Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain’s House of Commons, fourteen years in the House of Lords, and two in Her Majesty’s prisons, which spawned three volumes of highly acclaimedPrison Diaries. All of his novels and short story collections---including Kane and Abel, Sons of Fortune, and False Impression---have been international bestsellers. Archer is married with two children and lives in London and Cambridge.
Question: What is the future of the royal family?
Jeffrey Archer: Well as long as Her Majesty the Queen is the head of the royal family, there will be no moves at all. I suspect when her Majesty dies, then you may well see a different attitude in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I suspect you may see a break away from those three countries. Then of course we will look at the new King, and the next generation, not mine, and the one afterwards will make the decision.
My own belief is that the royal family will survive.
Question: How much has the royal family had to change in order to stay relevant?
Jeffrey Archer: Her Majesty the Queen has set such an example of damned hard work, intense loyalty and service above all things. Great believer in service to her country. I don’t know another human being who serves our country in the way she does. She doesn’t have to change, we now accept that she is the lady of 82 years of age, she is very much--to use in English expression--got all her marbles, she is very bright, very alive. And there will never be any feeling of wanting to do anything about that where she is still going strong.
The rest of the family have changed considerably. The young prince Harry has been in Iraq fighting, along side the Americans with the British forces, a genuine hero, a genuine soldier, as always other, very genuine heroic soldiers at there at the moment, so they have adapted.
Prince William went to a Scottish University; and so that they have all adapted, and they are young.
The problem today is that, of course, anything you do is on the front page of the tabloid papers. So it is not easy for them and they have therefore been criticized from time to time. But I still think that they are adapting with the new generation, and I think they will survive.
Question: What role does the royal family play in contemporary England?
Jeffrey Archer: Well, they have no power, but they have an immense amount of influence, and of course because we have very old traditional country, we like not to throw our history in to the dustbin quite that fast.
We once tried to had a great empire, we no longer do, but we still have remnants of that through the royal family.
Perhaps the next generation will say, well, enough is enough, but I know my generation would feel very safe with the strong royal family.
Recorded on: March 15, 2008.