There is a huge myth around the wealth of kings, and more particular the royalties of the past couple of centuries and I think this myth was born out of a combination of the extravagances of certain members of royal and imperial families and envy. The majority of kings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries actually lived quite frugal and simple lives and though they lived in palaces they saw themselves as custodians of those places and, within them, their own rooms were often simply furnished and not very much different from those of non-royal custodians who inhabit stately homes and palaces today. No one objects to the modern custodians, but somehow blame is laid at the feet of kings and emperors for fulfilling their role to the best of their abilities.
It is very interesting to think – particularly when people speak of the wealth of kings as though this deprives everyone else of their fair share – that if all the wealth of a royal family were shared out among the people of the country, we would each end up being something like one penny better off. I would prefer to enjoy the beautiful stateliness of those who are born as guardians of ancient traditions and also have the wellbeing of their people at heart.
On a personal level, too, the ‘good’ done by individual 19th century royalties is often overlooked. The Victorian Age is seen as very judgemental and yet it is fascinating that, when unmarried mothers or so-called ‘fallen women’ were being treated with such disdain by other members of society, the royalties were among the most understanding. Queen Victoria encouraged the Duchess of York to be seen in public with one such unfortunate cousin and her daughter, Princess Alice, like many others founded safe houses and spent time speaking with those who were seen as outcasts, in order to help them. Here is a very interesting article, too, about the children who were adopted by royal families:
Royalties Who Adopted Children
I wonder, “Did Lenin or Stalin nurse the sick? Did Hitler take time to write letters to the families of his wounded soldiers? Would you rather that the figurehead of your nation was someone who really loved your country and its people, or really love himself? Would you like to do away with all the pageantry, the sense of unity we feel at jubilees or royal weddings, in order to gain one penny?
Funny, isn't it, that Stalin murdered his wife and Hitler killed his niece and politicians and bankers have created such a financial mess for so many people, but people still believe that Nicholas II was a tyrant and somehow other royalties deprive their people of their true wealth?