The Startling View Liz Truss Once Had About The British Monarchy

The British monarchy has a long and storied history. The first monarch of England itself, per History, was Athelstan. After his expulsion of marauding viking armies, he ruled for the last 14 or so years of his life before, his death in A.D. 939. The first monarch of Britain, meanwhile, was Anne. Britannica reports that Scotland and England thrones were combined into one on the 1707 Act of Union, which occurred five years into Queen Anne's reign. All in all, the story of Britain and the kingdoms that once made it up stretches for more than a millennia.

There have been numerous monarchs over the years, with some fondly remembered, some feared, some hated, some pitied, depending on the time of day and who you're asking. The subjects of these monarchs, too, have had different feelings about them, and about the British monarchy in general. For some people, these views have changed quite dramatically. Former Prime Minister Liz Truss is one such person.

A common line for detractors of the monarchy is simply: What do they do? The British Royal Family's official website states that Britain's is a constitutional monarchy. The website explains that in such a system, the monarch is head of state, but it's the government that passes laws. Effectively, the king or queen themselves wield little power.

Liz Truss was a Liberal Democrat

Economically, the British monarchy boasts some impressive assets: In 2017, Brand Finance concluded the monarchy had added £1.766 billion (around $2 billion) to the economy that year, and that its capital value stood at approximately £67.5 billion ($76.25 billion).

The question of the right to rule is also a controversial factor. As Britannica states, the divine right of kings — the belief that the monarch was given their power by God and so could not questioned — caused great friction in the 17th century reigns of James I and his son Charles I, among others. It is this last that seemed most troublesome to Liz Truss. In 1994, at the age of 19, Truss was a member of the Liberal Democrat party. She was, in fact, the President of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats. At a party conference that year, she gave a speech which began (per ITN Archive on YouTube), "everybody in Britain should have a chance to be a somebody, but only one family can provide the Head of State."

Lamenting the inherited power of the monarchy, Truss went on (per ITN Archive on YouTube), "we Liberal Democrats believe in opportunity for all ... we do not ... believe that people should be born to rule." Not only did Truss share these anti-monarchy views with the assembled group, she went as far as to share the story of being interviewed that day by the media.

Changing views on the monarchy

"We were filmed asking members of the public what they thought about the monarchy," she said per ITN Archive on YouTube, and everyone she spoke to reportedly believed the monarchy should be abolished. "We couldn't find a single monarchist outside the Royal Pavilion. How ironic," she concluded, to much laughter. This, of course, was back in 1994, and it seemed that much had changed for Truss by 2022. On September 6 that year, per the Daily Mail, Truss, now leader of the Conservative Party, met Queen Elizabeth II to be officially invited to become prime minister. This was an important role of the queen's, one she undertook at Balmoral just days before her own sad death.

Truss' political allegiance had changed dramatically since that 1994 conference. She joined the Conservative Party two years later, according to ITN Archive on YouTube, and has since regretted her anti-monarchist political beginnings. Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on "Political Thinking With Nick Robinson" (per Independent), she explained, "when I was in my youth, I was a professional controversialist and I liked exploring ideas and stirring things up." She added (per Yahoo News), "[I[ understand more about why Britain is successful, and part of our success is the constitutional monarchy that supports a free democracy."

Per The Guardian, Truss resigned after just 45 days as prime minister. In that time, she served two monarchs: Queen Elizabeth II and her son, King Charles III.