to having a moniker. The future of the monarchy has been frequently discussed in Britain in pubs in Parliament over cups of tea the country over. Geoffrey Marshall a political scientist at Oxford University feels
that although many complain of its expense royalty is really more economical them say the American presidency. And as I say that's a utilitarian advantage is at the same time there's a general prejudice again. Interfering with the monarchy in this in this country and it's one of those things like the House of Lords which since it behaves itself in terms of democratic decision making then nobody has any great ambitions to overturn it odds are because they can't think of anything they'd prefer instead. Nothing in particular is done about it. You wonder what the people think about the monarchy and leave her in the quiet of a quaint fishing village along the Cornish coast. You talk with the harbor master Frankie Curtis in his words. All right really doable. We do definitely bowling that night but I mean yes we would. I mean we've always been brought up to for a king in the
grade in the road and I think yes we were agreeable of a sort of Him and Him Malcolm Muggeridge ponders the question or rather people think about the Monaco You know they turn up to see it at the show. They make jokes about it in private sometimes all of outtakes. I daresay they they they have a certain sympathy with the incumbents. They certainly feel as I do myself it doesn't do any particular harm. It's all expensive but it's not as expensive as other things that we spend money on. It is useful to have a symbolic head of state the Queen at this moment is entertaining the president also. Well I do. He doesn't look dismiss such aggressive exciting sort of a man and it's a rather good thing that she takes on that. Job of looking after the president. Forster somebody has gone to
the mystical side of it. The role of the Queen as head of the nation the head of the Commonwealth head of the church I don't think means anything to all those people. Actually you know I think if the monarchy was abolished tonight very few people would get in trouble tomorrow. There is in Britain and every day apathy that ignores the existence of the sovereign coins are passed in the barter of daily business stamps are licked and used without awareness of the portrait they convey. The Queen and the consequence of royalty are taken pretty much for granted except for certain royal occasions which swell national pride. And yet one gathers that there are a great number of traditionalists in Britain that if it should ever come to a public decision the monarchy would survive. It is in spite of Malcolm Muggeridge as dire prediction that it may all come to an end. The average
British citizen not unlike the citizenry of the world isn't thrown out at the pageantry and thrilled at the sight of royalty. But as Don I would walk to my Yorkshire school teacher observes it's a fluctuating loyalty I should say. If for example the Queen went on and. On a state visit to Europe or a Commonwealth visit to Australia or something or another he would again be the first one to grumble about the Queen having a good holiday. Other countries expense that I blame to the fact that the man in the street isn't and why just do the rigors of a royal tour and also be the Queen's person explains the Wirral to us he thinks he's having a good holiday like he has at Blackpool at the country's expense. I actually think there are only seven European monarchies left five of these being descendants so are married to descendants of Queen Victoria the matriarch of Europe. Only in Britain is there still a monarchy
on a grander scale complete with religious processions courtiers mass adulation and above all a full blown title ever stuck recy. Yet for many it seems an outdated institution full of trappings and traditional doings reminiscent of Britain's past. Modern Britain has come to look at the personality rather than the institution or so at least as the feeling of Geoffrey Marshall in Oxford. If you look back at the 19th and 18th centuries you can see something quite interesting that I think today we what one does get in the British set up is far too great an adulation for the actual incumbents of the office that actual people involved and too little respect for the institution and the 980 ventures the situation reversed in the sense that people could perfectly well respect the institution of monic a world having no respect at all for the actual
incumbent. I mean a lot of British monarchs are either mad or immoral and nobody minded saying so. The company today of course is her most excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And over other realms and territories queen head of the Commonwealth defender of the faith solver of the British supporters of my twin. She is the 40th monarch since the Norman Conquest. She is said to be shy conscientious painstaking. A close friend of hers is journalist author Dermot Mora who has written several books about the monarchy. He speaks of her life in Buckingham Palace as Exhibit A mystic gaited as a project many kids go she's forced to live a great deal of rugged life in public. Indeed that is the way of the the means of the moment is
kept up you must be you've got to be disabused and a model of what you may call the the national ideal of domestic life but what you've got to expose a good deal of my private life to public scrutiny. But Dermot Mora will freely admit that there is an element of mystery involved a great deal of secrecy surrounding the monarchy. MR It is if it's actual. I think it was the great war the better to read about I did you have to go that it would be wrong to let you know they lied about magic and the magic is maintained in the silent sandstone base building to which tourists come to peer at from behind an iron picket fence. Buckingham Palace. How awesomely Still it seems. Only the passing traffic the murmur of the crowd the measured beat of a marching sentry built as a huge hollow rectangle much of the palace is hidden from view. And because the front
rooms are uninhabited except on a few state occasions the palace seems all the more formidable and faceless. But each morning at 11:30 in the palace forecourt there is color and sound. The changing of the guard and afterwards after the crowd disperses and the pigeons flutter back beneath the eaves of the palace. One might linger and wonder what it's like behind the palace walls. Dermot Moore knows let him tell you we're going to go in Madrid by the what is called the privy preventer. They did fail at the right hand engine as you pleased about it. Who knew that long car door consists of rooms occupied by pet is permitted to push buttons. The private federal prisons secretary the keeper of the pre-birth the money buys most of the House would sort of war above that
in the grade or above that open out of the code on the first floor are the small rooms of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Actually the palace has 600 rooms half a mile a quarter was cleaned by hundred cleaners. Forty acres of garden kept by nine darkness and a leak large enough to swallow the whole of Barkley Square. Then on the far side and seated behind the front would you see the mixed side of the square contains the State Departments the offices have dictating machines and intercoms with a row of names and the one in red saying the queen. The third would you approach by the visitors engines and contains. Various rooms are occupied by people like that in waiting iniquities
and so on and I'm quite certain I don't know that fact about us at all but I'm on the top floor they used to have been the answer is up there and they're just not used to have whole rooms up there before she married. There are more than 300 clocks in the palace. Several TV sets exempt from license of course and maintained by the Royal electricians. As for the decor Well it's been a good deal and brightened up a belated use through the use of your terrible believes of regular wallpapers I found it trying to the eyes. There's a good little That's from predominance of red now it's always a good deal being repainted in general like colors as to be expected. There exists the influence of every tenant from Queen Victoria to Elizabeth the Second. The isolation of the Palace makes it almost a world apart and island observed from a distance. We're courtiers act as a cushion between royalty
and reality. The queen is relieved of all awkward encounters and Mundine duties. Ladies in waiting for instance accompany the queen everywhere answering telephones picking up handkerchiefs arranging payments and chops for the Queen never carries money. Her entourage helps to enhance her remoteness but since she and Prince Philip must have with him always a dresser valet a chauffeur and one or two detectives entertaining the royal couple can be quite a commitment. You did it but I had to guess because it would be good to him to day in the green without making rather a splash about it. She might wish to be dated but in bodies that infect anybody except most intimate friends who would feel they must make a great to do about it. Our song The Queen molds in a self-contained
circle of titled and we'll feed friends. But her social contact these days may extend beyond the periphery of her fairyland existence. The Queen and the prince quite often give informal luncheon parties to meet cricketers are diplomats or business man. And she never gives the impression of being in an unhappy isolation. Rather. Her world seems complete. Inside Buckingham bettas seat as he runs his show isn't it. I was right. Does she want to do the menials for example or if you want but she only that insists on spending at least one out a day in that outfit with the children and the joining of her favorite hole. As was Queen Victoria's is Balmoral the great granite Victorian castle in Scotland. Nine weeks out of every year the queen retreats from public to walk ride or shoot and generally relax in the seclusion of its great estate and I.
Was lucky. Lord. The rule of the monarchy in modern Britain is pheed and vulnerable. A subject of considerable debate and criticism. And while an air of influence still abounds with its accompanying ritual of respect the fact is well known that the direct power of the monarch has diminished since the reign of King George the sixth the queen act in England on the advice of United Kingdom as does and in a message sent by the Queen is a quote dictated by her Prime Minister author and expert on the monarchy. Dermot Marr I would remind you you most I think keep on distinguishing between the Purina Queen's POV which is what is small and the green influence which is substantial and group would agree because you see she is
there all the time. Ministers come and go. She said as as her reign progresses you acquire more and more experience. She was always being consulted on any great men great matter would have news was going to carry through. If they give her a formal constitutional advice to do this that or the other she is bound to take it. But before we give her that advice they've got to explain everything to her and she can put her point of view and she can persuade them for all they were ready. It is the minutes of advise and the queen acts on that advice. The real fact is that the queen advises the Minister may or may not act on the advice achieved the queen insists on being kept informed. A red box is delivered to Buckingham Palace with all Cabinet minutes and papers and whether the sufferer Nucingen Balmoral Windsor or in Austria she is
notified of vital decisions and issues and when in London she receives her Prime Minister every Tuesday night for a face to face chat. Despite its diminishing role in the running of the country the monarchy is not entirely immune to national crisis and concern. And with each passing year its mode of resistance to modern pressures seems to narrow. Indeed certain royal personalities have helped to bridge the gap between the magical make believe and the practical sphere of the outside world. The most notable of course has been the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip. He has been a godsend I think the Prince Consort has won the admiration of almost everyone for as one Englishman put it He's a man's man. He writes his own speeches appears on
television. Please Poland presents a formidable figure to complement the feminine grace of the Queen. He's outspoken offers an initiative and tries very hard to identify himself with the future. Peter Walker explain what you've read about has taken a tremendous interest in scientific and technical advances in the new management techniques and industry and improved labor relationships in all these modern problems for a number of reasons the monarchy today he seems closer to the realities of the world but royalty still remains the pinnacle of class structure. The standard bearer of the aristocracy. Rules Britain would not have been difficult to answer that question in the 18th century for the country's then was ruled by the ruling classes specifically the monarchy and two principal families by the end of the century and dominance had distinguished or rather select group of some
one hundred and fifty prominent people today because of political expedience because of land and possessions or national prestige was the number of titled individuals has greatly increased by the mid sixties. There were over 900 hereditary peers in Britain indeed over half the Peerages that exist deep from 19 0 6 or later. Oh and to learn more about this aspect of British life you take a train to Kingston on Thames which is just up the river from London. They are in an unlikely office over a betting shop. You meet Patrick Montague Smith editor of Debrett's Peerage. He apologizes for his crowded accommodations and explains that it's only a temporary location
and then he tells you about his publication as a. Work of reference. We can trace back to the periods which came out in the reign of troth and then went through various hands under various name until John de Brecht friend of a French family became editor and subsequently proprietor. He died aged 22 and he gave her the name phone. It was of the new parish and then he called it a bright parrot in the name of time. Everything in this book published annually provides a record of the leading elements of Britain's aristocracy the peers baronets Knight age and the companion age. Originally as I say they had a third of it to do for King to get that title and when their titles became hereditary it was NATO different form who succeeded. It's very different from the continent in most continental countries you've got a sort of ennoble class that in
this country it's never been restricted into a separate compartment of life in other words you could rise from from the bottom to the peerage editor Montagu Smith explains how a title is inherited. A soon as a man dies the success furnishes proof his birth certificate to show his son of his father his father the marriage certificate shows he's the Testament. Then he will receive a writ of summons to attend the House of Lords take the seat. And of course now we have the system of disclaiming periods that is if the throne doesn't wish to take. His spirit she have a method by which he spoke for his life time and when he dies his brain will have the choice of whether
he wishes to remain a peer or to claim his title. He's referring of course to the new period to be able of 1963. Actually no titled person is allowed to sit in the House of Commons. So prior to the passing of this bill any member of the house receiving the periods had to give up his seat. Patrick Montague Smith reminds you that there are lords sitting in the House of Commons but these possess courtesy titles or happened to be Irish peers who are not allowed to sit in the House of Lords. Ah yes. How does our Lord. And that extraordinary assembly of Duke's servants marquees by cards barons bishops and judges who are the way the hours in their club like the atmosphere or amble occasionally from an empty room to chamber
to indulge the privilege of being Britain's. Second legislative body and house of the Lord with its dark room is embellished with graphic woodwork and a card to ceilings and a curious charm that transcends its unimportance by House of Lords which pays Piers four and a half guineas for a tempting but needs only three for a quorum and which act only on bills of choice or supreme need which can do no more than delay a bill one year or in the case about money below only a month. The House of Lords as observed by Malcolm Muggeridge it's a convenience of politik because it enables it enables you to reword. Machine politicians without bribing them I mean in America have to be bribed. Yeah
you can give the peerage. It doesn't cost anything and it keeps them happy. It's an inexpensive method of buying off inconvenient political supporters. As a status symbol to be sure is even more attractive today and upper class ambitions are perhaps more in evidence now than ever before. Despite the popular picture of the almost bankrupt aristocrat oppressed by the social front he must maintain possessed of a crumbling mansion and plead by death duties. But I don't think one should shed too many tears over this. I mean I don't think the landed aristocracy although one sort of see spectacular examples of the old X O Lord Y surviving by showing people around his country seat and half a crown or a shot. I don't think these are the tip of the iceberg I don't think on the whole bit. The remnant of the
landed gentry admitted doing two bad ones badly one way and another. Yes as Geoffrey Marshall explains there are ways to circumvent death duties to preserve the country estate through the National Trust to maintain that era of Ascot rules Royce's and townhouse luxury. And so the long standing drama of British aristocracy still unfolds in that tight little island accessed by economic EU. Who rules Britain cogwheels a government of diplomacy and power in evidently termed this day in the environs of Whitehall doning street or the Palace of Westminster. And though the queen graciously arrives by royal coach each year to open Parliament the distance between the palace and this political world seems increasingly
remote. OK usually even criticism is heard as in 1065 when a member of the House of Commons arose to question the official sanction of princes Margaret's visit to the United States. Yet regarding the same visit to New York Herald-Tribune felt she had represented the British crown with a fine combination of majesty incest and added. The Crown has proved itself for a senior adaptable and useful as an essential source of stability in the gym scene as a focal point for Commonwealth loyalty as a personification of British I. From Indiana University Radio we have presented the modernization of the monarchy program 10 in a special series of documented essays about contemporary Britain entitled The shadow of the lion. As written and produced by
liberal a bad time and then a writer was William Kinzer production assistant John Hopkins. The engineer builder program consultant David canard. This is done to make speaking. The shadow of the lie and there's been a series made possible by an Indiana University faculty research grant and there's a presentation of Indiana University Radio. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
The shadow of the lion
Modernization of the Monarchy
Producing Organization
Indiana University
WFIU (Radio station : Bloomington, Ind.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-g15tc904).
Series Description
For series info, see Item 3300. This prog.: Modernization of the Monarchy. Palace mystique, the diminishing role of royalty, the personalities and the institution, the place of peerage in the structure of Britain's modern society.
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: Indiana University
Producing Organization: WFIU (Radio station : Bloomington, Ind.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-14-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:54
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The shadow of the lion; Modernization of the Monarchy,” 1968-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “The shadow of the lion; Modernization of the Monarchy.” 1968-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: The shadow of the lion; Modernization of the Monarchy. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from