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Opinion
Martin Ivens

Is Time Up for the British Monarchy? Not So Fast

The appeal of the royal family remains potent. Its adaptability to changing times is a hereditary trait.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Photographer: Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson Collection

Every year on July 31, on the site of an 18th-century coffee plantation in the Jamaican village of Woodside, there is a reenactment of Emancipation Day in 1838 when the slaves were freed by Royal Proclamation. People perform a memorial play, cite the proclamation and debate its meaning. The characters ask, “why should God save the Queen and not the people?” and “How come there was no apology for our enslavement?” 

That is the dark legacy of the British empire, but there are brighter sides too.