LETTER | Where will the British monarchy be 200 years hence?
Depending on one's vantage point, it is loved and loathed the world over
Without doubt, the reference to Britain's late queen, Elizabeth II, as “My dear Elizabeth” and “Lizzie” by Nelson Mandela always evokes in me a wry smile, as much as it raised consternation among his close aides.
His reason was simple. “Why shouldn't I call her Elizabeth, she calls me Nelson.”
No statesperson has ever publicly referred to the reigning monarch of England by their first name as a matter of protocol, but then again, Mandela was no ordinary statesperson.
I do not believe Mandela meant any disrespect or harm by his seemingly precocious references, but simply extended his cordiality and amiability to another human on whom a social decree of elitism had been thrust by her countrymen.
On a personal note, I am ideologically opposed to any form of monarchy or kingship, as I believe these man-made hierarchical institutions worsen the class divide, relegating the “commoner” to second-class.
The British monarchy, depending on one's vantage point, is loved and loathed the world over, and any allegiance or reverence to such an institution is personal.
In this ever-changing world the necessity to or zest for appointing ceremonial heads such as kings and queens, who do not put in a day's work for their spoils and which cost the 'commoner' hard-earned money, have long exhausted their fairy-tale legacies
These institutions have held court over people for many centuries and, at times, the subservience to and awe of such fiefdoms have been astounding, if not inexplicable.
The colonial history and influence of Great Britain evokes differing emotions as it was through the forced subjugation of people in different parts of the world that the British Empire rose in power and prominence.
Admittedly, since the start of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch, oversaw the gradual decline of British colonialism, but her death reignites the flames of dissonant emotions.
India, for example, suffered horrendously under British rule, which caused death and destruction of untold proportions. Ironically, however, since her independence in 1947, the country has, against all odds, risen to compete as one of the world's superpowers, doing so after Britain withdrew from the subcontinent, its hand burdened with blood and thuggery.
SA too was the subject of British rule and the Anglo-Boer wars bear testimony to the resistance to colonialisation.
On a lighter note, should “King Charles III” pass on or abdicate his throne, then his immediate heir, William, will become king of England and SA would have already named a town in his honour, Qonce, which should start the agitation for a name change.
While the world mourns the death of a royal, ascribed metaphorically as having “blue blood”, it is a poignant reminder that in this ever-changing world the necessity to or zest for appointing ceremonial heads such as kings and queens, who do not put in a day's work for their spoils and which cost the “commoner” hard-earned money, have long exhausted their fairy-tale legacies.
So as England goes from “God save the Queen” to “God save the King”, I wonder what the world will say 200 years from now when reality overtakes fantasy and kings and queens are merely highlights in children's story books.
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