Crowning Glory: Public Law, Power and the Monarchy

Thérèse Murphy, Noel Whitty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


'New public law' has a keen interest in the deployment of power and the shifting nature of the public and private. In this article, we argue that the historical legacy of the Crown has hindered the ability of public lawyers to respond to changes in modes of governance in the UK. The constitutional law textbook tradition has played a key role in limiting critiques of the Crown because of the obfuscation that surrounds the legal and political status of the Monarch. However, instead of discounting the significance of the monarchy, we use it as a resource for exploring governing power, the blurring of boundaries and constitutional renewal. Our starting point is the life, death and, most importantly, the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. The latter event exposed the political relevance of the 'personal' in a most dramatic way, generating claims about the 'feminisation of the government' and 'emotions augmenting democracy'. We follow through on these claims in order to focus on the effects of adopting private, intimate-sphere norms in the public sphere, in particular public-sphere decision making. While aware of the risks associated with this 'transformation' of democracy, we conclude that the increasing centrality of the intimate merits consideration in new public law's search for progressive tools of modern governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-27
Number of pages21
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law


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