The legacy of the monarchy is one that is intrinsically tied with the violence that was meted out in the last couple of centuries to maintain it.
Now, I’ll be honest with you. This Harry and Meghan brouhaha, which some are referring to as #Megxit, has all the makings of a fabulous epic that would put any romance writer or AO3 aficionado at the edge of their seat. You have a rebellious prince. You have a love story at the center of it it all (a la the woman he loves and the child he adores). You have them both sticking it to racists who are still cosplaying Victorians. And then you have them throwing up an even bigger middle finger at toxic family. It makes me fairly curious. And makes me want to cheer for them as underdogs.
Except the problem with that is that they are definitely not underdogs.
While it’s been hilarious seeing what kind of jokes people are getting off about Harry and Meghan as they pull off their big, royal escape, the framing of such jokes have been a bit concerning. From passive references to Meghan as “Harriet Tubman”, to others hailing the couple’s move to divest from the crown as “revolutionary”, I figure it’s time to have another conversation about monarchy and colonial systems. Mainly because both Harry and Meghan don’t even plan on fully divesting from the crown, have previously benefited (at least economically) by being associated with the crown, and, at most, will become wealthy celebrities and socialites—and not the physical manifestations of Assata Shakur and John Brown like some people were hoping for. And that is precisely why all of this deserves to be tossed into the sun. To be clear, I am of this mindset for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that the British Monarchy is clearly going out of style, both for economic reasons and sociopolitical reasons.
As Suzanne Moore of The Guardian puts it, it is fairly odd that in 2020, “an accident of birth determines the head of state and church – and the public then has to fund this genetic lottery”. I’d wager that the denizens of Britain are probably curious about why they’re supposed to continue to uphold this charade as other citizens of the world slowly get rid of their own monarchies and join the 21st century. Not just that, but the British Monarchy obviously carries with it the repugnant stench of colonialism and imperialism (I mean, they literally gave birth to the cesspool that is America). Like sure, the glitz and glamour of having kings, queens, princes, and what not walking around may be appealing to some, but the legacy of the crown is one that is intrinsically tied with the violence that was meted out in the last couple of centuries to maintain it.
Evidence of this legacy is made clear when you think of all the countries that The UK still “rules” over as a part of their commonwealth (and the remnants of their massive colonial empire), like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. It would make sense for “this empire” to turn these countries loose and let them do their own thing as independent countries…while preferably returning all money, artifacts, and land that they took from these countries to maintain said empire.
The second reason is that the oppressive forces operating both within the royal family and around the royal family need to be dealt with, you guessed it, expeditiously.
I empathize with Harry’s quest to get as far away as possible from what I wager is the oppressive nature that comes with being a member of the royal family. After all, they too are an offshoot of a colonial structure and have all their steps ordered by colonialist “tradition”. I imagine it’s suffocating to someone hoping to do more with their power and platform, rather than being chained to Frogmore Cottage. And of course, you can’t forget the racism and misogyny is had to witness currently by proxy of his wife, Meghan and previously by way of his mother, the late Diana. The type of isms that form the underbelly of UK public opinion always seem to found their mouthpiece in the relentless British press and it is this kind of obsession and harassment that led to Diana’s death. So, it makes sense that Harry would put ten toes down to the ground and be like “Uh, I think the FUCK not”.
But the type of nefarious forces that swirl around the royal family don’t even stop there, either. In the last couple of years, the Royal Family has had to deal with mounting controversy and criticism as a result of Prince Andrew’s very close friendship with convicted sex offender and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Like, you think that all this dirt the press has been throwing on Meghan’s name has to do with Prince William allegedly not being able to keep it in his pants, but I’d bet my left tiddy that the preoccupation with Meghan definitely has something to do with wanting to cover up Andrew’s—and by extension The Crown—connections to the clearly fucking evil Epstein. Who, by the way, goes all the way back with Andrew to the early 1990s—about the same time frame several survivors allege experiencing abuse and sexual assault from the late demon.
What’s the point of bringing this up? Well, power is an eternal corrupting force. And as long as there’s a whole fucking monarchy potentially backing up disgusting people like Epstein and Prince Andrew and their alleged involvement in sex trafficking, this kind of shit is bound to continue because they will continue to have the power to simultaneously carry this shit out while silencing anyone and everyone who would seek to come forward and expose them.
And if that’s not a good reason to abolish an already declining “institution”, I don’t know what is.