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The Commonwealth: Why Does it Exist and Does it Help its Members?

The Commonwealth: Why Does it Exist and Does it Help its Members?

Nelson Mandela Chairman Of The ANC Commonwealth Summit Harare, Zimbabwe 17 November 1991 Credit: Mary Evans/Allstar/Stewart Kenda/ The Commonwealth, an association of 54 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific, has always been a rather mysterious organisation. It evolved gradually over the course of the 20th century, making it difficult to pinpoint a precise starting date. Also, it operates more on precedent than formal agreements leading to further ambiguity. It’s also unclear what tangible benefits Commonwealth citizens derive from the organisation. And perhaps the biggest mystery of all is why a group of nations that struggled to win their independence from the UK should have chosen to reconstitute themselves in an organisation that closely resembles the shape of the former British Empire. Yet choose they did. In part, at least, because so many of their leaders were formed by that imperial culture. The trend was set by India’s independence leader, Jawaharlal Nehru, who studied at Harrow Public School and Cambridge University, and his counterpart in Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was trained as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in London. Africa’s first generation of leaders might not have all enjoyed quite the same degree of educational privilege. But many felt an affinity with the UK. Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya studied at the London School of Economics, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania studied at the University of Edinburgh, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia was the proud son of a Malawian Church of Scotland missionary, and Malawi’s own independence leader, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, was an elder in the Church of Scotland. In 2021, those sorts of sentimental links to the UK are inevitably less pronounced. So what continues to bind Anglophone Africa (as well as Mozambique and Rwanda) to the Commonwealth? The simple answer is self-interest. The Commonwealth amplifies the voice of African nations, providing it with an additional means of lobbying major donors and diplomatic players like the UK, India and Canada. It also provides a potential framework for resolving disputes between African members. In the words of former Ugandan Foreign Minister Martin Aliker, when he spoke to the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Commonwealth Oral History Project in 2015, …the beauty of the Commonwealth is that its member states feel that they can approach each other [when serious tensions arise between them]. Africa’s voice In 1949 Commonwealth leaders from Australia, Britain, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Canada decided that their organisation could accommodate an independent, republican India. The decision ushered in a shift in its centre of gravity from the ‘developed’ to the ‘developing’ world. This in turn helped convince Kwame Nkrumah in the run-up to Ghana’s independence in 1957 that his own radical, Pan-Africanist agenda was wholly compatible with Commonwealth membership. Ghana became a member not because Britain wanted it to, but because Nkrumah wanted it. Thereafter, the struggle to free Southern Africa from white minority rule – in Rhodesia which illegally declared its independence in 1965, and South Africa under the policy of apartheid – became the issue that gave the Commonwealth a sense of mission and purpose. An organisational milestone came in 1965 when a secretariat was created at the urging of Nkrumah and Ugandan leader, Milton Obote. Zimbabwe joined the Commonwealth in 1980 after gaining independence in what appeared to be a major victory for the Commonwealth. The organisation had played a major role in ensuring an orderly transfer of power. Although by the same token, Zimbabwe’s departure from the Commonwealth in 2003 seemed to many to be a failure of Commonwealth diplomacy. When Lusophone Mozambique joined in 1995, the door was opened to other states that had not been colonised by the British. With its joining, shared values apparently became more of a uniting factor than a shared history. Rwanda joined in 2009. It is the only other current member not to have links to the British Empire. In short, the development of the Commonwealth has owed at least as much to African as to British diplomacy. Is it still relevant? The Commonwealth as currently constituted is not a particularly effective organisation. Membership carries few economic benefits unless one believes the rather flimsy research from the Secretariat pointing to a Commonwealth trade advantage. The lack of consistent comparative data on trade costs, and the wide variations in the extent to which Commonwealth countries trade with fellow members, make it very difficult to prove the existence of this ‘advantage’. It had been suggested that Brexit would deepen economic ties with Commonwealth members in Africa. But a recent trade summit between the UK and African countries produced very little. This, plus the pandemic, has taken the shine off some earlier predictions of a boom in UK-African trade. Meanwhile, the secretariat itself and its development arm have seen their budgets slashed in recent years. Donors have withdrawn or withheld funding in some very public displays of no-confidence in the leadership of the current secretary-general, Patricia Scotland. Finally, its record in enforcing adherence to shared Commonwealth values, particularly in the field of human rights and democracy, is far from impressive. In 2013, the organisation adopted a charter full of laudable aspirations about justice, democracy and human rights. As such, membership signals to the broader international community that countries share those aspirations. Yet the Commonwealth took no action when in January 2021, long-serving Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni clung to power after a deeply-flawed electoral process. Other repressive regimes have found the Commonwealth a useful mechanism for ‘reputation laundering’. In 2013, President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka hosted the Commonwealth summit. At the time, his government stood accused of presiding over war crimes in the country’s bloody civil war. In hosting the heads of government meeting, he clearly hoped that the Commonwealth’s benign image would distract attention from the accusations. Paul Kagame of Rwanda seems to be hoping for a similar boost to his reputation when he hosts the heads of government meeting in June. This is despite repeated signs that he is intolerant of opposition. A Commonwealth for the 21st century It’s important to remember that despite its imperial origins, the Commonwealth also has a strong radical tradition. In the 1960s and ‘70s, it played a leading role in condemning racial discrimination, most notably with its landmark Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles in 1971. In the 1980s and ’90s, it campaigned for debt relief for some of the world’s poorest nations. The organisation consists of a variety of networks developed over decades. These include a range of organisations such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. In recent times, campaigners have used these networks to raise awareness around climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, and other global issues. They have often challenged the policies of their own governments. Online technology offers fresh opportunities to reinvigorate these networks by connecting grassroots activists around the world, and in the process reconnecting the Commonwealth to its radical past. If it is to continue to be relevant to Africa in the 21st century, that radicalism certainly needs to be rediscovered. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
The Commonwealth: Still Relevant for Africa Today?

DW

The Commonwealth: Still Relevant for Africa Today?

Africa is well represented within the Commonwealth grouping of some 2.4 billion people who experienced British colonialism. To what extent does it benefit? Commonwealth heads of government had barely touched down in London this week when apologies began rolling out of Downing Street.  Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain was "genuinely sorry” over its threats to deport the descendants of member nations, as the so-called Windrush scandal peaked.  Separately, it "deeply regrets” the legacy of laws that ban same-sex relations and fail to protect women and girls, she said. With that out of the way, she opened the meeting at Buckingham Palace of leaders from across Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific and urged them to forge a future for common good. There was an opportunity to show just what could be achieved though coordinated action, May said. On the stage to the prime minister's left, Commonwealth of Nations official head Queen Elizabeth II was flanked by the likes of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame.  Queen hands top job to son The monarch said she hoped the Commonwealth could continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations. The diverse collective of leaders looked on as she announced she would hand over the top job to her son Prince Charles. The Gambia has been welcomed back into the fold after it had branded the organization an "extension of colonialism” and withdrew in 2013. Zimbabwe is also expected to seek re-admission under new leadership.  With 18 Commonwealth states, Africa dominates the 53-member organization that formed out of a crumbling British Empire in 1931. Most attained independence after centuries of British rule. DW spoke to Asmita Parshotam, a researcher with the Economic Diplomacy Program at the South African Institute of International Affairs, about the relevance of the Commonwealth for Africa.  DW: How relevant is the Commonwealth for Africa today? Asmita Parshotam: It is an important trade partner, investor and development partner in many African countries, the biggest being South Africa and Nigeria. Britain has also pushed for agricultural liberalization within the European Union, for example, to the benefit of African producers. It is known for bearing Africa's interests within the EU and specifically from the agriculture context. Britain, however, is no longer the only player with vested interests in Africa. It might have to give and take in ways that it might not be able to anticipate just yet. I think Britain should be cautious and aware of the narrative of certain political factions of advancing the Commonwealth on the premise of imperial nostalgia and a desire to return to the "good old days." The last thing they want to reinforce is that they still see the Commonwealth as a group of countries under their influence rather than a group of peers with a shared history.  Britain could potentially become an important ally in contributing to Africa's development agenda through championing some of their issues at international fora. What have been the major advantages of membership for African members in recent years? I would say trade and investment, access to higher education opportunities and engagement with development assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat, where necessary, and where a country can qualify. How effective have the suspension of and sanctions against members by the Commonwealth, particularly Nigeria and Zimbabwe, been? I think under Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe's reign the relations were unsteady and he was known to make several damning statements against the British. The sanctions and exiting of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth in 2003 did little to rebuild relations. We know now that Zimbabwe is planning to re-submit its application to join the Commonwealth later this year and this should move toward improving relations but also, more broadly speaking, removing Zimbabwe from its ‘pariah' like status at a global level. Nigeria is more interesting. Some countries have cited that it could actually become a key Brexit ally. Reports suggest that Nigeria is actually quite a big player within intra-Commonwealth trade: Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, and 30 per cent of its exports reportedly go into the bloc's market. India alone, also accounts for 15 percent of Nigeria's exports. Nigeria is also the fifth largest economy in the Commonwealth, and with South Africa, represents about 70 percent of Commonwealth African trade. What impact is the succession of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II by her son Prince Charles as head of the Commonwealth expected to have on the organization? The question is whether he's really the best candidate. There seems to have been some disagreement as to whether he's modern enough to bring the Commonwealth into the 21st century. The other question is; If it's supposed to be a grouping of equal countries, why must the next head of the Commonwealth be someone from the monarchy and if that is really necessary, why not a modern young leader who understands that the Commonwealth is multi-cultural and multi-racial? Brexit and the sentiment towards Europeans, the treatment of the Caribbean Windrush incident in recent weeks all shows how Britain is seemingly unable to handle a future that's totally different from the time that its colonies gained independence. Are there any particular conflicts between the Commonwealth today in relation to other global political and economic groupings? I wouldn't say conflict per se – but the world has definitely and absolutely moved on from the 1960s and post-colonial era of immediate independence. The world has becoming increasingly connected and there are other important and emerging players on the global front – notably China. I suspect  Britain might have to fight harder than it expects to maintain its importance in the 21st century, trade and investment relations notwithstanding.   Brexit has increased Britain's need to be seen as an international global player with political clout in its own right, rather than as part of the EU but I suspect it might find it difficult to fully leverage this perceived power because it is stuck between a rock and a hard place – negotiating its exit from the EU, a major trading partner, and having a difficult partner in the United States under Trump's leadership that might not provide the kind of support it was hoping for. The face of global leadership is also changing – China is vying for the vacuum created by the US under Trump's leadership and whether Britain can compete with China in this respect is questionable. Is there consensus within the Commonwealth on the migrant crisis? This is a difficult issue to find consensus on internationally, let alone within the Commonwealth. However, it is on the Commonwealth's radar. It has featured as a point of discussion in past Commonwealth meetings.  Asmita Parshotam is a researcher with the Economic Diplomacy Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs.  The interview was conducted by Benita van Eyssen.
LEXICON

LEXICON

This is a list of words used in connection with the British Empire, the Commonwealth, and the Games that have been held under the aegis of both. 

I am curious about these words and their uses at different moments in history, including the present one. While new things (objects, ideas, relationships) need new words to describe them, language does not only describe. It can function in other, more expedient ways, too. For example, a name may claim continuity where there has in fact been rupture, or suggest change where there has essentially been none. 

Between words that are genuinely descriptive, and those that obscure and conceal, is a broad spectrum. It is not always clear where on this spectrum a word or name fits.

King of England

Divine right of kings

God’s mandation

The Crown

Mother Country

 

Imperial

Imperialism

 

Invasion

Raid

Triangular Trade

 

Human slavery

Enslavement

Human Trafficking

Middle Passage

Slave Trade

Stono Rebellion

 

English law

British law

Colonial law

Native courts

 

British justice

 

Colonies of domination

Terra nullius (Nobody’s land)

 

Negro Act 1740

Regulating Act of 1773

 

Multinational enterprises

Royal African Company

Elephant and Castle

British East India Company

Plantation industries

Extractive industries

 

British settlements

White population

White Dominions

White population resettlement 

British Dependency

Settler colonies

British overseas possessions

British empire

British dominions

British colonies

British protectorates

British mandates

British administration

 

Administrators

Governors

Governor Generals

Lord Admiral

 

British Raj

Crown rule

British rule

Direct rule

 

Imperial preference

 

Buy Empire

Rule Britannia 

Pax Britannia 

 

Sugarcane

Tea

Cotton

Perfumes 

Tobacco 

Silk

Art 

Guns

Bullets

Wine

Jewels

 

Charter colony

Proprietary colony

Chartered company

 

British Commonwealth of Nations

Commonwealth

Common 

Wealth 

Commonweal

 

Sovereign state

Republic

Democracy

Independence

 

Prime minister

President

Realm 

Republic

Self-governing territory

Independence

 

Multinational company

Corporation 

Transnational business

 

The Commonwealth Effect 

The Commonwealth Advantage

 

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

Commonwealth Free Trade

Free Trade Agreements 

Market access

Market forces

Trade account

 

Minerals

Commodities

Beneficiation

Landed costs

 

Exports

Imports 

 

Sugarcane

Tea

Cotton

Perfumes 

Tobacco 

Silk

Art 

Guns

Wine

Jewels

Oil

 

British Empire Games 

British Empire and Commonwealth Games 

British Commonwealth Games 

Commonwealth Games 

Friendly Games

 

Divine right

Human rights 

Subjects

Citizens 

 

Administrators

Governors 

Ambassadors 

Chief Executive Officers 

Loyalism 

Capitalism

 

Dependent 

Independent

Possession 

Protectorate 

Procession 

 

Spirit of Empire 

Spirit of Freedom 

Spirit of Friendship 

Spirit of Unity 

 

Empire

Friendship 

Subjects

Voluntary

Friends 

Family

 

Imperial family

Family of the Commonwealth 

Association

Former British colonies

Unity 

Network

 

Hegemony 

Internationalism 

Influence for good

 

Compulsory

Violent 

Voluntary 

 

The legacy of empire

Legacy of colonialism

Legacy of slavery

Reparations 

Responsibility

 

The Crown

The Monarchy

The firm

Influencer business 

Elizabeth Corp.

Branding

Royal-watching

Figurehead

Former empire

 

Tradition 

Historical legitimacy

Demise of empire 

Global prestige

 

Diplomatic missteps

Profound sorrow

Forever stains our history

Enslavers

Loot 

Surrendered

Return

King of England

Divine right of kings

God’s mandation

The Crown

Mother Country

 

Imperial

Imperialism

 

Invasion

Raid

Triangular Trade

 

Human slavery

Enslavement

Human Trafficking

Middle Passage

Slave Trade

Stono Rebellion

 

English law

British law

Colonial law

Native courts

 

British justice

 

Colonies of domination

Terra nullius (Nobody’s land)

 

Negro Act 1740

Regulating Act of 1773

 

Multinational enterprises

Royal African Company

Elephant and Castle

British East India Company

Plantation industries

Extractive industries

 

British settlements

White population

White Dominions

White population resettlement 

British Dependency

Settler colonies

British overseas possessions

British empire

British dominions

British colonies

British protectorates

British mandates

British administration

 

Administrators

Governors

Governor Generals

Lord Admiral

 

British Raj

Crown rule

British rule

Direct rule

 

Imperial preference

 

Buy Empire

Rule Britannia 

Pax Britannia 

 

Sugarcane

Tea

Cotton

Perfumes 

Tobacco 

Silk

Art 

Guns

Bullets

Wine

Jewels

 

Charter colony

Proprietary colony

Chartered company

 

British Commonwealth of Nations

Commonwealth

Common 

Wealth 

Commonweal

 

Sovereign state

Republic

Democracy

Independence

 

Prime minister

President

Realm 

Republic

Self-governing territory

Independence

 

Multinational company

Corporation 

Transnational business

 

The Commonwealth Effect 

The Commonwealth Advantage

 

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

Commonwealth Free Trade

Free Trade Agreements 

Market access

Market forces

Trade account

 

Minerals

Commodities

Beneficiation

Landed costs

 

Exports

Imports 

 

Sugarcane

Tea

Cotton

Perfumes 

Tobacco 

Silk

Art 

Guns

Wine

Jewels

Oil

 

British Empire Games 

British Empire and Commonwealth Games 

British Commonwealth Games 

Commonwealth Games 

Friendly Games

 

Divine right

Human rights 

Subjects

Citizens 

 

Administrators

Governors 

Ambassadors 

Chief Executive Officers 

Loyalism 

Capitalism

 

Dependent 

Independent

Possession 

Protectorate 

Procession 

 

Spirit of Empire 

Spirit of Freedom 

Spirit of Friendship 

Spirit of Unity 

 

Empire

Friendship 

Subjects

Voluntary

Friends 

Family

 

Imperial family

Family of the Commonwealth 

Association

Former British colonies

Unity 

Network

 

Hegemony 

Internationalism 

Influence for good

 

Compulsory

Violent 

Voluntary 

 

The legacy of empire

Legacy of colonialism

Legacy of slavery

Reparations 

Responsibility

 

The Crown

The Monarchy

The firm

Influencer business 

Elizabeth Corp.

Branding

Royal-watching

Figurehead

Former empire

 

Tradition 

Historical legitimacy

Demise of empire 

Global prestige

 

Diplomatic missteps

Profound sorrow

Forever stains our history

Enslavers

Loot 

Surrendered

Return

The Firm vs. the Family: How Does the British Monarchy Really Work?

Howstuffworks

The Firm vs. the Family: How Does the British Monarchy Really Work?

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, 2020 in London.  PHIL HARRIS - WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES The world was shocked when Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced they were leaving Britain's royal family in January 2020. A second jolt occurred when the two (aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 and revealed how disheartened and "trapped" they felt by the royal institution. They also tried to explain about how the Crown operates. "So there's the family, and then there's the people that are running the institution," Meghan said, according to USA Today. "Those are two separate things. And it's important to be able to compartmentalize that, because the Queen, for example, has always been wonderful to me." It's a complicated, convoluted system. The royal family consists of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip (the Duke of Edinburgh), plus their four children: Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward, and Princess Anne and their spouses. Elizabeth and Philip's eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren are also royals. If you didn't make it onto this balcony at Buckingham Palace, you are likely not a member of the royal family. CHRIS JACKSON COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES But this family is also part of a sprawling business institution with thousands of employees that manages royal affairs. As with any other company, these employees work in human resources, public relations, information technology, housekeeping and so on, in addition to occupying visible roles such as personal secretaries, drivers and security. About a century ago, King George VI (Elizabeth's father) dubbed this combination of business and clan as "The Firm." Who Pays for the Royal Family? With so many employees and such prominence, The Firm requires a lot of money to operate. In 2020, the bill came to £82.4 million, or about $114 million. These funds don't come from taxpayers per se, but from a convoluted system with real estate at its core. Here's how it works. Every year, the U.K. government gives the royal household a monetary allotment called the sovereign grant. The money in the grant is a percentage of the surplus revenue from the Crown Estate, an extensive real estate portfolio belonging to The Crown. The portfolio's profits mainly come through annual appreciation and farming. In 2017, the monarchy received 25 percent of the Crown Estate's surplus net income — a jump from the previous 15 percent — plus an additional 10 percent allotment that will last a decade to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The government retained the remainder of the surplus. Laura Clancy, a media lecturer at the U.K.'s Lancaster University and author of upcoming book "Running the Family Firm: How the Monarchy Manages Its Image and Our Money," says via email that Queen Elizabeth II doesn't personally own the Crown Estate. Instead, it's a publicly owned property portfolio held in trust by The Crown. "This means that if the monarchy were abolished, all of the profits from the Crown Estate would go to the public," she says. A tempting thought for nonroyals. Clancy also notes that the sovereign grant is often reported to be the official cost of the monarchy, but that's not accurate. The royal family's security is paid for by the Metropolitan Police, plus local councils pick up the tab for royal visits. "This means the monarchy costs more than the official reports from the sovereign grant," she says. Working royals, like the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, receive funds from the sovereign grant to support their work, travel, staff, clothing and residence renovations. They do not receive set salaries, however, nor are they typically allowed to do paid work. But the Queen receives a substantial income from the private Duchy of Lancaster, a set of commercial, agriculture and residential properties that was attached to the monarchy in 1265. In 2019-2020, it generated more than £25 million for her, or $34.7 million. Similarly, as heir to the throne, Prince Charles receives income from the private Duchy of Cornwall, also established centuries ago. The two pass on some of this income to their heirs, although it isn't known how much. Who's Really Running Things? The Firm's complexity involves a lot more than money, though. Another aspect that's difficult for outsiders to grasp is its myriad rules, regulations and traditions. Some are noncontroversial (e.g., bowing or curtseying to the Queen), but many others seem silly or off-putting. Women are always supposed to wear pantyhose, for example, and never cross their legs while sitting. Makeup should be minimal, and couples aren't supposed to engage in any PDA — not even hand-holding. Oh, and you shouldn't close your own car door. Who's making these rules, insisting they be followed or allowing them, at times, to be broken? Clancy says it's unclear. "The operations of the monarchy are complex, and there are many different individuals involved in running the institution, from public relations to HR to financial advisers," she says. But tradition is important, as it's a form of historical legitimacy for the monarchy. And this is where things loop back to Prince Harry and Markle. For one final, major component of The Firm is the royal rota, or pool system comprising a group of reporters and photographers from seven U.K. publications. For the past 40 years, the royal family has granted the rota special access to their royal engagements in exchange for coverage, as coverage helps maintain the monarchy's relevance. These press members are expected to share material with each other. Today, four of the rota publications are tabloids, including the Daily Mail and the Sun. And these rota journalists often write about Markle harshly, and sometimes in a racist manner. A selection of headlines from British newspapers in response to Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 8, 2021. Most of the papers represented are members of the royal rota. CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES  One of the biggest reasons the couple left the royal family, according to the Winfrey interview and other press accounts, appears to be their distress and disgust with the rota, and their wish to escape its orbit. U.K.'s National Union of Journalists expressed concern at the time of the decision in 2020 to leave the rota, stating that as the royal family is partially funded by the public, "we cannot have a situation where journalists writing about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can only do so if they have the royal seal of approval," according to Town and Country. And although their separation from The Firm — and the rota — means no more income from the sovereign grant or the Duchy of Cornwall, the two should be just fine. In stepping back from their royal duties, Harry and Meghan (as they'd now like to be called) are allowed to earn a living on their own. The couple quickly inked a three-year podcasting deal with Spotify allegedly worth $25 million and a five-year Netflix deal, allegedly worth over $100 million. These deals will allow them to produce documentaries, films, podcasts, kids' programming and other content down the road.
Inside ‘The Firm’: How the Royal Family’s $28 Billion Money Machine Really Works

Inside ‘The Firm’: How the Royal Family’s $28 Billion Money Machine Really Works

Getty Images Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with the Queen of Media has the Windsors tied in knots. Here’s how it affects their 1,000-year-old business. After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's devastating interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 7, "The Firm" is on shaky ground. The senior members of the House of Windsor should have seen the tectonic consequences coming. “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time,” Markle told Winfrey, “we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.” The menacing moniker dates back more than 80 years to the period following the most divisive episode in modern royal history—the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII. Alternatively attributed to Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, who succeeded his older brother, and her husband, Prince Philip, the darkly accurate nickname for the senior members of the family stuck. The Firm—also known as “Monarchy PLC”—are the public faces of a $28 billion empire that pumps hundreds of millions of pounds into the United Kingdom’s economy every year. The lavish televised weddings (the boost to the U.K. economy from Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding was an estimated $1.5 billion), buzzy tours of Commonwealth countries and public displays of pomp and circumstance generate massive interest—and profits—for a global business enterprise that spans from prime real estate in central London to remote farmlands in Scotland. Love and Money: By stepping away from the royal family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may be better off financially. AP The saga of the royal family has also been a mother lode for the British media. In the Oprah interview, Markle spoke of the “invisible contract” with the tabloids, describing a relationship that is at once symbiotic, sycophantic and sinister. It’s also been great for newsstand sales and TV ratings. Three years ago, Brand Finance, a U.K.-based brand valuation firm, estimated The Firm’s contributions to the media industry at nearly $70 million. That number seems small after Harry and Meghan’s interview was broadcast in more than 60 countries. And even the prince acknowledged that they have watched the acclaimed Netflix series The Crown.  Who gets to be part of The Firm and reap the benefits has become a point of great contention over the years. Following Harry and Meghan’s departure from official duties, the number of full-time senior royals has been winnowed down to eight. Aiding Her Majesty as members of The Firm are an elite group of seven royals: Prince Charles, who is next in line for the crown, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William, second in line to the throne, and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge; Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter; and Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. According to historian and royal commentator Carolyn Harris, the move to narrow the inner circle is as much about consolidating resources as it is about maintaining reputational control. “These efforts to streamline are clearly trying to counter public opinion concerned about the Sovereign Grant going to too many people and there being too much funding for minor royals,” Harris says. The Queen’s $500 million in personal assets is thanks to her investments, jewels and two castles.  The organizational chart of The Firm is a testament to the 1,000-year-old family business, and the public perception that sustains it is vital to its success. “It is a very formalized influencer business,” explains David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance. Unlike a celebrity family such as the Kardashians, however, the Windsors don’t personally profit from the business itself—although they contributed an estimated $2.7 billion annually to the U.K. economy prepandemic. The impact the royal family has on the U.K. economy is mostly through tourism, but Haigh notes there are other financial benefits, such as free media coverage of Britain (which was an estimated $400 million in 2017). There are also many valuable royal warrants granted by the monarch—essentially a stamp of approval on high-end consumer products like Barbour jackets and Johnnie Walker whisky. Haigh estimates that a royal warrant can boost the holder’s revenue by as much as 10%. The economic advantages for companies and institutions in the royal family’s orbit far exceed the $550 million cost associated with the family’s massive operating expenses, according to Haigh. Not everybody wants to be a part of the monarchy machine, however. The enormous pressures that come with the job have driven members out of the family, including, of course, Princess Diana and now Harry and Meghan. It has not always ended well for those who leave—or are pushed out—but armed with powerful celebrity friends in America and several Hollywood deals, Harry and Meghan may find themselves far better off financially (and emotionally) than those, in the words of Prince Harry, who remain “trapped.” Elizabeth Corp. Since she inherited the throne from her father in 1952, Queen Elizabeth has chaired The Firm—even if she doesn’t have the final say over how the business is managed. Prince Philip, the 99-year-old patriarch of the Windsor family, was once a powerful member of The Firm, but he has formally stepped back from his official duties. In addition to losing Prince Harry, the Firm ousted another senior member in the past year, after Prince Andrew’s close relationship to late pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein was exposed—and he had a disastrous television interview of his own in 2019. Beyond the extended family, the House of Windsor has thousands of employees around the world. Buckingham Palace alone employs some 1,200 people—even if they aren't always paid a Queen’s ransom to work there. An entry-level IT specialist can make upwards of $40,000 a year, as well as benefits, at Buckingham Palace, according to a recent job listing on an official palace portal. The Crown Estate, the institution that oversees the assets of the monarchy, also employs an additional 450 people, including a board of directors that make the financial decisions for the monarchy. Being a member of The Firm also comes with high expectations for keeping the moneymaking machine running for generations to come. The crown holds, but cannot sell, nearly $28 billion in assets through the Crown Estate ($19.5 billion), Buckingham Palace (est. $4.9 billion), the Duchy of Cornwall ($1.3 billion), the Duchy of Lancaster ($748 million), Kensington Palace (est. $630 million) and the Crown Estate Scotland ($592 million). Forbes also estimates that Queen Elizabeth has another $500 million in personal assets. Meet The Firm: Who Really Rules The Royal Family In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, the Crown Estate pulled in more than $700 million, with more than $475 million in profits. The royal family receives 25% of the Crown Estate income, which is also known as the Sovereign Grant, and the remaining 75% goes to the British Treasury. The latest Sovereign Grant received by the royals was roughly $120 million, which the family uses solely for official expenses, which include payroll, security, travel, housekeeping, maintenance costs and IT expenses. The private expenses of the Queen, and her extended family, are also supported by another allowance through the Duchy of Lancaster called the Privy Purse. In the latest fiscal year, the Duchy of Lancaster reported a net profit of $30 million. As with any business, the pandemic has taken a toll on royal revenue. In September, the Keeper of the Privy Purse acknowledged that the royal balance sheet faced a potential $45 million shortfall, mostly due to a major drop in tourism and visits to royal landmarks in the U.K. because of lockdowns. He also added that the royals wouldn’t be asking for extra funding from the Treasury. Not that the Queen needs to fill her coffers. Her Majesty’s $500 million in personal assets is thanks to her investments, art, jewels and real estate, including two castles: Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle. The bulk of that will pass down to Prince Charles when he finally ascends the throne. And like his mother, he won’t directly own most of that $28 billion, which includes the Queen’s personal wealth, the assets under the Crown Estate, its holdings in Scotland, the Duchy of Lancaster, the Duchy of Cornwall and two palaces: Buckingham and Kensington.  Charles, Inc Now 72, Prince Charles has the second-biggest operation within the royal family. As the Duke of Cornwall, Charles gets an income from the Duchy of Cornwall in addition to what he already receives from the Sovereign Grant. The Duchy was founded in the 14th century by Edward III to keep his first-born son occupied (and flush) while waiting to become king. Nowadays, the Duchy has a staff of 150 managing a portfolio of more than 130,000 acres of property across southwest England worth nearly $1.3 billion. As with the Crown Estate, Prince Charles cannot sell the assets belonging to the Duchy, but he can earn money from them. By renting out property to retailers, farmers and residents, the Duchy brought in more than $50 million in revenue last year, $30 million of which went to the Prince of Wales and his descendants to support their respective staffs and operations. Even without the crown, the Duchy of Cornwall is far more lucrative for Charles than the Sovereign Grant, which paid him less than $2.5 million last year. Of that, $7.3 million funded the Prince’s 132 personal staffers, $6.75 million went to taxes and $4.4 million was dedicated to charitable activities, including the Prince’s Trust, Charles’ charity to help unemployed youth.  Flush Royals: Inside The Firm’s Nearly $28 Billion in Assets A good portion of this income has also been used to support his sons. Prince William and Prince Harry received a combined $7.8 million last year to support their own operations, but as Harry suggested in the Oprah interview, that is no longer the case for him. In the same interview, Meghan also suggested that part of what fueled the couple’s departure was the family’s intention to deny their son, Archie, from assuming the title of prince, along with the financial support from being a working royal. This, royal historian Harris says, is the manifestation of Charles’ particular focus on limiting the number of senior members—and consolidating the resources—of the family. Even if the decision to shut out Archie was strictly business, Harris notes that “the optics of that are not good, as that could be interpreted as excluding a mixed-race member of the royal family.”  “The worst possible accusation in their speech to Oprah was that the royal family is racist,” Brand Finance’s Haigh says. “That would damage the economic effect [of royals].” In her first statement after the Sunday interview, the Queen addressed the matter in an effort to mitigate the gallons of negative press ink spilled covering the scandal. “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,” Her Majesty said in her official announcement. “Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.” William, LLC The first son of Prince Charles and third in line to the throne, Prince William, does not have a direct source of income through his father’s Duchy—but he and his wife, Kate, certainly have the power to boost the sales of brands without the royal warrant, which, according to Brand Finance, added more than $165 million to the U.K. economy annually in 2017. Kate’s halo effect has often increased the sales of brands she is seen wearing or even those that emulated her style. In 2015, G.H. Hurt & Sons, which made Princess Charlotte’s baby shawl, recorded 100,000 visits after photos of the newborn appeared in the British press.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don't receive any money from their influence, however. Now 38, William receives an annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall to cover his family’s private expenses. In the fiscal year ending March 2020, the prince received a portion of nearly $8 million, which he had to share with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before they announced they were stepping away from their royal duties. Yet the Duke of Cambridge is not fully dependent on the income from the Duchy—neither is Harry. Part of the estate of their late mother, Princess Diana, went to the princes on their 25th birthdays. Thanks to what he inherited from Diana—which Forbes estimated to be $10 million—Harry and his family were able to settle down in California, he told Oprah on Sunday, after his family “literally cut [him] off financially.”  Going Out Of Business Being cut off from the British royal family is hardly a financial death sentence. Now settled down in a $14.7 million Santa Barbara mansion in California, Harry and Meghan have several sweet deals to sustain them over the next few decades. The income will be necessary to fund round-the-clock security, which could cost as much as $4 million per year. They also have multiple revenue streams. In December, the couple released their first podcast with Spotify, called Archewell Audio. That same month, the couple signed a three-year podcasting deal with the music giant that could be worth from as much as $15 million to $18 million, Forbes reported in February. This is in addition to the Apple TV+ series on mental health that Harry will executive produce with Winfrey for an undisclosed sum and a $100 million, five-year Netflix deal the royal couple signed in September. They are expected to produce documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming for the streaming service, and also rake in nearly four times the allowance they received from the Duchy of Cornwall. Choosing Winfrey to conduct their first post-royal interview was as good for their future endeavors as it was for television. When Meghan opened up about her struggles with suicidal thoughts during her time at Frogmore Cottage and not having access to mental health support, Oprah mentioned her partnership with Harry. “No one should have to go through that,” she said instantly. “You know Harry and I are working on this mental health series for Apple, so we hear a lot of these stories.” Free from the constraints of The Firm, Harry and Meghan will not likely struggle financially as his great uncle, King Edward VIII, did when he gave up the crown to marry an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson, in the 1930s. As Brand Finance’s Haigh notes, if they expand beyond their Netflix and Spotify deals and delve into jewelry and apparel, “Harry and Meghan could become a $1 billion brand.”
How the British Royal Family Became a Global Brand

How the British Royal Family Became a Global Brand

It’s hard to imagine the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Thailand selling souvenir tchotchkes in quite the same way. Phil Noble / Reuters Regardless of how people felt about the British royal family, they would have been hard-pressed to avoid the image of Queen Elizabeth II in London—and in much of the world—during the late spring of 2012. The year marked the queen’s “diamond jubilee,” celebrating 60 years with Elizabeth II on the throne. From an optician’s window on Kensington High Street, the monarch appeared encased in an ornate gold frame and surrounded by signs proclaiming a £50 discount. Nearby, on Piccadilly Circus, photos taken at different stages of her life beamed from souvenir shortbread tins, coffee mugs, tea towels, and miscellaneous tchotchkes. But the brand of the British royal family doesn’t belong to Britain alone. Even as the world has seen a marked decline in the number of crowned heads, especially in Europe, since the beginning of the 20th century, Queen Elizabeth II and her family continue to attract worldwide fascination. In 2011, millions of people in 180 countries watched the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. During the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics the following year, 900 million viewers worldwide watched Elizabeth II play herself in a skit delivering secret orders to the British spy James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) before parachuting with him, via stunt double, into Olympic Stadium. Meanwhile, British tabloids and online media beam royal missteps and debacles around the world. It is hard to imagine, say, the monarchs of Saudi Arabia, Thailand, or Norway as global brands in quite the same way. And while the successful branding of the British royal family is partially a product of Britain’s historic role in the world, it also has causes closer to home—in the evolving relationship between British royals and their subjects. * * * “Royal-watching” has historically attracted much of the citizenry in what is now known as Great Britain. Until the broad-scale development of mass media in the late 19th century, people typically learned about royal activities through proclamations “nailed on the market cross, read aloud by a sheriff or other local official, or circulated and reported in [a] village or alehouse,” according to the historian Kevin Sharpe in Selling the Tudor Monarchy. Until recently, many royal rituals were regarded as private, and sometimes secretive, affairs of state rather than occasions for public cultural celebration. But as more citizens migrated to London and its environs, their presence increased at the processionals that preceded coronations, funerals, and triumphal civic pageants celebrating victories over enemies on the battlefield, according to historical records. Yet royal-watching has not always been a tourist activity. From 1066 until 1743, when George II was the last king to fight in battle, the British were involved in over 50 wars. During much of this “warrior king” era, royal-watching often meant watching out for monarchs—or their armies. Kings and queens were under constant pressure to replenish their royal treasuries and to rouse and replace lost troops, equipment, and transportation. With warrior kings often as likely to plunder their own subjects as protect them, the notion of engaging in any kind of royal-themed tourist experiences, or of collecting souvenirs or traveling to seek royal encounters, would have been unfathomable. The decline of the aristocracy meant that the upper class began to interact with the royal family at events that the lower classes could also attend. After 1688, the British Parliament began to abate the power of the monarchy through increasing constitutional restrictions. At the same time, two other key factors reshaped the nature of royal-watching. The role of the warrior king waned by the end of the 18th century, replaced by the decidedly more passive role of the monarch as diplomat. Meanwhile, a structured and stable class system arose. For the lower classes who lived outside London, royal-watching typically involved lining the hedgerows along Britain’s village roads, where monarchs and their entourages traveled. Within the aristocracy, however, a more formal and demanding type of interaction emerged. During the 19th and part of the 20th centuries, the most important families in society were expected to host elaborate weekend parties at their estates and to resign themselves to royals inviting themselves over. Of course, most families regarded hosting members of the ruling class of their country as a great social achievement. Sometimes, however, the situation devolved into a classic example of being careful what one wished for. In the late 19th century, the lavish tastes of Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) meant that entertaining him cost £5,000 to £10,000 (in 19th-century pounds) per weekend. It was rumored that Lord Suffield, a close friend of Albert’s, grew so desperate for relief from this duty that he burned and gutted his own home. Between the two world wars, the British aristocracy was gradually but irrevocably felled by the combination of a global depression, a decline in demand for British goods around the world, the battlefield deaths and horrific injuries incurred during World War I by many sons and heirs of the great houses, and crippling changes in estate-taxation laws. By World War II, large weekend house parties had died out, shifting the locus of the royal family’s entertainment to their own palaces and to events such as the annual presentation of upper-class debutantes at court. The decline of the aristocracy also meant that the British upper class began to interact with the royal family at events that members of lower social classes could also attend. At significant sporting events, such as Wimbledon and Royal Ascot, for example, tickets are available to the general public. Distinctions in the ways the social classes interact are still maintained even at these more accessible events, but sometimes class boundaries disappear completely around their fringes. In 2005, after the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles in Windsor, many guests in their tails, top hats, and “fascinators” dined at the bistro chain Café Rouge in Windsor & Eton Central train station—at tables alongside more plebeian spectators who had stood behind the barricades, waving as the couple’s limousine sped off. Norwegian shops are stuffed with varieties of moose, reindeer, Vikings, and a bevy of trolls. But royals are a blip on the country’s retail radar. * * * Today, processions of monarchs and dignitaries at the coronation of a new British monarch mark the occasion as a truly global recognition of the British crown. It is not just the ceremony that’s international. The British scholar John Balmer, who has done extensive work on “monarchic brands,” has observed that because the queen is the sovereign of the United Kingdom and 15 other realms (not to mention the head of the Commonwealth of Nations, with 53 member countries), she is, de facto, “16 queens rolled into one.” This international reach of the British monarchy, especially as it is manifested in consumer culture, highlights a key difference between that royal family and other monarchies around the globe. For example, it is illegal to speak ill of Thailand’s royal family, and being caught doing so can result in jail time. So it is highly unlikely any Thai retailer would risk offering, say, a coffee mug that pokes even gentle fun at King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s extreme wealth. It might be assumed that the few remaining monarchies in Europe would be motivated to tailor their royal-related merchandise to a broad array of touristic tastes. But the range of royal-themed goods, services, and experiences on the continent in no way approaches what can be acquired in Britain. Although Oslo’s main street—at the crest of which is the royal palace—is awash in tourist shops and global retailers like the Hard Rock Cafe, the average number of royal souvenirs found in establishments along the street is essentially zero. It isn’t that Norwegian retailers spare their visitors kitsch; their shops are stuffed with sacred to silly varieties of moose, reindeer, Vikings, Laplanders, and a bevy of trolls. But two weeks of exploring tourist and antique shops in Norway’s interior and on its coastline revealed that royal merchandise is a blip on the country’s retail radar. Contrast this muted mercantile response with the types of artifacts people can find in Britain to satisfy the “curious psychological need for royal narratives and for imagined participation in royal lives,” as the tourism scholar Philip Long wrote in Royal Tourism. Even when Charles, prince of Wales, and his wife Diana divorced in 1996, and the resulting negative public sentiment led many to assume that the future of the monarchy was tenuous, manufacturers responded with commemoratives of that event. One souvenir plate even satirized the divorce by sporting an image of the couple with a large black crack down the center. Marketplace representations of the British royal family run the gamut from what the anthropologist Helaine Silverman labels “portable royalty” (e.g., teaspoons, thimbles, coffee mugs, and key chains) to large-scale, expensive choices—including refrigerators boasting full-sized William and Catherine engagement-photo decals, and replicas of royal housewares and jewelry made of gold, silver, porcelain, and other fine materials priced in the thousands of pounds. For many people, the British monarchy reflects what the Scottish political theorist Tom Nairn calls the “glamour of backwardness. Even the Kremlin offered an exhibit in 2013 called “The ‘Golden Age’ of the English Court: From Henry VIII to Charles I. Between 2012 and 2014, the diamond jubilee, Prince George’s birth, William and Catherine’s tour of Australia and New Zealand, and their subsequent whirlwind visit to New York City helped sustain interest in visits to sites associated with the monarchy. There are numerous historically significant and (mostly) well-trodden royal venues in Britain, including Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and Westminster Abbey. But there are also four annual racing events, each on a different continent, that bear Queen Elizabeth’s name. There is a “Queen Elizabeth Land” in Antarctica, a Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden in Lower Manhattan, and a statue of her posing with her ubiquitous handbag in Brisbane, Australia. Even the Kremlin, associated with the regime that brought the Russian monarchy to a violent end, offered an exhibit in 2013 called “The ‘Golden Age’ of the English Court: From Henry VIII to Charles I.” Defenders of the monarchy often argue that it is a vital tourist draw. In truth, except for the specific records of how many people visit a particular site, it is very difficult to accurately assess the economic impact of royal tourism. The BBC’s former economics correspondent Evan Davies has asserted that 10 percent of all tourists visit the United Kingdom because of their interest in the royal family, but notes that many more “are attracted [to] Britain … as a unique and glorious heritage center, to which the monarchy makes an inestimable contribution.” Doing away with the monarchy while retaining its trappings, for example, would likely not be as alluring for tourists, since the royal family acts, in the words of The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan, “as a sort of charismatic megafauna for the entire royalty-tourism ecosystem.” The staff at St. James’s Palace, the official royal residence, has gradually adopted more sophisticated marketing techniques to promote the royal family and tourist experiences related to the monarchy—efforts to which the queen and her relatives have occasionally contributed significantly. Foremost among these was the queen’s decision in 1993 to open Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s administrative headquarters, to the public, despite her desire to keep her public and private lives distinct. In 2013, foreign tourists ranked the tour of the palace as the top “Only in Britain” activity.
In former British colonies, ghosts of past haunt mourning for queen

In former British colonies, ghosts of past haunt mourning for queen

‘Colonialism is history in the West,’ said a South African writer. ‘But in our countries, colonialism is now.’ NAIROBI — When the children of Kenya’s most famous freedom fighter learned about the death of Queen Elizabeth II, they mourned for England and for the queen’s family. The death of a parent is never easy, the Kimathi children know. “It is a lot for their country,” said Elizabeth Kimathi, 66. “We feel sorry for them and for the royal family.” Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for the latest updates on Russia’s war in Ukraine. But the Kimathis were reflecting on a darker part of the queen’s legacy. They were thinking about how shortly after Elizabeth Windsor ascended to the throne, the British fought a year-long war to crush the rebellion led in part by their father, Dedan Kimathi — a man then branded a terrorist and now seen as a hero in Kenya. They were thinking about how thousands of fighters were killed and more than 100,000 civilians were forced into detention camps. How British soldiers tortured their mother. How their father was ultimately hanged, despite repeated appeals to the British government. How many letters their mother wrote to the queen, pleading for her help finding the gravesite so she could give her husband a proper burial. “She was a woman and a mother and a wife,” Evelyn Kimathi, 51, said of Queen Elizabeth. “She could have shown mercy to a fellow woman and wife.” People help Mukami Kimathi, widow of Kenyan freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi, get to a shrine where he was captured in 1956 during a commemoration event in 2019. (Billy Mutai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images) Since the queen’s death last week, many in the West have heaped praise upon the woman who for 70 years served as a beacon of stability and duty, a constant guide during a period of radical shifts. But throughout England’s former colonies, some of which fought violent struggles to secure their independence during Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the reaction has been decidedly more complicated. As their leaders paid homage to the queen — with the presidents of Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria among those who offered tributes and praised England’s current partnerships with their countries — residents of former colonies publicly recounted the havoc wreaked by the empire. Online and in private, there have been fraught discussions about the extent to which Queen Elizabeth, whose duties were largely ceremonial, bore responsibility, and how to balance respect for the dead with reckoning of past wrongs. “The thing that I think Western people need to genuinely try to absorb and realize is that colonialism is history in the West,” said Sipho Hlongwane, a writer based in Johannesburg. “It is a thing of the past, in the West. But in our countries, colonialism is now.” In South Africa, he noted, many Apartheid-era practices were borrowed from the British. Poverty today is largely broken down along racial lines. The British and their descendants still control the vast majority of the country’s lucrative mines. “The choices she made, she could have made differently,” Hlongwane said of Queen Elizabeth. “You can be born into that level of privilege and make choices that are different, then eat the consequences. Are we seriously not allowed to point that out?” Queen Elizabeth II and the end of Britain’s imperial age The queen’s death has also escalated calls by people in Africa and South Asia for the royal family to return riches taken from their lands — including the Kohinoor diamond and Great Star of Africa, which were “gifted” by India and South Africa, respectively. The story of the Great Star of Africa, which was mined in 1905 at a White-owned mine and subsequently given to the royal family, is the story of many of the artifacts in the British Museum, said Hlongwane. “It may have been done over tea and a handshake,” he said. “But no right thinking person would think that was a fair transaction.” The crown of Queen Elizabeth II is carried into the State Opening of Parliament and Queen's Speech in London in 2005. (Anwar Hussein-Pool/Getty Images) Shailja Patel, a Kenyan author and activist, said she knew that when Elizabeth died, the “mythmaking machine” would immediately sweep into action. As she watched the media coverage begin, Patel took to Twitter. In a widely shared thread, she noted that the storied Treetops Hotel in Aberdare National Park — where Elizabeth, then just 25, learned she would became queen after her father’s sudden death — would become the site from which British soldiers gunned down freedom fighters as if at a “game shoot.” “What the British did in Kenya,” Patel said in an interview, “they did all over the world. … We are just beginning to chip away at the history and the lies and the mythmaking of empire.” Britain in 2013 apologized for the torture of Kenyan rebels and agreed to pay a settlement of about $20 million to the living survivors, which amounted to about $4,000 per person. After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Britain faces questions and uncertainty For Sadaf Khan, a 22-year-old Bangladeshi American whose grandparents grew up during British rule in Dhaka, the capital of modern-day Bangladesh, the queen’s death has been a source of familial tension. Khan said his grandparents — who experienced violence and had to scavenge for food during the Partition, when British India was divided into India and Pakistan in 1947 — along with his parents, are “weirdly sad about the queen’s passing.” He attributed their feelings to the queen’s portrayal within South Asia as “a beacon of prosperity.” (Bangladesh subsequently seceded from Pakistan in 1971 to form an independent country.) Khan said he has countered by bringing up the “horrors that the British Empire brought on South Asia,” including white supremacy and colorism still evident in South Asian culture. Indian soldiers walk through the debris of a building in the Chowk Bijli Wala area of Amritsar during unrest following the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. (AFP/Getty Images) Anuj Chandra, an Indian-born doctor whose uncle disappeared during the Partition, described a nostalgia for a “British sense of style and class,” combined with a growing recognition of the legacy of British colonialism in India — and Queen Elizabeth II’s role in enabling its continuation. “She conducted herself with amazing grace and dignity,” said Chandra, who now lives in Tennessee, “and at the same time, I think it’s a time to question their role, and also the history and what could be done about … the damage that colonialism left in the Third World.” Laid to rest Queen Elizabeth II has been buried in her final resting place next to Prince Philip, her husband of more than 70 years, capping an elaborate state funeral, which was invested with all the pomp, circumstance and showmanship that the monarchy, military and state could put on display for a global broadcast audience of millions. Here are some of the most memorable moments in photos and videos. A new monarch King Charles III is Britain’s new monarch and may bring a markedly different personal vision of religion and spirituality to the role.Britons will also need to swiftly adjust to seeing his face on these staples of daily life, including postage stamps and the national anthem.Charles ascended the throne the moment his mother passed away. Here’s a look at the next 10 royals who are next in line to the throne. Nigerian-born professor Uju Anya sparked an outcry when she wished the queen — whom she declared “a thieving raping genocidal empire” — “excruciating” pain in dying. Anya’s tweet was deleted by Twitter for violating its policies and condemned by Carnegie Mellon University, where Anya works. But Anya, whose ancestors were killed during Nigeria’s devastating civil war, insisted she would not express “anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family.” As he watched criticism swell on Twitter, Nigerian journalist David Hundeyin said he was struck by just how “deep-seated the ignorance is about what the issues even are … about what the British monarchy is, and what it represented.” The country of Nigeria was formed when British rulers decided to merge the vastly different North and South into one nation. They gave political power to the rulers in the North, and when civil war broke out in 1967, Britain backed the federal government, providing funding and weapons. Historians estimate more than 1 million Igbo civilians in Nigeria’s southeast died, many of starvation. People whose families were directly touched by such tragedy should be able to express their frustration with the regime whose policies contributed to such tragedy, said Hundeyin. “I’m not sure anyone gets to tell you: ‘Oh how dare you? You are not showing decorum. It is not the right time,’ ” he said. “When is the right time? Who gets to decide when it is the right time? Who gets to decide in the hierarchy of human life, whose life ranks above others?” Chason reported from Dakar, Senegal, and Venkataramanan from Washington.