UK

Anti-monarchists chant ‘what a waste of money’ as King opens Parliament

Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic protests outside the Palace of Westminster in London during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic protests outside the Palace of Westminster in London during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Anti-monarchy protesters booed the King at the state opening of Parliament on Tuesday as the event was branded “not compatible with democracy”.

Loud boos rang out from dozens of members of campaign group Republic as they chanted “not my king”, “what a waste of money”, and “down with the crown” when the King arrived in Whitehall in a carriage procession from Buckingham Palace.

LGBTQ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was among the protesters, called the monarchy an “anachronism”.

He told the PA news agency: “It’s an absurd contradiction that an unelected monarch head of state is opening a democratic, elected parliament – that is not compatible with democracy.

Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic protests outside the Palace of Westminster in London during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords
Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic protests outside the Palace of Westminster during the State Opening of Parliament (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“We want a democratically elected head of state, voted for by the people and accountable to the people, it is what most modern democracies have.

“Monarchy is an anachronism, it’s a residue from feudalism and before. It’s time we had a democratically-elected head of state.”

The 71-year-old added the monarchy symbolises “elitism, privilege, snobbery, deference and huge social inequality”.

“The royals have 23 palaces and luxury residences, 700 servants and a combined personal wealth of £2 billion on which they pay not a penny of inheritance tax – that’s outrageous,” he said.

Chief executive of Republic, Graham Smith, called the King’s Speech a “pantomime” that advertises “how stupid our constitution is”.

He told PA: “He’s not fit for office (the King). I think if there was a free and fair election with other candidates, he would lose badly.”

Luke Whiting, 27, from east London, said the opening of Parliament is a “charade”.

The Republic protester told PA: “The opening of Parliament is the day that should be all about democracy, when really it becomes about this kind of charade of a monarchy, a militaristic monarchy.

“Today shows us the power and corruption of the monarchy.”