You're offered the chance to be an actual, ruling monarch. Do you take it?

So you’re sitting at home on Saturday night, waiting for the new Doctor Who to come on BBC America*, when you hear a knock at the door. Though mildly annoyed at the prospect of missing a moment of Jenna-Louise Coleman goodness[sup]†[/sup], you answer the door to find a well-dressed gentleman and lady there. Apologizing for interrupting your evening, they ask for a moment of your time.

The well-dressed couple tell you they are officials from the south Pacific nation of Promethia, whose entire royal family was recently while vacationing due to an unexpected earthquake.[sup]‡[/sup] The nation’s in mourning, not merely because the Queen and her Prince Consort were so beloved but because, in Promethia, the monarch actually does stuff. Promethia–which has about the same area, population, and GDP as Switzerland–has a government not unlike that of the US, except that the position of chief of state/government is hereditary and for life. (The Promethians are well-satisfied with this, by the way; the matter’s been put to a referendum thrice in the last half century, and each time the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the status quo.) The monarch is given a wonderful palace, a kingly salary, and tons of benefits–but, again, has to actually RULE.

Anyway, here’s the point. The death of the Queen and her family has necessitated a search for an heir, and that has led the WDC to you. They believe you’re the bastard child of the previous monarch (obviously the Queen’s father). On the day you were born, in the hospital you were born, the cast-off mistress of the former King was also giving birth. They’ve contacted the mistress’s child, but DNA tests show she is related neither to the mistress nor the royal family; obviously there was an inexcusable mix-up in the nursery, which, they WDC believe, resulted in the mistress’s actuall child–you–being raised by another family. Of course, they’d like to do a DNA test to be sure. If their suspicions are correct, Promethia’s throne is yours for the taking. You then would be monarch until your death or abdication, and the ruling line would be you and your descendants.

At the point, the WDC pause to say they really, really hope you’re the heir. You see, they’ve already identified another possibility who would be next in line if you demur. This person is a known felon, con-man, and embezzler, but recently released from prison. If the throne goes to him, it’s all but certain that he’d loot Promethia’s coffers for his own benefit.

Let’s assume that everything the WDC has told you is true, and further that you submit to the DNA test and are shown to be the heir. Do you take the Promethian throne? Why or why not?

  • What’s that, you say? Not all Dopers are Americans or Doctor Who fans, and the referenced assertion is chauvinistic? Probably. What’s your point?
    [sup]†[/sup] The above should not be considered as favoring Clara over Amy. That’s crazy talk. Amy was perfect and her absence from the show breaks my heart and anyone who evinces a contrary opinion shall find his cookie ration reduced by 1/3.
    [sup]‡[/sup] As opposed to an expected earthquake, I suppose. The point is they weren’t assassinated or anything, unless you consider Poseidon a murder suspect.

I assume my absolute power as monarch does not preclude me from appointing a prime minister and hiring professionals to handle the nitty-gritty of getting things done?

Sounds like I could not only have a better job, but help a lot of people and secure my kid’s future. I’d take the job.

I wouldn’t be King of England for anything, but King of Promethia sounds way, way better. Less paparazzi, more real job.

I always suspected I was switched at birth. It would explain a lot. But as to whether I accept the job, I guess I’d need a little more info. For instance as a ruler do I have the ability to change existing laws and make new ones, or are my duties and powers severely limited by a constitution or somesuch? Anyway, I’d pretty likely take the position, try to be a responsible but benevolent leader, and use the job for some really good practical jokes on my friends and family. I’d also turn over the seat of power to one of my son’s if it got on my nerves. I’d also have my wife be the main contact with the people, everyone likes her, might keep me from getting assasinated.

I’d be King Log if it was clearly understood that King Stork is next in line if anything bad happens to me.

No prime minister. The OP says the government is very like that of the United States, which to me means a bicameral legislature, independent judiciary, and so forth. The Monarch would then have powers like our president.

You could–in fact, surely MUST–appoint a chief of staff. But that person is not going to rule in the sense that David Cameron does. Your chief of staff is going to handle a lot of things, yes, but you’re the one who’s going to have to decide what bills to propose and which veto, who to appoint as chief of the military, how to respond to provocations from belligerent neighboring states, etc.

As stated above, your powers would be rather like our president’s, except that your term lasts until you die or abdicate in favor of your heir. And I expect, given the Promethians’ fondness for actual monarchy, there’d be plenty of pressure to make sur there WAS an heir, so your plans for your son would be not merely allowed but required; you’d have to groom a blood relative to succeed you, in addition to learning the job yourself.

That still leaves a lot of room to delegate duties. It may still require the monarch’s signature or presence at times, but there’s no reason not to have advisors do all the grunt work. I’m not saying it’s a practical way to rule by delegating as much of your duties as possible, but it certainly means I could use the help of others to make the job manageable.

Well, sure. You HAVE to delegate most of the stuff. Obama’s a lawyer, but he doesn’t make arguments in front of the Supreme Court; he appoints the Attorney & Solicitor General, and may require their resignations from time to time. The bucks stop with the throne.

My initial question about this topic had more to do with cermonial duties instead of responsibility. Do I have to get up every morning and lead a religious ceremony? Do I have to appear before the legistlative body on a regular basis? I’m really trying to ascertain if I can keep my duties to part time, mainly because I’d get bored and not really be able put my heart into the job and I don’t like to work that way.

Okay, gotcha.

I’ hadn’t thought about the religious ceremony thing. I’m going to say no, given that the WDC said nothing about caring about what religion you are, nor caring that you’re a bastard. That, combined with the contention that Promethia’s government is similar to the US’s, leads me to think they must have freedom of religion and no state church.

I’d also say you have to appear before the legislature about once a year, just as the American president does, but may do so more frequently if you find it necessary. If Promethia’s having a national debate about legalizing SSM, and you come down on the liberal side, you may wish to address the legislature personally at some point.

Rock & Roll!! I’d take the job in a heartbeat. I’ve always been an autocratic despot at heart. :smiley:

South Sea island, pliant population, no sweat. I’d rule until I found a worthy successor to adopt, then abdicate. I have no children and absolutely no desire to ever change that status, throne or not. If my people are cooperative and bow to my whims, I’ll adopt someone who has training and cares. If they aren’t, then I’ll adopt Shia Lebeouf.

In a second. I’d hire a lot of advisers and listen to their advice.

Son? Would they not accept one of my daughters as their next leader? How about the fact that my oldest daughter is autistic?

Also, given that the job would be mine until I abdicate or die, does that mean the Promethians have no way of getting rid of me if I do a really shitty job? The answer to that question may be distressingly relevant to my decision.

Have we met? I’m the Athena worshipper. Of course Queens are allowed. The OP says the previous Monarch was a Queen (with a Prince Consort). I used the word son because TriPolar specified it (and, if I recall correctly, he has sons but not daughters).

I didn’t specify in the OP whether Promethia practices primogeniture. If we must get detailed, let’s say that, if the current Monarch has multiple children, she or he may specify who inherits the throne if the oldest is clearly unfit. Also, I think that, ethically and practically, it’s wiser for the Monarch to abdicate before getting really old.

As to whether the Promethians can get rid themselves of an incompetent ruler: there are always ways. But since abdication is legal, I think the danger to you come only if you can’t read the mood of the populace.

Yes, I’d take it, but only because the OP has stated the fact that if I don’t, the government would be in worse hands. However, I would work to change the country into a non-monarchial representative democracy as quickly as I could.

What exactly would you do?

Why is your opinion of the best form of government for the Promethians superior to their own?

No. I don’t think I am the right person for the job. And I don’t want all of the work.

Sign me up and consider the auditions for my queen open. Of course I need a queen who is beautiful, brilliant, and dangerous if need be.

Based on Skald’s clarifications I would invest some resources in making sure there is no hidden monkey’s paw here, then accept.

And yes, I have sons but no daughters. However, one is adopted, but related to my wife. Depending on the Promethian method of establishing eligibility for the throne, and if my son cared that he would be excluded from the line, I might have to reconsider.

Answering the second question first: their form of government, as stated in the OP, nearly forces them to accept a known villain as their King if I don’t. A representational democracy has at least some built-in safeguards against this. The last two centuries or so of history has shown that the idea of a monarch is one that is past its prime, and that any number of intelligent people who have given the matter a great deal more thought than I have, have directed the currents of history to a place where one person’s point-of-view as to what should be done is at least limited temporally. While I don’t think I’d do a horrific job as a ruler, my daughter has fibromyalgia, is of an “artistic temperament”, and is fairly easily lead: I love her, but I wouldn’t want her for a queen.

Back to query #1: I’d study the problem for a year or two. I’d see if I was wrong, and that this might indeed be better than it seems at the moment. When I do act, it will be through education of the public, debate in the legislative bodies, and media saturation.

BTW, my daughter worships the Egyptian pantheon. I’m not considering that as a reason I wouldn’t want her to rule, but it might be a shock if the population has a Judeo-Christian tradition.