When I heard the news yesterday that Queen Elizabeth II had died, I have to admit, I didn’t really have a strong reaction to it.
I mean, she seemed nice enough for a monarch. Just like Pope Francis seems nice enough for a pope. But it’s still the monarchy and the papacy.
Here in the United States, we had a whole revolution to break away from one of those. Like, that specific one. In my birth country of Germany, we had Kaisers and not Kings, but they were a bunch of crazy fuckers while they lasted. Which wasn’t very long.
There’s also that little matter ― mentioned by a number of black and brown commentators ― of how much of the British monarchy’s wealth was built on the backs of slavery and colonialism.
It seems that in Britain, the monarchy is now mostly a state-sanctioned and state-funded family of official celebrities who perform ceremonial functions. And this queen lived to be 96 years old and reigned for 70 years, 7 months and two days (which is still shorter than the record holder, Louis XIV, who became monarch at age of four).
So while I’m sort of sorry to see her go, I’m mildly happy for King Charles III, who at age 73 assumes the throne 52 years older than his mother did. He also seems sort of nice, but maybe more uptight. Who cares at this point? He is, at least, a self-described environmentalist, so he will not be promoting climate change denial.
In any case, we’re going to get lots of pomp and circumstance over the next couple of weeks, most of which I’m going to ignore.