But the assertion that "[i]n their hearts, most people want a king and queen" is not itself Douthat's defense of monarchy. It's the starting point for Douthat to explain (1) why we seem to want monarchs, and (2) why this is not a totally bad thing. The actual defense is Douthat's too-brief description of how a mostly powerless monarchy can be a helpful check on a modern democratic government.
Anyway, without committing myself to a position on the question of monarchs in the abstract, I'd like to post one of Robert Jenson's descriptions of "the problem of the center":
The problem is the problem of the center, of what joins you and me to be a unit other than either of us, within which each of us has a function for the other. If we are centered merely by a system or ideal, our society will be qualitatively old, and will reduce us to functions, for systems and ideals cannot love. Therefore, societies have regularly sought a person, a being who can love as the center: the King, the Führer, the theios aner of a state cult. But those who love and therefore die, and do not rise again, fail at love -- so that all societies so centered are at last distorted by the frenzied attempts of their centering persons to be immortal.
-Robert Jenson, “Eschatological Politics and Political Eschatology.” Essays in Theology of Culture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. (26)