Long live the queens and kings

Part of the appeal is precisely events like the Jubilee: More than just an excuse for a party, they bring a swell of patriotic pride to all but a minority whose aversion to hereditary privilege outweighs all else. They also serve as a reminder of the continuity that a queen such as Elizabeth, with her 60 years of experience, can bring to a nation.

Opinion polls in Britain show support for the monarchy has been fairly steady at 69 to 72 percent over the past two decades — ratings an elected politician would die for — with the republican cause languishing on 15 to 22 percent.

Contrast that with Germany, where the last two presidents — whose largely ceremonial role is in many ways similar to that of a constitutional monarch — were both obliged to resign before completing their terms. Or with Italy, where the presidents’ political pasts have often led to tension with their governments.

Groups such as Britain’s Republic and its counterparts elsewhere in Europe that agitate for an end to monarchy face an overwhelming problem: The system works.