Defenders of a colonialist, white supremacist, feudalist institution should take a long, hard look in the mirror.
A culture war has broken out across the airwaves and the papers, once again pitting generation against generation, with the focal point this time being that old relic, the British Monarchy, an institution that still commands higher approval ratings and public support than any politician in this country could possibly dream of having.
As we debate whether the royal family is “racist” or not on GMB, I feel it needs to be said: who in God’s name thought they weren’t? How can anyone with even remotely progressive instincts think for a second this institution isn't anything other than a plundering, parasitic, feudal relic that’s holding back our maturity into something resembling a semi-functioning liberal democracy.
People’s aversion to Meghan and Harry, and dismissal of hideous mental health and racism allegations, not to mention expose of the realities of living within that most dysfunctional of family mafias from a man who knows more about it than most, comes from deep psychological conditioning in this country from birth. Meghan has undergone a thorough character assassination to discredit her or anything she says, steeped in racism (see headlines about a gangster princess in the tabloids and try and defend that), and younger generations capable of seeing through the draconian social values of old England know it.
Talk of mental health has exposed the most toxic elements of the British social attitude; that stoicism that has served as a poison, trampling on individuality and expression of emotion. People don’t like the idea of a young couple speaking out about these things, because it reveals far more than they’d like about the realities of the institution they so revere. At its core, the adverse reaction by many Brits to the Meghan and Harry affair is the fact it reveals harsh truths about the core of the Monarchy and how its run which offend the national myth, which we are all conditioned to wed ourselves to.
But the long hidden truths about the Royals go far beyond Meghan and Harry; an affair essentially comprised of two sections of the elite (the socially progressive and socially traditional going head to head), which helps us little in building a better world, other than exposing how repugnant much of the British elite really are, and how hostile the media is to even slight criticism of our most despicable of institutions. There is so, so much more to go at here, Meghan and Harry isn't even the tip of an iceberg; the reason I believe the couple is this family has form.
Let’s start off with the apparent and the obvious; Prince Andrew has been shielded; a man alleged to have raped a minor has been protected by the Queen and kept from facing the standard questioning and procedures that would expose him to the due process we’d expect in any similar situation. A simple call for due process is seen as an attack and a man who was close with a notorious paedophile walks the halls of British aristocracy without a care. Doesn’t that tell you enough about their priorities? A young woman of colour and the how much melanin might be in her baby’s skin is more of a threat than credibly alleged child abuse.
The royal family sit among riches plundered from every possible corner of the earth; resources and jewels they never should have owned, taken by force and brutality, and paraded around to this day. This is a legacy of colonialism and conquest we still haven’t reckoned with or paid for as a country; and people’s hostile reaction to such an assertion tells us just how deep in the fairy-tale of Empire we are, and just how far we have to go before we recognise our own history, when people correcting the record and exposing the myth are accused of “destroying our history”, translated as “ruining the nice story we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night”.
The comments about Meghan’s child’s skin colour reveal something we’ve known about for God knows how long about the psyche of this family, something I thought was apparent at a glace, but since it seems not, let’s unpack it. These people view the threat of diversity or darker skin as inherently unclean, as tainting their shallow as a puddle genepool with non-white heritage. Just writing that makes me feel sick, because these sort of beliefs are widely understood as abhorrent and long gone; but they aren’t, they’re stuck in the mindset of our heads of state, how could they not be when the monarchy is what it is?
How can we be so subservient we allow ourselves to be subjects and not citizens? How can we really allow an unelected hereditary family hostile to change or progress to have influence over the political process and to make our elected politicians kiss the ring before taking office “at the Queen’s pleasure”. Symbolic or not, people in France got the idea in the bloody 1700s, and now in 2021 we still haven’t caught on to how despicable the concept is, and how hostile to the very notion of democracy it really is.
Why isn’t Republicanism in the map as a political force (let alone a viable one) in this country? Unlike most of our western counterparts, we still haven’t let go of the imperialist myths of a bygone era, and until we do we will remain a nation stooped in class warfare on the poor by the rich, riddled with racism, and at heart cruel and individualistic. We have better angels, but we haven’t yet reached for them, at any point in our history.
The myth of a morally good Britain is just that, a toxic myth to hide the scariest of truths and to avoid looking in the mirror. The longer we put it off, the worse it gets, and the more painful it’ll be in the end, and the longer the healing process will take. Step by step, we’re beginning the long, long conversation, but until across generations we’re willing to open the can of worms and reassess where we came from, we’ll never truly understand where we’re going, and that idea of a “good” Britain, will never, ever come to fruition.
Our political class and our citizens are opposed to a reckoning with the monarchy or the wizened institutions it goes hand in hand with; until we and they are, we’ll never be a normal country.