Queen Elizabeth II is reportedly ill and may not last until her Platinum Jubilee on February 6, 2022. Saying that her death would be the “end of an era” is a cliché, but it understates her importance. When she dies, Great Britain and the Commonwealth could fragment. It will be a blow to British identity.
In 1947, then-Princess Elizabeth pledged her life to the service of her subjects and “our great imperial family to which we belong.” This included “all the peoples in the British Commonwealth and Empire, wherever they live, whatever race they come from, and whatever language they speak.” She also spoke fondly of her travels in the “lovely lands of South Africa and Rhodesia.”
The British Empire was built by men with a strong racial identity, but as the princess’s words show, by 1947, she was trying to be “colorblind.” The United Kingdom wasn’t the only European power that tried to keep its empire that way. Charles de Gaulle built the “French Union,” which later was replaced with the even more watered-down “French Community.” They failed because non-white people did not see themselves as French and withdrew. Antonio Salazar tried to keep the Portuguese Empire in Africa (the “Ultramar”) and the regime promoted itself as a multiracial state with a single culture. This also failed, and the wars to suppress African independence led to a military coup that overthrew Salazar’s Estado Novo (New State) four years after he died.
The British Commonwealth endures, but barely. It has little value other than symbolism. Queen Elizabeth II’s reference to Rhodesia is especially tragic. The British government fiercely opposed white rule and instead helped Robert Mugabe gain power and establish “Zimbabwe.” British opposition was based on Rhodesia’s supposedly illegal Unilateral Declaration of Independence. The United Kingdom gained nothing from supporting black radicals rather than Anglo-Saxons in Rhodesia. Today, Zimbabwe is one of the worst countries on Earth and is no longer even in the Commonwealth. Ian Smith, a hero who fought for the United Kingdom in the Second World War, was right to call the Mother Country’s action “The Great Betrayal.”
Support for the Crown is weak in nations outside Britain. A 2019 poll showed that just 51% of Australians want to keep the Queen as Head of State. A 2021 poll found that Canadian support for republicanism is higher than ever, with just under half wanting to ditch the Queen. A poll from two months ago shows that older New Zealanders support the monarchy, while those under 60 want a republic. The United Kingdom itself has separatist movements. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says another referendum for Scottish independence is “inevitable.” Just under half of Scots want to leave the Union. “Brexit” has increased support for separation.
Still, the Queen is popular. About 70 percent of people in Scotland, Wales and England support her. Far fewer support the heir, Prince Charles. Only 31 percent of Britons aged 18–24 want a monarch. Support for royalty is overwhelming among older voters who will, of course, die off.
Unlike Queen Elizabeth II, whose life can be described in one word — service — Prince Charles is more political. He recently called for a “war-like footing” to fight “climate change.” The future head of state is taking a controversial political position, but does not defend the British people against mass immigration. He is also reportedly planning to change his title to “Defender of Faith” rather than “Defender of the Faith.” After all, contemporary Britain is no longer a Christian country. By 2050, less than half the population in Western nations including France, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand will be Christian.
We will thus have the spectacle of a man who owes his position to God and birthright lecturing the world on religious universalism and cutting carbon emissions. The Duke of Orleans, who supported the French Revolution, changed his name to Philippe Égalité, but was beheaded anyway.
Prince Charles will also become king at a time when the late Princess Diana is getting more media exposure. Regime Media outlet CNN is celebrating the “People’s Princess” with a new special. A new film, Spencer, sympathetically portrays her and seems to celebrate flouting of tradition and protocol. Princess Diana’s break with the royals is partly explained by the palace’s insistence on controlling her to avoid media scandals. This suggests that the press itself is the institution with real power. The sovereign plays defense.
While Princess Diana spent her last moments literally fleeing the press, another royal, Meghan Markle, runs towards it. The Duchess of Sussex, whose husband Prince Harry has been reduced to a fashion accessory, gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey in March. She and her husband claimed the royal family is bigoted. This began a debate in the press that reduced Prince William to pleading that his family wasn’t racist.
According to Sir Ken Olisa, the first black Lord-Lieutenant for London, the “answer is easily yes” that the royal family supports the Black Lives Matter movement. The Queen is also going to appoint a “diversity czar” to “modernize” the monarchy. Somehow, few, if any observers regard this as “political.” It’s taken for granted, like being head for the Church of England.
However, the Duchess of Sussex herself shows that adding diversity to a traditional institution doesn’t “modernize” it; it rots it from within. It breeds resentment and more demands.
Being associated with the Duchess doesn’t help. Meghan Markle’s supposed best friend, Jessica Mulroney, was “suicidal” after being accused of white privilege by a black social media “influencer.” Miss Mulroney wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic about Black Lives Matter. She apologized and said she would leave her platform to “Black voices.” Meghan Markle reportedly did nothing to help her friend.
Mr. Markle and Meghan are essentially leaving the monarchy. They know the true source of power lies in media. Thus, they signed a media agreement with Netflix that will let them “share impactful content that unlocks action.” They have a deal with Spotify for a podcast.
Other media are rallying around the couple. A new film, Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace, contains a scene in which Meghan Markle dies like Princess Diana. The film also discusses the Oprah interview and the accusations of racism. There’s also a campaign to prevent criticism of Meghan Markle on social media. Lèse–majesté lives on.
- YouTube Profits from Meghan Markle Troll Accounts’ Network of Hate, by Jack Royson, Newsweek, October 28, 2021
- Meghan Markle’s Critics Are Using Internet Troll Tactics to Perpetuate Misogynoir, by Stitch, Teen Vogue, March 7, 2021
- ‘Brave’ Meghan defended by fans as trolls attack her ‘women of color’ pandemic claim, by Emma Parker, Daily Star, May 9, 2021
- MEGA TROLLS: Meghan Markle bombarded with 5,200 hateful tweets in two months–and 70% of abuse came from TWENTY trolls, by Jenny Awford, The Sun, March 8, 2019
Peter Hitchens, cites the 16th-century prayers that are still recited in the dwindling congregations of the Church of England: “so rule the heart of thy chosen servant, Elizabeth, our Queen and Governor that she (knowing whose minister she is) may above all things seek thy honour and glory; and that we and all her subjects (duly considering whose authority she hath) may faithfully serve, honour and humbly obey her.”
Mr. Hitchens calls this petition “subversive” to the democratic and egalitarian spirit. “The clear implication of these petitions,” he writes, “is that the monarch is not equal to everyone else but has been appointed by God — and it is for that reason that owe her our obedience.” (He also adds that this is precisely why he is a monarchist.)
Yet what happens when God Himself becomes an egalitarian? In response to the Church’s declining attendance, a proposal from the Archbishop of York calls for less hierarchy and a congregation that is “younger and more diverse.” Church of England bishops “took a knee” for George Floyd, the General Synod unanimously apologized for racism, and the church’s “Anti-Racism Task Force” is working to “continue, with great effort and urgency, to stamp out all forms of conscious or unconscious racism.”
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle highlighted the black head of the Episcopalian Church attacking racism and promising to build a “new world.” Christianity Today cited surveys that reportedly show as few as one percent of 18-to-24-year-olds call themselves Anglican. Its website suggested that the bright side is that the churches are doing more “social action,” including “assisting refugees and asylum seekers with legal paperwork.” Apparently, no one asked whether there was a connection between “social action” and declining attendance.
This doesn’t mean religious feeling is dead in the United Kingdom or the Anglosphere. Its object is now blacks rather than God, in what Jared Taylor calls The Adoration of the Negro. What thinkers like Julius Evola would consider eternal values never really vanish, but re-emerge in different ways. In times of decline, Jonathan Bowden observed, they re-emerge in perverse ways. The monarch was once considered a god on Earth or, after Christianization, at least an intermediary between God and man. The Queen remains the head of the Church of England. What would a “woke” monarchy be like?
The future King Charles is already moving in that direction with his climate-change crusade. However, the almost religious yearning for racial equality may prove to be more popular. After the Queen herself, those between 13 and 25 voted in June for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as the most “respected” members of the royal family. Their popularity has since declined, but young people continue to view them more favorably than does the rest of the British public.
Piers Morgan, who sadly represents popular “rightist” thought in the United Kingdom, says that the Queen should prevent the Duchess of Sussex from using her title when she lobbies American Senators. If the Queen did this, she might win the public relations battle. Prince Charles probably would not.
Queen Elizabeth II represents the last tenuous link between the two last positive British myths. The first is the nostalgia of Empire. The second is the British victory in World War II, “saving the world” from the Nazis. Winston Churchill fought the war to preserve the Empire, but bears more responsibility for destroying it than anyone else. He paved the way to a world that now spits on his memory.
A monarch represents a link to transcendence and organic national unity. Even fierce political struggles are fought between the Sovereign’s government and the “loyal opposition.” In constitutional theory, the nation, the monarch, and the divine order are one. This was once something people did not just believe but knew. As time passed, monarchy cloaked itself in spectacle, and became just another faction. Eventually, the monarch would “reign” but not “rule,” creating a paper-thin unity over a collapsing polity. The prescient drama “Charles III” explored (some constitutional errors aside) what would happen if a modern British monarch tried to use real power. Even if it were in defense of the people’s liberty, the people, enraged by the thought of archaic legal structures and inequality, would turn against him.
After Elizabeth II, the royals will be nothing more than glorified celebrities. Media create celebrities, so control over media represents real political power, the power beyond constitutional formalities. Traditions and myth, after all, were especially powerful forms of proto-media.
Today, when we see calls for statues to national heroes to be replaced by statues of fictional or pop-culture characters, we shouldn’t laugh it off. It reflects a deeper truth. Fictional settings such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe draw more passionate attachment and real belief than exhausted religious denominations or national traditions. The remnants of European aristocracy have lost their purpose. Rather than being a source of power and authority separate from the power of money and pop culture, they are subject to it.
However, the most powerful combination is one of ancient institutions co-opted to serve modern myths. Arguably, this is one of the founding problems of our own country. Thomas Jefferson, in his own life, masterfully wielded power to control the politics of the nation and the political faction that dominated the early Republic. He also warred against primogeniture, wrote about the most “self-evident” untruth about human inequality, and undermined the social structures that allowed someone like him to exist. Great as he was, he deserves criticism for this.
People like him have even become a kind of modern media trope, what I call “Daenerys Syndrome” from Game of Thrones. This is someone who holds power because of a sacred bloodline, but uses that bloodline to promote universal equality. Countless whites may think of themselves this way and it undoubtedly fuels the “white savior” complex. While that might lead to short-term gains, it undermines their social position and gets whites no credit in the long term.
But if democracy does nothing else, it feeds the thirst for short-term power. Meghan Markle reportedly wants to run for president. Bizarrely, she calls American senators out of the blue to lobby for Democrat social legislation — and uses her royal title. Piers Morgan and others may roll their eyes at this, but the Duchess of Sussex has the trappings of royalty with the messianic aspirations of what we call “wokeness.” This unity of tradition with messianic faith has great power. It’s one of the key subjects of Dune, the favorite for Best Picture this year.
Feelings don’t care about your facts, and faith can best be fought with faith. What’s left of European aristocracy has lost its reason to exist. The foundations of faith, wealth, military proficiency, and honor have all been demolished from below. Many aristocrats, not least Queen Elizabeth II herself, bear responsibility for this. How can they be rebuilt? What must be rediscovered is the sense of being a person of race, not just someone who is biologically of a race. It means having a self-conscious identity of being part of a larger tradition and bloodline that one has a duty to fight for, continue, and improve.
An aristocracy will rise in the West. It may be “woke” nobles, or it may be white advocates creating something better in the ruins of our collapsing society. Is there any spirit left in the British aristocracy, or in all of Europe? Is there any potential in those families that have lost their crowns but still mingle with high society? The next few years will let us know. If the West is to be renewed, it must be in part a spiritual movement. Hilaire Belloc said about the Roman Catholic Church that “the Faith is Europe, and Europe is the Faith.” Perhaps today, a better guide would be to say that the fight for Europe is a crusade.
The natural aristocracy Thomas Jefferson wrote about and the traditional aristocracy of Europe both have parts to play. If the latter want to be something more than mid-level celebrities, they must pick up the gauntlet that the likes of Meghan Merkle have thrown at their feet. “The nobility must awaken, or else resign itself to perish, and not even gloriously,” wrote Evola, “to perish by corrosion and fatal submersion.” What does “awakening” mean? “To become once more, at any cost, a political class.”
Whatever else one may say of her, the Duchess of Sussex has met that challenge. She gained a title through her husband, used it to preach the new faith of Black Lives Matter, and has boundless ambition. A “woke monarchy,” or at least a “woke nobility,” is more likely than European aristocrats rising to defend their bloodlines.
There will always be a political class, and even an aristocracy. Thomas Carlyle famously wrote that the French aristocracy, through its own weakness and degeneracy, brought the French Revolution on its own head. However, what replaced it was the “Aristocracy of the Moneybag,” the “basest [aristocracy] yet known.”
Something new has now surpassed it. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is a harbinger. It’s the aristocracy of victims, in which the most emotionally weak have the greatest claim to power, where non-white skin grants official preferences and privileges, and those who have real influence wear the mantle of victimhood.
What’s left of traditional institutions in the West must risk extinction and radically break with the regime, rather than try to come to terms with it. If what’s left of Old Europe dies, it is better to go down like the last Byzantine Emperor, fighting to the last, refusing to give usurpers the psychological triumph of a moral surrender.