Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8th, 2022. Born on April 21, 1926, she was 96 years old at the time of her death. Her reign lasted 70 years, the longest of any British monarch. Prince Charles III will be crowned as the next King within the year. The history of the royal family is long and complicated; during the Queen’s reign, the British Empire collapsed.
Queen Elizabeth helped unify England and its territories and raised the monarchy’s approval rating to new heights. The royal family is foreign to many Americans, and although we’re very connected to England, the concept of “royalty” is strange. What makes these people so “special”? Aren’t they humans just like us? Why must people in the territories pay a royal tax? What good has the empire done for them?
The Royal family has immense wealth; it’s difficult to truly comprehend how powerful they are. Each palace is filled with riches stolen from the other continents. While England mourns the loss of their Queen, who mourns the loss of millions affected by the cruelty of the British Monarchy? The people of South Africa suffered through the abhorently racist apartheid that only ended 30 years ago. More tragedies include the suffering of the Maori in New Zealand, the Genocide of the Aborgines in Australia, the Kenyans killed fighting for their freedom, the millions of people killed in the Irish potato famine, the 10 million killed in the Indian famine, and the thousands sent to war in the name of the monarchy during the world wars. Who mourns for them?
The British Empire has plundered the world of resources so the royalty can have another gold chandelier. Children worked to death in mines so another diamond can be added to the crown. Millions have starved to death so Britain can have beans and toast. The legacy of the Royal family is the erasure of indigenous people across the globe. All that remains of many tribes are the stolen artifacts hanging in London’s museums.
During Elizabeth’s reign, the conflict between Ireland and Britain sparked. Although Ireland became independent in 1919, conflict arose yet again during the 1960’s and lasted through the 90’s. On January 30, 1972 the infamous Bloody Sunday incident in Derry Northern Ireland took place. 26 unarmed innocent civilians were shot and 14 slain by British troops. Who mourns for them? The division of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland continues to this day, and is rising due to Brexit tensions.
The legacy of Queen Elizabeth is that of grace and servitude to her country, but not in the eyes of those affected by the monarch. Where was the grace when brutal authority was weaponized on the innocent? Where was the grace as precious lands were ravaged? Where was the grace as mass human suffering endured?
It seems as though there is unease about the monarchy and the unitarian government among the younger generation. As mass media gives more insight into the royals, it exposes them more than ever. While Elizabeth’s body was being driven through Scotland on September 12th, 2022, multiple citizens were arrested for protesting the monarchy. Social media has put a spotlight on these tensions. Hashtags and posts against the monarchy have become quite popular online. Memes are all over these platforms laughing and poking at the monarchy.
These opinions in the United Kingdom do have real consequences. It’s evident that when it comes to the Royal family, there is no such thing as free speech. Peaceful protestors being arrested is typically only seen in authoritarian regimes. Importantly, one of the citizens arrested was yelling out at Prince Andrew. In videos circulating online, this individual can be heard calling Andrew a “sick old man”. As The New York Times reported Prince Andrew has been under investigation for his ties to the deceased human trafficker Jeffery Epstein. In January of 2022, Virgina Roberts Giuffre accused the prince of sexual assault. Giuffre was trafficked by the infamous Epstein. Due to his repulsive behavior Prince Andrew has been stripped of his royal duties, and is no longer allowed to wear a military uniform.
As England heads into this new era with Prince Charles III being crowned, and Liz Truss being appointed prime minister.It’s important to reflect on the legacy of the monarchy concerning the racism and erasure of ethnic and indigenous groups across the globe in the name of the King and Queen. The resources pillaged and the destabilization of the globe for the few called royalty to live a life of unimaginable luxury. As the propaganda machine churns and tells the masses how to feel about the Royal Family, a group of people “appointed by god”, research their legacy. Decide for yourself how to feel. As the world mourns the loss of a leader, who shall mourn the millions slaughtered in the name of the crown?