Majority of Germans do not want their monarchy back | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 25.11.2010
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Majority of Germans do not want their monarchy back

All of Germany celebrated when the news broke of the upcoming royal wedding in England. While Germans follow their royal neighbors with great interest, a new poll shows they're quite content without a monarchy.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth is popular in Germany, though the Germans don't want a queen of their own

Despite massive interest in the royal families of other European countries, 67 percent of the Germans surveyed don't want their own royal family back.

The poll was commissioned as a new wave of royal wedding fever sweeps the country with the recent engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton making the front pages of almost all daily newspapers and glossy magazines.

Yet despite this keen interest in the affairs of other countries' royal families, the majority of Germans are content to observe the ups and downs of royal life beyond their own borders without wishing for a return to the days when Germany itself boasted a royal court.

Content with status quo

On the streets of Berlin, the general opinion of passersby certainly confirmed the findings of the Stern survey.

Kate Middleton and Prince William

William and Kate's engagement caused a blizzard of press interest

"We certainly don't need a monarchy," said one woman, "and all this hullaballoo they are making in England about it, I find that rather difficult to comprehend."

"For Germany, it's definitely not something we need," said one man, "I'm happy that we're a republic with a solid constitution. It's enough for me to read about this kind of thing in the paper."

"I read in the paper just how much the British monarchy costs the taxpayer," explained one man, "and for that reason alone it's something we shouldn't indulge in ourselves."

"We do still have a royal house of sorts," explained one young woman, "and [Defense Minister] Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has kind of become an ersatz king if you like. He has the name, the heritage, the popularity and represents that there is a need for this kind of person in Germany."

Nearly a century ago

Germany's monarchy was abolished in 1918 at the end of World War I and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. After giving up the German throne, he fled to the Netherlands and spent the rest of his life there in relative obscurity.

Kaiser Wilhelm II

Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany's last Emperor, held office from 1888-1918

While the Kaiser's descendants today are rarely mentioned in the German press, Wilhelm's crypt in Huis Doorn, Netherlands, is an annual meeting place for a small but dedicated number of German monarchists who come together on the anniversary of his death on November 18.

Kaiser Wilhelm II's involvement in World War I is arguably the reason why he is not glorified by Germans today and why they seek their royal role models elsewhere. The June wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden to Daniel Westling was watched by a global audience of around 1 billion while the couple's popularity in their home country soared with around 70 percent of Swedes declaring their support for the monarchy.

Since Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement in Kenya in October, Germans have been keenly following the story and will no doubt be glued to the television when the couple ties the knot in 2011.

Author: Gavin Blackburn

Editor: Kate Bowen

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