We are witnessing the great unraveling of the house of Windsor and It’s impossible to see the monarchy lasting beyond the next generation.
When the current reigning monarch of the United Kingdom — Queen Elizabeth — ascended to the throne, formally in 1953, more than half of the people polled believed that she was ordained by God. Back then,Winston Churchill was Premier, the British empire was on its last legs; India had been granted independence and partitioned — East and West Pakistan had been carved out from within and homosexuality and abortion were still illegal and the race relations act was very much an abstraction.
In the intervening years, Britain went from being the main economy in Europe, to one that became a place, where electricity ran for only three days a week(early 70s) one whose economy became so sclerotic, that it was forced to take a loan from the IMF in 1976 and not forgetting how perilously close it came to a military overthrow, when Harold Wilson was first lord of the treasury from 1974–76.
We also can’t ignore the extraordinary turn around in Britain’s economic fortunes, when the grocer’s daughter was elected first woman prime minister in 1979, the raft of measures undertaken, which propelled to the city of London, to being the biggest financial center in Europe. Around this time, there was the collapse of Soviet Russia, the end of apartheid and the emergence of a new world order.
Through the tumultuous events of the late twentieth century, her majesty was a constant, reassuring presence in a world, which seemed to have lost its mind. But despite its famed ability to reinvent itself, through great political and social upheavals, the monarchy has run completely run out of steam and is increasingly out of step with today’s world.
In a series of points below, I will set out the reasons why the monarchy as we know it, is on critical life support and why we will see the republics of England, Scotland, Wales and a united Ireland in our lifetime.
A Fully Independent Australia and Canada
Twenty one years ago, a referendum was called by the Australian government, on the question of whether Australia should become a republic or not. The idea of an independent Australia sent a huge frisson through the royal family and Prince Charles was duly dispatched to down under to help provide a timely reminder of why the country is better off being a dominion as opposed to being a republic and the result of the one off vote, was 55–45 in the monarchy’s favour.
It’s important to note that this, all important vote took place, when Facebook was a figment of Mark Zuckerberg’s imagination and Vladmir Putin was just taking over the perpetually inebriated Boris Yeltsin.
Canada, just like the antipodean country, has her majesty, as the head of the state and even though it has yet to announce plans of becoming independent, the chances are very high, that it will do so, when Elizabeth II passes on or chooses to abdicate, in the very near future.
In a referendum that foreshadowed the 2016 vote on Europe, Scotland elected in 2014, not to breakaway from the United Kingdom by 55–45%. This victory was aided in part by the subtle intervention of the Queen, when on a walk about in Aberdeenshire, made an obscure and a seemingly irrelevant remark, which was heavily reported in the British papers on the eve of the vote.
And yet strangely, in the run up to the Brexit vote in June 2016, the most prominent British tabloid — the Rupert Murdoch owned Sun Newspaper, reported that her majesty was a keen supporter of Britain leaving the EU, for whatever reasons best known to her.
On the dawn of the 24th of June 2016, the country awoke to the news of Britain voting to leave the EU, triggering a major constitutional crises, of the type, never seen before in the history of the United Kingdom.
As a result of the Brexit vote, Scottish independence is back in the spotlight and in the local elections taking place, this Thursday, on the 6th of May, could yet push the case, even further, if the SNP retains its majority in holyrood (Scottish parliament).
The last time, a united Ireland existed was back in 1921, when the Lloyd George coalition government made the decision to partition the southern part, to resolve the age old issues of sectarianism, Britain’s state sponsored terrorism and reprisal attacks of the IRA.
With the profound complexity of the Brexit deal and its inability to take into account, the peculiarities of Northern Ireland, reunification with the south has become a clear and distinct possibility.
Prince Andrew and The Jeff Epstein Scandal
The news broke when Jeff Epstein was arrested back in 2019, that a number of high profile individuals, such as Bill Clinton were present at Epstein’s villa, when the abuse of under aged girls took place.
The big revelation was Prince Andrew; Photographs emerged of the Queen’s favorite son with the then under aged Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who came to London, and had sex, thrice with the Prince.
In the prevailing age of # me too, Andrew, backed by royal advisers took the ill advised decision to grant an interview to Emily Maitlis of the BBC, thus exacerbating his mother and family’s position.
Charles, hoping to succeed his mother, in not too distant future, is already working to have a much slimmed down aristocracy, which may be a little, too late.
Duke and Duchess of Sussex
The Queen, unlike her recently deceased husband and her salacious and hedonistic son, has made a career of keeping her right wing views about Black and Asian people to herself and it came as a huge shock, when the Sussexes alleged that very senior members of the royal family had made racially insensitive comments about, Archibald, Prince Harry’s son.
The fall out of the interview left the family scrambling to put a spin on the racial inclusiveness of the firm (sobriquet for the royal family) and its work in supporting various Black charities and churches.
To a great number of Black Britons, who see the monarchy as a conservative and an exclusively white institution, the revelation of Prince Harry and his wife comes as no surprise.
For politicians on the right of the argument, the monarchy has its uses — to buy political patronage — in knighting businessmen, captains of industry, donors and sportsmen. Even though the honors system has been denounced as corrupt by the press and the political class, over the years, not very much by way of reform, has taken place.
The anti-monarchy and the republican movement, for a very long time in its history, have been dominated by those on the left of the political spectrum and despite the grumblings, real headway had never been made — until now.
With the demise of Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip and the profound reluctance of his increasingly frail nonagenarian widow to abdicate her position for her septuagenarian son to takeover, the unthinkable has now become thinkable.
In a world, where identity politics is the order of the day, where every group is pushing and demanding to be taken seriously, will the monarchy survive the next generation?
It is clear that it won’t and people will look back on this period in history as when the irreversible decline and death of the house of Windsor, really took place.
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