She has already agreed to change succession rules to favour future female royals. Now, it’s understood, the Queen is looking at the possibility of encouraging more young people from a diversity of backgrounds to become royal. Fewer than one in ten thousand state school leavers give any thought to becoming a British prince or princess, a new survey shows. This leaves the field free to the privately educated and well connected.
The reasons most give for not choosing to be King or Queen of the United Kingdom range from fear of being beheaded to air sickness to unwillingness to wear hats. At the moment, Roman Catholics, Jews, Native Americans, Mormons, Charlton Athletic Supporters, homosexuals, London taxi drivers, employees of the John Lewis Partnership, diabetics, Liberal Democrats, members of the Magic Circle, Oyster Card holders and vegetarians are banned from wearing the crown, for complex constitutional reasons. But the Queen wants the monarchy to be “more representative”, with more youngsters trained to be head of state and fewer arbitrarily getting a place in Buckingham Palace through parental influence.
The popular argument that Royals have too many children just so they can stay in state-funded housing isn’t one that finds universal favour at Buckingham Palace. HRH the Duke of Edinburgh is reported as saying: “It’s very often a case of it going off while you’re cleaning it, which can happen to anyone.” A Palace spokesperson said: “I think what his Royal Highness meant was that accident of birth is not exclusively a royal phenomenon.”
The lengthy waiting list aside, being a Defender of the Faith requires long hours and a diet that not all would find palatable. “I’m certainly interested in the training programme,” said Deborah Hartley, 22, from Cirencester, with a degree in Business Studies. “But I draw the line at being head of the Established Church. So as long as M & S don’t ask me to work in an ecclesiastical role, I’m thinking it’s probably their graduate training programme for me. With maybe being the Queen as something to fall back on if retail doesn’t work out.”