In the last poll prior to her death, an overwhelming 81% of Brits surveyed held Queen Elizabeth in a positive regard — a number that has generally remained consistent for more than a decade. Perhaps this figure becomes less impressive if we consider the fact that the 2011 census found that 49% of England's and Wales’ populations are 40 years old and over. With younger generations aging into adulthood, what does this mean for the future of England’s monarchy? 

The popularity of the monarchy has been at an all-time low, with the British Social Attitudes survey reporting in 2021 that 43% found the monarchy either “not very important” or “not at all important” — unsurprisingly, the bulk of disagreement with the monarchy is voiced by younger generations.

As a generation that has become exponentially more intolerant of social and societal failures, Gen Z is not willing to sweep the misdeeds of Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family under the proverbial rug any longer.

The world was a very different place when Queen Elizabeth II began her reign 70 years ago, but this by no means excuses her actions and the totality of Royal infrastructure. Ranging from outright racially discriminatory employment in Buckingham Palace until at least the late 60s, to shamelessly dodging accountability from their embarrassingly extensive history as oppressors, the death of Queen Elizabeth has brought forth mixed feelings from victims of colonization and her subjects alike.

On the day of her passing, reactions from Twitter and TikTok users were instantaneous in their responses.

In a similar vein, Irish soccer fans sang “Lizzie’s in a box” happily as seen below.

Though many netizens poked fun at the situation, there was also an equal share of genuine tributes to the Queen — some videos garnering up to 1.5 million likes on TikTok. However, the awareness created by the parody videos and tweets show just how unforgiving (and rightfully so) Gen Z can be; with an imperialist monarchy that colonized 90% of the world’s countries, approved/participated in the transatlantic slave trade, and stole a countless number of lives and cultural artifacts from various nations , it is not difficult to see why the Queen's death has become so personal to many. 

Loyalists to the monarchy suggest that it’s not fair to tack the blame on Queen Elizabeth considering that she didn’t commit these awful historical events personally — especially as she became Queen at such a young age and without warning, but personally, I don’t buy it — and neither would any other person of color.

Similar to how we continue to have the cyclical debate on the present offensiveness of the Confederate Flag here in the United States, the situation with the monarchy in England is not any better; in both of these instances, context and historical value is essential to understanding the significance of them in the present day — one cannot divorce the history from a symbol because of how loaded with meaning they are —  hundreds of years of racism, oppression, and violence will always be associated with them.

Though one can always hope for a future where wrongs are righted, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and accompanying infrastructure has only served to continue a pattern of complicity by perpetuating inequity, discrimination, and ignorance.

The bones that many have to pick with the British Crown usually boil down to one thing — insincerity. Meaning that slip-up after slip-up, there’s always a perfectly crafted, yet unbelievably impersonal, statement from Buckingham Palace to follow.

Take for example, Prince Harry’s horribly timed 2005 Nazi costume — just two weeks before the 60th anniversary of prisoner liberation from the Nazi’s Auschwitz death camp. All that was said or done officially was: "I am very sorry if I have caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize." 

However ironic it might be that Harry would end up marrying a Black women despite his tribute to white supremacy, his relationship with Meghan Markle was unsurprisingly not well-received within the palace; Markle divulged in an interview with Oprah in 2021 that the skin color of her child was a topic of contentious conversation with the Royal Family. To which Buckingham Palace issued a glib statement that they were “saddened” to hear about the challenges Meghan and Harry had endured and that issues of race would be “addressed by the family privately.”

In the absence of a follow-up or further pursuit to make things right, these interactions with the media beg the almost laughable question: does the monarchy actually care about the effects of racism, white supremacy, and colonization, or are they just trying to separate themselves from negative association with those issues?

With Prince William being next in line for the throne, following King Charles III, it doesn’t seem like much will change during his reign as his statement in Jamaica during his 2020 Caribbean tour shows how dedicated the Monarchy is to dodging accountability: “While reparations are not part of the government’s approach, we feel deep sorrow for the transatlantic slave trade…

In other words — “though we can't change what’s happened in the past, we also won’t grant you the reparations money that could have been used to address economic and societal inequities that we left you with, XOXO Buckingham Palace.”

I can understand that running a country along with all of your colonies — oops, “Commonwealth realms”--- can be very stressful and bring forth many problems, but I would advise to stop feigning concern because that would probably do less damage to one’s image than some out-of-touch apology.

Despite the declining approval rate of the Royals following the Queen’s death, a huge governmental reform is unlikely, however, I see dissatisfaction growing in the hearts of international spectators and the British alike — especially as younger generations who prioritize societal equity and accountability rise into adulthood.

Though being raised in England is clearly a different atmosphere than that of being raised abroad, it should not make you blind to the generational abuse and trauma that the British have unleashed; self declared “child of colonization” and associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Uju Anya, summarizes this sentiment earnestly:

"I take deep offense at the notion that the oppressed and survivors of violence have to somehow be deferential or respectful when their oppressors die…" 

So no, the many victims of colonization do not owe your Queen or the rest of the Monarchy respect —  in life or death.