John Oliver gives a wild history lesson on the British royal family – Rolling Stone | Episode Movies

It was just Days since the midterm elections and the country doesn’t even know which party will control the House of Representatives, so John Oliver and his team at Last Week Tonight understandably didn’t tackle the election in their main story — but Oliver started the show by surprisingly not acknowledging the terrible performance of the Democrats. He has also managed viewer expectations.

“The prospect of a DeSantis president is just one of the worrisome things underlying all of the good news Tuesday,” Oliver said. “There was a chance the Republicans would retake the House, and if they do, they can block Biden for the next two years with stunts like holding the whole country hostage, refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and, I don’t know I don’t know, launching an investigation into Biden’s peleton ride history.

The evening’s main story concerned the British monarchy or, as Oliver put it, ‘the best thing that has happened to white actors since literally everything else’. The queen has been dead a few months; Charles, who turns 75 on Monday, is now king; and the UK is facing a cost of living crisis worse than America’s. So Oliver thought it was a good time to ask a fairly simple question: what’s the point of the (very expensive) monarchy?

The British monarch is literally the symbolic head of state; They receive dignitaries and heads of state from other countries, they make official visits abroad themselves – perhaps most notably to the current and former countries and protectorates in the British Commonwealth – and they do more mundane things like visiting British factories and sending British citizens 100th birthday cards. Birthday.

“Think of the royals as Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland,” Oliver said. “They don’t run the rides, but they are a mascot for the whole operation and people are happy to have their picture taken with them.”

The British government gives the royal family about £100m a year – that’s just over a pound for every Briton – as part of the annual Sovereign Grant, which is designed to help the family carry out their duties and get ties and fancy hats or whatever to buy . Supporters of the family argue that they generate around £500m a year from tourism, which is a darn good return on investment, but Oliver pointed out that the £500m figure is very controversial; After all, tourists still flock to the Palace of Versailles in droves, even though the lazy descendants of Louis XIV don’t live there.

The family also earns money in other ways. A portfolio of land confiscated from the royal family in the 13th century, the Duchy of Lancaster is worth more than £1 billion. As is the Duchy of Cornwall, land owned by the Prince of Wales, a title long held by King Charles until it passed to his son Prince William. Together, the family’s duchies bring in tens of millions of dollars a year.

The duchies are exempt from corporate income tax and Charles did not have to pay inheritance tax on anything he inherited from his mother. In short, the family is stretched, and the people of Britain give her another £100m every year to do whatever they do.

“The wealth of the royal family is vast in contrast to their gene pool,” Oliver said.

The existence of the royal family is far more problematic outside of Britain in the many places once occupied by British colonizers. Not only were indigenous peoples in these places brutalized and ostracized in the name of the crown, the royal family enriched themselves by founding and running a company that was the largest supplier of enslaved people to America. And Britain’s depraved mistreatment of colonized Aborigines is not just a relic of the distant past. From the snatching of indigenous children from their families and forcing them into horrific assimilation schools, to the torture and murder of Kenyans during the Mau Mau Rebellion, Queen Elizabeth’s reign has been marked by racial cruelty for which the royal family has never truly apologized .

“Me, [the royal family] is like a human appendix,” said Oliver. “We no longer need them and there are compelling arguments for their surgical removal.”

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