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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago

It was a coincidence that The Crown debuted on US television in November 2016. America had just elected a new president — boorish, unstable, indifferent to rules, contemptuous of the law, with a long history of sexual assault, fraud and deception. There was no impulse he didn’t indulge, no cruelty he didn’t entertain, no tradition he wasn’t willing to trash.

This paragraph could also be applied to President Biden. For all his faults, Trump seemed to love America and did a good job tapping into the antipathy many Americans harbor toward the academic and journalistic clerisy that dominates discourse in their country. America needs another Trump or similar figure to reverse course. Another four years of Democrat governance and it’s all over for the US.

Jim Collins
Jim Collins
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Julian, well said. I think Andrew has to use the hollow mantra of supposed Trumpian falts to retain his standing in his social network. DNC, the Clintons and the Bidens have truely set new standards for blatent corrution but one must not say.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Collins

No. Sullivan actually believes this. He has long TDS. See his recent interview with Triggernometry.

Last edited 4 months ago by Derek Smith
Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Collins

You are correct. Sullivan’s first paragraph sets the invective tone. He lies and those with him lap it up.

Piyush Jain
Piyush Jain
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This article sums up the modern leftist thinking. Be an elite, present your world and colonize and screw up half the world and you are great. Speak your mind, be politically correct, do not care about your personal brand, do a good job of whatever you are elected to do, and you are bad human being.

Mike Bewley
Mike Bewley
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

only a fool thinks that Trump cares about anything but himself. He is terrible person and the most worthless man I have known about.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Bewley

I agree; he was elected to serve but is mostly self-serving.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
4 months ago

With her death, it’s hard not to fear that so much she exemplified — restraint, duty, grace, reticence, persistence — are disappearing from the world.” – Disregarding the clunky prose, I would like to note that missing from this list is dignity, because it seems to me that these days there is almost nothing that people consider to be beneath their dignity: like parading your sexual preferences and proclivities for all the world to see and then expecting to be applauded for it, like publicly besmirching perfectly decent people for supposed offences that could be resolved in 2 minutes if they were addressed at the personal level (Tim Hunt), like using derogatory language to describe those you disagree with (Tory-xxxx-style rhetoric), like insinuating malign intent to large swathes of the population (deplorables), like treating people as mere ciphers of a particular race or sex rather than as unique individuals… I could go on. There was a time when to do any of these things would have been considered beneath one’s dignity. Would that it had remained thus.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
4 months ago

Very well said.

Ima Wander
Ima Wander
4 months ago

She was very good at seeming both unobtrusive as well as dignified. She lived through a great deal of change and while she weathered it well–often by not saying too much and controlling her public appearances–her family was not as wise. We’ll see what Charles does with it. Fingers crossed, maybe they’ll hang up the tradition after him.

Mike Bewley
Mike Bewley
4 months ago

but then came the Trump cult and everything civil went out the window

Kevin Foster
Kevin Foster
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Bewley

Plus idiots like you eh!!

Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
4 months ago

There was no impulse he didn’t indulge, no cruelty he didn’t entertain, no tradition he wasn’t willing to trash.
Andrew Sullivan’s writing should come with a warning. Orange Man Bad.

Aaron James
Aaron James
4 months ago
Reply to  Gary Cruse

I thought the writer was describing Nero and wondered what a Roman Emperor had to do with this sad time….

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron James

It could have been any one of them, from Clinton onwards.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
4 months ago
Reply to  Gary Cruse

There’s exaggeration.

Then there’s hyperbole.

And sometimes there’s just derangement.

Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
4 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Redacted

Last edited 4 months ago by Gary Cruse
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
4 months ago
Reply to  Gary Cruse

I thought the discription of Mr Trump was spot on, and am fully expecting the inevitable blow-back in the comments.

Brett H
Brett H
4 months ago

I think Trump was used as a point of comparison between two countries, two cultures and two systems of government. Hyperbolic, of course, but possibly emblematic of the US.

Last edited 4 months ago by Brett H
Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
4 months ago

Would you care to enumerate the cruelties he entertained? Or compare his contempt for the law with Biden’s?

Mike Bewley
Mike Bewley
4 months ago

Trump’s contempt for the law is real, Biden’s contempt lives only in the fever dreams of the Trump cult

Rupert Snell
Rupert Snell
4 months ago
Reply to  Gary Cruse

Yes, and with another warning too: Prose Style Worse.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
4 months ago

Great piece – thanks for this. I used to read in history books about people saying ‘the king is dead’ then immediately afterwards ‘god save the king’, and didn’t fully appreciate the significance. This event has helped me appreciate the huge value of continuity to our collective psyche.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Me too: the seamlessness of the transition of sovereignty from one person to another. Charles entered his mother’s bedroom the Prince of Wales, and exited as King Charles III. Every subsequent ceremony has been or will be simply confirmation of what has already happened.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
4 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

The speed at which it all has happened leaves me slightly breathless. One of the main strength of a monarchy (and there are many) is this seamless continuity.

Last edited 4 months ago by Linda Hutchinson
Jeanie K
Jeanie K
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

“…and didn’t fully appreciate the significance.”
You demonstrate your lack of education with regard to this country.

andy young
andy young
4 months ago

Watched a bit of Markle yesterday (something I’m not normally bothered with) & it struck me that perhaps she’s not quite the Ms. Evelyn Carnate she’s made out to be; perhaps it’s just being American, getting all her ideas of being a princess from Disney movies, being adored & driving around in a golden carriage when not surrounded by tall, dignified, respectful footmen. And being naive & gushing about it all. And then being disappointed by the reality.
Camilla got it, she’s achieved respect by keeping schtum & getting on with it. Kate gets it too. I notice William wasn’t on the list of royals with problems & I suspect, like perhaps many of us, that William & Kate will eventually be the next best thing to the late Queen

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
4 months ago
Reply to  andy young

It is hard to figure Markle out. In The Cut she managed to look (that awful cover photo) and sound like Ms Evelyn Carnate (brilliant btw!). But at the walkabout she looked like an insecure little girl. Perhaps they are two sides of the same coin: a genuine lack of self-confidence and personality papered over with a projection of power and control.

Last edited 4 months ago by Judy Englander
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
4 months ago
Reply to  andy young

Perhaps you were misled because she wasn’t being interviewed on US television.
My hope is that she’ll figure things out, and realise that not only could she and Harry find a better life back here, but that she might actually do a lot of good for other people (according to my interpretation rather than her current one).

Last edited 4 months ago by Colin Elliott
Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
4 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

.
‘she and Harry [could] find a better life back here’.
.
Oh dear God, please NOT.
.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
4 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

It’s quite possible that Meghan Markle’s primary error is – backing her husband to the hilt. She’s articulate; he isn’t. She has confidence; he doesn’t. She’s at home in front of the cameras; he loathes them. And she’s swallowed his ‘poor little Prince-boy’ schtick uncritically. So, when he can’t say it publicly (but has complained bitterly to her) SHE puts her own head above the parapet.
Think about it. Was the remark about their son’s possible skin colour made to Meghan, or in her hearing? No – to Prince Harry.
Was the awful situation that saw her ‘suicidal’ reported by her to the family? No – to Palace staff, who (unsurprisingly) pointed out that their remit for looking out for staff has never extended to Royal Duchesses!

Was she ‘unprepared’ for Royal protocol? Clearly, but by all accounts, this was because she resented and rejected guidance from mere minions, or from other Royals. Meghan intended to do things HER way! Disney films are no better a grounding in how Princesses can (and can’t) use their influence than were the trashy novels churned out by the late Lady Diana Spencer’s grandmother, Barbara Cartland. But Meghan’s husband DID know – so why did he not give her the guidance she needed? Royal life had broken their mother, their aunt, their great aunt. Why did he rush into marriage, against the advice of his more cautious elder brother? Perhaps he was too afraid that, like his previous loves, this lady, too, would be too sensible to stick around once she knew what she was letting herself in for.
The tragedy is that, with her erstwhile Prince in tow, Meghan’s options are more limited – and as for making his own independent living, Harry has nothing to sell – except his family.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kate Heusser
Brett H
Brett H
4 months ago

“monarchy … It’s a primordial institution smuggled into a democratic system.”
Actually, I think it’s the other way around.
And what does this mean?:
“To have that kind of symbolic, sacred, mystical thread through time and space is something that is simply a gift from the past that the British people, in their collective wisdom, have refused to return.”

Last edited 4 months ago by Brett H
Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
4 months ago
Reply to  Brett H

And what does this mean?

It means Andrew Sullivan is not a good writer.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
4 months ago
Reply to  Pat Rowles

Actually, I rather like that sentence, and I didn’t find it that difficult to understand.

Last edited 4 months ago by Linda Hutchinson
Brett H
Brett H
4 months ago

I don’t understand at all what he means. I take it that he believes the British people have rejected the historical importance and value of the Monarchy, in fact have rejected the Monarchy. Which I can’t quite believe many would believe.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
4 months ago
Reply to  Brett H

Perhaps I have misinterpreted what he said, but I think he is saying the opposite of that. He is saying that the monarchy, with its symbolic, sacred, mystical thread is a gift given to the British people, and we are keeping it.

Brett H
Brett H
4 months ago

Yes, I think you may be right. Thanks.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
4 months ago
Reply to  Brett H

Indeed. There were a few attempts to overthrow one monarchy for another. Very few to substitute a ‘chosen’ (by a very few) appointee. One experiment with a ‘Commonwealth’ which, from start to end, was an eighteen year inoculation against giving power to (some of the) people.
If monarchs get too big for their boots, Britons have replaced and even executed them. But we can’t see a wholly democratic, working alternative we prefer. Until we do – Long Live the King!

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago

The author is obviously suffering under a bad case of TDS. My sympathies.

Tony Lee
Tony Lee
4 months ago

The Queen was of course thrust into a life of service before she might become known for anything she might have said or done. Unlike Charles, who could hardly have kept quiet in anticipation all this time. In their own way I think they both did extremely well, in often trying circumstances. The more important is in the importance of the head of state to how we exist as a nation and that we belittle at our peril. Trump on the other hand, is quite clearly an obnoxious human being no matter what his other achievements might be. I don’t disagree with all he says, but I can’t applaud his behaviour. Surely nothing contentious about that.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
4 months ago

Wonderful article. As a Canadian born in 1969, I grew up with the last vestiges of our colonial past. A picture of the Queen hung in all my classrooms in elementary school, in the Royal Canadian Legion’s, community halls, and many other institutions. My wonderful grade 2 teacher Mrs. Huntington made us stand every morning and sing either O Canada (M-W-F) or God Save the Queen (T-T). I was proud to be connected with Britain. My aunt, and several other family members, were staunch royalists for whom things like the Queen’s Christmas address were important yearly events. (I grew up hearing both sides of this, as the communist-leaning part of my family were staunch anti-monarchists)
I agree with Sullivan that there are good arguments against monarchy. But there will be a profound loss of something intangible and important if and when the monarchy disappears in Britain. Somehow the same forces in society – those that say that men and women are of equal value, that drug addicts are no less worthy of respect than someone who gets up and goes to work every morning, that it is wrong to want to preserve the traditions of one’s country against limitless immigration and cultural homogenization – are the same who are the fastest to sneer a mean-spirited “who cares, she’s just an old lady” when talking about the death of the Queen.
Even though I will always struggle to express why, she meant something to me, and I believe to the world as well.

Last edited 4 months ago by Chris Milburn
Brett H
Brett H
4 months ago

Americans can’t understand a monarchy.
Is it true that they don’t understand? There’s no answer in this article.

David Graham
David Graham
4 months ago

But it matters that divisive figures such as Boris Johnson or Margaret Thatcher were never required or expected to represent the entire nation.’
To balance the scales: Tony Blair.

Ima Wander
Ima Wander
4 months ago
Reply to  David Graham

But they should, and inevitably, they do. Queen Elizabeth was crowned in the 1940s–she stopped being relevant a long time ago.

David Graham
David Graham
4 months ago
Reply to  Ima Wander

I’m not sure if I fully understand your, factually incorrect, comment. From wikipedia:

‘The Coronation of Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey in London. Elizabeth II acceded to the throne at the age of 25 upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952, being proclaimed queen by her privy and executive councils shortly afterwards.’.

My observation was less between Constitutional Monarchy and democratically elected politicians, than on the relative divisiveness of politicians across the political spectrum (represented by the examples mentioned in the article as quoted). If that makes sense – I mentioned Blair as he is/was Labour (Iraq etc).

Also, relevance is a matter of opinion (especially with the passage of time, and depending on criteria).
But thank you for your comment, and that you felt the need to say it. If I haven’t fully understood the meaning then please reply.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Graham
R Wright
R Wright
4 months ago

Cringeworthy intro. I don’t pay to read a Guardian opinion piece

Tony Price
Tony Price
4 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Well I pay in order to be exposed to opinions I might not hold and therefore might not get elsewhere. It’s about having an open mind, you should try it sometime.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
4 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

And then the writer goes on to demonstrate his ignorance and prejudices.

James Buchan
James Buchan
4 months ago

She was not particularly beautiful or dashing or inspiring.”
I can only assume you have not seen pictures of her as a young woman.
She was a beautiful woman in her younger days.
I say this as a republican btw.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
4 months ago

You can make all sorts of solid arguments against a constitutional monarchy — but the point of monarchy is precisely that it is not the fruit of an argument.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
4 months ago

“You can make all sorts of solid arguments against a constitutional monarchy — but the point of monarchy is precisely that it is not the fruit of an argument.”
The country had a very big argument. It was called “the Civil War”, following which the reigning monarch (Charles I) was beheaded. Later in that same argument, the monarchy was restored in the form of Charles II, this being a Constitutional Monarchy.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Indeed. We tried life without a monarch for eighteen years in the middle of the seventeenth century. We didn’t like it – and have never chosen to repeat the experiment!

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
4 months ago

“no cruelty he didn’t entertain”

Sub editors need to to put a stop to this ridiculous hyperbole about Trump.

Iris C
Iris C
4 months ago

I do not accept your description of Prince Andrew as “depraved”. He may not have been wise in his choice of friends, but prominent American citizens were also unwise in that respect but they were not pursued and their integrity was not destroyed without evidence.
Remember that the American hostess who accused him of unsubstantiated misdemeanours backed down when she was requested to appear in court to answers her allegations. Does that not say something to you?

Frederick Hastings
Frederick Hastings
4 months ago

The white shoes of the naval officer in “Lord of the Flies,” the black robes of the magistrate, the crown of the benign monarch—all are symbols that arrest discourse lest events lead to catastrophe. Life is fleeting and lived in the moment, whereas humanity is longterm and is served by civility and eternal verities and those who hold them dear.

Steve Brown
Steve Brown
4 months ago

This is a brilliant article. I’ve read Andrew for years, without agreeing with him too much of the time. But this one really does it for me.

Mike Bewley
Mike Bewley
4 months ago

The Crown gave a glimpse into the burdens of station into which she was born, the passing of an icon

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
4 months ago

America isn’t TikTok, Andy, nor is it simply the beltway.

Sam McGowan
Sam McGowan
4 months ago

I suspect that Americans understand the monarchy far better than a queer British expatriate understands America and Americans. After all, it was our ancestors who said no more, and broke away from the British monarchy and formed a republic. Andrew has been trying to tell Americans how to think ever since he got off the boat to go to Harvard – then never went back. Queen Elizabeth was a great woman but the British monarchy has been little more than a figurehead for the past two hundred years. The queen had little say in the running of the country – or any of its commonwealths. The UK and the British Commonwealth is run by the various prime ministers, not the monarchy.

Sam Agnew
Sam Agnew
4 months ago
Reply to  Sam McGowan

Very generous of you to prove his point for him

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Sam McGowan

You have missed one point of the monarchy which is to have a head of state who is not political.

Michael Layman
Michael Layman
4 months ago

How do you claim Trum had a long history of “sexual assault?” You just lost all credibility as a writer and I am cancelling my Unherd subscription.

Pauline
Pauline
1 month ago

American patriotism lies within the citizens. We are like a big disfunctional family who fight and don’t always get along, but throw something like 9/11 at us, and you will see people helping complete strangers after the buildings collapsed, out on the street handing out food and water, hundreds of thousands of people going to give blood, donate money, volunteering to do whatever is needed. Our presidents and other politicians come and go, and obviously we don’t have a monarchy, one person who represents our patriotism, but you see it in our every day citizens. People who are much more tangible than royals in palaces. I’m not saying that to knock the Queen. She gave her life to her nation, but we just have a different way to honor our nation and our pride in our country.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
4 months ago

You seem to be lacking the very self restraint you applaud, no doubt a result of your narcissism. Can anyone write rubbish on unherd now? Do they pay?

Mike Bewley
Mike Bewley
4 months ago

Excellent description of the vile spoiled brat that slunk into the White House with the aid of Putin, emotional maturity of a five year old.

Brett H
Brett H
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Bewley

Hilarious.

Arcey Gilligan
Arcey Gilligan
4 months ago

The alleged sagaciousness of a hereditary ruler/head of state is an anachronism that has long outlived its utility. As a Yank, I refuse to buckle under to that antique notion of “stability”, for stability’s sake, to what is more or less a KC-pedigreed human being (and transplanted Hanoverians, to boot) as a figurehead to grovel and curtsy at.
Chuck The Trips, may your reign be interesting, n’est-ce pas?

Last edited 4 months ago by Arcey Gilligan
Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
4 months ago

“And there lies the rub”. Concepts of Sovereignty, Henry VIII powers , Charter Cities all ‘magicked’ into existence by manipulation and appropriaton of ancient symbolism combined with infantilising American political nation building. Brexit, the Trojan Horse.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
4 months ago

I’m sorry, but I’m not quite sure what you are saying or who/what you are criticising. Could you expand a little please?

Mike Dearing
Mike Dearing
4 months ago

Pretty obvious: the constitutional flaw that enabled UK prime ministers and their cabinet members to implement draconian changes to laws without debate in parliament.

Ima Wander
Ima Wander
4 months ago

I agree with the title of this article–I had to struggle to get away from coverage of the Elizabeth’s passing. It is something I care about only in so much as I know a handful of Brits and it is something that affects them. It has no relevance to me whatsoever. In fact, I still don’t get how and why, an otherwise intelligent people like the Brits, keep the royal family around at public expense.
Unfortunately, I think the author reveals something–our new media are much more interested in this topic than actual Americans are. A bunch of Tories by golly! To be honest, I am uncomfortable with American Presidents visiting the royals–who are they anyway?! I definitely don’t get it.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
4 months ago
Reply to  Ima Wander

You don’t need to get it, as you say it doesn’t really have anything to do with you, other than an interest in what is going on in other countries that is. There are many things that happen in the USA that I don’t get, but I never feel the need to criticise your country. As for cost, how much does it cost to keep POTUS -. up-keep of the White House, security, 4-yearly elections, etc? I don’t know, maybe only a tiny amount.

Javier Quinones
Javier Quinones
4 months ago

Look up In Defense of Not Mourning Queen Elizabeth in Reason magazine. It’s a great thing for us not to allegedly understand what she represented. Here’s an excerpt from the article: “ The queen was “a fixture of stability,” but “we should not romanticize her era,” writes Harvard history professor Maya Jasanoff in a New York Times op-ed, noting the suppression of anticolonial movements in places such as Kenya, Cyprus, and Aden, Yemen, during Elizabeth’s reign and the queen’s alleged opposition to Scottish independence. Jasanoff suggests that with Elizabeth now gone, “the imperial monarchy must end too.”

Last edited 4 months ago by Javier Quinones
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
4 months ago

One might imagine that a Harvard history professor would know that there has been no empire (at least, no British empire) for quite some time now.

Do try to keep up!

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
4 months ago

Thing is, the British monarchy is not a monarchy. Think Putin, Zelenskyy.
Britain is an oligarchy, like the US. Good Queen Elizabeth was a costume show.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
4 months ago

Stupid comment, not really worthy of a reply. Even the self professed republicans I know have been surprised by their sense of loss for our dear Queen. This is yet another article trying to understand why our grief is so real. ‘Good Queen Elizabeth’ represented the British people to the world. She was her best self always, holding herself to the highest standards and accepting everything that was put upon her, for our, and our country’s, enormous benefit. She was an example and inspiration to even the lowliest of her subjects, who recognised and admired her dedication and sense of purpose. Her purpose was to be the best Queen she could be, to earn our respect and loyalty and to secure the future of the monarchy in these islands. She could not have done better and we are beyond grateful that we were blessed by her reign.