… by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, upon the occasion of her passing, last… Thursday… I think… September… something something…
I could care less. A very old rich lady died. Condolences to the family. R.I.P. V.I.P. In quacumque pace merearis.
Now, can we get on with the 21st-century?
I guess such sentiment makes me an anti-royalist for whatever that’s worth, but it gives the label too much credence. For me, the British monarchy has always been absolutely meaningless. An abstract concept with deep historical roots, the manifestation of which is nothing more than a face on our analogue currency and words to a song I would otherwise never have known. You say ‘God Save the Queen’ and the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘The fascist regime!’
That’s as far as it goes. No soft spot. No, But they’re just figureheads, Head of State in purely ceremonial fashion. Again. Whatever. Don’t care. Time to move on. If not now, when?
Tradition! you say. A sense of continuity! you proclaim. britishrhubarbbritishrhubardbritishrhubarb!!
Tradition of and a continuity to what?
These are important questions to ask right now, and I regard as suspicious anyone tut-tutting, declaring it to be highly inappropriate in raising such concerns with the ex-Queen still on route to her final resting place.
How does maintaining a progenitorial head of state (even if only symbolic) with a heavy leaning toward male heirs reflect the values of a liberal democracy? Meritocracy. Equity and equality. Opportunity for all regardless of race, colour, religion, ethnicity, gender. Itself at times something of a mythology, I know, but a goal worthier than the Royal We, the very model of a modern hierarchy.
Not to mention that a country, a former colony, as diverse as Canada with a good portion of its population bearing either no connection to the British monarchy or one of negative connotations, subjugation, exploitation, expropriation and, in some cases, outright genocidal intentions. That’s part of their tradition. Why would we want to continue celebrating that? You don’t get to inherit the title without the baggage. That was then and this now, we apologized, so let’s just move on, shall we? doesn’t cut it.
I guess if it were all just pomp and circumstance, the Royal Family little more than the first ever celebrity reality show with the appearance in the 80s of Lady Di, you might shrug, whatever, have at it. But the House of Windsor is much more than a family of well-paid buskers. It’s a corporation, a major corporation with a very exclusive, well-compensated board of directors. The late Queen often touted as the richest woman in the world. Her heir, the new King, reportedly a billionaire. A position no one else outside of the family is entitled to, the emphasis on ‘entitled’.
Does this not make you seethe with class rage? Why do we as Canadians still want to be associated with this in any fashion? Why do we still need Royal Assent, regardless of how pro forma, to official enact any piece legislation? And Because, That’s how it’s done! is not an adequate response. It’s as lazily perfunctory as God Save the King!
I say, let’s inter the whole ‘monarchy’ piece of our constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II and declare ourselves no longer loyal subjects of the realm. In practice, we’re not. It’s been a long time since we were. Let’s stop pretending simply for the sake of appearance and tradition. The downside is non-existent and we might have much to gain in rethinking our system of governance.