People often say that Brexit divided the nation – and it’s true enough. I don’t think Britain has ever been, in my lifetime at least, more divided than it is now. But there is another topic which has always divided Brits, and that’s the royal family. Now, the royal family isn’t like Marmite – you don’t either „love“ them or „hate“ them. The vast majority of British people feel about the royal family the way most grown-up people feel about their heads of state – a kind of bored indifference, almost apathy, mingled with a tiny bit of respect and the acceptance that you need a head of state, so the one you have now will probably have to do. They don’t want to abschaffen the monarchy, but that’s not because they think the Queen is particularly good at her job, or that the royals bring in an amazing amount of tourism – they just think changing all the coins and the stamps will be a bit of a faff and it’s probably not worth it.
But there are two very vocal minority groups in the UK – royalists and republicans. Royalists use their love of the Queen and all the hangers-on as a reason justifying the existence of the monarchy.
I LOVE THE QUEEN! They shout out in Facebook mummy groups or on YouTube comments things like: I LOVE THE ROYAL FAMILY, SORRY NOT SORRY! I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THEM! Or: I ADORE THE ROYAL FAMILY I ALWAYS HAVE WHAT A GREAT ASSET TO OUR NATION. Or even: I am sorry, but loving the Queen is part of being British. If you are British, you have to love the Queen. It’s part of our national identity.
Well, it’s a funny kind of love, isn’t it? You „love“ the royals, but it’s obvious you don’t like them much. The Queen is a little old lady, but she isn’t allowed to relax or retire at all. Instead she has to stand around in the pouring rain, greeting strangers and being miserable as fuck. Whenever I look at the Queen, this immense tiredness comes over me. That poor fucker. She just wants to sit down and have a cup of tea, but no, because the nation „loves“ her so much, she will have to stand in the rain and pretend to be happy that schoolchildren want to give her flowers until the day she dies. That’s the price she pays, for you loving her the way you do.
And what about Charles? I mean, Charles in interesting, because the fact that he isn’t very photogenic or charismatic means that all these people who are meant to be royalists – like they are meant to support the idea that a random collection of DNA should randomly represent our land and we should never get to choose who our head of state is ever – are constantly calling for him to abdicate so they don’t seem to be that royalist to me at all, but whatever. Your „love“ for Charles has meant that his entire life has been spent waiting for his mother to die. His life has been utterly, utterly meaningless and you can tell from the way he is constantly meddling in politics that he has been totally frustrated and humiliated by it. He would’ve loved to have become a local politician, possibly even an environmental campaigner. You have robbed his life of any meaning or agency whatsoever and you are now hoping he pops his clogs before his mother so you never get to see his big ears on the stamps, but apparently you „love“ him.
What about Kate? Walking down the aisle LIKE AN ACTUAL SKELETON, it was obvious the stress of not being able to change her mind and cancel her wedding had caused her to develop an eating disorder – she had no control over any other part of her life, but she could control what she put in her mouth, and like her mother-in-law, she does it beautifully – because you „love“ her. Forced into heels and make-up and wheeled out to the front of the hospital three minutes after giving birth so you could coo over how „together“ she looked compared to you – that’s a funny kind of love. There are people who didn’t let their own mother-in-laws visit them for a whole month after giving birth who still found that picture of Kate with the abiotic fluid literally scraped off and the make-up plastered on „cute“ and „inspiring“ – that’s how much you love her. Funny kind of love if you ask me.
What about Princess Diana? Her entire life was a total waste, her life was totally wasted because you guys wanted a fairy-tale wedding and a pretty princess and palace protocol demanded Charles marry a virgin. What about Prince Harry? How old was he when he was forced to walk behind that coffin? The royals are given no freedom, no privacy, no dignity. They cannot become Muslims or scientologists or punks. They can never vote. They will never really work. Okay, so they don’t have to pay rent and they get nice clothes – but they also are not really alive in any meaningful sense of the word, and it’s all because you „love“ them.
And you know, Meghan and Kate chose those lives and Harry, William, Charles, etc, their lives have already been totally fucked up and thrown away – but the kids. Think about the fucking kids. Stop cooing over those poor children. Grow the fuck up. Let those kids be kids. It fucking disgusts me that you would let those kids grow up in that weird sect, believing that their DNA makes them destined to rule over everyone, but that because of that, they don’t deserve the right to vote or believe in anything meaningful whatsoever, and that you encourage this weirdness under the name of love. I wouldn’t treat my worst enemies the way British royalists treat the royal family.
Worst enemies – which brings me back to the sizable minority of people, including myself, who officially „hate“ the royal family, because we think they should work for a living and we should have an elected head of state. I don’t really feel like I hate any of them, and I actually really like Meghan, Harry and Princess Anne (she looks like Simone de Beauvoir!) But yeah, I do hate seeing them on telly. I hate seeing Zara’s miscarriages on the evening news like as if they belong there. I hate seeing those wasted lives – you only need one head of state and we have sacrificed the lives of about twenty people just for fun – and I hate the idea that when poor, maybe disabled people don’t have jobs, they are scum, but when rich, able-bodied people don’t have jobs, it’s because they are such great people that they shouldn’t have to work. Ever. It does make me angry and I think in a country where cancer victims are getting their benefits cut and working-class people in full-time jobs are living in homeless shelters and eating at food banks, it should really make everyone angry too.
But the thing is this: royalists loving the royal family is not actually an argument for why we should keep them. It is actually the reason we need to abolish the whole system. Their love for the royal family is used to antagonize republicans – SORRY NOT SORRY LOL I LOVE THEM DID YOU SEE KATE’S NEW JACKET SHE IS AMAZING LOVE HER IF YOU DON’T LOVE HER THEN GET THE FUCK OUT – just as republicans‘ antipathy towards having an unelected head of state is seen as unpatriotic and disloyal. Republicans are made to feel non-British during royal weddings, royal births, and especially during royal deaths. Even the majority of indifferent Brits are made to feel slightly guilty for not caring more about these people who they do not know. It’s telling that when Brits discuss the monarchy, they always compare themselves with the USA, instead of with normal, grown-up countries like Germany or Ireland – countries which they are actually surrounded by.
Grown-up countries like Germany or Ireland have a president, who some people like, and some people dislike, but most people respect, and who nobody cares that much about. The royal family divides Britain, and the fact that you claim to „love“ them so much is actually the reason they need to get abgeschafft as soon as fucking possible – i.e. once the Queen dies.