Calls to ‘abolish the monarchy’ hit Twitter after Meghan, Harry interview

TORONTO — Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey appears to have struck a chord among many in the U.K. as ‘AbolishTheMonarchy’ trended on Twitter on Monday.

By mid-afternoon, nearly 70,000 tweets had be sent using the hashtag, making it a top trending topic in Britain.

Among the more disturbing revelations from the interview were that Meghan had suffered with suicidal thoughts under the toll of royal life, and had sought help but been denied. Meghan also said that while pregnant with son Archie, undisclosed members of the Royal family had had conversations with Harry about their unborn child’s skin colour.

Republic U.K., a group that has campaigned for decades to oust the monarchy, tweeted, “The monarchy is a broken institution. A head of state that’s chosen by us could really represent our hopes and aspirations – and help us keep politicians in check.”

Of course, it can be difficult to gauge the degree to which tweets equal an actual shift in public opinion, but calls to abolish the monarchy in Britain are not new. Still, in many corners, support for the monarchy remains strong.

However, in Canada, the interview comes at a moment where public opinion about the monarchy and its role in the country seems to be near a low ebb. A recent poll conducted by Research Co. found that 45 per cent of Canadians said they would rather have an elected head of state than the Queen, while only 24 per cent would rather see the monarchy retain its role.

Former Governor General Julie Payette’s recent resignation under accusations of workplace harassment have also deepened negative feelings towards the idea of retaining the Queen as the country’s Head of State.

“There’s no doubt that the revelations of the interview are going to hurt the perception of the monarchy and most notably the Teflon reputation of the Queen,” said Tom Freda, national director of group Citizens for a Canadian Republic, which aims to see the Queen replaced as Canada’s head of state with an elected official.

Freda told CTVnews.ca that momentum among Canadians for replacing the Queen has been steadily growing, but also noted the Queen has consistently outpolled the institution of the monarchy itself among Canadians.

While the fallout of the interview has been loud, it remains to be seen whether it will actually prompt much support to shift away from the monarchy.

“I doubt yesterday’s interview will do much to make a monarchist a republican. It might provoke some serious conversations surrounding things like racism and mental health, and perhaps that is a positive that can be taken from it,” said Robert Finch, chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada.

He said he would continue to support the Queen, while also having some sympathy for Harry and Meghan.

“While I am always concerned about support for the monarchy in Canada, I try to keep things in perspective. I’ve long learned that what trends on Twitter does not always equate with the real public mood,” he said.

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