The Queen Didn’t Create The Empire

David Dodson does well to deplore the evils of colonialism (Letters, 9/22). It seems a stretch, though, to blame the late Queen Elizabeth for the abuses of the British Empire, since the Empire was dissolved during her reign and she seemed quite happy to relate to former colonies as independent states.

It’s an even greater stretch to blame her for apartheid in South Africa, since the system was the work of Afrikaners of Dutch descent. Those of English descent, like the novelist Alan Paton and the Anglican monk Trevor Huddleston, were among the greatest critics of the system.

As for the royal family being inbred, it is true that Elizabeth married her third cousin, a prince of Greece and Denmark, but he was serving as a junior officer in the British navy, was not functioning as a member of the royal family, and renounced his foreign titles. Their children and grandchildren married commoners who were not closely related. Diana Spencer, like the late Queen Mother, was the daughter of an earl, but that is not royalty. Both women were beloved of the British public, partly because they were British commoners and not foreign royalty, as they might have been.

Lawrence N. Crumb


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