by The Local.de – April 2016
Across the English Channel, Britain’s royal family (themselves of German origin) are celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday on Thursday. But polls show Germans are content to enjoy monarchy at second hand.
Walking around the streets of Berlin on a few days in June last summer, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that Germans are all raving monarchists.
Crowds thronged the streets as Queen Elizabeth II made her fifth official visit to the Federal Republic – exactly 50 years after her first in 1965.
A few lucky Germans had even won the chance to learn how to address Her Majesty from the British Ambassador himself.
According to the British Embassy, more than 16,500 articles about the Queen’s visit appeared in print and online media.
At The Local, we certainly weren’t immune to Queen-mania, tracking the monarch’s travels around Germany over the three days of her stay.
‘Waste of money’
But the latest figures from pollsters YouGov show that the outpouring of interest in Her Maj among the public and press doesn’t translate into support for a return of the monarchy here.
When they asked over 1,000 adult Germans if they would like the country to have its own royal family, just 16 percent – one-sixth – said yes.
The figure in Bavaria – usually reputed as the most tradition-loving part of Germany – was even lower at only 14 percent.
More than half of Germans – 55 percent – said that having a monarchy back would be a waste of money, while 53 percent said it would be an anachronism.
That will be disappointing news for Prince Philip Kiril of Prussia, who in 2013 told The Local that Germany “needs the moral guidance of a monarchy” in an exclusive interview.
“Looking up to a king or queen would be much better for Germany’s young people than to pop stars or football players,” he said at the time.
At arm’s length
All that doesn’t mean that there aren’t deep links between Germany and the British royals.
You might be surprised to learn that for more than 25 years the dressmaker behind all of the Queen’s dresses has been a German, Karl-Ludwig Rehse.
Going back further in time, the modern British royal family is well-known to be descended from the house of Hanover, whose head became King George the First in 1714 – mostly because he was the closest non-Catholic relative of the previous Queen, Anne.
George V changed the family name to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1917 when during the First World War his blood links to Kaiser Wilhelm II became politically uncomfortable.
But the family are known to still open their Christmas presents on the evening of December 24th in a German tradition kept alive in the family by Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert.
Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip is himself a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and is also part of both the Greek and Danish royal families.
Some Brits may fiercely deny it – but the royal family is one of the many strong links between the two countries.
And we’re sure that Germans will be just as sad as their cousins across the sea when it finally comes time to bid Her Majesty a respectful farewell.