The following clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) is still one of the best contributions in the debate about (not only British) monarchy:
I found the following transcript of the dialogue:
[ARTHUR and PATSY riding. They stop and look. We see a castle in the distance, and before it a PEASANT is working away on his knees trying to dig up the earth with his bare hands and a twig. ARTHUR and PATSY ride up, and stop before the PEASANT]
ARTHUR: Old woman!
ARTHUR: Man. I’m sorry. Old man, What knight live in that castle over there?
DENNIS: I’m thirty-seven.
DENNIS: I’m thirty-seven … I’m not old.
ARTHUR: Well – I can’t just say: ‘Hey, Man!’
DENNIS: Well you could say: ‘Dennis’
ARTHUR: I didn’t know you were called Dennis.
DENNIS: You didn’t bother to find out, did you?
ARTHUR: I’ve said I’m sorry about the old woman, but from the behind you looked …
DENNIS: What I object to is that you automatically treat me like an inferior …
ARTHUR: Well … I AM king.
DENNIS: Oh, very nice. King, eh! And how d’you get that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the social and economic differences in our society! If there’s EVER going to be any progress …
[An OLD WOMAN appears.]
OLD WOMAN: Dennis! There’s some lovely filth down here … Oh! how d’you do?
ARTHUR: How d’you do, good lady … I am Arthur, King of the Britons … Whose castle is that?
OLD WOMAN: King of the WHO?
ARTHUR: The Britons.
OLD WOMAN: Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR: All of us are … we are all Britons. [DENNIS winks at the OLD WOMAN.] … and I am your king ….
OLD WOMAN: Ooooh! I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective …
DENNIS: You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship, A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes …
OLD WOMAN: There you are, bringing class into it again …
DENNIS: That’s what it’s all about … If only –
ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?
OLD WOMAN: No one lives there.
ARTHUR: Well, who is your lord?
OLD WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.
DENNIS: I told you, We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune, we take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
DENNIS: … But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly …
ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
DENNIS: … meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: … but a two-thirds majority in the case of …
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet.
OLD WOMAN: Order, eh — who does he think he is?
ARTHUR: I am your king!
OLD WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.
OLD WOMAN: Well, how did you become king, then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held Excalibur aloft from the bosom of the water to signify by Divine Providence … that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur … That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen, strange women lying on their backs in ponds handing out swords … that’s no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!
ARTHUR: (Grabbing him by the collar) Shut up, will you. Shut up!
DENNIS: Ah! NOW … we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
[PEOPLE (i.e. other PEASANTS) are appearing and watching.]
DENNIS: (calling) Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help, help, I’m being repressed!
ARTHUR: (aware that people are now coming out and watching) Bloody peasant! (pushes DENNIS over into mud and prepares to ride off)
DENNIS: Oh, Did you hear that! What a give-away.
ARTHUR: Come on, patsy.
[They ride off.]
DENNIS: (in the background as we PULL OUT) did you see him repressing me, then? That’s what I’ve been on about …
After living in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as this country officially calls itself, for two years, I am still surprised about the absence of a significant movement to abolish the monarchy. – If Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans can get rid of their dictators, we should also be able to overthrow a monarchy.