The Royal Family in the public perception
According to an INSCOP poll conducted in May 2014, 44,9% of Romania’s population has a good or very good opinion regarding the Royal House. At the same time, 30,2% of respondents spoke in favour of Monarchy as a form of government. As Mr Darie Cristea, INSCOP project manager, showed, the poll comes during an electoral year, when normally the public agenda does not give much attention to Monarchy-related topics. Is it really so?
Almost 25 years since Crown Princess Margareta, the first member of the Royal Family to return to the country after 1989, set foot in Romania, such a poll cannot surprise. If, at the beginning of the ’90s, indoctrination and the lack of information, which were maintained in order to influence public perception, were something natural, today freedom of information takes front place. The knowledge void regarding the Royal House is, however, still visible in people’s declarations, whereby they wish the members of the Royal Family to always be „more present, more involved, more on TV.”
Why? With Romania being gradually overtaken by the political apathy specific to Western democracies, while at the same time dividing into anthagonistic camps during times of crisis, the Royal Family is one of the few respectable and non-political public actors (together with the Army, Academy, Church, the National Bank), and the only one of these which embodies an attribute of our national sovereignty and dignity – the Crown. In simpler words, when they wish for something different, when looking for a long-term vision, or when aspiring for a dignified Romania, the public looks up to the Crown.
In the 25 years since the return to Romania, the members of the Royal Family have exponentially raised the number and ambit of their public events. For example, Prince Radu has visited every town in Romania, while the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation is one of the most prestigious NGOs in the country. Thousands of Romanians take part annually at the Garden Party, and at the other Royal events, thus getting to know directly the Royal Family’s methods of action. An increased trust is, therefore, a natural outcome.
The poll regarding Monarchy as a form of government is more interesting. Thus, an important decrease has been recoded (of 11,3% from last year) in the number of undecided persons, regarding the form of government, but also an increase in the number of supporters for both systems – Monarchy and republic. Probably, the raising of this issue, in media, schools and in the public debate, with respect to Romania, along with the Constitutional revision project put forward last year, but also in connection with international events from other Royal Houses, has has as an effect a better understanding of the Crown’s place and role in a constitutional monarchy, and, respectively, the role of a persident in a republic.
It is also highly probable that the public has accepted the idea of a constitutional role, without the status of a state Power, for the Crown, through its constitutional recognition. Seen this way, the two results of the poll would be perfectly harmonised, in that Romanians trust the Royal Family and have a very positive regard of it, whishing at the same time a republic, in which the Crown would have a constitutional recognition, an apolitical role, of preserver of Romania’s identity and dignity.
Honorary Private Adviser to the Romanian Royal Family