The House of Windsor must fall

I do not care that Meghan and Harry are wealthy and live in California in an expensive home – I care that they are exposing the obscenity that is the British monarchy.

I do not care that Meghan was wearing expensive clothes and jewelry – I care that the corporations that traded in Africans for some 400 years bore the imprimatur of the Crown, and that the British monarchy, once head of the British Empire, has never apologized for the crimes they and their citizens committed against African peoples, lands, communities, cultures, and religions. 

I do not care that Meghan is now better off than she was when she left the show Suits – I care that the cultural industries of the U.K. work overtime to erase the central role that Britain played in this crime against humanity (see: Bridgerton).

I do not care if Meghan was pushy or aggressive (good on her, I say) – I care that the British monarchy has never paid reparations for their role in the enslavement and consequent dehumanization of Black and African peoples.

I do not care that Meghan identifies as mixed race and not as Black – I care that anti-Black racism is alive and well in the United Kingdom.

I do not care that Meghan was concerned that her son Archie would not receive a title – I care that Black and African-descended people accept awards from a long-standing criminal enterprise that works overtime to present itself as harmless, and dispenses these awards as a way of managing its former subjects. 

I do not care if Harry is being influenced by Meghan (that’s their business, plus it’s a sexist trope, isn’t it?) – I care that in 2018 the British government, after availing itself of badly-needed labour from its colonies in the postwar period, attempted to deport thousands of former British subjects who came to the U.K. as part of the Windrush generation. 

I do not care that Harry and Meghan sat down with Oprah to dish, albeit respectfully, about the British royal family – I care that the House of Windsor, formerly the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, must fall BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, and if this interview has landed some body blows – I counted at least three – then I am happy, very happy. And it is an exquisite irony that an African-descended woman would be the one to reveal that, indeed, the emperor is stark naked.

I want to dance on their graves. For my ancestors’ sake.

Born in Tobago, M. NourbeSe Philip is an unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, and independent scholar who lives in the space-time of Toronto. A former lawyer, her published works include the seminal She Tries Her Tongue: Her Silence Softly Breaks, the speculative prose poem Looking for Livingstone, and the genre-breaking book-length epic Zong! In 2020, Philip was the recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

Tags:   black women blackness imperialism monarchy

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