Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke
You're forgetting that the British Royal Family or at least the idea of the Monarchy itself stretches back well over a thousand years. Although I'm a Republican in many respects, the history of the British monarchs is quite remarkable and quite a few old families (like mine) are able to trace themselves back to at least one of the royal houses and at least one monarch (I can with two, if I recall). In a sense, it is a big part of our identity as a nation.
One of the mistakes that people make when thinking about British aristocracy is that they're all wealthy. Most of them are but it's a quirk in the British class system that you don't have to be rich to be upper class - it's a lot more than that. In the same way, the role of the Royal Family is misunderstood.
They actually do hold political power. The Queen is our head of state, so if a bill is approved by both houses of parliament, it still has to be ratified by her. In theory, she could refuse to sign a bill that has been democratically debated and approved. She probably never would refuse a bill but I cannot stand the idea of one individual having that power.
Thank you for the clarification. I do realize that there's a lot of history there with royalty and it really is interesting. I just wasn't sure how much leverage the Queen still had, since there is a multi-party system in place like there is here in the States.
That's interesting what you said about not all upper class are wealthy. I never would have thought that was the case.