Royal biographer Clive Irving brands Queen's funeral a 'façade'

Royal biographer Clive Irving brands Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral ‘façade without atonement’: He calls for royal family to ‘acknowledge the true cost of the colonies of slavery’ in interview DURING coffin procession to Windsor

  • Irving said the state funeral was a ‘narcotic’ for the British people yesterday
  • He questioned the longevity of the crown if Charles does not atone for slavery 
  • Biographer slammed Prince William’s ‘misjudged’ tour to Caribbean this year 
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

A biographer of Queen Elizabeth II has slammed her funeral as a ‘façade’ and called on the royal family to ‘atone’ for a history of slavery and colonisation.

Clive Irving took aim at the monarchy at the moment the Queen’s coffin was being taken to Windsor Castle yesterday in her emotional funeral procession as grief-stricken Britons came together to pay their respects.

The reporter, who questioned the longevity of the royal family in his 2021 book, The Last Queen, said the Crown was ‘responsible’ for the worst excesses of the British Empire.

He also blasted new heir to the throne Prince William for his ‘misjudged’ tour of the Caribbean earlier this year, which was met with protests and demands for slavery reparations and a renewed debate about the legacy of empire. 

Mr Irving told MSNBC about the funeral pageantry: ‘A lot of this seems to be façade, it’s almost like a Potemkin village exercise.

‘There’s all this regal display of something that, as one of your guests said earlier, nobody does it better than the British, but you always have to ask what lies behind the façade.

Clive Irving has slammed the Queen’s funeral as a ‘facade’ and called on the royal family to ‘atone’ for a history of slavery and colonisation

The biographer was speaking as the Queen’s coffin was being taken to Windsor Castle yesterday in her emotional funeral procession

‘In terms of the future of the monarchy, you can’t separate the future of the monarchy from the future of the country, and therefore the condition of the country has to be taken into account when you think how Charles can handle this.’

Irving, who was also a key contributor to a documentary on Princess Margaret, said the monarchy needs to reckon with the history of the British Empire if it wants to succeed in the future.

He said: ‘This legacy requires something that I haven’t seen coming from the Windsor family at any stage in recent history which requires atonement. 

‘It requires acknowledgment of the true cost to those colonies of slavery which began under Charles II in 1666, because he founded this thing with a very innocent title called the Royal Africa Company which actually concealed a very evil enterprise which was shipping slaves from Africa to the Caribbean colonies.

‘About a quarter of those slaves died before they got there, chained below the decks, and that was subsequently succeeded by colonial societies leading right through to the 20th century in which the crown played the part of head of state.’

Irving said the monarchy needs to reckon with the history of the British Empire if it wants to succeed in the future

The former managing editor of the Sunday Times questioned whether King Charles can sustain the monarchy

‘So although you can’t lay the cost of slavery, the human cost of it, terrible other costs of it, at the doors of the present monarchy or even the Queen, the institution, the crown itself is responsible, there’s a continuity going right through to now.’

He then took aim at Prince William for his week-long tour of the Caribbean in March, which was overshadowed by demands for slavery reparations and the enduring anger over the Windrush scandal.

William and his wife Kate were met with protests across Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Irving said: ‘This situation was completely misjudged by Prince William when he went to the Caribbean earlier this year.

‘I said he hadn’t been properly briefed but I thought about that afterwards and I thought, how can a guy who had the education that William had, he had one of the best educations you can get, how can he not know about this.’

Prince William and Kate (pictured in Kingston) took a controversial tour to the Caribbean earlier this year

The tour was branded ‘tone deaf’ and smacking of ‘colonialism’  as the royals met with locals

Upon his return to the UK, William said he not only discovered more about the ‘different issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also how the past weighs heavily on the present’. 

The father-of-three’s eight-day trip to the Caribbean with his wife Kate, 40, in March, was branded ‘tone deaf’ by critics who said there were moments smacking of ‘colonialism’. 

Antigua and Barbuda became the first to float plans to move toward becoming a republic after the queen’s death, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne telling media he hopes to hold a referendum on the issue within three years.

His counterpart in the Bahamas has signaled similar hopes, though without giving any timeline.

‘For me, it is always on the table,’ Prime Minister Phillip Davis said in comments reported by the Nassau Guardian newspaper the day after the queen died. ‘I will have to have a referendum and the Bahamian people will have to say to me, ‘yes’.’

Jamaica, too, is considering ‘moving on,’ as Prime Minister Andrew Holness pointedly told the king’s son Prince William during a disastrous tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.

They are following a path blazed by Barbados, once known as ‘Little England’ but whose ruling Labour Party last year used its majority to approve a constitutional amendment removing the queen as head of state.

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