Battle Royal


What is the future of the monarchy in Canada?

A strong republican movement in Canada stresses that the monarchy is archaic and anti-democratic, an embarrassing vestige of our colonial past. An equally vibrant monarchist movement, however, defends its loyalty to royalty, asserting that the Queen is a living link to a political and constitutional tradition dating back over a thousand years. But is the monarchy worth keeping?

Battle Royal answers this question and many more: What does the Queen really do? What are the powers of the governor general? Has the Crown strengthened or weakened Canadian democracy? If we abolish the monarchy, what do we replace it with? And will we have to re-open the constitution?

Charles will soon become King of Canada, but a Canada highly ambivalent to his reign. This presents the representatives of the Crown with the opportunity to build a better monarchy in both Britain and Canada, one relevant to the twenty-first century.


Battle Royal is the most up-to-date and thorough account of the issues involved in considering the merits of converting Canada from a constitutional monarchy under a British sovereign to a Canadian republic. Although Johnson describes himself as a pragmatic monarchist, his book provides a balanced appraisal of each side’s case. He also sets out a forward-looking agenda for the strong likelihood that Prince Charles will become Canada’s head of state in the near future. Johnson’s book is a must read for Canadians who are interested in the monarchy vs republic debate.

Peter Russell, author of Canada’s Odyssey

Offers an engaging review of the republican versus monarchist debate in a way that helps us understand our journey from colony to independent nation. He details the republican arguments effectively while making a convincing case for retaining the monarchy now and into the future.

Andrew Heard, Professor of Political Science, Simon Fraser University

Battle Royal is thoughtful and smartly written, and so unvarnished in its treatment of Canada’s head of state it could never have been published in 1952.

Blacklock’s Reporter

Johnson examines the power and influence — or lack thereof — the monarchy retains in Canada.

Quill & Quire

The book is so useful precisely because it looks at all sides and…his polemic is rarely prescriptive. It does what historians and political scientists do best: it sets the scene and lets us determine for ourselves what we think about the issue

Literary Review of Canada

An interesting look at the monarchist vs. republican debate in Canada and the future of the Canadian Crown.

The Maple Monarchists

About the Author

David Johnson

Posted by Dundurn Guest on March 21, 2017
David Johnson photo

David Johnson

David Johnson, a professor of political science at Cape Breton University, has studied and taught Canadian politics, government, and the constitution for over thirty years. His columns appear regularly in the Cape Breton Post. He lives in Sydney, Nova Scotia.