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Elizabeth II: Overly Glorified?

The Queen’s coffin being taken from Buckingham palace to Westminster Hall (Image from Wikipedia, Katie Chan)

Queen Elizabeth II, or otherwise known as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, of the United Kingdom passed away on the 8th of September, 2022. The monarch holds the longest reign of the throne in British history, having surpassed her great-great-grandmother Victoria, in 2015. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on the 21st of April, 1926 in London, and through being greatly influenced by her mother in her childhood, achieved an exceptional understanding of royal life. In 1952 when news came about her father, George VI’s death, she was crowned queen.

Elizabeth was popular and loved by the people throughout her reign but in the recent events of her death, people have been pointing out her overall glorification. In a recent article from the Time Magazine, outrage was exhibited over an attempt to rename an Australian hospital. The hospital had plans to abolish its current indigenous name and to rename it after Queen Elizabeth II, to honor her passing. The protests were due to the clouds of colonization that hung over the late Queen.

Many people had greatly admired her, and they found comfort in the constant that was her rule. Being such a prominent figure and having reigned over 70 years, and her 70th anniversary having been just seven months before her passing, it was inevitable that she would be well-liked in a public sphere. In the result of this context, her wrongdoings became overshadowed by the glory.

The British have centuries worth of historical crimes and the Queen was not an exception. In the hands of the British, and by extension, the Queen, cultures and populations suffered great tragedy. Some argue that as a mainly symbolic figure, she doesn’t bore responsibility for the horrors and injustices that happened during her reign. However, I believe we should. She represented Britain, adorned in the jewels stolen from lands that weren’t rightfully hers.

Let’s take the Repression of the Mau Mau that took place between 1952 to 1960 for example. The Mau Mau was a significant group of Kenyan men and women who fought against the colonizers in their country. This was a response to the British seizing more and more of their land to give to white settlers. The British launched a brutal campaign against them, throwing thousands upon thousands of Kenyans into detention camps where they were subjected to inhumane treatment such as torture and sexual assault. Many who died in the camps were buried in mass graves and survivors were left with mental and physical scars that lasted throughout the rest of their lives. And this massacre is only one single representation of the severity of horrors that took place under Queen Elizabeth’s reign. It doesn’t even start to scratch the surface.

Britain’s current day wealth, which is trillions of dollars, was built on the blood of the people who lost their homes. In 1997, Queen Elizabeth addressed the massacres by calling them a “difficult episode.” That statement itself speaks volumes. Even after hundreds of years, the British refuse to apologize. Even though their crimes still plague some countries today, of which can never be undone. It’s jarring that people can turn a blind eye to her faults yet it’s sadly not surprising in today’s world.

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