Queen’s evolving role in a changing Britain and Europe – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: James Bovington, Horsforth, Leeds.

Queen Elizabeth II speaks to US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill as she attends a reception at the Eden Project with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and G7 leaders, during the G7 summit in Cornwall.
Queen Elizabeth II speaks to US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill as she attends a reception at the Eden Project with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and G7 leaders, during the G7 summit in Cornwall.

I WANT to agree with Hilary Andrews that the Oxford University students who removed the portrait of our Sovereign Lady the Queen from their college are entirely wrong to do so (The Yorkshire Post, June 12). However it isn’t that simple.

Let me be clear. I’m well known for adopting a passionately pro-European view. I generally support a left-wing political approach yet irritate my tribe by maintaining that the British Empire in its prime was essentially benign.

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I’m proud of the work done with students to honour those who sacrificed so much in this country’s service and have taken hundreds to visit the Somme battlefields and the Normandy beaches. I’m a supporter of constitutional monarchy and love to suggest to French friends that this system is inherently gentler and more beneficial than the divisive executive presidency of their Fifth Republic.

The Queen and her family meet Boris Johnson and his wife at the G7 summit.

Your correspondent is correct that the Queen is no racist. However the institutions that she represents have presided over at best a paternalistic ‘we know best’ approach to those often described as ‘the lesser races’ and often actively discriminated.

Take the example of First World War soldier Jogendra Sen, the only Indian to serve with the Leeds Pals and who gave his life in the Empire’s service. Apparently commissioned officer material, such a command was impossible for him as no white soldier could be expected to take orders from one having darker skin.

James Buick misses the point in suggesting that Gareth Southgate’s footballers equate themselves with the soldiers of D-Day. I commend the England manager for a genuine attempt to heal such divisions as exist and which are the issues of our time.

None of this is helped of course by the repellent isolationist and often jingoistic approach favoured by the Tories as is presently shown by their anachronistic mentally Palmerstonian attitude to Ireland, the vast majority of whose citizens rejoice in the social and cultural opportunities offered by European integration which the English Tories wallowing in nostalgia for past glories simply can’t comprehend.

Everyone over a certain age enjoys a virtual personal relationship with the Queen and I am sure that Hilary Andrews agrees with me in thanking this august publication for its insert of photos of the Queen throughout her life, and which invites us to consider how we her subjects have also changed.

From: Shaun Pye, Leeds.

UNFORTUNATELY, Hilary Andrews (The Yorkshire Post, June 12) inadvertently misrepresents the facts regarding the decision to remove a picture of the Queen in Oxford. The decision was not a decision of Oxford University. It was a decision taken by the postgraduate students at Magdalene College (a student residence) about a picture that previous students had hung in their common room in 2013, which is the equivalent of a tenant deciding to change a picture in his/her sitting room.

Also, as far as has been reported, there was no indication that Black Lives Matter was mentioned in the discussion about the proposed removal.

From: Henry Cobden, Ilkley.

THE Queen’s appearance at the G7 summit, followed by Her Majesty hosting President Joe Biden and his wife Jill at Windsor Castle, was another reminder that we’re blessed to have such a wonderful monarch as our head of state.

Imagine if we were a republic under the British equivalent of Emmanuel Macron or Donald Trump? Like a President Tony Blair or a President Boris Johnson? I think not.

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