The Crown Has No Place In The Caribbean No Matter What Netflix Shows Me – WLRN

Posted: March 16, 2021 at 2:51 am

Im more convinced than ever now that The Crown has no place in The Caribbean. Not even Netflix can change that.

Like millions during this godforsaken pandemic, Ive watched enough of the streaming service to make me wonder if I miss Derry Girls more than I do my own grown children. And Ive slurped the four seasons of The Crown like so many bottles of Cabernet or claret, as the Brits would say.

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A big caveat about The Crown is that its story lines require as much fact-checking as a Donald Trump tweet. But one twist the writers didnt fabricate was Queen Elizabeth IIs solidarity with the British Commonwealth countries many of which she reigns over and most of whose leaders are Black or non-White to help end apartheid in South Africa.

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So kudos to the Queen. And I took that into account as I pondered the accusations of racism thatve been added to the royal familys haunted house of dysfunction after Harry and Meghans interview with Oprah this week.

Still, I have to say this about the royal couples very believable charge that Buckingham Palace was wringing its silk-gloved hands over the hue of their mixed-race child: its only strengthened my belief that Commonwealth countries that still recognize Her Highness as their head of state at least the 10 in the Western Hemisphere should ditch her.

Monday, the day after the Oprah bombshell, was Commonwealth Day. Im sure a lot of folks in the 54 Commonwealth nations, including Canada and many in the Caribbean, sang God Save the Queen. But Im just as sure a lot of them groaned, God, why do we still have a queen? Not just due to the Harry-and-Meghan tell-all, but because of simmering, 21st-century sentiment in those former British territories that commonwealth is just a more polite word for colonialism.

That shadow is one big reason Barbados, a Commonwealth member widely considered the most British of Caribbean islands, announced in September that its replacing Elizabeth with a Barbadian head of state.

The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind, Barbados Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason said. The island, she pledged, will be a republic by the time it celebrates the 55th anniversary of its independence from Britain in November.


Dominica went queen-less in 1966; Guyana in 1970; Trinidad and Tobago in 1976. Jamaica and a few other Caribbean-under-the-Crown nations are now strongly considering it. I hope they do cut the crown cord, for reasons both practical and principled.

After covering the Caribbean for more than 20 years, Im still racking my brain to figure out what lofty benefits these small island nations derive from having a Windsors tiara-ed portrait on their dollar notes. Or did I miss the Queens announcement last month that shes leading a drive to donate COVID-19 vaccine doses to her Caribbean subjects? Oh, wait, that was India a former British colony schooling the British monarchy in how to help its former colonies.

Prince Harry and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, talking to Oprah Winfrey

The bottom line is that these countries dont need the Queen and that jettisoning her could and likely would have a psychologically liberating effect on their democracies. It would be a statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving, as Mason asserted, and a definitive divorce from the legacy of slave-trading overlordship that first made the West Indies barnacled to England 400 years ago.

If Harry and Meghans allegations of royal racism are a reminder of that, so be it. But White, non-Caribbean denizens of the Western Hemisphere also have a stake in this.

The anachronistic idea of monarchy even the figurehead brand thats pasted on Commonwealth states should be anathema to the New World. A fundamental precept of the Americas is our rejection of Old World aristocracy, of the acridly unjust notion that birth defines worth. Another is sovereignty: a head of state across the Atlantic has no business being a head of state here.

The fact that one still is in the Caribbean the New World nexus and in Canada seems very wrong.

So, especially after the Harry-and-Meghan scandal, I hope Netflixs The Crown devotes a plot line to that very point in Season 5. Ive got a bottle of claret waiting.

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The Crown Has No Place In The Caribbean No Matter What Netflix Shows Me - WLRN

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