Society

Monarchies: Noblesse oblige

28 April 2011
Presseurop
Der Freitag

Der Freitag, 28 April 2011

“Splendor and venom – the underestimated class: Europe’s nobility has not given up on power:” Der Freitag launches an attack on monarchies and the position of the nobility in European republics. The German weekly publishes a number of writers, who, in spite of their aristocratic backgrounds, insist that “nobility is destructive.” Sociologist, politician and Green party co-founder, Jutta Ditfurth, explains why she gave up her title. A journalist, who describes herself as “nobody’s subject,” gives an overview of the situation in Europe, which still has 11 monarchs. With 15 members of the Commonwealth under the rule of the Queen of England, “most of the world’s 42 monarchies are European.”

Royal families, who “like to present themselves as in touch with ordinary people, still have much greater privileges than their subjects,“ points out the magazine. And taxpayers continue to pay “110 million euros per year, according to a Dutch 2009 study,” to keep them in the style to which they are accustomed. In return, Der Freitag argues that countries with royals benefit from a stronger national identity: Juan Carlos I is considered to be “the father of Spanish democracy,“ Albert II is “a symbol of Belgium’s much-threatened unity.” And lets not forget the Grimaldi family “without whom Monaco would have long been a French province.”