“The Queen”. Say the words anywhere in the world and almost everyone will know who you are talking about. She is both an international icon and the living embodiment of an institution which represents our nation. Our other institutions exist under the umbrella of the crown, whether it is Parliament, the Law, the armed services or a myriad of others — right down to those little battalions in the private sector which so often and profitably seek royal patronage.
What makes the monarchy endure? It continues through times more uncertain than ever before; times which, mainly driven by technological change, seem to be on the verge of testing institutions to destruction, both here and abroad.
Some argue that the Crown endures because people cling to it as at least one unchanging certainty in a world where all other anchors seem to be dragging. There may be an element of truth in that, but it is certainly not the whole answer.