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Should the Queen step down to save Britain money?

Two days ago, we discussed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s suggestion that Austalia stop recognizing the British monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II steps down. But amid harsh budget cuts, some British voters, participating in a website that solicits ideas for budget reductions, are hoping to ditch the royals a little sooner than that:   In ...

Two days ago, we discussed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s suggestion that Austalia stop recognizing the British monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II steps down. But amid harsh budget cuts, some British voters, participating in a website that solicits ideas for budget reductions, are hoping to ditch the royals a little sooner than that:  

In June, Osborne said the 7.9 million pounds ($12 million) in annual government funding to Queen Elizabeth II’s royal household, used to pay salaries and the costs of official functions, would be frozen for a year.

Contributors to the website say that doesn’t go far enough – calling for Queen Elizabeth II either to step down, or drastically reduce the number of her family members who receive public money. "The French have not had a monarchy for more than 200 years and tourists still flock to Versailles," one of the ideas posted on the Treasury site reads.

I wouldn’t count on this happening, but it does seem a little outrageous that Britain continues to spend nearly $60 million on people with no political function at a time when the government is halting construction of 700 schools and cutting health programs for pregnant women. 

Two days ago, we discussed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s suggestion that Austalia stop recognizing the British monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II steps down. But amid harsh budget cuts, some British voters, participating in a website that solicits ideas for budget reductions, are hoping to ditch the royals a little sooner than that:  

In June, Osborne said the 7.9 million pounds ($12 million) in annual government funding to Queen Elizabeth II’s royal household, used to pay salaries and the costs of official functions, would be frozen for a year.

Contributors to the website say that doesn’t go far enough – calling for Queen Elizabeth II either to step down, or drastically reduce the number of her family members who receive public money. "The French have not had a monarchy for more than 200 years and tourists still flock to Versailles," one of the ideas posted on the Treasury site reads.

I wouldn’t count on this happening, but it does seem a little outrageous that Britain continues to spend nearly $60 million on people with no political function at a time when the government is halting construction of 700 schools and cutting health programs for pregnant women. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating