I HAVE a confession to make: I have always found the monarchy captivating. As a kid, my obsession with learning English and travelling to the UK was mostly supported by my love for the Spice Girls and all things regal.

I still find the pomp and pageantry of the British monarchy mesmerising. It is shiny. It is decadent. It is luxurious. It is like a fairytale. And I love the drama. It is like a very expensive, taxpayer-funded reality show, and you can’t deny that makes the UK unique.

I never miss a season of The Crown on Netflix and I make sure my mum and I watch the new series together when I visit her. Though I don’t have the patience for lengthy ceremonies, nor do I recognise half the people and symbols that appear on screen, royal weddings and other historic events still manage to captivate me and millions of others around the globe - including me.

The coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla in a few weeks will draw the eyes of the world to the United Kingdom once again, and although I won’t be spending all day glued to my screen, I’ll still take a peek, for the monarchy is deeply entrenched in this nation’s history and still enjoys widespread support.

As a French citizen, I find this institution ... exotic. That is the best way to put it. The way the media reveres the monarchy, as if it was compulsory, leaves me astonished. The most glaring example of that was after the passing of Queen Elizabeth last year. Even if I was touched to see people queuing to pay their respects, I mostly found the tone of presenters, journalists and pretty much every single person who appeared on TV sets just a bit too much.

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To be fair, it wasn’t just the British media that followed this tone. A number of French outlets asked me to cover the aftermath of the Queen’s death, which I did in part – I was out of the country for the most partwasn’t going to be in Scotland for the funeral anyway, as I needed to be away for things I had planned a long time before.

So I worked on my radio report, sent it to the editor who had commissioned it, and I thought I had fulfilled the brief – a very factual report about how events would unfold after the coffin left Balmoral. But apparently, it wasn’t emotional enough – they wanted me to show the grief of the people of Scotland after the passing of the Queen.

I found this request weird and annoying – you would think that the job of a foreign correspondent would be to report accurately on the country’s mood and state of mind at this historic moment instead of perpetuating a fantasised image of a people paralysed in mourning, sitting in their living room sobbing while surrounded by monarchy memorabilia. I mean, sure, these people exist, and they have every right to feel this deep, personal attachment to the institution. But do we have to carry on with this myth that people care that much about queens, kings, princesses, dukes and all the rest?

Despite the fact that most people I conversed with showed respect and sadness upon the Queen’s passing, they didn’t have an intense fondness for the monarchy. It didn’t seem to have a huge presence in their lives.It seemed that the monarchy didn’t have a huge presence in their life.

And who could blame them? I cannot help but wonder if it remains a relevant institution in the 21st century. There is no denying that the British monarchy has a huge historical significance, that it means a lot for people in terms of tradition, symbol and continuity. I completely understand that.

The Queen was a symbol of stability during her record-breaking reign which she conducted dutifully. I don’t think it is completely absurd to say that the monarchy can be seen as a unifying force for the nation, providing a sense of identity and continuity in an ever-changing world. I get that many people don’t want to throw it out of the window.

WHAT I don’t understand is the argument that the monarchy protects the country against instability, therefore it is useless to even debate its relevance. “Look at countries that elect their heads of state,” they say. “They are unsatisfied, constantly complaining, and their leaders can’t seem to ever be able to govern their people.”

This argument, coming from the United Kingdom, couldn’t be more ironic. Have you seen what the UK has been like over the past decade? Hardly an exemplar of stability, right? Allow me to remind those who use this argument that, in the past year alone, there have been three different UK prime ministers, multiple strikes, and the economic landscape is utterly dismal.

I struggle to see what the monarchy is shielding this country against. Additionally, the idea that a single individual or family can provide stability for an entire country is outdated and unrealistic.

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It is true that, in France, where we elect our heads of state every five years, there are valid criticisms to be addressed about the manner in which we go about things.

In a time of democratic crisis in the country, people are re-examining the distribution of power, especially because the President – often nicknamed a “Republican monarch” – holds extensive powers under the constitution of the Fifth Republic. And calls for constitutional change are getting stronger.

Let’s not shy away from discussing institutions and constitutions. Although people may believe such topics are trivial in light of the pressing daily issues, I feel this debate is necessary and should be had because it is about our values and the kind of society we want to live in. So I ask you this. Can a democratic society that values equality, fairness, and merit, still be represented by an institution where birthright determines one’s status and opportunities in life? Isn’t the concept of a hereditary monarchy at odds with progressive ideals?

Several European countries with monarchies are also grappling with similar questions. In Spain, for instance, there have been calls for a referendum on the future of the monarchy following scandals involving former king Juan Carlos I.

More recently in Belgium, there have been debates about the role of the monarchy with deputy prime minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne, affirming that he has always been opposed to the monarchy.

As we prepare to witness the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla, it is essential to engage in open, honest and nuanced discussions like these about the future of the British monarchy.

As society evolves, so too must the institutions that represent us, ensuring that they remain relevant and reflective of our collective values and aspirations.