Welcome to I Was Wrong About, a series of reconsiderations and mea culpas.
Every so often I’m hit by a feeling — a tickle in the back of my mind, like I’m forgetting something important, but I look down and clearly still have my keys, my phone, my wallet. And then I suddenly remember again: I am a citizen of a Commonwealth country, and that means I ultimately answer to Queen Elizabeth. I am haunted by this knowledge.
I am unclear what Canada’s relationship to the British monarchy consists of, beyond symbolism and a history colonization. Our bond is vague, probably on purpose. When I was a kid, I asked my parents what God looked like, and they told us that nobody knows what God’s image is, only that he is everywhere. The only person who was everywhere — on currency, in my school, in my history books— was the Queen, so naturally I assumed she was God, and I would imagine a coin when I prayed.
When I grew older, I got over God-Queen and became firmly anti-monarchy for all the reasons you’d expect: colonialism, the blight of wealth as a birthright, racism, possibly ending Princess Diana’s life (just think about it), colonialism again. My anti-monarchy stance also involved the belief that the Queen and her family are extremely boring, and that having any interest in those inbred aristocrats was a betrayal of my values.
But I am here to say that I was wrong.
It turns out that the British royal family and the Queen are actually interesting. I owe this epiphany to my coworker/friend/Gawker royals correspondent Claire Carusillo, along with Netflix’s The Crown. The latter has shown me that the hyperbolized history of a family intensely in need of therapy and abdication makes for a decent drama; oftentimes, I forget that the show is about the same real-life pasty woman I once secretly prayed to.
But it’s the media frenzy over the royals, especially leading up to the Platinum Jubilee, that has really opened my eyes to this new world of fun sickos.It all started when the Queen started using her late husband Prince Phillip’s cane to walk around, which led to highly esteemed and reputable outlets dubbing her “stick girl.” From there, my interest has only grown. I love how the Queen effectively doesn’t do anything at all, and yet is paraded around like a figure of hope and strength (or, as my colleague puts it, “passed around like a tray of appetizers”). I love imagining the Queen getting her groove back after her husband died by being driven around by a mystery man. I love how she had a “secret rendezvous” with one of her horses. I now understand that this family is depraved in different ways than I initially realized, which is probably not good for the U.K. or society, but a personal blessing for me.
To be clear, it’s not that I like the Queen now. It’s just that I can truly see the humor in this one old biddy somehow being regarded as so important to her country and the world. She’s simply a woman, and not even a particularly remarkable one, at that.
Recently, Barbados became a republic and renounced the Queen as its head of state, nearly 400 years since the British bastards first landed on their Island. But Canada will never renounce the monarchy, no matter how utterly useless it is to our country, because too much of our national identity is wrapped up in being able to pretend we’re a little British. This is just something I have to accept — and if I can’t beat ‘em, I may as well kind of join ‘em. I still think the Queen should die, but for now, I am okay with laughing at her while she is alive.