As Black Lives Matter protests sweep the world, the British Royal Family has stayed mum. Why haven’t they said anything?
Queen & Commonwealth
That’s the question Omid Scobie asked recently. He’s the royal editor for Harper’s Bazaar and recently co-authored the first authorized biography of Harry and Meghan.
“While I appreciate the importance of members of the British Royal Family remaining apolitical and not delving into the political issues of other countries, we need to see the issue of anti-Black racism for what it is—a global human rights crisis, which, like in the U.S., has been at the root of so many societal issues in the U.K. and across the Commonwealth,” Scobie said.
What’s the Commonwealth? The Queen isn’t just the ruler of England. She’s the ceremonial head of 54 total member states–many of them former British colonies. 18 of those nations, including the Sussexes’ beloved Botswana, are in Africa.
It’s a huge, diverse mishmash of people that makes up about a third of the total global population. Although she technically does not govern these countries, she does serve as a figurehead. And words from her–or at least from Charles, or William–could make a lot of difference.
Pressure on Meghan
Protests are happening right in the Queen’s backyard, too. Stars Wars actor John Boyega just spoke out at a huge protest in London. Videos of his impassioned speech have been viewed millions of times.
And yet only Duchess Meghan, exiled to America after an extended period of racially motivated negative press, has actually said anything about the protests. She delivered a video address to the graduating class of her former high school. In it, she spoke candidly about growing up during the Rodney King riots.
The same tabloids that gleefully attacked Meghan during her tenure as a member of the Royal Family had been demanding for her to go on record about BLM. Once she did, they scoffed at the impropriety of getting “too political.”
Is It Time for the Royals to Get Political?
The Royal Family is supposed to stay out of politics. That’s always been the golden rule. They serve as the ceremonial leaders of nations, but they don’t take sides in political debates or elections.
“Members of the Royal Family have said little about the issue of racism over the years, but silence right now is not an option,” Scobie continued in his opinion piece.
“Up and down the country, including right outside Windsor Castle, we have seen protesters demonstrating against police brutality and racism, and we have heard powerful messages from European royals and the Duchess of Sussex that have been heard by millions. It’s so important that anyone with a platform, particularly those who regularly use their voices to amplify humanitarian and charitable issues, gets on it and speaks up.”
It’s not likely that the Queen will ever address these issues directly. It took her weeks to put together a short speech about the coronavirus! However, this is a chance for Prince Charles or Prince William to show that they are going to do things differently when they sit on the throne.