I didn’t keep track of all of the reactions to Roxane Gay’s pre-Christmas op-ed in the New York Times, but I imagine that it was one of the most-read guest columns in months. Roxane Gay is a royal-watcher and an American, and she wrote the column as an analysis of Netflix’s Harry and Meghan, and the larger conversations about the future of the monarchy post-Sussexit. Gay’s thesis was basically: the monarchy should be dismantled and burned to the ground, and maybe Prince Harry and Meghan should start saying that explicitly. Well, the New York Times got some letters! I wonder how many letters they got about Gay’s column – they certainly got enough to devote a whole “letters to the editor” to the reactions to Gay’s piece. This one was at the top of the NYT’s piece, a letter from Graham Smith, the CEO of the anti-monarchy group Republic.
Re “The Cost of Marrying Into a Monarchy” by Roxane Gay (Opinion guest essay, Dec. 21):
Ms. Gay hit the nail on the head when she said: “But the monarchy doesn’t need to be changed. It needs to be dismantled. If Harry and Meghan were to have acknowledged that, it would have made their story infinitely more interesting.”
The British monarchy is a dysfunctional institution, one that has no place in a modern society. It is central to our constitution that the king formally retains sweeping “prerogative powers” that include declaring wars and signing treaties. We’ve not reformed or repealed these royal powers; we’ve just developed a convention that the king can only use them as instructed by our prime minister, making ours one of the most centralized and unchecked governments in the democratic world.
The monarchy should go for many reasons, some of which Harry and Meghan highlighted perfectly. It is an institution out of touch and out of time, unprincipled and secretive, and it hobbles Britain with a second-rate constitution.
Its abolition is long overdue, and would allow British citizens to embrace equality, democracy and fairness as the guiding principles of our national life — principles and values that are starkly at odds with those of the monarchy.
The writer is the C.E.O. of Republic, a group that campaigns for the abolition of the British monarchy.
I love that Graham Smith wrote in to the NYT with such a clear and concise read. Smith is right, and I do have a sense – sitting here in America – that more people are slowly joining Smith’s republican cause these days, especially following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Meanwhile, other people did not have such a clear understanding about Gay’s column and what she was actually saying. One dude basically said that once Harry & Meghan aren’t famous anymore (lol), Harry will go back to the UK and reconcile with his family (lol). There was also one guy who was still bitching about Harry and Meghan’s “Sussex Royal” trademarks. Like… these people still don’t understand that all of the royals trademark all of their brands and names so that other people won’t profit off them?
Photos courtesy of Netflix.