British republicans hold back for Queen’s funeral but plan future protests

Campaign group says Monday events would not have been ‘appropriate’ but points to falling support for monarchy

Campaigning republicans remained largely silent for the day of the Queen’s funeral, but assured those who did not take part in national mourning of the monarch that “they were not alone”.

The campaign group Republic said it had not organised any events around the day of the Queen’s funeral as it would not have been appropriate, but promised a series of campaign events and protests at forthcoming royal occasions, including the investiture of the Prince of Wales and the coronation of King Charles.

“People who get very caught up in this moment are in a minority,” said Graham Smith, from the campaign group. “This isn’t the whole country mourning, and I think it’s worth reassuring republicans of that. The number of republicans has gone up in recent years, from one in five to one in four, while support for the monarchy has dropped from 75% to 60%.”

This week, YouGov polling showed a surge in support for King Charles after his mother’s death, with 63% of people saying he would do a “good job”. However, the most recent survey from the National Centre for Social Research (NCSR) – which began charting attitudes towards the monarchy in 1994 – found that the core group who believed the monarchy was “very or quite important” was down to 55%.

Dissent among republicans on social media was relatively sparse on the day of the funeral. However, Charlotte Proudman, a barrister specialising in violence against women and girls, said that while everyone had the right to mourn, she thought the blanket coverage lacked balance.

“The news is not impartial, it is propagating a pro-monarchy agenda and narrative without providing voice or visibility to republicans and dissenting voices,” she said. “We should use state money to fund an underfunded justice system, to support the homeless and those who can’t eat or heat their homes, not millions on a state funeral of a monarch who was not democratically elected,” she said.

But even some nominal republicans, such as the writer Laurie Penny, who wrote about joining the queue to see the Queen lying in state over the weekend, decided they wanted to watch the proceedings.

“Mourning rituals matter, and this country has had a lot to mourn for a long time,” she said. “The royal family makes sense to me as a religion, and it’s not my religion, but I do believe in religious tolerance – as long as participation is optional.”


Alexandra Topping

The GuardianTramp

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