CROWN AND PEOPLE by Philip Ziegler


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Judging from a distance--if one were inclined to think about it at all--one would guess that the British relate to their monarchy the way most people relate to settled institutions that do not bear on their daily lives; that is, by indifference punctuated by stronger feelings one way or the other when something unusual happens. Taking a closer look, Ziegler discovers. . . exactly that. Employing some survey data as well as the diary material collected by ""Mass Observation""--a set-up in which the masses observe themselves doing whatever it is masses do--he focuses on such unusual events as the abdication of Edward VIII, and the coronations, Jubilees, and funerals of the British monarchy in this century in order to discover virtually nothing at all. The royal spectaculars are seen as occasions for expressing national communion and identity--itself an ordinary enough observation--and Ziegler, a ""moderate royalist,"" cautions that the monarchy should not be too bold in transforming itself, since its support rests on tradition and a ""conservative impulse"" in the British people. Sure enough.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1978
Publisher: Knopf