Elizabeth II

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By JULIAN RODRIGUES*

Monarchy is part of the arsenal of symbolic power, it is a weapon of English “soft power”

“God save the Queen\ She's not a human being\ and there's no future\ in England's dreaming” (Sex Pistols)

The world media dropped the bomb on the afternoon of last September 8: the queen died. Really? A friend sent me zap: "she has now opened the portal and anything can happen". Me of. If even our greatest monarch – who we believed to be “immorrable” – the cute little old lady Elizabeth II – decided to abandon this boat, what will become of us now, mere Latin American commoners with no money in the bank or important relatives?

The USA even today retains, I believe, a certain rancidity. Feelings of inferiority, envy, spite. As much as they treat the English as mere subaltern allies, they know deep down that even while squandering all the wealth in the world, they still lack charm and style. Perhaps they feel that they will never have the class, hauteur, verve or elegance of the British. They will never boast of being the homeland of Shakespeare. If only they spoke with that charming-pretentious accent – ​​the trademark of their former colonizers – now subjects of Charles III.

I made this whole tour with one goal: to throw it in the face of Americans and remind ourselves: a president can never be a king. It's no use trying to create epic narratives around your founding fathers. Monarchy is part of the arsenal of symbolic power, it is a weapon of soft power English.

 

queens and rockers

From a very young age, I was attracted to mise-en-scene monarchic right in the home of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Princely wedding broadcast live across the planet – like a World Cup final? By the way, how can anyone consider making fun of the strangest sports of those who presented us with the invention of football?

Queens, kings, princes, princesses, dukes, castles, hunts, foxes running from dogs. Chariot parade, rugby, golf, cricket.

To my liking, the true British sovereign was the spectacular mastermind of crime – Agatha Christie. It's fine, it's fine. English also has Mr. Doyle, master of boring prose who went on to create the most famous and iconic detective of all - a certain opium-smoking resident of Baker Street.

Inexhaustible source of the best gossip stuffed with infidelities, backbiting, costumes breathy, elegant parties, various grudges, rages. passions. Wouldn't the royal family be high-end media employees – hired with the task of regularly producing entertainment for millions of proletarians around the world? As pop as the pope, royals are the only ones capable of rivaling in popularity with the celebrities roliudians.

 

Monarchy for those in need

What is the real meaning of a monarchical regime in the XNUMXst century? Why? For what? What is the use of a queen surrounded by a battalion of dedicated acolytes full time to serve her? And that bunch of heirs pampered by bureaucrats – in a dolce far niente funded by the public purse?

A certain common sense believes that the queen (or king) has only a symbolic role in a nation seen as a paradigm of democracy. We learn that England was where the first Western Constitution was born – the foundation of everything. The famous Magna Carta promulgated in 1215. But what is actually written there?

Unlike the manifestos of the French Revolution (widely known) it is rare to find anyone who has read (not even diagonally) – the canonical text that would have served as the basis for the future State.

Britons keep advertising being the first to institute a parliament that limited the powers of the king – one hundred years before the French revolution!? Another source of pride for many of them: capitalism would also have been born on this glorious islet. So how to explain the fact that the almost always avant-garde England still drags huge trinkets?

Spain, Japan, Denmark (ruled by the muse Birgite Nyborg) Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Monaco. A handful of rich and developed countries that also still have a monarchical regime. Not to mention the former colonies that had Elizabeth II as their queen – and have just gained a new, eared sovereign: Canada, Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand. Long live colonialism!

There are opinion polls for every taste – but with something in common. Most of them portray mostly satisfied Englishmen – who continue to support their pet constitutional monarchy.

Alternating quiet years and turbulent periods, the longest-lived queen flew over the world for seven decades. For most of that time she maintained good acceptance rates – often as the most popular figure in the royal family.

The fantastic Helen Mirren snatched the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her role as Elizabeth II in “The Queen”, directed by Stephen Frears. The film reconstitutes the Queen's supposed reaction to being informed of Diana's death: cold, distant, bureaucratic. When the accident took the life of the beautiful, charismatic and world famous Princess of Wales, Queen Elizabeth was spending a season in the countryside, enjoying the delights of her private castle. And there it remained.

Reportedly, newly appointed Prime Minister Tony Blair, in distress, was compelled to telephone begging for Her Majesty's immediate return to London to join the funeral of the Princess and comfort the bereaved nation. It was no simple task to convince the queen of the urgency of returning to the capital.

 

What is it for?

English queens/kings accumulate functions of Heads of State, Armed Forces and the peculiar Anglican Church. Formally, they are responsible for summoning and dissolving the legislative houses – in addition to appointing the heads of government.

They perform an inescapable duty. Whoever is the head of government at the moment, it is mandatory that each week, without fail, they go to meet the sovereign to update her on government affairs - and also enjoy the honor of being advised by her.

Any human being who comes to taste the privilege of the British Crown over his head must open the sessions of Parliament annually. It will represent England before the world and enact all laws passed in the house of commonare ratified in House of Lords. It will not only decree the beginning of wars, but will also guarantee peace agreements.

All of this in theory, of course. Thing for Brazilians to see. Most Englishmen deep down seem happy reveling in their extravagances, their pompous rituals, ridiculous wigs and endless official ceremonies – which swear to be rigorously performed as they were in centuries past.

Modern capitalist nation, nest of neoliberalism, country of the Iron Lady. Nation whose dominant classes do not give up the habits of the former empire.

English oddities echo like a kind of missing link. Remnants of former greatness – reminiscences of the glories of yesteryear. business as always. The royal family is very profitable and generates foreign exchange. What really matters in the end. Intangible heritage of the country and export product in the globalized circuit of the cultural industry.

god save the king!

It won't be easy to get acquainted – let alone learn to like the Duchess of Cornwall's spouse, Mrs. Parker Boules. Even so, it does not seem prudent to me to disdain in advance the enchanting power of a good old British royal family.

“God save the queen
The Fascist Regime
They made you a moron

* Julian Rodrigues, journalist and professor, he is an activist in the LGBTI and human rights movement. He is a doctoral student in the Latin America Program at USP.

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