A WEEKEND of endless royal propaganda says something about modern Britain – about how it is viewed by its elites and establishment, and the story they want the rest of us to believe.

From what we can judge, over the past few days, weeks and months, a majority of the public, according to most polls, no longer uncritically buys into this version of the UK.

After weeks of gushing promotion, the percentage of people “very interested” in the coronation rose from 9% to 11% and 25% wanted to use the extra public holiday to celebrate things royal.

With £250 million of public money spent, even royal hanger-on Jennie Bond questioned the point of it and said the coronation would be “the final event of its kind”.

The whole enterprise illustrates many things about the UK – some contemporary, some deeply historic and all alarming. The UK Government’s authoritarian legislation further curtailing civil liberties; the lack of opposition from His Majesty’s Opposition, the Labour Party; the arrest of 64 peaceful protesters on the day of the coronation by officers from the scandal-rocked Metropolitan Police, and the holding of Graham Smith, head of anti-monarchical group Republic, for 16 hours.

Then there was the revelation that the BBC agreed in another act of craven deference to let Buckingham Palace have editorial control – aka censorship – of images of the coronation, as they did for last year’s coverage of the Queen’s funeral. This led to no less than David Dimbleby stating this was a worrying “degree of control”.

Beyond predictable narratives and representation, a more complex picture of the UK is evident. The world described by Tory MP Henry “Chips” Channon, when he looked at the 1953 coronation and into the future – “What a day for England, for the aristocracy and the traditional forces of the world. Shall we ever see the like again? Will my Paul be an old man at that of Charles III?” – no longer exists. His son, Paul Channon, became a Tory MP and minister under Heath and then Thatcher, dying in 2007 aged 71.

The usual platitudes were out in force this weekend regarding the power of “global Britain” and “soft power”, and how such pomp and ceremony allows the UK to “punt above its weight”. This is meant to be good for tourism and business, promoting an out-of-date version of the UK to the world, of the UK as at best a theme park deferring to its past and elites to define its present.

Britain’s monarchy is a feudal relic. It is a remnant of the UK’s pre-democracy that survived and remained a core part of its limited experiment with democracy, and which remains in the age of post-democracy. It is a place where the new forces of reaction and privilege regard the narrow democratic rights we once had as an affront to how they see the world and what it can do for them.

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The conventional defence of all this centres on “tradition” and “continuity” and tries to argue the contradictory line that this makes us “special” while not mattering too much. This take is a deliberate deception. The monarchy is a central part of the British state; the Crown an intrinsic part of the establishment. Crown powers are used as a cloak to disguise the brutal use of power by the executive with minimal scrutiny and accountability.

The last is not an arcane, obtuse point: it covers the fundamentals of life and death, such as how the UK goes to war. No parliamentary votes were held, for example, when the UK declared war on Germany in 1914 and 1939 when Crown powers and “the royal prerogative” were invoked to enter both world wars.

The UK royal family has huge wealth, business interests and power, and the difference between their personal wealth and what belongs to the state is murky and unclear. Politicians of all hues never question who owns, runs and gains from “the royal estate”.

One example of this is Balmoral, which according to research by land rights campaigner Andy Wightman is owned by Canup Ltd, the corporate trustees for King Charles, which also own an Edinburgh townhouse.

In recent years, The Guardian has undertaken impressive work in unveiling the scale of what was called the Queen’s Consent and is now the King’s Consent, and the Prince of Wales Consent. These allow the sitting monarch and Prince of Wales to opt out of the consequences of parliamentary legislation on an industrial scale.

During the Queen’s reign, UK ministers were required to secure approval from the Queen or Prince of Wales for more than 1000 parliamentary acts before they were implemented.

Like so many other things royal, Queen’s (now King’s) Consent and Prince of Wales Consent happens away from public scrutiny or accountability. They are agreed between government ministers and the royal household with no formal reporting back. While this is the sort of sordid action sadly typical of Westminster, it is also true of the Scottish Parliament, and ministers of all colours in Holyrood: Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP.

King Charles III sits at the apex of an empire with a personal wealth of £1.8 billion. Yet despite this, the UK royal family still only engage with modern society, conventions and laws on their own terms: voluntarily.

They still do not legally pay tax as everyone else does, having agreed following a decision by the Queen in 1992 to voluntarily pay income tax and capital gains tax. This was in response to Windsor Castle burning down and the palace making the mistake of thinking the public purse would pay for it to be restored.

READ MORE: Coronation protest sees journalist arrested and press pass seized

This is the Britain we live in. One where our atrophied democracy and politics has never had the courage and determination to scrutinise vested interests of the British establishment – whether old, traditional elements, or escalating inequalities and accumulating wealth – who are united by a belief in their entitlement and wisdom.

Much of this is about the strange state of England and conflation of England and the UK. The interchange between the two has been The two have seemingly been interchangeable over recent weeks, with numerous media outlets talking of “1000 years of continual tradition” and an “unbroken chain” from Anglo-Saxon times to Charles.

Such comments give the game away about the English interpretation of political power and royalty which is at the heart of how the establishment sees the UK. This is less about the Stone of Destiny and more about how government and establishment acts and sees authority, and the totemic mythology of parliamentary sovereignty – providing the central pillar of Lord Hailsham’s “elective dictatorship”.

Conservative and Labour politicians do not want to talk about the hard-wiring of the UK state and the central role of royalty. The late writer Tom Nairn, in his acerbic defenestration of monarchy The Enchanted Glass, observed that: “The toast of Tory and Labour leaders alike, the British Monarchy offers eloquent testimony to the persistence of the country’s Old Regime.”

The British political classes are now trailing the sentiment of public opinion and particular of young people. There is an emerging disconnect between the public and young people not just on monarchy, but also on how the UK is governed, its central institutions and elites.

The UK is a country where its political elites are happy to collude in a world where the public are subjects not citizens, where we have no fundamental rights – including the protection of the right to vote – and all of us are infantilised by the fossilised remains of a hereditary head of the country which is a central part of the UK state.

Eventually this set of tensions which runs through government, politics and power, and which goes to the heart of what the UK is, will come to a head. It will because the royal family, for all its belief in its wisdom and benign nature, ultimately relies on the will of the people to maintain itself.

Slowly and irreversibly this ancien regime is weakening and hollowing out, and politicians, government and media need to stop peddling the same threadbare excuses about who we are. That cataclysmic moment and wake-up call is coming sooner than many think, and will be an uncomfortable shock to those who gain from the current state of undemocracy.