Coronavirus for a Cause: Republicans harness epidemic to derail meaning of Queen’s Historic Address.

By: Matthew Groves, Blogger in Residence: British Monarchists Society

At a time of national emergency such as the one we are currently experiencing; the underlying importance of the Monarchy is very much highlighted. With the broadcast of Her Majesty’s historic speech on 5 April, there was something very encouraging and reassuring about being addressed by our head of state, our Sovereign, at such a difficult time, who reigns above partisan difference, and holds a position with enduring ancient roots. Through steadfast and unwavering continuity as displayed by Her Majesty’s reign, only a hereditary monarchy can touch the hearts of, and create the reassurance needed by the people collective in the time of crisis. Now is not a time for public division. It is the time to unite under the strong, uplifting, and encouraging words of the one person in national life who has experienced the hardship of world war, national rationing, and contributed personally to the war effort by enlisting in the ATS. Our dutiful monarch has further given us the belief that we, this generation, is just as strong as those that have come before, the ones that have experienced the grave and grim realities of division, discourse, and bloodshed.

Her Majesty, the Queen, through her upbringing and 68 years of experience as head of state, together with her faith and dutiful personality, is more than suited to the task of being the national figurehead we need at this troubling and strange time. She is the constant we have come to know and rely on to get us through. Her address via public broadcast to the nation was welcomed by nearly all, even some embittered republicans. Well-known republicans such as Alistair Campbell and new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, have both, in a surprising show of approval, praised and acknowledged the importance and calming effect of Her Majesty. Despite such high-profile republicans conceding defeat and uniting with the people during the Queen’s televised address, the organisation, “republic” failed to understand the national mood and sought to further create and promote discord amongst the people. The resentful and disrespectful pro-republic group, which campaigns to destroy our most dignified and well-loved institution, tried to pull out all of the stops and harness the media to further their anti-monarchy agenda. With tin ears to the general views of Brits, the group ploughed on in its narrow-minded and insensitive way, just as people were turning to the Queen for moral inspiration.

It has been said in times of battle that “there were no atheists in the trenches”, and in a similar way during this extraordinary time, it could be said that, “there are no republicans in a pandemic”. Given the continuous call by the republic organisation to abolish the monarchy during a national emergency, the aforementioned is not quite true. Nonetheless, what is revealing about such a tragic crisis is how, when things really matter, we turn to the things that are most important: family, the community, faith and the most venerable and trusted institutions such as the monarchy and Royal family. While the Royal family carries out thousands of duties every year, whether it be charitable, national, in support of the armed forces, or in support of our communities, at a time like this its vital role and purpose stands out strikingly. The nation, its communities, its charities, and its people have always needed its Sovereign and the Royal family, however in a national emergency such we are now experiencing, we realise just important the institution is and exactly why we need our Royal family.

Her Majesty the Queen is not merely an elected politician allied to one political perspective or another; she is a unifying figure with allegiance to her people, not a party. The unity that her presence and role achieve in the present, is the deep seeded unity that has been built on and strengthened by that of and from the past, our people, our shared history, and all that our nation has undergone leading up to now. Furthermore, during her life and throughout her upbringing, Her Majesty has learnt how to be the rare and iconic head of state which our nation has been known to possess, a position which requires not only a lifetime of experience, but also lessons learned by growing up and existing within a family that has been devoted to this vocation for time immemorial.

As a people collective we understand the vocation and qualifications of such deep down within our hearts, even if we do not articulate it. We know why the Queen is there and how much we need her as that constant in our lives, linking us to each other, to our parents, to our grandparents, and through the institution of the monarchy, to our history, our place in the world and to our forebearers. The Queen, as The Princess Elizabeth, has been prepared for times like the one we are facing, through the shining examples set forth by her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, whom as our King and Queen during WWII, did not abandon us for their own safety during the London Blitz. The same family that gave such impassioned speeches and visited as many as possible during the war, to show solidarity, care and concern, is the same family that Her Majesty is now the head of today. A family that can be traced back to Alfred the Great well over one-thousand years ago. 

Despite the continuity of the Royal family and what the monarchy means to the people of this nation as an institution, republic has shown that not everyone agrees with, nor understands the purpose and place of our head of state. While most of the British nation is enthusiastic in its Royalism, there is a tiny and albeit vocal minority that wishes to impose its own discontent and ill-will upon the rest of us. Those who support, defend, actively engage and promote the republic organisation are sadly alienated from their nation, their history, and their Queen. This state of alienation, which has more to do with what is going on inside them rather than anything else, is so all-consuming that at a time like this, when everyone rallies around the Crown, they make such a bitter mistake as to attack our Monarchy.

As the nation pulls together in such difficult times, all republic has succeeded in doing is to show just how out of touch, insensitive, and unaware the group and its followers actually are. Perhaps now, given the vehement public response to their ill-timed opining, those who run this resentful little ragtag group might reflect upon just how wrong they are, and will consider taking note from the actions of those republicans that have fallen not just to the charms and wisdom of Her Majesty, but her message of unity and hope during these trying and uncertain times.