What is the future of the monarchy?

What is the future of the Monarchy?

A pageant, a star-studded concert, street fairs and picnics; it was a joyful four-day tribute to the Queen and millions revelled in her Platinum Jubilee. Seventy years of service, celebrated in true British style. But now the bunting is down and the carnival is over, how committed are we, as a nation, to the monarchy? A recent poll suggests that about 62% are in favour of retaining it, down from three quarters a decade ago. About 22% would prefer an elected head of state. It's all much closer among young people, with only a tiny majority of 18-24 year olds saying they want to stick with the monarchy.

Many people love the Royal family and how the Queen has helped the UK to stand out in the world, providing long term stability, untainted by politics. Others despair at the behaviour of younger Royals, whose lives can more resemble a soap opera than the bedrock of the nation's sovereignty. But what is the moral case for the monarchy? For some, the very idea of an unelected figure with huge inherited wealth, enjoying the top position in the land, is simply intolerable. It legitimises, they say, the worst aspects of our age-old class system and should be abolished.

As the tributes from around the world attest, there is deep and wide respect for Queen Elizabeth. But how might public opinion on the monarchy change in the future? Might a new system, with a democratically elected head of state be more morally defensible and serve the country better? With Tracy Borman, Martha Gill, Sean O'Grady and Richard Murphy.

Producers: Jonathan Hallewell and Peter Everett
Presenter: Michael Buerk