Saturday, 1 February 2020

Why We Accept and Respect the Monarchy

"The King Will Not Leave . . . "

A Timely Excerpt From a Longer Piece by Sumantra Maitra

You can either be a Hollywood hypocrite, or an aloof, true-blue aristocrat above daily politics. You cannot simultaneously enjoy the perks of both. One cannot be a royal and sell toiletries. Aristocratic life brings its own burden, of class, polish, fortitude, and propriety. Not every Tom, Dick, or Harry can chin up, keep calm, and carry on. If you behave like a petulant celebrity, you’ll be treated with as much respect as a petulant celebrity deserves.

During the Second World War, when the Luftwaffe was flattening London, the queen mother, mother of the current Queen Elizabeth, was asked to leave Britain and move to Canada with her two young daughters. The queen replied, without thinking twice, “The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the king will not leave the country in any circumstances, whatever.”

Her daughter, the current Queen Elizabeth, subsequently took part in the war effort as a mechanic, and her husband was in the Navy, a martial tradition carried forward ever since, in the Falklands war as well as in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It appears that was a different age, slowly passing away.

One wishes Harry and Meghan all the best in their new lives, but that is where the sympathy must end. This has nothing to do with racism, no matter how many columns you see in the Guardian and New York Times reinforcing that trope. If anything, this incident reinforces that composure and class, stoic fortitude, and a sense of duty and propriety are not due to either bloodline or money. Some people possess them, and most do not.

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

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