Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died on Thursday at the age of 96 in the Royal Family’s castle in Scotland, For many, particularly in the global West, the Queen’s 70-year reign was marked by stability and diplomacy; under Elizabeth, the Royal Family has taken pains to distance itself from the country’s politics and the monarchy’s long colonial history. But for millions of people who lived through and still suffer the consequences of the Royal Family’s brutal colonialism and racism both abroad and in the U.K., the Queen’s legacy will live on in the form of the violent and lasting rule that the Royal Family has overseen and still profits from.
The Royal Family still hasn’t confronted its past or paid reparations to the people who continue to suffer as a result of the British monarchy, decades on from direct colonial rule. The Royal Family has also faced criticism for appearing to attempt to sweep its history under the rug, especially during the Queen’s platinum jubilee this year. For almost as long as the monarchy has existed, it has been a colonialist and imperialist power, colonizing and exploiting dozens upon dozens of countries and territories in particular in the global South, many of which share common consequences of poverty and continued oppression.
Over centuries, the U.K. has funneled trillions of dollars from its colonies to enrich itself, and it continues to profit from its racist past and present to this day. Elizabeth II has never publicly acknowledged, apologized or compensated the victims of her royal family’s actions, Just to name a few:
• Plundering India via the East India Company.
• Causing the Bengal famine that led to the deaths of millions.
• Building concentration camps in Kenya.
• Suppressing the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya.
• Committing genocide against Aboriginal peoples.
The royal family has never acknowledged the British monarchy’s slave trade, despite directly contributing, supporting and profiting from the Trans Atlantic slave trade. Elizabeth II never apologized for the Crown's colonial legacy of looting from the Global South. Not even with the plunder of the jewels stuck on her crown, stolen from Africa. The monarchy was built on slavery, establishing a slave trade that saw the transport of millions of Africans and South and North Americans to other countries. The slave trade was so vast, in fact, that it wasn’t until 2015 that the country fully paid off its “debts” to slave owners from freeing slaves in the 19th century.