Tekriwal: If Meghan is leaving, the monarchy should too

Tanisha Tekriwal, Assistant Opinion Editor

British tabloids have their best weeks when Meghan Markle, their favorite subject to criticize, does anything that throws off the long-standing traditions of the royal family. Their undeniable need to fixate on the interloper in the palace is thirsty and disparaging to say the least. 

I want to say royals are the new celebrities, but truthfully celebrities are the new royals. Celebrities have now begun to enjoy the high position of security and fame outside of the plebeian that royals have enjoyed for time immemorial. For some reason, this rising status of stars irks the general public more than the enduring status of monarchs.

It has always puzzled me why and how monarchy, an age-old structure of hierarchy, is accepted — even celebrated — in our modern times. Why do some old men and women have more social standing than elected heads of state who have typically earned rather than birthed or married their way to the top?

To be clear, I take issue not only with true monarchies, like Saudi Arabia, but also “constitutional” ones, like the United Kingdom. The former is looked down upon for reasons spelled out in second grade, while the second is a tad more complex in public eyes. What I disagree with is even the symbolic status of these monarchies that do nothing to help build a more equal world. Rather, it reinforces the idea that some of us are just born better. This gives rise to nobility which restricts social mobility. 

The God-given-mantle argument seems to have dissipated, and it’s no secret the ones who sit on the throne are not chosen by any celestial force besides public acquiescence. I know royals all have extravagant lifestyles that the public aspires to. The ceremonies they hold, like coronations and jubilees, are often beautiful and watched by many. However, is that really a good enough reason for these people to be at a status above the rest of the people? 

Whatever happened to at least trying to be democratic?

You would think that the people looking up to blue-blooded monarchs are the ones that like to believe in something bigger than themselves, who seemingly don’t mind being relegated to positions such as cogs and wheels in the architecture of the state. However, it seems unlikely that this kind of collective consciousness is what most defenders of the monarchy tend toward, because then something like communism — the epitome of crushing the individual and seeking something bigger — would be their preferred form of government, not monarchy or democracy. 

It is my understanding that lately this topic has moved to the backs of people’s minds, because does all that private wealth really matter when monarchs aren’t receiving taxes anymore, and have recently paid taxes? However, it is often forgotten or deliberately ignored that this personal finance, which claims to draw its source from investments and other businesses, has public origins at the earliest and has been accumulated over the centuries when treasury and trust all rendezvoused at the Crown’s feet. 

For those who are ready to tolerate monarchy because they’ve been around forever, the argument of tradition doesn’t hold up very well. If we clung to every thread of our frankly disastrous pasts, we’d never have social change or progress. Screw tradition: American tradition used to be hating immigrants, billionaires letting people stand in soup lines, Middle Eastern wars and off-handed racism, but hey, we’re glad all that passed, right?

Let me point to a specifically infuriating and popular dynasty. The darling folks over at Buckingham Palace need to understand that one day people will realize it wasn’t just British merchants and British Parliament who are liable for colonialism in Africa, Asia and the New World. The English monarchy derives nearly all its power and prestige from the destruction of other civilizations and the denigration and death of billions around the world. The English monarchy benefited from it. So spare us the charities and the social service, and don’t leave all the apologizing and reparations to Jeremy Corbyn — they don’t wear the white saviour complex very well anyway. 

The only sensible argument I’ve heard for the continuation of this fancy name for classism is that monarchies are not necessarily worse than the present crumbling edifices of democracies. 

As for the recent news of one of our most notable alumni — Markle’s doing well, and damn those who’ve cursed her for being modern and black. We stan a woman who is single-handedly, subtly and lovingly taking down the Mountbattens. Don’t get me wrong: I love watching The Crown and all, but time’s up. 

Tanisha Tekriwal is a Weinberg Freshman. She can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.