The British monarchy has been an anachronism for more than half a century, at the very least, and the British people themselves seesaw between complaining about it and fully embracing their kings and queens as part of a tradition that holds the fabric of their country together. The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as a stammering George VI, is an Oscar favorite this year, a fact that displays our own weirdly approving view of the Brits giving in to traditional royal emotion. Is this American approval in fact a sneaky way of making sure that Britain stays safely in the past? Would Britain be able to compete with us more vigorously without the weight of the crown? It’s impossible to answer that question at present if Britain never tries retiring the purple robe and scepter, and the movies have always done their best to discourage that possibility.