Queen Elizabeth II of England is pictured in 2016. Reuters

In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's health problems over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the queen's role as the Head of the Commonwealth has been the topic of much debate. If she dies, who will the crown be passed to? And would it even serve the country to continue the constitutional monarchy?

Some Brits have spent months opposing the constitutional monarchy and calling for an elected head of state. In fact, this past April — before the queen fell ill — the British group Republic called for a referendum on the abolishment of the monarchy upon her death.

Here's what you need to know about the current setup:

A constitutional monarchy is where the ruling royal acts as the official head of state but shares the power with a “constitutionally organized government,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Today, the ruling sovereign is responsible for a number of duties but “no longer has a political or executive role,” according to the royal website. The monarch does, however, still oversee both “constitutional and representational duties,” which include opening Parliament sessions, approving orders through the Privy Council and meeting with the prime minister, among others.

However, when it comes to politics, the queen is not able to stand for election or properly vote. She also has duties that are specific to Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

As a proclaimed head of nation, the ruling monarch is said to exist as a symbolic figurehead that “gives a sense of stability” to the country. Parliament passes legislation, and the prime minister is the official head of government.

So what need is there for a constitutional monarchy in England today?

The argument regarding the need, or desire, for a constitutional monarchy goes both ways. Some have argued, especially in the case of the British monarchy, that the royals serve only to fulfill a nostalgia for Britain’s history and that they draw tourism. Others have said that supporting a constitutional monarchy in Britain only serves to cast the country in a classist, antiquated light, a sentiment echoed in an Economist opinion piece from 2015.

"Opinion polls and healthy sales of commemorative junk suggest that Britons and foreigners alike love the Windsors," the piece read, referring to the royal family by name. "But the royals may not be entirely good for the country's image abroad, or its view of itself. Britain still has a reputation as a snooty, class-obsessed place."

The piece also argued that the concept of inheriting the crown purely based on heredity and bloodline was "incompatible with democracy and meritocracy."

However, as staunch supporters argue, the royal family (and the subsequent purchasing of what the Economist called "commemorative junk") is good for tourism as well as the Crown Estate, an Atlantic piece pointed out.

For example, more than 2 billion people around the world watched the royal wedding between Prince William, now the duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, now the duchess of Cambridge, the Telegraph reported at the time of the 2011 nuptials. The U.K. economy saw an estimated £2 billion (or more than $2 billion) boost thanks to the tourism surrounding the event, according to the Guardian.