Commentary: Kate Middleton's Strange Photos

Dear Royals, your colonialism is showing. 

Posted: 09/20/2012 01:32 PM EDT

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Marau in Guadacanal Province, Solomon Islands (Photo:  PA PHOTOS /LANDOV)

Forget those few, grainy photos of a topless Kate Middleton that everyone is fussing over. The real action was captured during her and husband Prince William’s Jubilee tour in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II, where they visited a host of former colonies like it was 1952 instead of 2012.

The pair of royals dropped in on their “native” friends in far flung locales like the Solomon Islands, Malaysia and Singapore. The all-too-real details of the trip sound a litte like a scary flashback from the monarchy's past — in one instance the couple was hoisted and carried in a procession by the brown-skinned people of the Solomon Islands.

No one in these countries was overtly coerced to entertain their Western guests as may have been the case in the past. But the trip still reeked of stereotypes and cast the royals as the gleaming white hopes whose visit gives the wretched “natives” hope to carry on through the drudgery of their daily lives. It was as if they made the visit to take a survey asking, “How’s life been since we stopped owning you?”

Perhaps such an assessment isn’t fair to place upon the nascent royal couple. But given the lot of photos that have come out of the trip, it’s hard to give the them a pass when they very simply should have a greater capacity for racial understanding and the histories of both their country and bloodline.

The Brits may balk that the celebration is a tradition of theirs, but so was the subjugation of people of color the world over. Also, celebrating a whole 60 years of the Queen’s reign doesn’t seem befitting given that the last colonies were liberated in the early '80s — just around the time Kate and William were born.

So, given that Brits were able to give up one horrible legacy, this year would have been the perfect time to give up yet another by drawing back the queen’s celebration, considering that her majesty’s reign was marked by 30 years of colonialism.

Just as many public voices told Middleton she should have expected to be photographed naked after she bared her breasts on a balcony during vacation, the Brits should know better than to parade around their wealth that was stolen from their constellation of colonies under the guise of good will.

 


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