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Britain's longest-reigning monarch died Thursday at the age of 96.


Queen Elizabeth II helmed England's Royal Family for 70 years, overseeing a period of diplomacy in the Western world. While defenders of the monarchy mourn her loss, those abroad are still suffering the effects from the country's brutal history of colonialism.

For as long as there has been a British monarchy, it has been a prominent imperialist power. Aljazeera reports that between the years of 1765 to 1938, Britain drained a total of $45 trillion from India. Caribbean and African countries were subjected to a brutal slave trade that the Royal Family has yet to apologize for or pay reparations on. In fact, slavery in the United Kingdom was so integral that the government did not finish paying off debts to slave-owning families until 2015.

While Queen Elizabeth did not begin her rule until 1952, the Crown has continuously ignored calls from countries such as Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas to pay reparations on the brutal slave trade they were subjected to under the monarchy.

Harvard history professor, Maya Jasanoff, wrote in the New York Times that the symbolism of the Royal Family masks their dark past. She explained: “By design as much as by the accident of her long life, her presence as head of state and head of the Commonwealth, an association of Britain and its former colonies, put a stolid traditionalist front over decades of violent upheaval. As such, the queen helped obscure a bloody history of decolonization whose proportions and legacies have yet to be adequately acknowledged.”

The Crown's record of domestic racism carries into modern times, as Buckingham Palace previously barred “coloured immigrants or foreigners” from working for them until the late 1960s. As recently as 2020, Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the Royal Family over their treatment of Markle, who is biracial.

Even the furthest left-leaning political parties of the United Kingdom have yet to adopt anti-monarchy positions. Progressive activists reject the Crown as upholding wealth inequality, whiteness, and anti-democratic principles. Royal commentator Kristen Meinzer writes: "The longer they choose not to speak, the longer they're choosing to be complicit in white supremacy."

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