Deluded Children of Empire

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 19, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn a sunny day in February of 1952 I was an eight-year-old schoolboy made to attend a memorial service for King George VI, the father of the late Elizabeth II. On that day I remembered the “Taps” played by the Police Band or the Tacarigua Orphan Home Band, as the bugles rattled through the bamboos on the banks of the Tacarigua River that flowed on the western side of the church.

In February 1955, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth’s sister, visited Trinidad. Once more we were ordered to stand on the side of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and wave our flags as her vehicle traversed slowly to the capital, as she brought royal greetings to our people. After our display of loyalty, we were rewarded with buns and maybe sweetened drinks. My sister, born in that month, was named in her honour.

Born in 1943, I share memories of the colonial era and the age of Independence. Those memories collided nostalgically in Germany in 2006 when Trinidad and Tobago played England at the World Cup finals. As we stood for the playing of the national anthems of both countries, “God Save the Queen” and “Forged from the Love of Liberty”, mixed feelings came over me.

Tomorrow, most of the Western world will stand in rapt attention as we/they view the burial of Queen Elizabeth II. However, it should not be forgotten that Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1552 to 1603, profited from the Atlantic slave trade. She approved of John Hawkins’ journey that brought 300 Africans to England which he sold eventually to North America. She also contributed one vessel to Hawkins’ second trip to Africa and received some of his profits from that journey.

Both the slave trade and slavery contributed to Britain’s riches and the subsequent enslavement of black and brown people. In its heyday, Britain’s empire covered over a quarter of the world’s landmass and claimed 700 million people as subjects. It was one of the world’s most violent empires even though it deluded itself that it was a civilising force.

Elizabeth, “a faithful Protestant”, was crowned on June 2, 1953. In her first speech to Parliament, she reminded her people of Britain’s imperial greatness and the need to protect itself from “the encroaching terrorism” of the natives. In so doing, she set the stage for the continued violence against her subjects.

Caroline Elkins, in her monumental book, Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire, reminds us that “violence was not particular to any one location or time period, but was rather intrinsic to Britain’s civilising mission… Violence was not just the British Empire’s midwife, it was endemic to the structures and systems of British rule. It was not just an occasional means to liberal imperialism’s end; it was a means and an end for as long as the British Empire remained alive. Without it, Britain could not have maintained its sovereign claims to its colonies”.

Britain’s cruelty in Kenya shows how cruelly it treated some of its subjects: “They used electric shock and hooked suspects up to car batteries. They tied suspects to vehicle bumpers with just enough rope to drag them to death… They thrust bottles (often broken), gun barrels, knives, snakes, vermin, sticks, and hot eggs up men’s rectums and into women’s vaginas. They crushed bones and teeth; sliced off fingers or their tips; and castrated men with specially designed instruments or by beating a suspect’s testicles ’till the scrotum burst’, according to Anglican church officials…

“Mau Mau suspects and detainees were forced to clean night soil buckets barehanded and run for hours around a compound holding a full night soil bucket aloft, which then spilled over, encrusting the person holding it with faeces and urine.”

King Charles III has inherited much of his wealth from the people who his forebears exploited. His fortune is worth billions of dollars. This, however, “represents a small fraction of the royal family’s estimated $28 billion fortune. On top of that, the family has personal wealth that remains a closely guarded secret… As king, Charles will take over his mother’s portfolio and inherit a share of this untold personal fortune”. (NYT, September 13.)

In spite of this tremendous personal fortune, King Charles is not above taking money from any sources to advance the charity foundations that he supports. Recently, the Sunday Times reported that Charles “had accepted 3 million euros in cash—including money stuffed in shopping bags and suitcases—from a former Qatari prime minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani”.

In November of 2018, King Charles visited Ghana. He declared: “The appalling atrocity of the slave trade, and the unimaginable suffering it caused, left an undeniable stain on the history of our world” (London, Guardian, November 5, 2018.) However, he never apologised for the sins of his fathers and grandfathers.

One is entitled to feel saddened at the death of Queen Elizabeth II and even admire her perseverance in running her empire. However, we should not forget that the wealth Britain gained came from the sweat and toil of those who laboured in the colonies and those of us who were deluded by the grandeur of her empire.

As we watch the burial of Queen Elizabeth II we should remember the words of the second verse of the British National Anthem: “O Lord our God arise / Scatter her enemies / And make them fall / Confound their politics / Frustrate their knavish tricks / On Thee our hopes we fix / God save us all.”

Remember, too, that all that glitters isn’t always gold. The grandeur of the monarchy should be counterbalanced by the evils it committed.

7 thoughts on “Deluded Children of Empire”

  1. It is amazing that one family holds such power over a nation and the world. As I look at the funeral I could not help thinking this 10 day expression of loyalty to the crown must cost a fortune everything meticulously planned.

    Beneath the Bank of England is a storage vault several levels high (9 levels) housing 430,000 bars of gold. That is an unbelievable, incredible amount a gold. Considering that there are no gold mines in Britan. An enormous amount of that gold came from India a nation where Maharajahs lived in golden palaces. For 200 years Britan pillaged India through the East India trading company. India had 23% of world GDP, by the time the British left they were down to 3%. Just before the Queen passed away the Indian economy according to Bloomberg magazine Sept 2nd India surpassed Britan to become the world’s 5th largest economy. Not bad after 75 years of Independence. About the same time an Indian became the world’s third richest person and briefly held second spot, his name Gautam Adani. In May this year the richest people in Britan is Sri and Gopi Hinduja with an estimated £28.5bn fortune, the largest recorded in the 34 years of the rich list.

    There still remain an enormous amount of wealth that the crown has that will remain a secret. The diamonds, rubies and other stones I am sure are locked in massive vaults. Perhaps in massive underground locations under those castles. The Queen had the largest collection of art work from the world most famous painters.

    It is normal when someone dies to talk about their wealth in this case a lot of stolen wealth. Once the crown saw those gold bars it was no turning back. Nations under colonialism was pillaged. My ancestors worked 5 generation in the sugar cane fields of Trinidad. Sugar was king up until the early 1900s earning more money that oil with cocoa right there at top earning the highest. For example in 1918 sugar earned 811,000 pounds(British currency). Oil earn 1/2 that amount. And that is just one year. My ancestors worked from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. with no lunch breaks. They had a man dressed up with tall boats who made sure they worked hard. At night they slept on the cold floors without any covering. And their food was heavily rationed. I am owed money for their labours….sadly I know our voices are not strong enough. The only man who would have understood me was Satnarine Maharaj the only one to talked about this….

  2. With the passing of the Queen a new storm will arise. The pressure to break away from the monarchy will only increase. The Queen with her lovely smile, quiet demeanour and distant look manage to keep the Crown united. As of 2022 there were 15 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom. Most of these nations stayed with the crown out of respect for the Queen. They may not afford King Charles III the same respect.

    The royal family is a classic case of survival amidst the storm, one of intrigue and best kept secrets. Prince Andrew for instance is reputed to be the child of the Queen close friend and horse trainer Porchey. The resemble to Porchey is unmistakable. It was said that the late Prince Phillip, whilst away from Britan attracted the eyes of many lovely ladies, he was a strikingly handsome man. The Queen upon finding out of his chivalry ran straight into the arms of Porchey, where he comforted her. The Queen knew that the late Prince Phillip would not divorce her. Andrew became her favourite son for obvious reasons she absolutely loved horses, what a ride she must have been…for her and Porchey.

    Then there is the Charles and Camilla teenage love child who now resides in Australia claiming that he is next in line for the throne. As the story goes Camilla was pregnant for Charles in her late teens, the Queen did not want to create a scandal and one of her staff members adopted the child and move to Australia. He has a striking resemblance to Charles and Camilla a true love child with his mother wrinkles and father face.

    The uncontrolled s*xual adventure of Diana is legendary. Certainly like the goddess Diana she was a hunter of ill repute. A princess searching for love. For 5 years she secretly met with her bodyguard James Hewitt, the creaking of the bed in the quiet English day could be heard a distance away. There has always been the question about Diana second son Harry being the love child of her and Hewitt. I guess we will never know.

    Then there is Prince William who appears to have anger issues (who wouldn’t) living in that family. His reported and not denied affair with Rose Hanbury is there in the public domain. Infidelity, love child, secret affairs, makes us all believe these people are worst than commoners but carrying on the hypocrisy of royalty.

    As the Queen casket lowered into the vault of West Minster Abbey, a history of conquest, pillaging, nation building, none apologizing goes with it. To be sure there were good and evil in the British rule over black and brown people. The Queen presided over the independence of many nations, albeit a heavy price was paid by some. Today we say goodbye to the Queen and hope a new era will be realized…
    Goodbye Queen Elizabeth II….

    1. As the Queen casket lowered into the vault of West Minster Abbey….Mamoo
      Correction she was laid to rest in St.George Church Windsor castle. A massive place. I visited the external part where just outside one of the largest park in Europe exist. A place where foxes were hunted by the royals.

  3. Mamoo: “Beneath the Bank of England is a storage vault several levels high (9 levels) housing 430,000 bars of gold”..

    Thanks… One cannot fathom this, so here it is to be seen.

    Their Brand has taken a hit, as a result of the information age.. which will have serious repercussions as we move along.

    USA Today
    The queen is dead: Countries consider breaking from British crown now Elizabeth’s reign is over

    Thanks, Professor…

  4. With the passing of the Queen, the changing of the guard, her grandson William will inherit over a billion dollars worth of her estate, and would assume a higher rank and title. The royal wealth is a classified secret, however many Brits knew about the vast collection of the Queen’s art work, tiaras, estates, and huge wealth.

    A few weeks prior to the passing of the Queen she changed her will, it is unclear if Harry will inherit anything. He is currently living off his mother estate(Princess Diana) that she willed to him and His brother. Kate will inherit $110 million worth of the stolen jewelry. Meagan along with Lillibeth with not get a royal cent from the Queen’s estate because Meagan is deemed an outsider, a black ewe of sorts.

    “ Elizabeth, who died at 96 on Sept. 8, and Prince Philip, who died in 2021 at 99, had four children: King Charles III, 73; Princess Anne, 72; Prince Andrew, 62; and Prince Edward, 58. Those four children produced eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren so far.”Google. Having that large a family I am sure the Queen made sure everyone one of them got something from her billion dollars estate.

    The royals are in a class of their own. They have this enormous wealth and one look at Will and Kate it appears as though they are on a strict 1500 calories diet. The look a bit malnourished. Now if RamK or any other Trini had that wealth, the diet book would have been dumped in the Beetham. Everyday doubles, sada roti, buljol, crab and dumplings, pelau, king fish, fish broth, yam, etc. Our own royalty replacement President Weekes appears to know how to dine sumptuously. She ain’t on any diet, you go girl… upon retirement with the million dollars plus pension the food fest will continue. No one she very quiet….I sure the drinks are of the finest import.
    Cheers to all…

  5. How refreshing to see Mr. Mamboo and Mr. Ramkillerman on the same side of an argument for once; it almost gives me some hope for national unity!
    Worth noting that both the African continent and the Indian subcontinent were looted by the Empire and that, to this day, the British Crown Jewels include the “Star of Africa” (a diamond taken from South Africa) and the Koh-i-Noor (a diamond mined in India and taken from the Sultan of Lahore, now in Pakistan, by the British).

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