Running the Family Firm

How the monarchy manages its image and our money

By Laura Clancy

Running the Family Firm


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5875-8
  • Pages: 312
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: September 2021
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Sociology, Sociology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Social Classes, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, Society & social sciences / Media studies, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies


In recent decades, the global wealth of the rich has soared to leave huge chasms of wealth inequality. This book argues that we cannot talk about inequalities in Britain today without talking about the monarchy.

Running the Family Firm explores the postwar British monarchy in order to understand its economic, political, social and cultural functions. Although the monarchy is usually positioned as a backward-looking, archaic institution and an irrelevant anachronism to corporate forms of wealth and power, the relationship between monarchy and capitalism is as old as capitalism itself.

This book frames the monarchy as the gold standard corporation: The Firm. Using a set of case studies - the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle - it contends that The Firm's power is disguised through careful stage management of media representations of the royal family. In so doing, it extends conventional understandings of what monarchy is and why it matters.


'This is a major reassessment of the British monarchy and its place in cultural, social and economic life. Laura Clancy offers a lucid examination of the ideological roles of the royals and, through detailed research, pulls back the curtain to reveal their economic organisation and vested interests. Arguing that monarchy is a key means through which the social mechanisms of inequality are disguised and naturalised, she offers a thorough, persuasive and far-reaching account of what the monarchy really "gives back."
Jo Littler, Professor of Sociology, City, University of London


Introduction: Why does monarchy matter?
1 The (Family) Firm: Labour, capital and corporate power
2 'The greatest show on earth': Monarchy and media power
3 'Queen of Scots': National Identities, sovereignty and the body politic
4 Let them have Poundbury! Land, property and pastoralism
5 'I am Invictus': Masculinities, 'philanthrocapitalism' and the military-industrial complex
6 The heteromonarchy: Kate Middleton, royal 'middle-classness', and family values
7 Megxitting The Firm: Race, post-colonialism, and diversity capital
Postscript: The post-royals



Laura Clancy is a Lecturer in Media at Lancaster University

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