“The farewell acts to Elizabeth II are a merchandising business”

Enrique Moradiellos, professor of History Contemporary at the University of Extremadura and member of the Royal Academy of History, is a great connoisseur of the history of Britain and his Real home. We discussed with him the popularity of the monarchythe reasons behind the great deployment around the funeral acts of the Queen isabel IIand the future of Charles IIIwhich was already commonwealth leader before being king.

Question.- Do you think that the British monarchy has a popularity crisis that has been overcome with the death of Elizabeth II?

Response.- I think the answer is obvious. It is enough to see the news, read the pages of the press, surf the net and see the enormous impact that the news of the death of an elderly woman over 90 years of age, who was the queen of a country that is not the queen, has had. universal and, nevertheless, that has a treatment of universal figure. This popularity index is demonstrated by the following of hearings, by the interest, by the emotion, by the mass baths that are seen in front of Buckingham Palace or in Scotland. What it shows is that there is a deep-rooted monarchical feeling in the United Kingdom and in all the member countries of the United Kingdom, the four nations, as they say, and of course there is enormous interest in what the monarchy is, the figure of the monarch, in the rest of the world. I believe that, regardless of the sympathies of each one towards the regime, the interest of the figure of Isabel is evident.

Q.- How do you interpret the deployment of public acts?

R.- We are seeing a real preparation and communication strategy for this official or informal or popular farewell of the former monarch. And in this sense, the British, and any other country that organizes a state tribute, always make popular participation in the rites possible. Man is, by definition, a ceremonious, ritualistic being, and rituals mean doing things. Doing them jointly is to feel part of a group and lose individuality in a large mass. Because it is assumed that this mass is, in this case, suffering and therefore ethically advantageous. It provides a moral gratification to each of the participants, there is no doubt.

Q.- Do you think that these acts are organized to give moral gratification to the subjects or because it is also good for them from an image point of view?

R.- I believe here that we must apply the paradigm of complex thinking. There are many reasons that come together. Of course there is interest from certain elites. In particular, I imagine the British royal family thinking of taking advantage of this moment to further strengthen their prestige, because parliamentary monarchies depend on the opinion of public opinion, they depend on consent, they depend on explicit or underlying support for something explicit that they may have of its governed, in this case the citizens of the United Kingdom, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are no other reasons. You have no doubt that the media have a great interest in continuing to maintain our audience levels in each of their programs. So what is here? Family interests, interests of the British state, interests of each of the parties to be there, interests of the media, interests of companies. This is a merchandising business around the figure of Great Britain, her empire, her queen, each member of the Royal Family. It is a true emporium. And all of them come together, converge in the same interest to participate, to be there, to have their small aliquot part of the universal festival that they are leaving and that they are, moreover, orchestrating in a masterful way.

Q.- Is the new king trying to surf the wave of his mother’s popularity?

R.- Of course. What is characteristic of monarchies, and more so in parliamentary ones, is the hereditary principle. Who is the new king? Immediately after the death of the previous one, the new king is his son and his heir, previously proclaimed as Prince of Wales many years ago. It is known that the aura of majesty, the royal function, with its constitutional functions, is transferred immediately, because we are talking about a monarchy, not of the old regime or by divine right, but a parliamentary and constitutional monarchy. Of course, the son inherits the functions of the mother and it is to be expected. And from that it follows that he also inherits the prestige, the autoritas; not the potestas, the effective power, but the authority, the halo of authority that surrounded her mother for having fulfilled her role in an exemplary manner for 70 years and with practically no memorable complaint from any of the prime ministers. And he was 14, and he was in charge of it. I think that, of course, the prince and now King Carlos III inherits a good part of that prestige, as we are seeing, because the affection for the mother is transferred, unless she does something else that bothers us, to her son by right own, by hereditary succession.

Q.- Is Carlos interested, then, in all these ceremonies in honor of his mother going well, because it is as if they were honoring him?

R.- Of course, whoever recognizes the merit of a queen and her impeccable constitutional functions until now, is recognizing that the constitutional function she has exercised makes sense, has a function, that is, it operates and benefits. It provides legitimacy, effectiveness and duration, which are three basic principles of any State: to last over time, to be legitimate and, of course, to be effective. All this has been done by the mother. And, like value, the son is also presupposed, because for that she is the son. And he has also been very prominent in recent years by her mother.

Q.- For example?

R.- For example, it is sometimes forgotten that Carlos has been presiding over the Commonwealths since 2018. His mother could no longer travel for reasons of age, and she chose the now King Carlos Tercero to replace her. And there are many republics there, like India, Pakistan or Nigeria, but he chairs that organization. Why does he preside over it? Obviously, because he was the son of his mother, who has chaired it since 1953.

Q.- It is ironic, in a way, that the prolongation of the authoritas of the British monarch would take place in a “republican” organization in some way, such as the Commonwealth…

R.- The Commonwealth is a politically neutral organization. There are monarchies: obviously Great Britain, but also, at the moment, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and a few others. But there are also republics. Do not forget that in 1947 India became independent from the British Empire, but immediately asked for integration, maintenance in the Commonwealth. And indeed the Commonwealth was renewed in 1949 to allow very clear republics, separated by age from the crown, even with misunderstandings with the metropolis, however, to remain in the organization. Because the organization is profitable for all. Because the principle of union for shared interest is the best foundation for international relations and I would say for life. Being close to someone who gives you headaches, pain, discomfort, that prevents you from living fully… We try to eliminate that. But the Commonwealth is profitable for all of them, including those who seceded from the Empire, even with traumatic procedures. Kenya did not separate as quietly as India or Pakistan, the two great enemies are in the Commonwealth. And it is also an organization that is growing, even with income from countries that had nothing to do with the British imperial system, such as Mozambique or Togo. It is an organization that will live regardless of whether there are monarchies or republics within it.


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