I like the monarchy for pragmatic reasons.
What is the point in having an elected President if the President had no power and was just a head of state?
This is the most likely choice if England became a Republic; we're unlikely to go for anything like the American Presidental system as it invests too much power in one person - a common complaint of Prime Minister Blair is he has a 'Presidental style', which essentially means he does what he wants. The English don't like that.
If then we are talking about a figurehead we are talking about creating or allocating a residence, staff, salaries, security etc., just to have some powerless foobar shake hands at important events and choose a temprary Prime Minister if the previous one spontaneously combusts or chokes on a peanut.
Canadian and Australian Republicans seem to miss this point; they don't even pay for the buggers, bar a lick of paint and some ribbon whenever there is a Royal Visit, and for reasons that completely elude me want to pay to have some dickwad waste their money when we offer a free service.
The Royal Family do all this head-of-state crap this quite nicely. We breed the poor bastards for it, although looking at the coverage of the Queen Mother's funeral, it's interesting to note William and Harry, by benefit of Diana, have crawled out of the horse-faced short-arsed gene puddle that is the Royal Family.
What's more, technically speaking, although the Royal Family do get money from the State, this is in return for a huge amount of land that the Crown gave to the Government in the 18th C, I think. If they stopped giving the Royal Family the money, they would, under law, be allowed to sue for the return of their land under the laws of breach of contract.
As the rental revenue from the former Crown Estates FAR exceeds the amount the Government pays the Royal Family, this would be dumb, especially if, in addition to loosing several tens of millions of revenue each year, the Government would then effectively have to carry on paying for the new President.
Also, President's suck ass and lack class. They are elected to their post, and even if (like Eire) they are just a figurehead, they should act a certain way and seldom do. If they are a President with power, like the American President, then it's even worse.
If one of our Royals makes a booboo, we don't have to say a thing. Why would anyone take the idle mutterings of an inbreed anachronism seriously? Entertainment? Yes! Diplomatic disaster? No!
On the rare occasions they do something good, to paraphrase Prince Hal in Henry VI pt1, by how much better than their word are they? They didn't choose, they were born to it. If they make a good job of it, well done, if not, what do you expect?
The Royal Family's behaviour in the '80's and '90's was actually NORMAL... it's only it clashed with the image that the Queen Mother had strived to create since the '30's.
Before that the Royals were a debt ridden bunch of immoral adulterers who were more often than not slightly barmy. Even the son of a notorious prude like Victoria managed to screw, drink and gamble his way round England until the old dear had the decency to snuff it and let him be King for a while. The only thing the Royal's didn't do this century was assasinate each other... but then there's Diana...
Fergie and Charles are fine examples of Royals, and Charles is now doing a Prince Hall par excellence;
So, when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.
(Act I, Scene ii: Lines 200-210)
Think about the bad rep he had after Diana snuffed it, what with Camilla and all! He's turned PR ace and will probably be marrying her in the next year or two, with the "Nation behind him"! Marrying the women he boned behind "England's Rose's" back (although Diana was a parvenu, poor thing), and with common approval!
As well as being a nice amusement for the English, there is one more reason why the Royal Family is better than a Presidency.
Yup. Huge plaid-clad, baseball-hatted, camera-waving crowds of tourists from the US of A. Hordes of incomprehensible Japanese carrying cameras so small and advanced they not only tell you where you are but where you will be in five minutes. Generic Scandanavians with backpacks. Excitable Italians and Spaniards. Gaggles of French school kids who, for reasons unknown, have all sprayed their hair yellow. Dour German's muttering under their breath "In Germany zis never vould be like zis... ". Canadians sneering at the American's because they feel so culturaly superior to them (Canadian's tend to do this far more than is strictly neccesary). Australians and New Zealanders getting mortally offended if you mistake one for the other (fun game).
Would a Presidency generate the huge piles of moolah that a Monarchy does?
No. Even if you retained the horses and the furry hats and the gold braid and the bands, Royalty is a neat way of making money.
I suppose the question is, will Queen Elizabeth II (or tree sloth as I like to think of her... ) abdicate in favour of Charles.
I always used to joke she wouldn't until the Queen Mother died, as she was waiting until then, as if she abdicated she would be the King Mother, and the Queen Mum would become the King Mother Mother, which is just daft.
But sadly, I think she'll wait until she's dead, if you know what I mean. Given the fact that, horse-faced and short-arsed the Royal Family might be, they have good genes for longlevity, Charles III could be a very old man and be King for quite a short time before we get to William III.
As for a proper Constitution, this is repugnantly overdue, but given the bunch of wankers in Parliament at the moment, I'd rather rely on Common Law and Magna Carta until their a bunch of people in their who can frame of Bill of Rights worth a damn.