I’m going to assume you all know about Barbados removing the Queen as the head of state. It seems there is a ripple effect of Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean gaining independence from the English monarchy! Jamaica is the latest country to start the process of removing the Queen as its head of state. The latest news is that Jamaica plans to become a republic on its Independence Day this year, which is on August 6th. I am excited for them! I hope they become a republic after being a “constitutional” monarchy for 60 years and being subject to colonization and enslavement long before that. Even though it may take a lot longer, I do hope Jamaica and other countries that are demanding reparations from the monarchy will receive them.

Why Am I Putting Air Quotes Around Constitutional?:

I have learned from living in the UK that you can call the English Monarchy constitutional all you want. Newsflash: It doesn’t change anything. The monarchy has led to systemic inequality within the UK for almost 1,000 years and abroad for about 500 years. It’s been almost 1,000 years since the Normans invaded the UK in 1066. More than 80% of the wealth in the UK is still owned by the descendants of the Normans. They imposed the nobility and gentry system that still exists today. It didn’t just disappear with the Renaissance, the English Civil War, or the end of the British Empire. Its role today is far more subtle, but it’s there if you look harder. I believe in calling a spade a spade. If you put constitutional in front of monarchy, you’re putting lipstick on a pig.

On a Personal Note:

As you can probably tell from the flags in my display name and bio, I have a connection to Jamaica. I know what you’re thinking:

People’s Reaction when I say I have a connection to Jamaica

OMG Karen! You can’t just ask people why they are white!

Well, I am going to tell you part of the reason why I have a connection to Jamaica, but I won’t say everything. It’s not because I’m ashamed of it. It’s because there are others who could be impacted if I reveal the whole truth.

I grew up in an area outside London that had people from India, Pakistan, Africa (mainly Nigeria and Ghana) and the Caribbean (mainly Jamaica). My parents and I became quite close with Jamaicans, mainly because we were from a similar area of the world. We went to lots of Jamaican parties and participated in discussions of social issues with Jamaicans. I can honestly say Jamaicans are the most socially aware people I have ever met. I heard people’s firsthand stories of the Windrush Generation and moving to the UK because of the lack of jobs in Jamaica. Still, the ones who moved from Jamaica talked about how much they loved it and they taught their kids about their Jamaican heritage. Something else happened that had a significant impact on my life, and that’s where I will stop.

When I saw the 60 Reasons for Apologies and Reparations from Britain and its Royal Family, I was slow-clapping Jamaica. If you don’t know Jamaican history, the above link is a good starting point. Additionally, I am happy that word has gotten out about how Jamaicans have been treated in the UK and that has been included in the reasons.

And Now Kenya is Speaking Out:

When I was writing this post, I found out the Talai Clan in Kenya is petitioning Prince William for reparations. They were evicted from their land so that tea plantations could be grown. Seems like the ripple effect of demanding accountability is going beyond the Caribbean! Go Kenya!

Book Recommendation:

I would like to take the opportunity to give a shoutout to Rosaliene Bacchus from Three Worlds One Vision. She gave me a copy of her book The Twisted Circle during this time when I can’t afford to buy books. I have been slowly reading her book for a few months and absorbing the thoughtful writing that makes me feel like part of the story. Lately, I have been rereading the parts that are related to colonization because of Barbados and Jamaica standing up to the English Monarchy. If you want to learn more about colonization in the Caribbean, particularly in British Guiana, this is the book to read! It makes me recall my Jamaican friends’ stories with both fondness and sympathy.

Could Canada Become a Republic?:

When Barbados made the leap from a “constitutional” monarchy to a republic, there was a discussion on Reddit if Canada could do the same thing. The answer: not any time soon. In the past year, public opinion of the monarchy in Canada has become quite negative, especially after Harry and Megan’s interview. Although, here’s the problem. Canada’s constitution states that it must have a monarch. If they were to remove the Queen, approval of all provinces and territories is needed, which could take years. It’s tough to get provinces to agree on changing the constitution, to say the least. Let’s just say the monarchy has got its claws into Canada. It’s going to take a while to get them out.

It’s common to say here that it would be easier for the UK to remove the monarchy than for Canada to do so. I would say that’s true for Canada since it’s far away from the UK. However, getting rid of the monarchy there would cause serious upheaval in the UK. I’m going to write a post about what I have learned about the monarchy from living in the UK. What I am saying in this post is only the tip of the iceberg.

Will Reparations Happen?:

Truth: I don’t think it will happen any time soon. There’s still denial on the part of the Royal Family about the atrocities they committed. I do think if Barbados, Jamaica and Kenya keep up the pressure, it could happen. However, public opinion in the UK is that reparations aren’t needed for Commonwealth countries. On one side, the UK has a long way to go to even admitting racism and xenophobia are problems in their culture. The denial is rampant! Then again, anyone in the UK who is not nobility is also entitled to reparations after almost 1,000 years of Norman nobility and gentry keeping them “in their place”. I’ll say more about that later. The Royal Family have 1,000 years of oppression in their history. It’s time they owned up to it!

Even though it’s tiring for Commonwealth countries to demand reparations, I have a feeling that they will be more successful at it than people in the UK. There’s too much groupthink in the UK that’s led to racism and xenophobia, but I believe that can be traced back to the propaganda the monarchy created during the Age of Exploration. When you’re talking about an entire nation with a groupthink narrative embedded in the culture, it’s tough to kick it.

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments! Go Barbados, Jamaica and Kenya! πŸ‡§πŸ‡§πŸ‡―πŸ‡²πŸ‡°πŸ‡ͺ

About Author

I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦/πŸ‡―πŸ‡²πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.

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24 Comments

  1. As a Kenyan, and knowing our history I definitely think Kenyans deserve reparations and not just those that were evicted from their land. As a historian, all I can say is that the British are lucky we aren’t all asking for reparations considering how much they took from all over the world.

    1. Yeah, when I heard about the petition, I thought to myself, “I’m sure there’s more to the story and the atrocities committed in Kenya.” That’s almost always the case. The Monarchy sure is lucky about how demands haven’t happened all at once before, but I do wonder if they will start to crack soon. Technology advances and real-time news can cause ripple effects around the globe, so I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more Commonwealth countries start wearing the monarchy down in almost real-time as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and all the best to Kenya for their reparations!

      1. I agree- I see more countries demanding reparations of some sort or the other. Which is great and I think they should. I think technology and a lot of information coming to light as well has aided in that. Thanks!

  2. I couldn’t help but laugh at the Mean Girls reference. Good for Barbados and Jamaica for removing the Queen as their head of state. Just because something is complicated isn’t a good enough excuse to keep the status quo if it isn’t working or reflective of our values anymore. Unfortunately I don’t see Canada following suit anytime soon for a lot of the reasons that you pointed out.

    1. Well, it’s not official with Jamaica yet. They are trying to get it done by their independence day in August. I agree if something is complicated it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change it, especially if it isn’t working. Even though the monarchy isn’t popular with Canadians anymore, I certainly agree with you. I predict it’s going to be one of the last Commonwealth countries to become a republic, if not the very last. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  3. As you’ve experienced getting rid of the monarchy here in Canada is very complicated. Anything that requires constitutional ammendment is avoided by those in government. It is ridiculous though that in today’s world these old 18th and 19th century monarchies are still ‘ruling’ today. It seems like there is a shift in power and countries are finally speaking up for themselves. Maybe it will happen in Canada one day.

    1. As I like to put it, old habits die hard! I’m hoping it will happen in Canada within my lifetime, but who knows if it will? We do what we can. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  4. So many colonizers and so many countries have so much to atone for. Given that the UK itself has been conquered by other countries over centuries, I wonder where the reparations should start and stop. I know that one should not perpetrate what was thrust upon them, but that is kind of what happened in those days and in days even up to the present (Ukraine, Palestine). German connections to the UK Royal Family started in 1714 and had Edward VIII not abdicated for Wallis Simpson, the UK might even be more German today. I wish there was an awareness test or pill that leaders of countries could run their plans through to guide them through what is right and what is wrong, but there is not and it is unlikely they would follow the guidelines anyway, as their position is usually based on power and greed. We all need to be more “human” and start doing the right thing. I, for one am interested in what reparations will ever come to Ukraine or the Palestinians or…. This world is so screwed up. Thanks for the thoughtful dialogue. Allan

    1. It’s got to the point that we’re in infinite loops of who own whom what and why. I agree with you about an awareness test, but it’s like how people complain that the UN overreaches somtimes so they end up not doing things they should be doing. I do feel like TCKs will change the world though. There’s more of us now than ever before. Thanks for offering your thoughts πŸ™‚

      1. I think the youth will help change the world. I now understand what my son says about nationalistic tendencies. They do promote pride in country, but they also start wars. If greed and power could be taken out of the equation, we would all be better off. Our photo op PM needs to go, but who will replace him? Fundamental conservatism is even worse. Where are the centrists when you need them. Trying to unwind the Monarchy in Canada, could result in many of the provinces simply going their own way as it was hard enough to bring the Charter of Rights and Freedoms home and get everyone’s agreement. Sigh.

      2. Have you read the book Values: Building a Better World For All by Mark Carney? He wants to run for leader of the Liberal party. I honestly believe he is what Canada needs right now. He could change so many things thanks to his experience as head of central banks and climate change advocacy. I think Canada may be one of the last countries to split from the monarchy. Let the countries who don’t have their complexities become republics first. I do find it interesting when countries split from a group of countries and why (with the exception of Brexit). For instance, Kazakhstan was the last to split from the Soviet Union because it has so many natural resources. I think if Canada is one of the last Commonwealth countries to become a republic, there will be a reason for it

  5. Interesting and informative post, Claire. Thanks for raising the issue of reparations. I appreciate the shout out about my novel. Could you kindly amend your comment “particularly in French Guiana” to “particularly in British Guiana.” We were a former British colony. French Guiana remains a French territory. As you know, there are many locally-born whites in the former British colonies in Guyana and the Caribbean. The general manager of the British international bank, where I last worked before leaving Guyana, was a white Jamaican male. As his “confidential secretary,” I have very fond memories of him.

    1. You’re very welcome! I amended my error. I guess I shouldn’t be writing posts when I’m recovering from surgery lol. I have a natural defense mechanism when I mention my Jamaican connection because there is a monocultural view that certain races are confined to certain countries and that’s so not true! So, I like to nip it in the bud. It’s been refreshing to meet other TCKs who have had the same problem I have had of getting strange looks when your race doesn’t match your personal history. Just like other TCKs, I am armed with responses for those situations. Thank you very much for commenting πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you for this post. Like really.

    As a Commonwealth country and an ex-colony that has suffered at the hands of this monarchy – I feel this post so much. It really bugs me how to world doesn’t fail to shame Germany for it’s war crimes but forgets to take into consideration the amount of crimes committed by the British. A rough estimate states that around 35 million Indians were killed by them. Add to that all the riches that were stolen. The damn Kohinoor diamond that sits on the queen’s crown was stolen from India. Come on!!!

    I’ve had a draft post on this topic for months which I haven’t posted just because I want to avoid controversy.πŸ™ˆ

    1. I’m reeling with happiness over your wonderful comment rn! This might be a good time to post it if you connect it with what’s happening in Barbados, Jamaica and Kenya. Also, if you want to share my post to your page as prelude, feel free! Or if you want to collaborate with me on my post on the English Monarchy, you can also email me about it. It’s ridiculous how Germany has gone out of its way for reparations and is still shamed, but the British Empire gets its claws into things and barely gets noticed. I’m always up for discussing this, especially as an American citizen who grew up in the UK, so feel free to chat! Thanks a million billion gazillion for your amazing comment!

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