Editorial | The monarchy should go


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Wax figures of the British Royal Family at Madame Tussauds in London.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in the United Kingdom’s history, passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday afternoon. The queen lived through many historic moments in the United Kingdom’s history, from World War II to the election of Boris Johnson. However, one fact remained the same throughout her tenure — the monarchy is an imperialist and racist institution and shouldn’t exist.

Along with its colonial past and present, the monarchy is rife with scandals, from the racist treatment of Meghan Markle to Prince Andrew’s involvement with Jeffrey Epstein. The death of the queen is the perfect opportunity to dismantle the monarchy and all that it stands for. 

While the monarchy has more of a symbolic role in the United Kingdom’s politics now, the historic legacy of imperialism and colonialism that it represents is a slap in the face to the former and present colonies of the United Kingdom. Barbados, a former colony of the United Kingdom, cut ties with the monarchy this year and replaced Queen Elizabeth as the head of state nearly 40 years after Barbados became its own republic. Barbados has a long and bloody history with Britain that has affected the Caribbean country to this day — and it is not the only one. Many countries throughout the world that were former colonies of England still have ties to the monarchy because the United Kingdom wants to hold on to its former power, and the monarchy is one way to do this.

The United Kingdom should not hold onto this legacy. It should end the monarchy and pay reparations to the countries that it harmed during its colonial history. Britain’s government can govern effectively without the symbolic head of the king or queen, and it is a slap in the face to these former colonies to continue to uphold the imperialistic monarchy that has left an indelible mark on their histories.

The monarchy is also filled with scandals, treating many people who try to get into the inner circle poorly. Princess Diana and Meghan Markle, two women who married into the royal family and tried to use their status to do good in the world, were treated terribly by the monarchy, with Diana being publicly cheated on and disrespected by Prince Charles and Meghan Markle essentially being pushed out of the family because she is Black. 

Prince Andrew’s involvement with Jeffrey Epstein and the sex scandal shows how the power of the monarchy can cloak a scandal this large. Prince Andrew was one of the many public figures involved in the scandal, and because of his status as a royal he was able to get off almost scot-free, just getting his military titles revoked and settling out of court with one of the victims involved. The monarchy should not have protected him — he should be prosecuted just like anyone else involved in this kind of situation.

The monarchy and what it represents should end with the queen — a system that perpetuates colonialism, imperialism, racism and which protects sexual abusers is not one to be celebrated, or one that should represent the United Kingdom.