'This rotten institution needs to go', says anti-monarchy campaign group Republic

8 March 2021, 12:09 | Updated: 8 March 2021, 13:09

Campaign group Republic has long called for the abolition of the monarchy
Campaign group Republic has long called for the abolition of the monarchy. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Anti-monarchy campaign group Republic has said "this rotten institution needs to go", following Harry and Meghan's bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview.

Republic's chief executive, Graham Smith, called for an honest debate about the future of the monarchy after the shocking revelations and accusations given and made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

He branded the fallout from the two-hour US interview the "worst crisis" facing the institution "since the abdication (of Edward VIII) in 1936".

The campaign group has spearheaded the hashtag #AbolishTheMonarchy, which has since been widely circulating on social media.

TV host Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: "So, #AbolishTheMonarchy is now trending, albeit below me.

"Congrats Meghan & Harry - your mission is complete."

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Mr Smith argued that the monarchy is "tolerated because of a carefully managed but dishonest image" that has been curated for decades.

He said: "The monarchy has just been hit by its worst crisis since the abdication in 1936. Whether for the sake of Britain or for the sake of the younger royals, this rotten institution needs to go.

"Some people will say 'Well, you would say that', but this interview has only served to highlight what a lot of people have known for years: the monarchy is rotten to the core and does not reflect British values.

"Most people in the UK don't give a second thought to the royals, they're just not that interested.

"The monarchy is tolerated because of a carefully managed but dishonest image that's been created over the past few decades."

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He said people are now "getting a much clearer picture of what the monarchy is really like", adding that it "doesn't look good".

It comes after Meghan Markle revealed to Oprah Winfrey that she had been experiencing suicidal thoughts at the height of her time in the monarchy.

The duchess told the American talk show host that she had contemplated taking her own life, saying: "I just didn't want to be alive anymore."

A post on Republic's Twitter feed read: "Royalist [sic] have been banging on about how the monarchy helps ‘brand Britain’ for years. Time for a re-branding."

Mr Smith continued: "With the Queen likely to be replaced by King Charles during this decade, the position of the monarchy has rarely looked weaker.

"We now need honesty in the monarchy debate that has been sorely lacking until now. Honesty about the democratic alternative, honesty about royal corruption, honesty about costs, tourism and every other bit of nonsense trotted out by royalists for years.

"Britain is better than this. We deserve better than this. The monarchy will always be part of our history. It mustn't be part of our future."

However, some branded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's interview as a "betrayal" of the monarchy.

Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: "This interview is an absolutely disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family.

"I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle - but for Harry to let her take down his family and the Monarchy like this is shameful."

If you are affected by any of the above and need emotional support then contact the Samaritans helpline 24 hours a day on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch or visit their website.