Velshi: Mixed Feelings About the Monarchy? Why You’re Not Alone.

The first Elizabethan era ended when Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603. Her 45-year reign marked England’s emergence as an ambitious and ruthless global power. Now, centuries later, the second Elizabethan era has ended. The two reigns invite easy comparison – and are tethered by their unique positions in the timeline of British colonialism: the beginning…and the beginning of the end. To quote an often-used phrase through the 18th and 20th century, “the sun never sets on the British empire", which literally meant it was daylight somewhere around the globe in a place that Britain controlled. But nightfall for the Empire was on the horizon by the time Elizabeth II became queen, and it was ushered in by the colonized, not the colonizer. One by one, Britain lost many of its imperial possessions throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, as hundreds of thousands of people unshackled themselves from British rule. Colonization – British, or otherwise -- was economic exploitation, violence and racism. De-colonization -- virtually never initiated by the British -- was often a bloody and deadly fight for independence. Queen Elizabeth was widely respected and admired. But, if you’re having mixed feelings about mourning the loss of a Queen and the institution she represented for so many decades, that’s valid. And you’re not alone.