iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for 16/04/2011

Play now 45 mins


45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 16 April 2011

There is a festive air in London, as the city prepares for the spectacle of a Royal Wedding at the end of this month - we are devoting this week's Forum to a look at where Kings and Queens fit in to our modern era.

Is there still such a thing as a bond between sovereign and subject? Do modern monarchies need to update themselves? Or is the link with history the key to staying popular?

Bridget Kendall is joined by Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam, British historian Justin Champion and Australian psychologist Dorothy Rowe.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: The Prince ceremoniously marries a commoner, touching his subject and backed by generations of monarchs before him.


2 items
  • Part 1

    We take a look at Kings and Queens and ask where they fit into our fast changing century.

  • Part 2

    Kings and Queens and their relationship with their subjects.

  • Tahmima Anam

    Tahmima Anam

    Bangladesh is not a monarchy, it’s a People’s Republic, and yet its powerful political families are treated like royalty, a trend which is replicated across South Asia. Novelist and anthropologist Tahmima Anam explains why.

  • Justin Champion

    Justin Champion

    Is good PR the key to the enduring popularity of monarchy in the UK? Historian Justin Champion suggests that this might well be the case and says that the air of deference which comes with monarchy stops us from thinking clearly about what it means to be a citizen.

  • Dorothy Rowe

    Dorothy Rowe

    Psychologist Dorothy Rowe argues that the respect many people feel for royalty can come perilously close to trying to be like virtuous children. She also explains that even a fleeting encounter with a royal, perhaps shaking hands with a prince, makes many adults feel significant.


    Queen for a day...

    Writer Tahmima Anam says that once a year every person, including the Royal Family should be randomly paired with another person in their locality who lives a completely different life, and they would have to live the life of that person for one day.

    They would live in that person's house, do that person's work, wear their clothes and eat their food.

    Sometimes it is difficult to imagine the lives of others, this would create the basis for such imagining, and thus would reduce the amount of misunderstanding and misapprehension that people often have about others.

  • In Next Week’s Programme:

    Conflicts in our brain, in particle physics and in literature, with American neuroscientist David Eagleman, Dutch physics Nobel Laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft and Russian writer Mikhail Shishkin.

  • Our three guests in the programme

    Our three guests in the programme



  1. Image for Forum - A World of Ideas

    Forum - A World of Ideas

    The world's most remarkable minds tackle a big idea. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

  2. Image for Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    An imaginative, quirky solution to a challenge of our age. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss