Royalty & Monarchy

"Something as curious as the monarchy won't survive unless you take account of people's attitudes. After all, if people don't want it, they won't have it."

Charles, Prince of Wales
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This free ESL lesson plan on royalty and monarchy has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

For many people around the world, kings and queens are consigned to history books or the subject of fairy tales; for other people, they are a modern reality of the way their government functions. It may seem an odd contradiction that many democratic countries around the world still have a ruling monarch that is technically their equivalent of a president (although with no political powers), but this has not prevented many of those countries from achieving some of the highest standards of living in the world. Despite the benefits a monarchy can provide to the economy, there is something that doesn’t seem quite right about certain individuals being provided with a life of luxury by taxpayers that most can only dream of just because of the family they were born into. In this ESL lesson plan on royalty and monarchy, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the role monarchies play in society, whether this form of government is outdated, and what the future holds for these royal families.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for any national days that celebrate the monarchy of a particular country, or for any national day that celebrates independence from a monarchy. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Vox | Long live Queen Elizabeth: Why monarchies are better than republics

The article lists a number of reasons why, in the authors opinion, it is better in a parliamentary system to have a monarch instead of an elected president as head of state, including the fact that monarchs can be truly above party politics (unlike a president), and that monarchs are generally cheaper than presidents (or they have the ability to generate enough money to offset their cost to the country). What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.

The video for this class is a called “Why does Britain still have a Royal family?” by Sky News which looks at the role the British Royal Family plays in the country, their popularity and importance to the economy, and what the future might hold for them.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the origins of royal families, famous kings and queens from history, and the differences between monarchies and republics.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with royalty and monarchy such as constitutional monarchy, absolute monarchy and reign. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about political ideologies. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as paying taxes to fund a royal family, the popularity of modern royal families, and why people in some countries fought wars of revolutions against monarchies.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of royalty and monarchy. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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