Queen Elizabeth II death: is it the right time to talk about ‘Abolish the Monarchy’ Twitter trend?

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A day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there were vocal calls across social media to ‘Abolish the Monarchy’

Despite tributes pouring in to celebrate the sovereign who reigned for 70 years, the hashtags #AbolishTheMonarchy and #NotMyKing have been trending on Twitter.

The question has been raised by academics as well as political commentators online whether this is the appropriate time to have the discussion.

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Among the opposing voices, University of Sussex Emeritus Professor of media and cultural history David Hendy responded to recent arrests at various King Charles III proclamation events, saying: “Given what’s been happening to non-violent protesters, I now feel compelled to stand up and say #NotMyKing.”

Criminal defence lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “Waiting for so called free speech warriors to defend the right to say #NotMyKing.

Asked whether this was the right situation to speak about abolishing the monarchy, Dane Kennedy, Emeritus Faculty Member in the Department of History at George Washington University, told NationalWorld: “I immediately thought about how that question is used in the American context, and it’s always used in the context of a mass shooting. And immediately after a mass shooting, those who are for gun rights will say, now is not the time to talk about this issue.”

He added: “Now I realise that’s a very different matter. But I think it has a similar valence to it. And I guess my response is, is there any good time or not any good time? I just don’t see what logic there is in this.”

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Dr Kennedy, who is the author of six books including The Imperial History Wars: Debating the British Empire, also said that much of the anti-royalist feeling may be due to King Charles ascending the throne. He said: “ [King] Charles carries a lot of baggage. It goes back a long way. It goes back to [Princess] Diana, and goes back to any number of other issues. And people don’t forget that. I think a lot of this ‘abolish the monarchy’ sentiment is in fact generated by the reality that Charles is now king.”

 Is it the right time to talk about ‘Abolish the Monarchy’ Twitter trend? Is it the right time to talk about ‘Abolish the Monarchy’ Twitter trend?
Is it the right time to talk about ‘Abolish the Monarchy’ Twitter trend? | PA

The main republican campaign group is now actively pushing calls to abolish the monarchy. Graham Smith, spokesperson for Republic, said: "We all understand that people will want to mourn the death of the Queen, yet at the same time Charles has taken the job of head of state without debate or consent. That’s a political act which millions of people object to."

Mr Smith added: "We are also deeply concerned to see people being arrested for peaceful protest. The police, media and politicians all need to understand that the accession is a contentious event and people have the right to speak up and be heard."

The Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy responded to a recent incident, where a protester holding a blank sign was allegedly told he would be arrested outside the Palace of Westminster in London. He said: “The public absolutely have a right to protest and we have been making this clear to all officers involved in the extraordinary policing operation currently in place and we will continue to do so.

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“However, the overwhelming majority of interactions between officers and the public at this time have been positive as people have come to the capital to mourn the loss of her late Majesty the Queen.”

Whilst there has been more vocal opposition, Dr Kennedy concluded it was unlikely that the UK would abolish the monarchy. He said: “I don’t see this sentiment leading to an appeal of the sort that would be required to bring the monarchy to an end. And I think there are too many people in Britain who have a residual attachment to the monarchy and feel a strong sense of sentiment.”

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