March 8 is celebrated as the International Women’s Day in many parts of the world.
For Britain’s most powerful woman, Queen Elizabeth II, there was probably not much to celebrate once Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle hit global headlines.
The interview exposed the warts in Britain’s key ruling institution/family.
While this may surprise the masses in the West, those familiar with the history of British imperialism and its monarchy were probably less surprised.
The most shocking part of the interview was Meghan’s revelation of blatant racism within the monarchy.
Even Oprah could not conceal her dismay during the interview.
Meghan’s revelation about how some British royals were concerned about the skin color of her first-born child should not come as a surprise.
While racism is present in families, institutions, and political circles throughout the world, we are talking here about the British monarchy.
Its record of hundreds of years of rule is tightly embedded with racism and the notion of the white man’s burden.
Western political and media establishments often downplay the misconduct of the British royals because they symbolize white power and privilege.
Nevertheless, ethnic groups and socio-political entities on the receiving end of British racism are likely to use the latest revelations as an opportunity to revive discussion about reforming Britain’s political system.
While Western regimes arrogantly preach how the non-Western world should be governed, it is an appropriate moment for the wider world to question the role of inherited power in the contemporary political order.
If the institution—the British monarchy— represents slave trade, concentration camps, genocide, and colonization, then the question becomes all the more pertinent.
Conversations about reducing its role or eliminating the monarchy altogether are often muffled by slogans rather than arguments.
The focus is often on downplaying the monarchy’s political power as symbolic.
While on surface, the monarchy seems powerless, by law the Queen as head of state can abolish parliament, appoint the government, declare war and is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Those that assume that with so much inherited power the monarch simply plays a symbolic role in Britain’s politics clearly lack elementary understanding of political science.
As head of the commonwealth, the British monarch is also the head of state of Canada and Australia.
This means that her inherited power extends across several continents.
Recent data also shows that “taxpayers in the United Kingdom are paying more money than ever to sustain the Royal Family.
The latest Sovereign Grant accounts show that the monarchy cost £67 million ($86 million) in 2018-19 –a 41 percent increase on the previous financial year.”
This is happening while inequalities for ordinary people in the UK continue to grow.
The latest scandalous revelations about racist attitudes within the British monarchy should ignite debate about the place of non-merit-based inheritance of power.
In 2021, is the clique that is concerned about the skin color of its own family member fit to rule?
Do they have a basic moral compass to do public good?
The British people, and indeed people worldwide that are subjects of the Crown need to ask this question loudly.