British commentators questioned the validity of her claims. “We don’t know exactly what was said, we don’t know how it was said, we don’t know who said it. The only context that we can give to this story is one, frankly, conjured up out of our own fantasies and prejudices,” wrote columnist David Aaronovitch in the center-right British daily, the Times. “We need to push back hard against this. Intention matters, context matters, facts matter. If “feelings” are all that count, then eventually we are, every one of us, potentially lost to someone else’s emotional intensity. And that, not duchesses, is what matters here.”
No normal family
In any normal circumstance “you can draw a line and say this is a private family matter,” said Halima Begum, the head of race equalities think tank the Runnymede Trust, “but the royals are not a normal family.”
Its matriarch, Queen Elizabeth, is the head of state of the UK and 15 other countries in the Commonwealth — an association of 54 countries that were almost all formerly under British rule. The monarchy’s role at the heart of the Commonwealth means the institution represents 2.4 billion people, the majority of whom are not White.
While beloved in the UK and abroad, the monarchy is the most identifiable symbol of Whiteness and imperial nostalgia in British society. “A born to rule White elite encrusted with the wealth and jewels stolen from their former colonies,” wrote Kehinde Andrews, professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City…