Queen Elizabeth: Long Live The King! But How Long Is His Commonwealth?

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On September 4, 2022, the world received news of the passing of one of the most adored British monarchs and royalties: HRM Queen Elizabeth II. As a 96-year-old royal and the longest serving British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth managed to, remarkably, live and represent the graciousness and panache of the exalted class of monarchy.

While across the British Isles, the echoes of “The Queen Is Dead” may be heard; the age-old established tradition of succession allows one to hear in the same breath the equally resounding echoes of “Long Live The King” as the late Monarch’s 73 years old, hitherto Prince of Wales and King consult, becomes Britain’s substantive King.

Queen Elizabeth II and her son and her, King Charles III-
Queen Elizabeth II and her son and her, King Charles III-

So, long live HRM King Charles III as he gives his kingly word to “serve ‘his people,’ with all he has for the rest of his God-given natural life.” But as a citizen of one of their kingdom’s former colonial ‘outposts,’ I cannot help but wonder who ‘his people’ are. Because as a citizen of one of its member states of the “Commonwealth of Nations,”; the estrangement from the sense of belonging that the word “common” or “wealth” is supposed to emote has, over the years of the Commonwealth’s existence created a chasm that the reign of the 73-year-old King can bridge for the number of days he will hear “God Save the King.”

How good has the Commonwealth served anyone besides its empire and its royal family?

The Commonwealth is a useless hangover from the British Empire that does nothing more than increase Britain’s perception of importance around the globe and give the impression that its monarchy still has a place in contemporary society.

The British are known to live in the grand delusion of their sense of global worth in virtually all aspects of life and do everything to paint that self-delusion, whether it be as perennial underachievers in nearly all the global sports they created; or in their near schizophrenic sense of relevance as a global world power.

To some remarkable extent, I felt some measure of loss for a monarch that was adored and respected. My sentiments were, to some extent, rooted in the fact that as a man in his forties; I was born into the reign of HRM and grew up to know her as the most popular of all world monarchs – apart from the Oba Eweka II, Oba Erediauwa, and now Oba Eware Ogidigan II of the great Benin Kingdom – that HRM the late Queen Elizabeth and her forebears robbed and looted in the name of colonialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

However, despite the seeming sense of loss I felt, it has quickly given way to one of offense as I have always had an axe to grind with the British and, by extension, the royal family.

Firstly, as a Bini man who since became aware of the atrocious crimes committed by the soldiers of the British invaders against the Bini people in 1879 on the order of the royal family and its unwillingness to either admit these crimes or make reparations for them, didn’t and still doesn’t believe that there’s anything admirable about the British royals.

The British Empire was established through colonial aggression and exploitation and should not be perpetuated in any manner through the continuity the Commonwealth symbolizes.

For most of the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries, and even beyond in some instances, British colonial expeditions resulted in the creation of brutal exploitations of many of their colonial territories and protectorates in the name of the empire and on the instructions of the royal family.

Such exploitations directly funded the sustenance of the British Empire and its royal family. Looted Benin Bronzes, Koh-i-Noor diamond, Parthenon Marbles, The Rosetta Stone, The Maqdala Manuscripts, etc., remain in possession of the British government to date.

Secondly, many of the atrocities committed in the name of her Majesty; including the crown-assisted genocide against the people of eastern Nigeria during the civil war for the sole purpose of protecting their interests in the territory, remain a very sore point that neither the British government nor the royal family on whose direct orders the British government acted has seen it fit to either apologize or make reparations.

Perhaps, I am neither aware enough nor sufficiently patriotic to speak for other British former colonies which make up the Commonwealth; but how has the crown addressed the Amristar Massacre of 1919 in Jallianwala Bagh, India?

What’s more? The Commonwealth lacks a defined no clear pathway for its association; it neither gives trade advantages to its members; nor does it coordinate their defense or foreign policies as Great Britain herself is nothing more than a glorified ‘World Power’ that lacks even the financial resources and executive power to change the world like its more significant counterpart organizations such as the UN and NATO.

The Commonwealth is an elitist sham that, though pontificates with pious words on the association’s commonality, fails to live up to its principles as member states often pursue their self-interests.

There is no doubt that the death of the Queen has seemingly granted the member states a moment to exhale, not just for the 40 non-realm members but even for the 14 realm members.

The relevance of the Commonwealth and its benefits to its members, especially those of the African continent, will continue to be called into question throughout the reign of the new King.

Yes, Long Live The King! But How Long is his Commonwealth?

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