what I'd love to hear from those willing here are opinions on the current monarchy and the peerage/hereditary privilege systems that are in place. Do you find this affects the average citizen? Many people in the US have a notion that British society is very stratified and that there is little mixing between "levels," but with the majority being "regular" people, does this really make a huge difference? Or is this an outdated notion? OUR press made a huge deal of the new duchess being a "commoner," was it as big of a deal on your end?
I'd agree with PPs that the aristocracy as a class is pretty well irrelevant - movement between classes has always been fairly fluid, but generally movement of one class at a time (e.g. if you look at the Industrial Revolution, you see wealthy factory owners' daughters marrying aristocrats, same again in the 1920s.
I would say that in terms of who people tend to know/ socialise with, money is a bigger division - the rich tend to gather together regardless of whether they have titles.
If you attend university at Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews or Bristol you're more likely to have encountered people from that class, and the same if you attend certain fee-paying schools. If you happen to know them, they're just people.
The press made a big deal of Kate being a commoner but I don;t think that most real people cared (if it matters, it's a bit of 'spin' anyway - they focussed on her mother's family, which isn't aristocratic - on her father's side she's apparently descended from Henry VIII!)
Among normal people, there is some stratification between working class and middle class, but it is very flexible -I would say most people, whether they identify as working class or as middle class would have friends and colleagues of both classes, and people may well identify as different classes in different situations or at different times in their lives.
So far as the monarchy generally is concerned, I think that there is a small but very vocal minority of people who are very Royalist, a slightly larger and slightly less vocal minority who are strongly r*publican (I heard a recent new items identifying that group as around 18% of people in the UK) and a lot of people who don't have any real interest in the royals but are happy for them to continue as heads of state and to do all that foundation-stone laying, and hand-shaking.
As an illustration, I haven't heard a single one of my coworkers or clients mention the new baby - most are simply not that interested. The most mention I saw of it on my facebook and twitter feeds were people praising the Guardian newspaper's '*******' button (which allowed you to remove all the royal baby nonsense from the screen when reading the online version of the paper)
I recall a few years back the Queen visited my (then) home town - none of us other than my dad (who was specifically asked to go to form part of the band ringing the cathedral bells to celebrate her visit) went, or wanted to go into to to see her, and I when she & Prince Philip visited my brother's place of work recently he didn't consider it interesting enough to bother mentioning it , and said that of the staff who weren't actively being introduced to her, most just grumbled about the extra security, so I don;t think we're unusual in being basically not very interested. I think there are a lot of people who see them as a waste of money and would like to see the monarchy slimmed down, so that fewer members get subsidised by the state, and they all pay their fair share of tax.
I think that RingtailedLemur is right in that financial division, and the return to a government full of people who are from the very wealthy sections of society is a much more serious issue, and one which people generally are far more concerned about.