As Britain prepares to crown King Charles III in a ceremony with traditions dating back some 1,000 years, the monarchy confronts a question it has faced down the centuries: how does it survive in the modern world?
For the House of Windsor, that does not mean dealing with growing hostility from politicians or the public, for which there is little evidence, but rather their indifference and simply becoming negligible.
And in a world where mobile phones are ubiquitous, brutal social media commentary is rampant, and the media’s voracious appetite for royal stories is insatiable, the greatest issue might be that the family themselves no longer fancy the job.
“One thing that Prince Harry has really reminded us, if we needed any, is just how incredibly painful it is to live in a cage in which you are constantly scrutinised,” royal author Tina Brown told Reuters.
“It’s a pretty terrible thing to contemplate that your own life is something that you have no control over and that ultimately, it’s just not going to change and you are going to be in a zoo forever.
While many other European monarchies have come and gone, or are far diminished in scale and importance, the British royal family has remained remarkably resilient.
Polls show the monarchy is supported by the majority of Britons, although that backing has slipped slightly since the death of Queen Elizabeth last September, and Charles does not enjoy quite the same overwhelming popularity of his mother.
But surveys also constantly indicate the young are less bothered about the institution than older generations, and as Elizabeth herself once said, while it was hard for them to gauge public opinion, partly because of deference, “read it we must”.