Royal Family: Political journalist Lewis Goodall explains why the monarchy isn’t working for its members

As the Royal Family is in the spotlight for issues concerning its members’ health this journalist sheds light on how being part of the Firm impacts its members.

Royal Family 'prison of gold' Lewis Goodall
© Chris Jackson / GETTY IMAGES
Royal Family 'prison of gold' Lewis Goodall

The beginning of 2024 has been quite challenging for the British Royal Family. In the last few months we have seen senior members forced to step away for some time while other members pick up the slack.

Discover our latest podcast

When King Charles stepped onto the throne in September 2022, it seemed like a new era was starting. There was the intention to create a ‘slimmed down monarchy’ that was more intentional. Even Prince William, while in Singapore for the Earthshot Prize, suggested that he wanted to ‘go a step further’ and be more involved.

However, according to Lewis Goodall, the events of the last few months have highlighted a major flaw of the monarchy: it damages its members.

A ‘prison of gold’

In an opinion piece published on 1 April 2024, political journalist Lewis Goodall questions how being part of the Royal Family impacts its members. The words he chooses are strong and, probably, aim to trigger a reaction out of its readers.

In the beginning of his piece, Goodall praises what we shall call monarchy’s superpower: its ability to ‘elicit personal sympathy and solidarity’. Indeed, over the past weeks, we have seen people show great empathy towards royals as their ailments make them appear more human.

Nevertheless, quite quickly, Goodall transitions to a more critical angle. For instance, he pens:

Before feminism and the civil rights movement, monarchy has always known that the personal is the political. And that, right there, is the problem.

The journalist continues by saying that the ‘institution works for us’ (the British people) but that it doesn’t necessarily work ‘for them’. He explains:

The Windsors live in luxury, in palaces, with courtiers and planners and servants. But it is a prison of gold.

'The fusion of family and state'

He argues that for the privileges and status, the Windsors trade their family life and are faced with ‘the fusion of family and state’. He calls it a ‘cruel meld’. The journalist continues and uses his observations to shed light of the current situation. He wrote that the Princess of Wales wasn’t allowed privacy, as she requested, because ‘there is no privacy in the cage’. He then stated, quite strongly:

she belongs to the state, to us.

Later in the piece he adds:

We are breeding a family to represent our state. They have no choice about it. They cannot opt out of it, even if they try, as Harry has done, they can’t really. Because by the time they do, they are already public property

Goodall continues and explains that the reconciliation between the private individual and the sense of duty above all is something that tears the Royal Family and its members. He highlights that when members are ‘unwilling to bend’ to duty, the monarchy fails to work as it should.

Who is Lewis Goodall?

Lewis Goodall is a British journalist who grew up in Birmingham. He joined Sky News as a political correspondent in 2016. He then joined the BBC to work as policy editor on Newsnight, the channel’s political flagship show.

In June 2022, Goodall left BBC to co-host a daily podcast called The News Agents with Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel. The podcast launched in August 2022 and was named ‘Best Daily Podcast’ in 2023.

Read more:

King Charles’ cousin Rowan Lascelles sees warrant issued for his arrest

Royal Family: Getty Images flags two more pictures after Kate Middleton’s Mother’s Day photoshopping ordeal

Fact checking: Is Prince William really encouraging Harry to move back to the UK?


New Statesman: Monarchy is a state-sponsored tragedy

Express: Royal Family is 'a prison of gold' says expert who claims Firm is cycle of 'cruel misery'

Hello!: Prince William wants to 'go a step further' than royal family to support his causes

Royal Family: Here’s how they performed in GCSE, from Prince Charles to Kate Middleton Royal Family: Here’s how they performed in GCSE, from Prince Charles to Kate Middleton