Last week, Al Jazeera published a scathing op-ed by a Canadian journalist named Andrew Mitrovica: “Britain’s monarchy is dying, and no PR can save it” Subheadline: “The world mostly ignored the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, a reminder of how little the royal family means.” It’s clear that the QEII death-anniversary broke something in Mr. Mitrovica, and now he’s ready to take the whole family down. It’s glorious – you can read the whole piece here. Some highlights:
Death of the monarchy: “By now, the British monarchy ought to have been put into hospice care. It would, at the least, be a merciful end to a spent, vacuous institution that has revealed itself to be a dying artefact of a merciless, imperialist past that should be buried – once and for all. Despite the determined efforts of “royal” historians and “journalists” who embarrass themselves and the profession they purport to serve, the long, inevitable decay-into-irrelevant farce of King Charles III and trifling company was made plain, yet again, on the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death last week.
QEII’s legacy: At the time, an army of sentimentalists assured us that Elizabeth’s quiet grace and singular longevity had left a profound, indelible mark throughout a Commonwealth paralysed by grief at the sad departure of the only queen most had ever known. Turns out, Elizabeth’s decade after decade after decade tenure as monarch was as ephemeral as a gust of wind and, truth be told, much less serious than the results of that weekend’s Premier League fixtures. Sure, there were the familiar TV-friendly rituals confirming that Elizabeth had, in fact, been remembered. But they seemed tired and performative.
The “we miss you” tributes to QEII: At the risk of inviting a torrent of insults aimed at my blind, heartless self, I am at a loss to understand who constitutes this imaginary “we” that “all miss” the ridiculously rich, pampered-for-life queen? I don’t. Honestly, do you?… Elizabeth devoted her comfortable life to travelling first-class, shielding her family’s vast wealth from the taxman, managing her family’s pristine, sprawling estates, being feted at lavish state dinners by virtue of luck and primogeniture, caring for her dear dogs and horses, and burnishing the mirage that the British monarchy remains an exemplar of constancy, charity and benevolence.
King Charles’s assignment is not to rock the gilded boat: “He really has set a very neutral course. I think many people were expecting a lot of reform, a lot of change, in the way that he had advocated for as Prince of Wales,” one starry-eyed royal commentator told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “But I think really keeping things balanced has become his hallmark, keeping things uncontroversial and keeping the institution stable.” The trouble is, the boat is rusting and listing – badly. Charles’s ascendency to the throne has inspired scant, if any, enthusiasm. Support for the let’s-play-dress-up-on-a-balcony pantomime, already slipping under Elizabeth’s dynasty, has continued its precipitous fall.
The modern monarchy: Charles is the head of a pedestrian, dysfunctional family that seethes with petty grievances, jealousies and contempt. The House of Windsor’s supposed devotion to “service” is a fig leaf meant to disguise just how inconsequential and disconnected “The Firm” is from the taxing, day-to-day lives of most Brits.
Harry’s visit to his grandmother’s crypt: The simmering hostilities between Harry and his older, more obedient brother, William, erupted after the exiled-to-California prince visited, unannounced, his grandmother’s grave at Windsor Castle to offer his respects. This is how one astonished “royalist” correspondent described Harry’s unforgivable faux pas: “Prince Harry dramatically upped the ante in his war with the royal family Friday as he upstaged his estranged brother Prince William by making a shock visit to his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s grave on the first anniversary of her death.”
[From Al Jazeera]
He then compliments Barbados for starting the process to dump the monarchy, and he says he wishes that Canada would do the same. So do I! I think Australia might dump the monarchy before Canada – Canada is simply too polite, they’ll let other countries go first. Seriously though, I hope we see more of this. I have to say, what struck me most about the death-anniversary is how there really wasn’t that much to it. It was clear that the British media wanted some grand anniversary party, but Charles mostly just kept it quiet, went to church, didn’t commission any big “thinking about my mom” pieces. William and Kate were off, making asses out of themselves in Wales (over an hour late). Maybe a year later, it’s really landed on Charles that his mom’s gone and he’ll never be as popular as her and without her, he and his wife and his heir are deeply unpopular and uncharismatic. Is Charles that self-aware?
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.
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