It’s a while since Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair held sway as Ireland’s last high king. He died in 1198 and is buried at Clonmacnoise. In the interim, we played host to a litany of suzerains happy to rule us without the bother of securing a democratic mandate.
Though it is unlikely that Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair will be remembered in the Pine Room in Tokyo’s imperial palace today as Emperor Naruhito is enthroned, he and Naruhito represent the ancient tradition of monarchy — even if we were never so over-impressed as to imagine one of our high kings a god.
Naruhito became his dynasty’s 126th monarch last May after his father Akihito abdicated. Though the idea of inherited authority is not as unusual as we pretend, it may be a stretch to argue for the restoration of monarchies.
They, no matter how preposterous — King Bono I anyone? — could hardly be worse than Trump or Johnson. And the restoration process would make great reality TV. It might also renew the guillotine business when we decide to start all over again.