I wrote this piece for a writing class when I was living in America. It will remain relevant until the UK becomes a republic.
Patriotism baffles and irritates me. We don’t choose where we are born and borders mean nothing but war and miscommunication. So why do we worship them? From extremists to religion, from cults to governments, we’re all as bad as each other really. We dissolve in to hysteria and pride at the slight mention of a national holiday or memorial. Maybe it’s just for the day off work, but it seems like more.
In the United Kingdom we are ruled by a monarchy. The clue is in the title, really. Isn’t this the twenty-first century? Can you believe until 1983 that people in the British Isles were subjects not citizens. That’s kind of half a person really. For the first twenty years of my parents lives they weren’t really people.
Her Majesty has written a lovely note in the front of my passport urging other countries to treat me well, like an overbearing mother.
Our culture seems so obsessed with these people and it really begs the question, why? When Prince George wears a onesie or uses a tissue that brand and model will be sold out in hours. This kid is barely walking yet and he already has an absolute cult following. Of course, there is a horrendous growing celebrity culture of ‘being famous for famous sake’ but this seems widely out of hand.
When Will and Kate got married, the good people of Britain were given a holiday. My family used it to drive across country to see my sister whereas our brainlessly cliched neighbours – and thousands of others – used it to throw street parties. Street parties were a way to join together in past times, hard times, war times. That legacy is being shattered by sunburnt, bald heads and drunk imbeciles. Union Jacks looked to have thrown up all over the country from bunting to table clothes and even to bandanas and shorts for the more ludicrous.
Strewn unceremoniously outside our house were rivers of British flags. Tacky. We did what any self-respecting Republican would do: we tore them down in the dead of night. We left them scattered violently on the floor to send a message.
Dissolve the monarchy. It’s almost embarrassing that we think ourselves a respected world nation when we are still spearheaded by a crown. I’ve been asked with no note of sarcasm if I’ve met the queen and if I miss Diana terribly. Why would I miss Diana? I was three when she died. All I missed was my sisters leaving the room.
People argue for the tourism they bring and the national pride. But it’s not respect they bring but novelty. And isn’t that just the fundamental problem? Will and Kate’s first return to America since 2011 has just been announced! They’re rumoured to be going to a University of St. Andrews gala – their alma mater – as well as possibly taking in a basketball game. Genuine headlines. I cringe.
I mean, the queen seems like a cool little old lady and all – during the summer’s Commonwealth Games she reached the front page of numerous national papers when she amusingly photobombed two young athlete’s selfie. But why can’t she get rid of the obscene hats and ride the bus to the shops like a normal nan?
The motto on the English royal coat of arms reads Dieu Et Mon Droit. In it’s literal translation it means ‘God and my right’ but a more accurate reading is ‘the divine right of kings’. It was used to glorify the idea of the King as God on earth and how his power was all-knowing and his word was law. And well, whilst a democracy is based on that, I don’t think we can successfully call ourselves credible.
The Stone Roses – Elizabeth My Dear