Empty frame may warm Oxford students’ hearts…but the Queen will never be cancelled

RECEIVING my offer to study at Jesus ­College, Oxford, as a graduate student is a moment I will never forget. 

Hands shaking, I rang my mum at work to tell her the good news. 


The portrait of the Queen in the common room of Magdalen College, Oxford[/caption]

I was blubbering so much, she initially thought I’d called to tell her someone had died.

Her daughter, who barely 20 years earlier had landed in the country unable to speak English, had worked her way up to the most prestigious university in the world.

But that perception of ­prestige has slowly been chipped away since I arrived — and this week reminds me why.

On Monday a group of graduate students at ­Magdalen College, Oxford, voted to take down a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen from their common room because, “For some students, depictions of the British ­monarchy represent colonial history”.

In an act of bogus ­democracy, ten students voted in favour of taking down the portrait, which has sat on the wall undisturbed for nearly a decade, with claims that it was offensive and unwelcoming because you can’t “separate patriotism from colonialism”.

Two were against the motion and there were five abstentions. Understandably, their decision has caused everything from eye-rolls to outrage across the country.

Let’s for a minute leave alone the fact that this ­decision was made at the behest of a measly one eighth of the postgraduate population of Magdalen College.

If there’s one thing Queen ­Elizabeth’s reign represents, insofar as the history of ­monarchy and colonialism is concerned, it’s the fall of the British Empire.

Almost 50 countries have won independence from the British Empire during the Queen’s reign — something these thin-skinned scholars should surely welcome. 


Students at ­Magdalen College, pictured, voted to take down the portrait of Her Majesty[/caption]


But, alas, the neurotic anti-establishment, anti-British obsession trumps students’ common sense and reason these days, it seems. 

I was rather chuffed with myself when I gained a place at Oxford — it’s fair to say many of the kids I grew up with were more likely to see the inside of a jail than Jesus College.

I thought what I was ­joining was a club of British excellence. A home, I thought, of tough-spirited students who had an open mind and were led by reason rather than feelings.

That said, in my freshers’ week when the various anti-Brexit student groups tried to cajole me into joining their “fight” and I explained to them that I supported the Government taking us out of the EU, they all looked like they’d seen a ghost. 

It was like they had never seen in the flesh a young person who was to the right of Jeremy Corbyn. And it didn’t take long for the sneery anti-conservative attitudes to start cropping up either.

It’s fascinating, is it not, that I am only the second ­generation in my family to be born in a post-colonial Kenya? 

That’s how close to home colonialism is for me. 

My grandparents lived four decades of their lives under British colonial rule.

Sun columnist and Oxford alumna Mercy with her daughter

The years-long fight for independence in the late ­Fifties cost the lives of at least 12,000 of my fellow ­Kenyans.

If someone has a score to settle with the British Royal Family, it’s people like myself and my family.

But — along with millions at home and abroad — we have huge admiration for the Queen.

A massive 85 per cent of our population see the Queen positively, compared to just nine per cent who see her negatively. 

Why? Because people see her as a symbol of the ­Britain of today, not a bygone colonial Britain sane-minded people of the 21st Century would find despicable.

And the Britain of today is one many of us are rather proud of. 

Which is why more than 60 per cent of people in Britain consider themselves patriotic. 


So it begs the question — who are these students who feel so aggrieved by the Queen that even the mere sight of her on the wall in their peripheral vision as they sit in their common room causes emotional trauma?

Well, it could have something to do with the fact that Oxford takes in more postgraduate students who live outside the UK than it takes in from those who live here. 

And with some prestigious courses costing as much as £95,000 (three times the ­average salary in the UK) for just 18 weeks of class, it’s no wonder some of these ­students are so out of touch with the rest of us.

The Queen IS an honourable symbol of Britain we should all be immensely proud of. 

The empty space where her portrait once hung might make the fragile little hearts of this small group feel warm and fluffy inside, but the Queen can not and will never be cancelled. 

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