The Bridge: With the passing of Queen Elizabeth, the world (online and off) has paid tribute and offered a galaxy of different responses. Some raced to share the news, while others seized the opportunity to open dialog about the issues that haunt the royal family. What does the death of a dynasty mean for the generations that follow?
Goodbye to Her Royal Highness, Elizabeth II
The Queen of England reigned for longer than most people in England have been alive – there are only 9 million citizens who are over 70 years old in the country, the length of her dynasty. Her reign oversaw 179 prime ministers in her realms – 15 of which served Britain. For some American context, that’s nearly 30% of US history – and 14 presidents.
Impressive stats to some are problematic to others. Conversations have begun in earnest following the monarch’s passing about the ugly parts of the family dynasty. Accusations of colonialism and disconnectedness from the populations she ruled over have cyberspace divided (but seriously, what else is new?).
Then there are the younger generations who knew Queen Elizabeth as the face on their money and the lady in the funny hats on television. Some drug dealers are even giving a Queen-themed discount following her passing.
A level of disconnectedness surely existed on both sides. But those who remain are driving the conversation, and we’re seeing the unfolding dialog take many forms.
Though a poll in the UK showed that all generations believed they should remain a monarchy, there is a vocal faction online that sees the royal family as a power-hungry, greedy multi-headed beast, determined throughout history to gobble up nations. Calls for the crown to address its colonialist past have redoubled in recent years, and will no doubt continue with renewed vigor now that their stolid matriarch is gone.
Combine this unfortunate historical perspective with the loudness of social media, the soap opera-level royal family shenanigans, and the longing for “relatable” royalty (Princess Diana comes to mind) – it’s no wonder all of the world is whipped up into a frenzy after the death of the Queen.
Folks online tend to rush to be the one to break the bad news, so the nuanced arguments and overarching implications are bound to be lost in the mud of socials. It will be enlightening to witness the unfolding conversations as they evolve.Queen Elizabeth herself, curiously, is absent from much of the criticism. She was loved as a competent and compassionate ruler by most evaluations, and she even specifically urged the older and younger generations to bridge the gap – almost a decade ago. This is a message we can definitely get behind.