Armoury of facts a perfect defence against anti-queen whingers
NEWTON'S OPTIC:TO CELEBRATE Queen Elizabeth’s forthcoming visit, The Irish Timesbrings you this commemorative souvenir guide to rebutting republican whinges.
1. Her troops still occupy our country
Most of the 5,000 British troops officially based in Northern Ireland have been deployed to Afghanistan, so they are actually occupying someone else’s country.
2. She is commander in chief of the Parachute Regiment
No, she isn’t. Prince Charles is commander in chief of the Parachute Regiment. You may remember this from previous republican whinges about “the Para Prince”. She is nominal head of all UK armed forces but whingeing about that is stretching a point. Equivalent unionist whinge: “The pope is head of the Swiss Guard and should give the Jews back their gold”.
3. She is an unelected head of state
Just like Douglas Hyde, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh and Patrick Hillery, although in fairness, Mary McAleese is only a re-unelected head of state.
4. She owes Ireland reparations
In fact, having lost her uncle to an IRA bomb in the Republic, the queen is owed €15,000 by the Remembrance Commission. However, she is probably not owed the further €15,000 grant for those in economic hardship.
5. She can’t marry a Catholic
This is true, but as with the rest of the British constitution it is only written in stone until circumstances warrant a change, whereupon it will be deftly fudged. Until then, why bother? And just how does this oppress the hairy-knuckled sons of Erin? Had their hearts set on a civil partnership with Prince William?
6. Her real name is Elizabeth Windsor
No, her real name is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith. But you may call her “Your Majesty” in the first instance and “Ma’am” thereafter.
7. Her real name is Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg Gotha
Is anyone in Ireland seriously going to sneer about being ruled by Germans? Seriously?
8. The whole concept of monarchy is offensive
But for some reason it is less offensive of the Dutch, Danes, Belgians, Swedes, Norwegians and Spaniards, just as imperialism was less offensive of the Dutch, Belgians and Spaniards, invading Ireland 900 years ago was less offensive of the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians and invading Ireland to put a Protestant on the throne was less offensive of the Dutch.
9. She must apologise for the Famine
She almost certainly will. That should earn a brief moment of silence from the world’s second-fattest country.
10. Policing will cost a fortune
Not exactly. Policing the protesters will cost a fortune. Policing the queen is completely unnecessary, while policing Prince Philip can usually be left to the queen.
11. There’ll be no tourist boost
A fair point. Few British people, watching the queen receive a ceremonial coconut, ever think to themselves “The island of Ronga-Tonga looks lovely, I must book my next holiday there at once”. On the other hand, most British people watching a riot will think to themselves “the island of Ireland looks ghastly, I must never go there again”.
12. It’s just too soon
The queen has visited Ireland dozens of times over the past 59 years. Making a fuss over this trip is inherently partitionist.