I have been watching the BBC series “The Crown” on TV that is a docudrama of the ascension and life of Queen Elizabeth II of England. It is an intriguing story that goes behind the scene to show us ordinary mortals how the royals behaved. As such it is both very familiar and yet at the same time very foreign.
Having been born and brought up in England, I remember well the newsworthy antics of the royals and their upper class clipped accents. But, I was an anti-monarchist from an early age, quite out of step with most Brits. I was influenced by my Russian Jewish father who had only contempt for royalty, not surprising given the excesses and the fate of the Romanovs. My attitude towards the royals was much the same as my attitude towards slavery. Just as no man should be a slave to others, so no man or woman should be a King or Queen to rule over others. I don’t believe in the divine right of Kings, who does nowadays, and I also don’t believe in the right of familial succession, such as they have in England and in North Korea.
The way the monarchy lords it over others and gives them something to look up to because of their flamboyant and excessive lives is so condescending and patronizing that it is nauseating. Nothing I have learnt from seeing this series has changed my views, on the contrary, they only reinforce the pure banality of the whole idea of a royal family, a bunch of bloodless, blood-sucking parasites. I found myself agreeing with the Duke of Windsor, who as Edward VIII was forced to abdicate from the throne. But, he was a fascist and a supporter of Hitler and even worse than the rest of them because he wanted to be an active King who intervened in political affairs. They had to get rid of him.
I was struck by the oath repeated by the monarch at her coronation, “I accept this anointment with oils as Zadok the Priest anointed King Solomon.” What presumption, what cheek to try to relate their German and Anglo line of succession to that of the Jewish Kings in the Bible. And how does the “holy” oil differ form ordinary oil? I left the UK and was glad to become an American and then an Israeli, both democratic republics. Eventually I feel sure there will be an English Republic, once Scotland, Ireland and Wales achieve their separation from the conquering English.