Moving Window of Monarchical Selection

As an alternative to primogeniture, I would recommend this system:

  1. Figure out the line of succession according to the rules of primogeniture (including both boys and girls).
  2. Remove all persons from the list who are under the age of 35 or over the age of 55.
  3. Take the top five and have parliament use ranked-choice to select their preferred monarch.

Are you talking about the UK? Belgium?

The point of a monarchy is that it is supposed to give the illusion of stability. Can’t have a bunch of politicians electing a king…

What problem is this meant to address?

  1. If you’re too young when you’re selected as the royal then you’re likely to grow up weird. Fame and fortune does weird things to a person. Whereas if you’re old then you’re liable to be behind the times and not particularly dynamic. Ultimately, the royal’s most useful role is in being a person who sits outside of the system and has safety through their wealth and position to look at things with a long view, advocate rationally, and act as a diplomat for whoever needs advocacy. You want the person who serves the role to be someone who had a chance to live normally but also had some awareness that they might have a higher duty to answer to. If they took the right steps to become well-rounded then that’s your winner.
  2. The eldest direct heir is fairly likely to be a nincompoop.

I’m not fussed.

Compromise makes everyone unhappy and the world a better place.

Elizabeth was 25 when she was crowned.

It seems to me that the problems you mention have already been addressed by the fact that the monarch doesn’t actually do anything. It’s not as though a hypothetical preteen King George VII would be able to order a nuclear strike on Belgium or decree that all commoners must wear their underwear on the outside of their clothes.

People are fairly well developed by 25 but I think it’s better to get a few more years in there. Plus, if you make the window too wide then it becomes more clear who’s in the running and people will be less likely to feel like they should make something of themselves.

Diplomats also don’t do anything. You attend cocktail parties and funerals, give some speeches, shake hands, etc.

Might as well get rid of them?

I think it’s ambassadors that don’t do anything, they are often ceremonial appointments that don’t have anything to do with the person’s ability to manage an embassy. You can probably get rid of those guys and install a professional diplomat in the job and not miss a beat.

How is that different than a representative republic with a really small pool of potential candidates?

I mean, why not just have Parliament elect a Head of State (call it what you want) and be done with it?

Sounds like you want to revive the old practice of tanistry.

In old Ireland and Scotland, if often led to civil wars, but it seems to be working well for the Saudis.

If you think growing up royal fucks with a kids head now, imagine how much worse it’ll be in they’re in a constant public game show competition with their four closest relatives over who gets to be king? Imagine the Daily Mail headlines:

5 Year Old Prince George Seen Throwing Tantrum at Balmoral!
How will this effect his royal selection prospects?
Princess Charlotte gains in rankings. Did she set Georgie up?

I’m not sure how introducing political considerations into the process of electing a ceremonial head of state is somehow better than the current system.

  1. Tradition.
  2. In some sense, it is that family’s fortune. Giving their stuff to someone else’s family seems somewhat unreasonable. Just, here, we’re saying that we’re going to guide the preferred path of inheritance because the general public has an invested interest.

I suppose there’s historical precedent. They probably ought to call the body of electors the Witan, as a shout out to their roots.

When you get down to it it’s basically just a difference in nomenclature. Malaysia, Cambodia, and Vatican City are all elective monarchies, in Malaysia’s case the monarch even has a fixed 5 year term. One could argue that the Islamic Republic of Iran is an elective monarchy as well. The Supreme Leader is elected by an assembly of senior clergy for life and has incredibly vast power over the state, much like Vatican City (the Papal States are an even better analogy).

I don’t know about Malaysia or Cambodia, but the monarch of Vatican City is elected by a body all of whom were appointed by the previous monarch(s). There’s no trappings of election “by the people” in there at all (though some of the cardinals might take the views of the people into consideration, in their decision).

I’m pretty sure I’ve also heard of systems where the current monarch just directly selects their successor, without any consideration of family, though I don’t know of any specific instances of that off the top of my head.

Sure- I was mainly quibbling with the idea that the candidate has to come from the Royal Family.

If you set things up where the “King” (or whatever you call the Head of State) is elected from within some set of worthy citizens, you’re not too far off from a whole host of historical setups like you say.

As far as the monarch choosing their successor, I always have had the impression that was more informal- along the lines of Julius Caesar adopting Augustus as his heir, or Nerva adopting Trajan for the same reason. I can’t think of any systems where that’s been formalized.

I feel it would have had a bad effect on British politics if nobody had known for the last few decades who the heir apparent was. People had the certainty of knowing that when Elizabeth died, Charles would automatically become King and future plans could be made on that basis.

But in the system the OP described, people would have been speculating on which royal relative would become the next monarch (on top of not knowing when the current monarch would die). Every monarch’s death would cause a succession crisis.