September 29, 2022

A biographer of Queen Elizabeth II has called her funeral a ‘facade’ and called on the royal family to ‘atone’ for a history of slavery and colonisation.

Clive Irving, as the Queen’s coffin was carried to Windsor Castle yesterday in her emotional funeral procession, said the Crown was ‘responsible’ for the worst excesses in the British Empire.

He questioned the longevity of the monarchy in his 2021 book The Last Queen, took a swipe at the royal family and branded the funeral a “narcotic” for the British people.

Sir. Irving told MSNBC: ‘A lot of this seems to be facade, it’s almost like a village exercise in Potemkin.

‘There’s all this royal display of something which, as one of your guests said earlier, nobody does better than the British, but you always have to ask what’s behind the facade.

Clive Irving has called the Queen’s funeral a ‘facade’ and called on the royal family to ‘atone’ for a history of slavery and colonization

Cinema spoke as the Queen’s coffin was carried to Windsor Castle yesterday in her emotional funeral procession

‘In terms of the future of the monarchy, you cannot separate the future of the monarchy from the future of the country and so the state of the country has to be taken into account when thinking about how Charles can deal with this.’

Irving said the monarchy must take into account the history of the British Empire if it wants to succeed in the future.

He said: ‘This legacy requires something that I have not seen come from the Windsor family at any time in recent history, which requires atonement.

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‘It requires a recognition of the true cost of the colonies of slavery, which began under Charles II in 1666, because he founded this thing with a very innocent title called the Royal Africa Company, which actually concealed a very evil enterprise which sent slaves from Africa to the Caribbean colonies.

‘About a quarter of these slaves died before they got there, chained under the covers, and it was subsequently replaced by colonial societies leading right up to the 20th century, when the crown played the role of head of state.’

Irving said the monarchy needs to reckon with the history of the British Empire if it wants to succeed in the future

The former managing editor of the Sunday Times questioned whether King Charles can maintain the monarchy

So while you can’t lay the cost of slavery, the human cost of it, terrible other costs of it, at the doors of the current monarchy or even the queen, the institution, the crown itself is responsible, there is a continuity going on right up to now. ‘

He then took aim at Prince William for his week-long tour of the Caribbean in March, which was overshadowed by demands for reparations for slavery and lingering anger over the Windrush scandal.

William and his wife Kate were met with protests across Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Irving said: ‘This situation was completely misjudged by Prince William when he traveled to the Caribbean earlier this year.

‘I said he hadn’t been properly briefed but I thought about it afterwards and I thought how can a guy who had the training that William had, he had one of the best trainings you can get , how can he not know this .’

The trip was branded ‘tone deaf’ and reeks of ‘colonialism’ as the royals met with locals

On his return to the UK, William said he not only discovered more about the ‘various issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also how the past weighs heavily on the present’.

The father of sixty eight days trip to the Caribbean with his wife Kate, 40, in March was branded ‘tone deaf’ by critics who said there were moments that smacked of ‘colonialism’.

Antigua and Barbuda became the first to air plans to move towards becoming a republic after the queen’s death, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne telling media he hopes to hold a referendum on the issue within three years.

His counterpart in the Bahamas has signaled similar hopes, though without giving any timeline.

“For me it’s always on the table,” Prime Minister Phillip Davis said in comments reported by the Nassau Guardian newspaper the day after the queen’s death. ‘I will have to have a referendum and the Bahamian people will have to say yes to me.’

Jamaica is also considering ‘moving on’, as Prime Minister Andrew Holness pointedly told the king’s son Prince William during a disastrous tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.

They follow the path of Barbados, once known as ‘Little England’ but whose ruling Labor Party last year used its majority to approve a constitutional amendment removing the Queen as head of state.

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