I have always loved the royal family.
I'm not sure exactly why. Was it the fairy tale aspect? The dream of somehow getting scooped up and becoming a princess? Some misplaced nostalgia for a glamorously powerful past that never really existed?
I remember my mom telling me that she felt connected to Diana, being pregnant with my sister and I at the same time as she was pregnant with William and Harry. This made me feel connected with them as well. Harry and I were basically siblings, right?
I watched William and Harry's weddings and cried. When William and Kate came to Vancouver, I lined up to shake their hands. I have argued many times for keeping Canada under the rule of the Queen and even that we should return to an empowered monarchy. (That was partially a joke. But only partially.)
As I got started to really learn about decolonization and anti-racism, I my affection for them transformed slightly. They became, I suppose, my problematic faves. I knew they were figureheads of one of the worst parts of human history but... I liked them.
And then everything that happened with Meghan happened and I realized just how toxic this family really is. Turns out, the dream of becoming a princess is actually a nightmare.
And then Prince Phillip died.
Not only did I come across some of the incredibly racist things he has said throughout his life--casual and cruel humour that went entirely unchecked--but I learned that India and the African colonies became independent during Elizabeth's life.
She's not just the inheritor of a terrible legacy. She is the legacy.
I know these realizations are coming so, so late. Especially considering all the other work I've done on anti-racism up until now. I should have more deeply interrogated my affection for the royal family a long time ago. I guess it seemed harmless and comforting.
But the fact is that, sure, Elizabeth can't help having been born into that family. And maybe she even wanted to give those colonies their independence because she didn't like colonialism. But as far as I can tell she's never taken any responsibility for it. She's never apologized*. She's never sent reparations. She has clung to traditional roles and structures, sometimes above basic compassion. She is literally the boss of her family and couldn't make it safe for a Black woman to marry into.
I mean, how is Prince Harry, the one who wore a Nazi costume and had to apologize for using a racial slur the most progressive among them???
I think my love for them has died.
To be clear: I am not mourning the loss. I just figure I should be pretty public about my VERY BELATED acceptance of the terribleness of this family, given how public I have been about my appreciation for them in the past.
*I looked it up. She apologized once to a Maori tribe in New Zealand (on behalf of Queen Victoria). Prince Charles issued an apology in 2018 for the transatlantic slave trade. So... these two apologies make up for it??? Nothing further needed, right?
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