Consequences after Queen’s departure

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Beyond the annoying obituaries and impending funerals, the death of the British monarch this week has ignited a more fascinating debate in states still constitutionally devoted to a justifiably outdated empire.
One may mostly brush off the shock and outrage over the death of a non-agenarian as exaggeration. It’s true that Elizabeth II wasn’t dying when she gave the traditional nod to her 15th prime minister earlier this week, and it might be a little harsh to say that supporting Liz Truss was the last straw.
The necessary institutions were well known to have long since been ready for the biological imperative, and they immediately into mourning mode as soon as word reached them that London Bridge was down, which was widely understood to be a sign of impending death. Actually, there was a heads-up: by the time Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen was in Balmoral in good health and comfortable, as many of us immediately surmised, she had likely already died away.
The fallout is well-documented, though it may have surprised some that Republican sentiments quickly emerged in several of the 14 countries that haven’t quite shaken off the effects of colonialism. The Republican prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand said that the time wasn’t right to discuss changing the constitution, but several Caribbean countries have indicated a desire to quickly follow Barbados’ lead. Barbados became a republic last year during a ceremony where King Charles III, who was still a Prince at the time, acknowledged “the appalling atrocity of slavery.”
There will be a cost that Britain is not quite ready to bear. That’s admirable, even if it didn’t acknowledge the money generated by the slave trade for a small number of British families, including his forebears, let alone the economic damage done to the colonies when slavery was abolished. Given that wealth was always transferred in a single direction, the so-called Commonwealth has always been somewhat of a farce. Even after the majority of the colonies chose independence, there was nothing “common” about it.
Elizabeth never had the title of empress because, by the time she inherited her father’s throne in 1952, the empire had already significantly shrunk. The African colonies, however, were still standing, and her majesty oversaw the savage suppression of the Kenyan uprising, the uprisings in Malaya and Oman, and the British involvement in the violence in Northern Ireland.
It’s simple to argue that none of this was the Queen’s fault. Her task was to only smile and nod while seeing and greeting notable visitors from near and far, including a number of tyrants, and not to reveal her emotions because “Her Majesty’s governments” were responsible for setting and implementing all policies, including foreign policy. Evidently, here is where her much commended commitment to her “work” and sense of duty comes in. She occasionally used humor, but it never crossed the line into the kind of racism or classism that her husband occasionally displayed. These moments of humor were always seized upon as proof of her attractiveness as a regular person.
Which, while fine, falls short of explaining her privilege, which is mostly the result of accident of birth. The monarchy is at the top of a hierarchical society in which capitalism replaced feudalism but also embraced it. The government’s resolve to submit to the established order has perhaps been surpassed by her (and now His) Majesty’s devoted resistance, and any who challenge it are being detained. Before cancel culture intervenes, free expression only extends as far as that.
Its staunchest defenders frequently forget, or simply are unaware, that Windsor Castle was not named for the ruling dynasty. It was more or less the opposite way around. The dynasty was known as the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1917. During World War I, a German plane known as the Gotha G.IV began attacking London, prompting the name change.
The German link, on the other hand, remained. Edward VIII, who succeeded George V, was forced to resign not just because of his obsession with an American divorcee, but also because both he and she were obsessed with a German dictator named Adolf Hitler. Images showing the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret performing the Nazi salute at the request of their uncle, with their mother proudly watching, surfaced a few years ago. It would be wrong to hold that against the late Queen, but it is worth mentioning that many of her husband’s relatives were barred from attending their wedding in 1947 due to their Nazi connections.
The pomp and ceremony on display in today’s society, leading up to next Monday’s burial, dwarfs whatever the remaining European monarchies might put on. Their ruling heads are also a travesty, but it may take Britain’s eventual exit from the royal zone to shake the continent’s obsession with crowned heads of state.