I Don’t Get it

I was watching Mike Myers go on about the Queen’s passing on The Tonight Show the other evening. He was expressing his sadness and thoughts about the Queen vis a vis his Canadian heritage. It reminded me of the posts I had seen online by Canadian friends back home – one even blacked out their Facebook page – and my lack of comprehension regarding such sentimentality. Of course, English colleagues in my office had expressed similar feelings, but hey, they’re English. And as Salman Rushdie wrote in the Satanic Verses, “The trouble with the English, is that they don’t know their history, because so much of it happened overseas.” What I can’t understand is why had so many Canadians of my own age and background made such a big deal about it?

Tell Us How You Really Feel

 Ok, I understand that the Queen herself was a pretty benign old egg. We know how her family refused to evacuate to Canada during WW II and how young Elizabeth volunteered for the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service and trained to be a driver and mechanic to support the war effort. And there was that bit with Paddington Bear, afterall. But she was also a symbol of the entire monarchy, past and present, and as the foremost representative of the British Royal Family, that makes the former queen – to my eyes – the most recently departed mob boss of one of the longest reigning crime syndicates in human history. From its early participation in the slave trade to its colonial rampage around the world, the British Empire participated in some of history’s greatest crimes against humanity. It turned a blind eye on the extermination of indigenous tribes in Australia and North America while encouraging the forcible appropriation of their lands, instigated devastating wars in China and South Africa, and ransacked the cultural heritage of nations around the world. Don‘t even get me started about India! This is just a cursory summary.

Things Have Changed, Have They?

As hard as it is to believe, Britain is still one of the most classist societies left in the world. Their government even maintains a hereditary peerage system, chosen from England’s elite, (eg. Lords, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons) who sit unelected in the House of Lords. Meanwhile, the Elgin Marbles, stolen from the Parthenon in Athens, and the Benin Bronzes, looted from Nigeria, remain locked up in the British Museum, which resists efforts to repatriate them. These are just two examples of the toxic legacy of the British Empire. The fact that my own peers find any single member of the British Royal Family worthy of admiration leads me to suspect that they were brainwashed by fairytales and having to sing God Save the Queen too many times in their childhood. With all respect to admirers of the Queen, a closer reading of history casts the entire institution of the British Monarchy into a different light.






Michael Wray

Hi, My name's Michael. I'm a writer/illustrator working as a primary ESL teacher in Istanbul. I love art, music, literature, and traveling.


  1. Peter C on October 25, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Michael, we can only play the cards we’ve been dealt in life. Often we’re envious of rich, wealthy or privileged folk but I’m not too sure I’d want to be in her or the royal family’s shoes. She carried out her duties with dignity and she was never allowed to give something that all bloggers can; her opinion. And I wouldn’t trade that for the all the riches of the world.

  2. Lord Donald John MacPherson on November 29, 2022 at 9:07 am

    Dear Michael,

    The old bird was on our money, we had to sing to her before school…
    As a kilt wearing old fart, I had to admire her, my dad revered the royals. Like father like son.
    Mel Brooks said it’s good to be the king. I kind of doubt that.

    One more thing, you can always come home, Mike. We will be waiting with open arms.

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