The death of a British monarch is an incredibly rare event, yet in many ways the passing of Queen Elizabeth II has felt like a reflex.
Overnight, the Court of Queen’s Bench became the Court of King’s Bench and portraits of her Majesty were covered up across the nation. Even the Wikipedia article I referenced for this column has updated the Canadian citizenship oath. It now reads “I, [name], do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his Majesty King Charles the Third, King of Canada, His Heirs and Successors. So help me God.”
An interesting dichotomy exists in this country. If you were born here, you probably never said those words. But if you started out somewhere else, and becoming Canadian was your destiny, you would have had to swear loyalty to the British Crown.
Well, I was born here and I never made an oath to Queen Elizabeth. So this is officially where I get off the royal bandwagon.
Sorry Charles, but you are not my King.
William won’t be either. Neither will Harry, nor Romana Didulo for that matter. I’m done with these idols.
We’ve discussed this before: the British monarchy is not just a relic of colonialism — it is colonialism. Consider how many countries around the world mark the day they got out from under Britain’s thumb as a national holiday — our own included. Next to Christmas, it’s probably the most common holiday in the world — over 60 nations have their own commemoration. At minimum, there are two “freedom from Britain” days held in March and at maximum eight in both August and October — with the average being six. If you could attend them all, you would be on holiday for the entire year.
Certainly Elizabeth should be commended for her ability to have kept royal tradition alive into the 21st century. Chances are the House of Windsor — along with most remaining royal families — would not have survived the political upheavals of the first and second world wars without the Queen’s charisma and grit. She was able to effectively connect with the hearts and minds of her subjects, so much so that other monarchs have tried to follow her lead. It remains to be seen if Charles will have the same success.
It’s not impossible. If he takes the impacts of colonialism seriously and uses the House of Windsor’s massive bank accounts and global reach to help accelerate decolonization, he could breathe new life into the institution. Charles has been a vocal advocate for green technology and climate change, which disproportionately endangers Indigenous populations around the world. He could do a lot of good with his new role. And considering how long he’s had to wait to wear the crown, he must have some ideas.
But none of this changes the fact that the monarchy is an institution born of a dark and violent past, built on the back of a feudal system long since obsolete. At most, today the Crown is just a very expensive symbol.
I do wish Charles well and hope he focuses on righting historic wrongs. But this is not the 11th century, and I cannot in good conscience pledge allegiance or loyalty to him. This era was over long ago. It’s an anachronism that needs to end.