Trevor Noah says the Royal Family have been 'spoilt'
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Meghan Markle was joined by comedian Trevor Noah for the final instalment of her Spotify podcast, Archetypes, this week. In a wide-ranging conversation, the pair discussed the impact of gender norms and Trevor’s experiences of growing up in South Africa. The comedian, who hosts an American late-night talk show, is a contestable choice of guest for the Duchess of Sussex given his history of making controversial comments about the British Royal Family. Most recently, Trevor discussed the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III, blasting the ignorance of some royalists and questioning the ability of the new monarch.
Reacting to the news that Queen Elizabeth had died on his show, Trevor said: “It’s been interesting to see how varied the reactions to this news have been. You know, the full spectrum of emotions — everything from ‘How will the kingdom carry on?’ all the way to ‘You shouldn’t have colonised India, bye b**ch.’”
The Daily Show host did go on to note that despite anyone’s individual feelings about the Queen, the longevity of her reign was truly impressive. To do this, he joked about how many different actors fill the role of Batman she had seen: “She’s seen Adam West as Batman, Michael Keaton as Batman, Christian Bale as Batman, Ben Affleck as Batman, survived that, and then saw Robert Pattinson as Batman. And look, I’m sure there’s a better way to measure time than in Batman, but you get it. She’s been in the game for a minute.”
“She was a queen, the real deal,” the comedian continued. “You just post a photo of your smoothie online, and everyone’s like ‘Yeah, self-care queen.’ No, that doesn’t make you a queen. You’re a duchess of self-care at best.”
Trevor concluded the segment by remarking on how “weird” it was that Charles held the same title as his grandchildren at age 73 until the day of his accession. He joked: “The world wasn’t made for an old prince. I can tell you now there’s no one in a Disney movie who’s like: ‘Someday my prince will come, and he’ll wear orthopaedic shoes and eat cottage cheese for every meal.’ Charles is so old, he’s gonna be the first royal to ascend the throne in one of those motorised stair lifts.”
The following week, the comedian continued to make his views on the British monarchy known. Just two days before the Queen’s state funeral, Trevor said people “oppressed by the British Crown” are being “recolonised” by pressure to mourn the monarch’s death, adding: “You can’t expect people to show respect for something that never respected them.”
He said some royalists were getting “angry” in a “really ignorant way” with people who did not share their reverence for the late Queen. While Queen Elizabeth’s death triggered an outpouring of grief in Britain and around the world, there were also protests and one American professor sparked backlash after saying the monarch was “finally dying” before adding: “May her pain be excruciating.”
In a viral clip, Trevor said: “What was fascinating to me was seeing how angry some people were that not everybody had the same opinion of the queen and how much they wanted other people to have that. In a really ignorant way to be honest, you know.
“I’m shocked that people want others who were under the British Empire to share the same level of mourning. Why would they do it? People are like ‘show some respect, this person died.’ And people are like ‘so what?’ Like everywhere, you know what I mean, all over Africa, all over India, there are so many places where people go, ‘but do you know the British Empire did to us’.”
He continued: “And people are like, ‘that’s somebody’s grandmother, show some reverence’ and I actually found it interesting because you know what it is? Most of the time, it’s not about respecting the person or what they’ve done or what they have.
“In a weird way, it’s that people have this strange reverence for fame. It’s that a famous person has gone and so everyone must respect them regardless of what the famous person is famous for. You can’t say to people who have been oppressed by the British Crown that they should not in some way shape or form say whatever they want.”
He added: “You can’t expect people to show respect for something that never respected them.”
Trevor went on to describe how in South Africa people were brought up as British subjects and talked about the way traditional culture, clothing and languages were “squashed” by colonialism: “You can say: ‘Hey, this is my queen, I still love what she represents.
“That’s your queen but don’t expect everybody else to now adopt… because basically what you’re doing is recolonising the people and saying: ‘This is who you support, this is who you cheer for.’ No, you do your mourning and they’ll live their lives. Long live the King.”
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The video was viewed over 900,000 times on Twitter and attracted a varied reaction from social media users. One person tweeted: “I couldn’t agree with Trevor Noah more. #QueenElizabeth might be #TheQueen to everybody, but she’s not everybody’s Queen in the same way. Let ppl mourn if they want to, or not mourn if they don’t,” while another praised his comments as an “important perspective” for those who were “perplexed and/or upset” by people who did not share their grief.
However, some users were displeased with the comedian’s remarks. Referencing the host’s recent decision to step down from The Daily Show, one said: “He was quite insensitive while covering the demise of Queen Elizabeth. Good riddance.”
A like-minded user added: “Comedy has limits. Don’t go and make a humiliating joke about Queen Elizabeth.”
Meghan Markle’s decision to invite Trevor on to her podcast has had a similarly polarising effect. While some have rushed to praise the Duchess for her most recent episode, others have slammed her for giving the comedian a platform.
Royal expert and the Daily Mail’s Diary Editor, Richard Eden, tweeted: “First, Trevor Noah insults #PrinceHarry’s father: ‘It’s going to take a lot of work to shape the monarchy into something that everyone can get behind…based on his first week in power, looks like King Charles isn’t the guy to do it.’ Next, #Meghan invites Noah onto her podcast.”
A royal watcher with the handle @CountessCommon1 added: “Meghan hosts Trevor Noah, who mocked The King in a segment on his show just a few days after The Queen died. Of course, no media will comment at just how vindictive a collaboration like that is. But just imagine the outrage if roles were reversed. I have no words.”
In contrast, some users came to Meghan’s defence, with one saying: “Queen Meghan and Trevor Noah!!! Oh, this is about to be my fav episode,” and another adding: “Listening to the last episode of #Archetypes with Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex n I’m beyond thrilled to listen to @TrevorNoah and the other great men. Archetypes Podcast is a movement that doesn’t end. Let’s keep the discussions alive by sharing the gems.”
The controversial episode marked the twelfth and final instalment of Meghan’s podcast, but, before it came to a close, the Duchess hinted that there is more to come yet, telling listeners: “We’re working on other ways to keep the conversation going.”
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