"Change has become a constant; managing it has become an expanding discipline." HM Queen Elizabeth II, April 30 2002
After a decade of tragedy, scandal and divorce which shook the foundations of the monarchy, the British royals are once again riding high on a wave of public affection. The Golden Jubilee looks likely be a roaring success, while the young generation of princes are the hot new stars of the royal soap opera. Despite the death of the Queen Mother - or perhaps because of it - 2002 could be an annus mirabilis for the royal family.
Conventional wisdom had it that the monarchy was facing gentle but inevitable decline; a fragile anachronism unable to resist the forces of modernity that are undermining all traditional forms of authority. The reverse now looks to be true, as republicans run for cover.
So why has monarchy not only survived but prospered? And what are its prospects for the future? In a hard-hitting introductory essay, Demos argues that the current PR-led strategy of gradual reform is insufficient. The monarchy needs to be systematically modernised to reduce its reliance on tradition, and increase its relevance in a diverse, open Britain.
As a first step, the Queen should indicate when she intends to pass on the crown to the future king, Charles. Abdication will be the starting-gun for change, but change will have to come from within the royal dynasty itself - as the Queen herself appears to realise.
This collection, published to coincide with the Golden Jubilee, features essays by leading commentators, drawn from academia, the media and the arts. In different ways, they attempt to understand the enduring appeal of monarchy, while in a handful of cases argue for outright abolition. Together they answer the question: 'What are kings and queens for?'
Tom Bentley is the director of Demos and James Wilsdon is Head of Strategy.