News Release

King Donald – how Trump could become royalty

Cambridge Festival talk will examine how republics can morph into monarchies

Meeting Announcement

Anglia Ruskin University

A Cambridge Festival talk will examine the role of monarchies across the world and show how republics and their systems can sometimes morph into them – with a particular focus on the forthcoming United States Presidential election.


The talk, ‘Monarchy in the Modern Age’ will be delivered by historian Dr Sean Lang of Anglia Ruskin University. As part of it, Dr Lang will suggest that Trumpism appears to be an attempt to transform the United States from a democratic presidential system into a monarchy.


Dr Lang, Senior Lecturer in History at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “Even in democratic republics, monarchy can seem tempting. Donald Trump’s style of government, and his steadfast refusal to accept the clear verdict of the electorate in 2020, suggests he sees himself as something much closer to an anointed king, who cannot lawfully be overthrown, than a democratic leader holding power at the wish of the electorate. 


“The United States Constitution was drawn up to guard the United States against becoming a monarchy on the model of European kingdoms, but it is not the failsafe protection people often assume. For a democratic republic, the politics of the US has been remarkably dominated in recent history by a handful of wealthy families – the Kennedys, Clintons, Bushs and now the Trumps.


“Monarchy is not really about crowns or pageantry; it is about power. And republics are every bit as vulnerable to monarchical rule as actual monarchies.”


During the free Cambridge Festival event, Dr Lang will also look closer to home, speaking about issues such as the strengths and weaknesses of the UK monarchy, and the impact of media depictions such as The Crown.


The talk will also look at the reign of King Charles III so far, the importance of the Prince William vs Prince Harry feud, and priorities for the monarchy’s future development. It will also consider what the monarchy means to people, how and why it survives and flourishes - and how it might help shape our future.


Dr Lang added: “There is no sign of the world losing its fascination with monarchies. You only have to look at the global media coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and the interest in the continuing saga with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But what is their place in the modern world? Is monarchy in Britain just a colourful legacy from earlier ages or is it a distinctive and vital component in our democratic constitutional framework?”


The event will take place at 1pm on Saturday, 16 March at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge campus on East Road. Although free to attend either in person or virtually, places must be booked in advance.

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