Note: Yes, this is yet another one of my old-as-hell posts, but considering that #NotMyKing, #KingCharlestheCruel, #RacistRoyalFamily, and Meghan and Harry are trending on Twitter nearly every day—not to mention that the Harry and Meghan documentary is number seven on Netflix at the moment—I believe this subject is still relevant.
On Sept. 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. Her funeral was held on Sept. 19, and Great Britain continued to mourn her seven days after the event. Many businesses and events temporarily closed during her period of mourning, and nearly every Brit was the impacted by her death…however, some British citizens and/or people of color were affected differently than others.
When I was a child, I was in love with the Royal Family. I thought it was so cool that England still had a queen, princes, and princesses. All we had over here were presidents (boring!). But man, oh man…my innocence had me believe the story of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was a fairy tale come to life, and the cherry on top was that they got married weeks after I was born (the wedding took place on July 29, 1981, when I was only 26 days old). I spent the better half of my elementary school years reading age-appropriate biographies about Di, Charles, and Queen Elizabeth.
As I grew older, the facade of the Royal Family being a real-life Cinderella story faded. I was only 10 yrs. old when Diana and Charles split, but I was pissed, and even more so when I learned about the hardships Princess Di had to endure while she was part of the Royal Family. When I learned Charles was messin’ around on Diana with none other than Camilla Parker Bowles, I couldn’t believe it…until I later learned that Charles was always in love with Camilla. It was the queen who once forbade them from being together seeing as Camilla was a “commoner.”
As I entered my teenage years and soon after, adulthood, I no longer viewed the royals with Disney-colored glasses. Despite that, I was still interested in them. I’ll chalk that up to the fact that I’ve always loved all things English…except the food. Queen Elizabeth was a British figure that always intrigued me, seeing as she was the head monarch of the country.
When I was a little girl, I thought it was so cool that a woman was the ruler of all of England. Then, when I was in seventh grade, I learned that the Royal Family were a bunch of figureheads with no real power. I recall nearly falling out of my desk when my history teacher told us that. Like I said before, my fading romanticism of the monarchy still didn’t stop me from being captivated by it. I still read articles about the Royal Family, watched documentaries and news stories, etc. I remember being in awe when the Queen had her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and even more so when she had her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, making her the longest reigning monarch in England. At one point in time, I remembered thinking to myself how weird it would be if something happened to the Queen. After all, she’d been in that position my entire life (including anyone else under the age of 70).
Then on Sept. 8th, that fateful day came. When it first announced that doctors were looking after the queen because “they were concerned for her health,” I figured she’d make it through okay, just as she did her bout with COVID. However, she passed on. Although the queen was a mere four years shy of living for an entire century, I was floored. I never like to hear that a person’s life has ended. Most of the UK came together to post tributes and relay their heavy hearts…but Black Twitter and Irish Twitter came together like Voltron and celebrated.
Some Brits were outraged by these tweets, and although I could never celebrate another person’s death, I get it. Like Trevor said in his clip from The Daily Show, “You can’t expect people to show respect for something that never respected them.”
There’s a reason why some people feel no ways regarding the queen’s passing. The British Empire had colonies on every continent in the world, and those colonies ruled the people residing in them for centuries. There’s a few of them that gained independence as recently as the twentieth century. As a matter of fact, Australia broke ties with the UK in 1986, not even 40 yrs. from the present day. Basically, Australia’s independent republic is the same age as Anderson .Paak, and became official the same year I was enjoying my second semester as a pre-schooler. Let that marinate.
During the British’s reign over these various countries, many atrocities against indigenous and/or non-supporters of the empire were committed, some of which included robbing the people of their land, wasting precious resources, and of course, violent deaths. Many of the countries previously colonialized by Great Britain are still feeling the effects of it to this very day.
If you’re wondering why the Irish were so elated, tensions have been high between the Irish and the British for centuries. One example of Irish/British conflict is the fact that the English exacerbated Ireland’s potato famine in the 1800s. Another example would have the British people’s involvement in Bloody Sunday, an incident from Jan. 30, 1972, where British troops opened fire on unarmed Irish protesters.
Some Indian and Middle Eastern people weren’t too torn up over the Queen’s passing either. As I watched part of the queen’s final trip through London live on YouTube, I noticed a message constantly appearing in the live chat that read, “GIVE US BACK KOHINOOR.” I thought to myself, “What is Kohinoor?” When I looked it up, I learned that Kohinoor is a ginormous diamond that once belonged to India (other countries, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, are disputing that this is not true), but the Brits managed to bamboozle it from the then 11 yr. old Maharajah Duleep Singh in 1849. The diamond has been part of the queen’s crown jewels ever since. SMH. I remember someone in the live chat declaring, “Y’all ain’t gettin’ that diamond back.” Sadly, I have to agree with that guy.
Then there’s the current controversies going on with the monarchy. When Meghan Markle married into the family four years ago, I knew she had a hard road to hold, but at the same time, I figured the royals would have her back, seeing how much Harry loved her. Fast forward a short time later, Meghan was mercilessly put down by the media as well as the British people, with hardly any support from the Royal Family. Many have claimed that certain members of the monarchy were feeding malicious stories about Meghan to the press, but I wasn’t able to locate anything concrete in my research. To this very day, folks find a reason to put her down. During the funeral, she was blasted for holding Harry’s hand during the service, although other Caucasian members of the family were doing same thing with their own spouses and facing no scrutiny.
Then there’s the issue with Prince Andrew. The eighth in line to the throne (he might as well not even dream about “ruling”) was chummy with known sex-traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislane Maxwell. Not only that, but Andrew’s also been accused of having sex with minors. A former aide of Andrew’s even claimed that he once uttered the N-word. Wow…
After everything went hit the fan with the sexual abuse allegations (the world continued to turn after the N-word claim, however), Andrew was stripped of his His Royal Highness (HRH) title as well as his military decorations…but that was it. He still has yet to be tried for any of his crimes. Not only that, but his presence during the queen’s funeral was not unnoticed, and it pissed off a lot of people.
After all is said and done, the British monarchy continues to have contention. Not too long after the queen passed and Charles was declared King of England, there was an instance where a black man attended an event to meet the new ruler…and Charles refused to shake the man’s hand. If you watch the video below, you’ll see that it’s doubtful that Charles overlooked the man. There’s even been an incident where some women refused to shake Meghan’s hand. Lord…
But how complicit was the queen regarding these atrocities? Some of these issues occurred long before Queen Elizabeth began her reign. Also, as I mentioned before, she was merely a figurehead and had no real political power. However, she may have had some influence over politicians. She kept in close contact with the prime ministers, and I learned a few years back that each morning, she received a brief that detailed matters regarding the country. Was she aware of the nefarious things Great Britian was doing and had some say so in those things, or did she have the pleasure of reading a whitewashed (no pun intended) memo of all the wonderful stuff happening around merry old England?
This article isn’t a tribute to the queen. Although I was sorry to hear of her passing, doing a tribute would be slap in the face to all the people that suffered from British tyranny and prejudice. So I ask…what were your thoughts on the queen’s passing? Were you saddened because someone lost their life and her loved ones now have to go on without her, or were you elated because of what she and her family represented? Or did you just not give a damn, seeing as neither Queen Elizabeth nor the Royal Family pay your mortgage or put food on your table? Give me your thoughts! Peace!
—Written by Nadiya