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The Monarchy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Transcript

John Oliver discusses the future of the British monarchy, what they have and have not acknowledged about their past, and how Winston Churchill preferred to go down waterslides.
The Monarchy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 9 Episode 29
Aired on November 13, 2022

Main segment: The monarchy of the United Kingdom, its finances, and the royal family’s role in British colonialism
Other segment: Results of the 2022 United States elections

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♪ ♪

[Cheers and applause]

♪ ♪

John: Welcome, welcome, welcome to “Last Week Tonight!” I’m John Oliver, thanks so much for joining us. It’s been a busy week. Russia pulled out of Kherson in Ukraine, and Twitter continued its very entertaining death spiral, but the big news was the midterm elections, where democrats did unexpectedly well. John Fetterman, seen here in a philly tuxedo, defeated dr. Oz, something perhaps best celebrated by Pennslvania’s current democratic senator Bob Casey. And, before I show you this video, know there are some unexpected twists in it. You’re going to hit the first one and think “oh, that’s what he was talking about,” but it’s not over yet.

John Fetterman won the senate race. This is Pittsburgh beer. Good work, John. You and Gisele and your whole team did great work. Congratulations. ♪ ♪ I don’t think I’m going to sleep tonight. I think I’m just going to hold this beer and look at that map.

John: Okay, first, if you’d given me a million guesses about the genre of music that was going to run a freight train through the middle of that clip, not a single one would have been “rap.” Second, finding out that guy’s gonna spend the rest of his night staring at a map isn’t remotely surprising. We all know a map guy when we see one and you sir? Map guy. Finally, congratulations, John Fetterman, you survived a stroke and an incredibly ugly campaign run by a snake-oil salesman to only win several years with the world’s weirdest new coworker. Have fun! All in all, Tuesday was a pretty good night. Democrats also won key gubernatorial races, progressive prosecutors won elections in places like Dallas County, Texas and Polk County, Iowa, and voters in these five states opted to support or defend abortion access. And while it’s ridiculous that we’re having to fight state by state for rights people had earlier this year, here we are. There were also big losses for some alarming candidates we’ve featured on this show, like Kristina Karamo in Michigan, Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, and Blake Masters in Arizona. And those results were something that sent Fox News pundits scrambling for answers.

Single women are voting for —

37 Points! And in urban America they’re cleaning our clocks in the cities. And the fact that these youth voters are coming in so strong on an off-year is very concerning.

The democrats were also very deliberate in their pitch to young people. They offered them drugs, recreational drugs —

Pot — student loans. Yeah. So, there were, again, actionable policies that they were promising to advance and climate change.

Abortion, paid off.

John: We don’t have time to go into all the ways they’re telling on themselves there — from being appalled young people were voting, to admitting they have zero “actionable policies”, but adding “oh, and climate change” as a complete afterthought is a pretty fun one. A nice little cherry on top of a “what the fuck have we done” sundae. But one person came in for a lot of the blame, and that’s Donald Trump, as key candidates he supported lost. Even some on Fox made it clear they had a new favorite republican.

Ron DeSantis won the Florida governor’s race in a landslide. Inevitably, he’s now seen as a presidential candidate. That is not going down well with Donald trump. He actually threatened to reveal personal information about governor DeSantis if he runs for the presidency. Bad move. Trump is the past. DeSantis, according to the New York Post, is “de-future.”

John: I don’t like like a single part of that. Especially not when Stuart Varney said “de-future” like a Chicago alderman introducing the musical guest on “SNL”. “Ladies and gentlemen, de-future.” And look, the prospect of a president DeSantis is just one of the worrying things that came under all the good news on Tuesday. There’s a chance republicans will recapture the House, and if they do, they’ll be able to jam up Biden for the next two years, with stunts like holding the whole country hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and I don’t know, launching an investigation into Biden’s peloton ride history. Plus there’s the small matter of Georgia’s runoff election next month, which could put Herschel Walker in the senate. So democrats still have work to do. But for now, they can pause for a very brief celebration. May I suggest something like this.

♪ ♪

[Laughter]

[cheers and applause]

John: I’m just going to hold the spear and look at this map.

John: And now, this.

* * *

Announcer: And now, Steve Carnegie is never not at the big board.

It’s election day, Steve Carnegie is at the big board.

Steve Carnegie at the big board.

Steve Carnegie in his natural habitat.

Big boy.

At the big board.

Let’s go to the big board.

Steve Carnegie at the big board.

Back to the big boy.

The great Steve Carnegie at the big board.

We have seen standing at the big board and I don’t think they let them leave the big board. I think he lives there now.

♪ ♪

[Laughter]

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John: Moving on. Our main story tonight concerns the British monarchy. The best thing to happen to white actors since literally everything else. The monarchy’s given the world royal weddings, the unveiling of new royal babies, and, of course, moments like this.

He may have grown up in a palace, but today, prince Charles was doing his best to get in touch with the mood on the streets.

Ah, dig that crazy rhythm!

John: No, no, no, no, no! There’s perhaps nothing more pathetic than the world’s most famous adult son saying “dig that crazy rhythm” with what I can only describe as “big narc energy.” The monarchy’s clearly in transition right now, following the death of the Queen — an event that prompted ten days of public mourning, with a massive line of people queuing for hours to pay their respects. But while some were devastated, others had more complicated feelings.

The Queen, it’s like, I care but I don’t. That’s me being real.

So tell me about the care part and then tell me about the don’t care part.

I care because it’s our Queen.

Our Queen. It’s a per — it’s a — our Queen is a person who died, like, it’s sad, like —

Okay, and then the don’t care part.

She ain’t done nothing for us.

John: Yeah, I get that. I had a similar reaction when Big died on the peloton. I don’t care, because big was pompous, good for nothing, and — let’s be honest — voted for Trump. But I do care a little because I that know Carrie cares. Look at her there in his last moments, devastated, doing absolutely nothing. But their ambivalence speaks to the fact that — to a degree Americans may not realize — the monarchy isn’t a universally beloved institution. And they were being very nice about it. Others have been less kind. In the aftermath of the Queen’s death, many sporting events held a “minute of silence.” But some crowds — particularly in Scotland and Ireland — went a different way, with this song proving particularly popular.

[Crowd singing “Lizzie’s in a Box”]

John: Yeah, “Lizzie’s in a Box.” Which I know sounds insensitive, but I’d argue of all the places they could have chanted she was in, “box” is actually pretty generous. And look, you can make the case that’s in bad taste. You can also make the case it’s very funny. Two things can be true. Even we got in trouble when Sky TV in the UK cut a couple of fairly benign jokes we did the week she died. Who knows if this segment will even air on tv over there? Just in case they refuse, we’ve actually prepared an alternate show for them, where this story is replaced with a 25-minute loop of this video of Winston Churchill going backwards down a waterslide, set to the Benny Hill theme. So they won’t have nothing. But in the UK, the argument was that, in the wake of the Queen’s death, it just wasn’t the time for criticism of her or the monarchy in general. It would be impolite. But it’s been two months since then, and Charles is king now. And while, for many, the charm of his mother was in her longevity. She was the only sovereign most Britons had ever known, and her tendency toward silence, you never knew what she thought about anything. Neither of those things are true of her son. Because Charles — a man whose face answers the question “what if two cousins had a kid” — is taking the throne at the ripe age of 73, he had to put it mildly, an incredibly messy divorce, and has been outspoken on a range of topics, from architecture, to the environment, to his belief in homeopathic medicine, including supporting a controversial cancer treatment which involves 13 fruit juices a day, coffee enemas, and weekly injections of vitamins. The point is, he doesn’t have the inscrutability of his mother, or enjoy her level of public affection. And his ascent to the throne comes as the UK’s facing a cost-of-living crisis. One man even confronted Charles directly about this.

Charles! While we struggle to heat our homes, we have to pay for your parade.

Oh…

The taxpayer pays $100 million for you, what for?

John: Wow. That befuddled “oh” from him pretty much says it all there. But that wasn’t the only recent protest. Just this week, a man threw multiple eggs at Charles on the street. And when they caught him, he didn’t seem that sorry, given this was the photo from his arrest. He was released on bail, with conditions including — and this is true — not being allowed to be within 500 meters of the king, and not being allowed to possess any eggs in a public place. Which really shows just how far the power of the monarchy has fallen. A few hundred years ago, it would have been instant beheading. Now the punishment is “be careful in the refrigerated aisle.” So given that Charles is now king, and will actually have a formal coronation next may, to be beamed by cameras all around the world, before that happens, we thought tonight, it’d be worth looking at the British monarchy specifically, to ask what the point of it is, first in the UK, and then in the countries around the world where the monarch still serves as a figurehead. And let’s start with the basic question of, “what does the royal family do?” It’s something that even they’ve had trouble defining in the past, as this clip of prince Philip from 1968 demonstrates.

Could you tell me what is your job in your own mind?

Well, I haven’t got one. I’m self-employed.

But surely, you must have some clear idea of what role you fulfill in modern society.

Really difficult to answer.

John: Wow. It’s amazing to watch him initially laugh that off before considering the question and facing something of an existential crisis. But since that question seemed to stump him, perhaps we can help. Unlike in the U.S., where the head of government and the head of state are the same person, in the UK, those are two very different roles. Because while, for centuries, the British monarch had huge political power, it was gradually stripped away, to the point that the position’s now largely symbolic. The monarch’s main role, as head of state, is to receive incoming and outgoing ambassadors and visiting heads of state, and to make visits abroad. Here’s the Queen meeting Narendra Modi, here she is taking a carriage ride with Vladimir Putin, and here she is with former president Trump. Just two people delighted to be there. You don’t usually see a pair so unhappy while wearing fancy costumes outside of cats on Halloween. There are also smaller responsibilities, like visiting factories and opening things, and also — and this is true — sending people birthday cards when they turn 100. Basically, think of the royals as Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland. They’re not running the rides, but they’re a mascot for the whole operation, and people like having pictures taken with them. And the family’s defenders will say that the ceremonial aspect of the monarchy is the whole point. In fact, the royal family’s official website describes the role of sovereign as a focus for national identity, unity, and pride, and that it gives a sense of stability and continuity. But that comes at a price. As you heard that man yell earlier, Britons pay millions of pounds, every year, to support the royals. Although some argue, it’s money well spent.

Interestingly, the British state gives, or the government gives the royal family £100 million per year, roughly. It’s called the sovereign grant to pay for upkeep. But tourism generated by the royal family generates about 500 million a year. So, that’s 5-1. I would take — I would take that investment return.

John: Yes, defenders argue whatever money the royal family costs is vastly outweighed by what they bring in. It’s the same argument thousands of men have made to their wives about investing in crypto. And it’s going really well for them right now! But a few things. First, the claim they bring in $500 million a year in tourism is heavily disputed. And it’s not like that goes away if the royal family does. You can still visit a palace if nobody lives inside it. Nobody shows up to Versailles and says, “wait, no one lives here? It’s a hard pass for me.” And the notion that “the monarchy only costs $100 million pounds” also has some major asterisks on it. Because while it’s true that, as is often said, the “sovereign grant” amounts to just over a pound a person in the UK, it’s by no means the royals’ only source of income.

The new king now has three main sources of wealth, the sovereign grant, money the UK treasury gives the crown to fulfill its royal duties. The family’s private wealth, the full extent a closely guarded secret. Then the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate of land property and assets, the monarch receives its annual profits. The Queen received $27 million from it last year.

John: It’s true. The Duchy of Lancaster is a massive property portfolio, containing land that — incidentally — was seized by the monarchy back in the 13th century, and from which they continue to draw personal profits to this day. So, as king, Charles gets money from the government, money passed down through his family and money from the Duchy of Lancaster. And none of that includes the Duchy of Cornwall, held by whoever holds the title of Prince of Wales — now prince William. That’s a separate billion-dollar real estate portfolio nearly the size of Chicago, by the way, which includes seaside vacation rentals, office space in London and a suburban supermarket depot. That alone brought in more than $56 million in additional income for the family last year so the royal family’s wealth — unlike their gene pool — is massive. And while, in 1993, in response to public anger over their spending, both the Queen and Charles agreed to pay “voluntary” income taxes, that arrangement isn’t necessarily permanent. Meanwhile, the two duchies are completely exempt from corporation taxes, and Charles doesn’t have to pay any inheritance tax on whatever the Queen passed on to him. And when you factor all that in it sure starts to feel like they’re costing a hell of a lot more than just a pound per person. So, is it worth it? Well, I think my position on the royal family is pretty well-documented. To me, they’re like a human appendix. We’ve long evolved past needing them, and there’s a compelling case for their surgical removal. But I admit, I’m in the minority when it comes to British people. Many feel exactly like this woman does.

I just think it’s nice that we have it, and it makes us a bit unusual. Unique. Yeah. I mean, it’s nice that we have it. It’s a British thing, isn’t it? And I think a lot of people would like what we have.

John: Okay, but “it’s nice that we have it” isn’t what you say about a free-loading multimillionaire family exempt from paying most taxes, it’s what you say about a water dispenser in your fridge. As for being “a British thing,” that’s not a great justification, either. You know what else is a British thing? Mushy peas. If you’ve never had the pleasure, imagine emotionally unavailable guacamole. They’re like if mashed potatoes killed themselves. But the fact is, 67% of people in the UK feel that the monarchy should remain. So for now, it seems secure there. But that brings us to the second part of this story. Because abroad, their role is a much more open question. Charles is now head of the Commonwealth of Nations, a loose alliance largely composed of former British colonies, fourteen of which still have the British monarch as their titular head of state, in spite of being self-ruling nations. These are those countries. And debates have been raging for a while in many of them about what the crown represents. As we mentioned back in March, William and Kate had to cancel the first stop on their royal tour through the Caribbean, due to overwhelming local protests. And in Australia, in the wake of the Queen’s death, the Women’s Aussie-Rules Football League held a moment of silence for her, but — given they were, by coincidence, in the midst of a ten-day tribute to indigenous players — they opted to not do that for the rest of the mourning period, prompting this man to freak out.

What a disgrace. Seriously, I mean that any sporting organization in this country would think there is any reason not to honor the Queen is a joke. And why can’t they have a minute’s silence in indigenous week anyway? I mean, you know, indigenous people are Australian people. They were subjects of her majesty the Queen. And you can have your arguments about colonialism or whatever, but the Queen in this country and for the world was a force for good.

John: What? You can’t just gloss over the entire history of colonialism there. Its like saying, “have all the arguments about murder or whatever, but at the end of the day, Charles Manson was a family man.” And let’s talk about that history, starting in Australia, where the indigenous population suffered greatly under colonial rule. Researchers found evidence for, conservatively, nearly 200 massacres of aboriginal people at the hands of the British military and colonial police, and hundreds more by colonists. And when the Queen herself first visited Australia in 1954, first nations people were not counted as part of the population, and children were still being forcibly removed from their families to be assimilated into white households. So, “have your arguments about colonialism or whatever” is very much what we should be doing, not glossing over it, and forcing people to mourn a symbol of a painful past. And that’s just Australia. If you really want to talk about “colonialism or whatever,” or litigate the extent to which the Queen, or the monarchy in general, has been a global force for good, let’s do that. And let’s start with the full extent to which the monarchy was intricately involved in the transatlantic slave trade.

After Britain invaded Jamaica in 1655, the Royal African Company was set up by Royal Charter under king Charles II. The RAC went on to transport more enslaved Africans to the Americas than any other single institution ever, lining the pockets of the Stuart monarchs. Many of those trafficked were branded with the initials DY, as in the Duke of York, who led the company and later became King James II.

John: That’s true. The direct ancestors of today’s royal family were investors in the “Royal African Company” and had their initials literally branded into people’s skin. And both the trade of enslaved people and the high-demand products they produced, like sugar and tobacco, went to enriching Britain, strengthening its empire, and by extension, filling royal coffers. And I get that people shouldn’t be held personally responsible for whatever their ancestors did, but trying to talk about the British role in the slave trade without talking about the monarchy is sort of like trying to talk about Jeffrey Epstein without talking about the monarchy. They are inextricably linked, however uncomfortable they might find that fact. Yet despite all that, no one in the royal family has ever apologized on behalf of the crown. Instead they’ve tiptoed around culpability with passive-voice statements like prince William saying “slavery was abhorrent,” or prince Charles going to Ghana and saying this.

The appalling atrocity of the slave trade and the unimaginable suffering it caused left an indelible stain on the history of our world. While Britain could be proud that it later led the way in the abolition of this shameful trade, we have shared a responsibility-we have a shared responsibility to ensure that the abject horror of slavery is never forgotten.

John: But listen to that, he can’t even mention how awful the slave trade was without in the same breath mentioning that Britain “led the way” in abolishing it. British people love to talk about their role in abolition. But Charles left a lot out there, including that, while, yes, the British did abolish the slave “trade” in 1807, it allowed plantation slavery to persist in colonies for decades after, meaning full abolition didn’t follow for another generation. But the larger point is, you can’t have it both ways. You don’t get to take the credit for abolition without taking the blame for what led up to it. If someone intentionally set fire to a Quiznos, then hours later put that fire out, they wouldn’t get to post a picture of themselves holding a hose with the caption, “so I did a thing!” That’s not the full story! Also, for what it’s worth, the effect of slavery clearly isn’t just in the past. The UK was paying for it — in a very literal sense — incredibly recently. Because when Britain finally abolished slavery in its colonies in the 1830s, it took out a loan of 20 million pounds to compensate not enslaved people, but slave owners, for the “confiscation of their income from their properties” — which, to be clear, was people. That’s about 17 billion pounds in today’s money, and up until 2015 the British state was still paying off the debt. Amazingly, many learned about this for the first time when, a few years ago, the British treasury tweeted, “here’s today’s surprising #fridayfact millions of you helped end the slave trade through your taxes.” And sorry, but that’s just not a good Friday fact. “The average person farts between 10 and 20 times per day?” That is pretty good. “Fish can cough?” Now we’re talking. “Surprise, I know times are tough but you just helped pay off the families of dead enslavers?” No, absolutely fucking not. Save that shit for Monday, ya buzzkill. And for anyone thinking, “well, that didn’t happen on the watch of the modern monarchy,” it’s worth knowing, one of the most brutal atrocities carried out by the British actually happened in the first eight years of Elizabeth’s reign, and when Charles was alive. Because in the 1950s, while Kenya was still a British colony, an armed rebellion was launched by the Kikuyu people who had lost land to white settlers, and found themselves locked into a formal racial hierarchy that placed Europeans on top and Africans at the bottom. The British sent army reinforcements to put down the so called “Mau Mau Uprising,” a decision it described to the world back then like this.

Agitators urge some of the Africans to free their country of the white man. There is little reliable information about the set-up of the terrorist organization for few members even know from whom they take their orders. They obey blindly, savagely attacking the defenseless. Burning, looting, murdering. Kenya is a battlefield of a conflict that cannot end until the Mau Mau is dissolved forever.

John: “Oh right-o! The trouble in Keen-ya comes not from the British who took over and stole land but from the people whose land was stolen! Now is there more to this story? Surely! But will you hear it come from a voice that sounds like this? I say never!” Never I say! In crushing the uprising, the British instituted a system of detention camps, and 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during the crackdown, and an estimated 160,000 were detained in appalling conditions. For a long time the British met outcry over this with a mixture of denial and defensiveness. Just watch this interview with a former British colonial officer, who’d been responsible for at least six of those detention camps. When asked about reports that soldiers had put their feet on the necks of detainees until they screamed, he has an escalating exchange culminating in the longest pause you’ll ever see on television. I’ll warn you — however long you think this pause is going to be, it’s much longer.

Did you have cause to give the order to or yourself put your boot on their neck of these resisters, the ones that were howling?

Umm, can we stop talking for a moment?

No, ’cause I’d quite like you to answer that.

I will answer it when I have stopped talking for a moment. I’m sorry, but I — I —

Well, do you have a problem with that question?

No, it’s — it’s a hypothetical question.

No, it’s not. It’s a very precise question.

You’ve asked me, “did I put my foot on anybody’s neck?” No.

Did you cause the order to be given? Did you give the order to do that? Are you not going to answer the question?

No, I am looking at you with certain thoughts in my mind.

John: Holy shit! If you’re trying to conceal your role in supervising torture, here’s a few tips: don’t respond to a simple question by taking a full 23 seconds to answer. Don’t then issue a vague threat like some cartoon villain. And finally, try not to glare malevolently at the interviewer with what I can only describe as “war crime eyes.” And just to be clear, we don’t know what the Queen knew. What she’s briefed on is kept secret, conveniently. But we do know what was done in her name, by her government. Her face was on the money in Kenya. When Kenyans’ captors sang their national anthem, it was a hymn to her protection. And we do know she was not only characteristically silent about those atrocities you know, in that charming style everybody loved — but she also awarded that man an MBE, one of the country’s highest honors. Which is appalling, unless the “MBE” stands for “Messiest Bitch Ever,” in which case, I guess that would be appropriate. And that’s the thing, if you’re the symbol of a country, you represent what it does. And it’s revealing that, even decades later, when the British finally agreed to pay compensation to a fraction of those who suffered in Kenya, this woman was clear about who she wanted to hear from.

Muthoni Mathenge is one of the few surviving Mau Mau independence fighters in Kenya. Britain has apologized for some abuses, but Mathenge did not get a compensation paid to other rebels. She is calling on the Queen for help before it’s too late.

Let Elizabeth bring what belongs to me. That’s what I want to say. No middlemen in between. Let the compensation come directly to me. She should look for a sensible person and send it here.

John: Yeah, that’s completely understandable. Particularly the “send a sensible person” point. Because when you’re dealing with the royal family, it’s worth remember that unless you stipulate otherwise, you could end up being sent someone like this.

Ah! Dig that crazy rhythm!

John: Exactly. And nobody wants that, nobody! You can’t say you’re just a symbol and bear no responsibility for how the institutions you’re the head of behave. Take the Church of England, of which the monarch is the head. In Canada, it played a role in their system of residential schools for indigenous children, who were forcibly separated from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run boarding schools in attempt to assimilate them. Horrific abuses happened in those schools. And while they were largely run by the catholic church, the Church of England operated approximately three dozen of them, giving up control of the last one in 1969, which is pretty fucking recent. Earlier this year, Charles visited Canada and made a point of showing up at a garden that paid tribute to the victims of those schools. But when it came to showing remorse for what had happened, that seemed to be off the table. Because just listen to one indigenous leader who briefly spoke with Charles that day describe their entire exchange.

He did say, “I hope we weren’t too bad on you.” I didn’t get a chance to respond so he moved on. The Prince, while leading this country, he should apologize to the aboriginal people for this trauma that we’ve gone through for 500 years.

John: Wow. “I hope we weren’t too bad on you,” he said, before walking away. Which I know seems bad, but as a symbol of Britain, it’s pretty on-brand honestly. “You keep calm. And if you’ll excuse me, I’ll carry on.” And look, I know, across Commonwealth countries, there are a range of views, especially among the older generation — as, incredibly, even some who suffered under British rule can feel strong affection for the Queen personally, even if they didn’t love what she represented. And some argue, “if the royal family’s just ceremonial now, where’s the real harm?” But the ceremonial can still have the power to infuriate. And to see that, let’s go back to Australia. Because shortly before the Queen died, Lidia Thorpe, an indigenous Australian senator was taking the oath of office, which required her to swear allegiance to the Queen. Something she understandably had a bit of a problem with, so this is what she did.

Please recite the affirmation on the card handed to you.

I, sovereign Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful, and I bear true allegiance to the colonizing her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Senator Thorpe — senator Thorpe, you are required to recite the oath as printed on the card.

John: Yeah, they actually forced her to read what was printed on the card, verbatim. So she did that, but credit to her — because she then employed a tone of voice that did a “lot” of heavy lifting.

I, Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs, and successors according to law.

John: Okay, I hate that she was forced to do that, but I absolutely love the way she was able to make a pledge to a fancy old lady on the other side of the world sound exactly as stupid as it fucking is. And look, to go by recent polls, Australia — like the UK — seems unlikely to let go of the monarchy anytime soon. But other Commonwealth countries are already preparing to do so. Last year, Barbados removed the Queen as head of state. Jamaica is looking to have a referendum to do the same within the next three years, with one poll showing a majority supports it. And Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Belize seem to be moving in the same direction. And while the royal family’s said these countries are free to leave if they so choose, they also refuse to reckon with why they might want to do that in the first place. Instead, they’ve continued working hard to be perceived as a mere “symbol,” while never taking responsibility for what that symbol excused — all while ignoring calls for true apologies and reparations to those who suffered tremendously because of what was done in their name. And look, you don’t have to hate the royal family personally. I mean, google “Prince Philip racism” or “Prince Andrew everything” and see where you land. You don’t even have to think the institution shouldn’t exist. But if it’s going to, it’s fair to expect significantly more from them. Because right now, far too often, they hide behind the shield of politeness and manners, which frequently demands the silence of anyone who might criticize them, or what they stand for. Will this segment even air on Sky in Britain? I dunno. Maybe. Maybe not. But if they do cut it for being disrespectful, they might want to think about why. Why they, and everyone else, are working so hard not to offend a family whose name was branded into people’s skin, and who sit atop a pile of stolen wealth, wearing crowns adorned with other countries’ treasures. And if there’s an answer to that, I would love to hear it, though if history is any guide, I’m guessing I’m just going to get an icy stare while you think certain thoughts in your head. But I really hope they don’t cut this piece. Partly because this is a long overdue conversation that needs to be had, and partly because no audience deserves to be subjected to 25 minutes of this.

♪ ♪

[Cheers and applause]

[laughter]

♪ ♪

John: That’s our show. Thanks so much for watching. We’ll see you next week! Good night!

[Cheers and applause]

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

I don’t think I’m going to.

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