10 Reasons Why People Are Feeling Particularly Uncomfortable With The Monarchy Right Now

·11-min read
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is displayed on the fifth day of national mourning (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is displayed on the fifth day of national mourning (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is displayed on the fifth day of national mourning (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Queen’s death has upended parts of UK life that many would not have expected, and not everyone is happy about it.

While it is the end of an era and a noteworthy historic moment, the national mourning – set to last until after the Queen’s funeral on Monday, which will be a bank holiday – has not struck exactly the right tone with many people in the UK.

Although this is the first time in most Brits’ lives that the monarch has died, the level of ceremony and anticipated grief has become too much.

Here are just a few reasons why some people are finding it difficult to be in the UK during this 12-day period.

1. Clash with the cost of living crisis

The monarchy is known for its pomp and ceremony, along with its opulence. Naturally, at a time when most people are worrying about their budgets and skyrocketing bills, the renewed sight of the royal family’s privilege through the lavish occasions, has left people feeling the wealth gap more than ever.

Images of the Queen which have been projected onto signs all around the country have gone viral, as homeless people have been pictured nearby, showing a particularly harrowing discrepancy.

The problem is also widespread. Millions are expected to face fuel poverty this winter, inflation is soaring to a 40-year-high and industries across the board are considering strikes over low pay – meaning the ornate lifestyle the royals enjoy seems even more out of step with the rest of the country.

Even the decision to leave marmalade sandwiches for the Queen outside one of the royal estates, at a time when food prices are reaching record highs, has raised eyebrows.

Some food banks are closed too, even though they have been a increasingly important resource during the last few months.

2. Life has been put on hold

The Queen’s funeral is taking place on Monday, September 19, and it’s set to be a bank holiday.

And all kinds of businesses have decided to shut out of respect for the late monarch, including GPs and other medical professionals.

Tweets about cancelled appointments are gaining traction on social media, too, with everything from breast cancer appointments to Covid boosters and baby scans.

It’s also particularly alarming considering the NHS is already facing a substantial backlog due to the Covid pandemic, and struggling to meet everyone’s needs. Further delays will only worsen this.

Then there’s the cancellation of other citizen funerals which happen to fall on the same day, and events – from football matches to LGBTQ+ festivals – have been called off too.

This comes even though the government has promised events can still go ahead despite this period of mourning.

Overflo festival also confirmed it was not going ahead on Tuesday. In a statement, it said Southwark Council, which owns the park the festival was going to be held in, “have the ability to cancel the event for reasons of reputation and also for public safety”. It also pointed out that the Met Police, London Ambulance Service and Environmental Health will “no longer have the resources to support the event” during this time, to support the Queen’s funeral.

Center Parcs also ordered holidaymakers to leave its UK sites on Monday, too, out of respect for the Queen’s funeral. However, it quickly U-turned on its decision, with the business no longer fully closing as a “mark of respect” to the late monarch.

3. Impact on businesses

Cancellations happening in the run-up to the funeral – including the day of – are also expected to have a big knock on businesses.

Hackney Carnival was cancelled last weekend, and caterers for the event explained that nearly 300 meals were going to go to waste as a result.

Making the state funeral a bank holiday will be a further blow to the economy, with so many people taking the day off and businesses closed.

This could tip the UK into recession, at a time when the hospitality and arts sectors are still reeling from the current cost of living crisis and previous Covid restrictions.

Several supermarkets are set to close too, along with several UK cinemas.

4. Arrest of protesters

Even Britain’s democracy has been called into question over the last few days, as anti-monarchists have been arrested – and some charged – for publicly protesting.

This has sparked major concern online over a potential infringement on citizens’ rights, even though some people have argued that such protesters could pose a threat to peace, and therefore their arrest as justified.

5. Wall-to-wall coverage

Posters across the country are now covered in a memoriam poster for the Queen, with the dates of her birth and death brandished on them.

Even when there are multiple posters next to each other, they all bear the same image – as TV critic Scott Bryan pointed out on the London Underground last week.

Since the Palace announced the Queen was unwell around Thursday lunchtime, the BBC and Sky News have had almost rolling coverage of the royals as they travel around the country, or have followed the Queen’s coffin.

Consequently, the coverage of national news seem to have fallen by the wayside. Stories such as the death of Chris Kaba, ongoing cost of living crisis and the success of Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive against Russia have slightly fallen off the agenda.

To make matters worse, Sky News even misidentified a march calling for justice for Kaba, who died after a police encounter last week, for a pro-monarchist outpouring of grief. The broadcaster did later clarify what the march was about, and apologised for the mistake.

TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing have been pushed back, too.

6. Prince Andrew re-emerging

The most controversial member of the Royal Family, the Queen’s second son Prince Andrew, has also been seen more in public during the funeral procession.

He was forced to step down from his royal duties in November 2019, after a car-crash interview with BBC Newsnight about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, did file a civil case against the royal in August 2021 – alleging that Andrew had sex with her three times when she was a teenager – but it was settled out of court in February this year.

Andrew has maintained a low profile since, but his return to the public eye over his mother’s death has sparked significant backlash.

He was even heckled during the funeral procession in Edinburgh, with one person shouting, “Andrew, you’re a sick old man”. The protester was later charged for breaching the peace.

7. The government goes silent

No.10 has refused to comment on pressing matters – including the death of Chris Kaba, a Black man who was shot dead by a specialist firearms officer – due to the national mourning period. This is despite huge protests marching through London on Saturday, calling for justice in Kaba’s name.

The government has also refused to comment on the findings from the think tank Resolution Foundation that the rich would only get richer under the prime minister’s plans to intervene in the energy crisis.

Parliament will also be sitting after the Queen’s funeral on Monday, September 19 – but will then break for another recess on Thursday for party conferences.

Following a summer-long Tory leadership contest where the government was accused of going MIA despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, many believe more time away from Westminster is not what the country needs.

8. Labour Party discouraged from speaking out

Labour MPs are reportedly banned from posting anything on social media or speaking publicly about anything not related to the royal family and the Queen’s death. This means discussing scandals such as Chris Kaba’s death, the war in Ukraine or the cost of living crisis.

As the leading party on the opposition benches, this prevents the politicians scrutinising the government and drawing the public’s attention to any of Downing Street’s actions (or inaction).

9. Commonwealth tensions

There’s been a mix of reactions from Commonwealth countries towards the Queen’s death, especially as the Queen is considered one of the final bastions of the British Empire – which was known for oppressing countries across the world.

Some countries are seeing this as an opportunity to seek republican status, with figures such as the renowned Jamaican entertainer Sir Oliver Samuels, who released a video on Monday saying: “I don’t remember the Queen ever seeing it fit to give us something.”

But, other well-known republican premiers leading Australia and New Zealand have not made any reference to removing themselves from the British crown in the days since the Queen’s death – and some have even started a period of mourning echoing Britain’s.

Antigua and Barbuda’s premier Gaston Browne announced on Saturday that he plans on holding a referendum to transition into a republic and remove Charles as head of state within the next three years.

Meanwhile, India has asked for the Kohinoor diamond, which is 105-carat gemstone set in the crown of the Queen Mother, to be returned, as many believe the jewel was “stolen” during the colonial era in the 14th Century.

10. Uptick in racism

People of colour have shared their experiences of increased racist attacks in recent weeks, particularly when they have spoken out against the monarchy.

Meghan Markle, who has previously spoken about the difficulties she faced as a biracial member of the royal family, has also faced significantly backlash on social media, despite only making a brief cameo throughout the ceremonial activities so far.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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