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The Queen

Government Minister attacks university decision to remove portrait of The Queen


FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE VIA FLICKR

Members of the Magdalen College Middle Common Room have voted to remove a printed portrait of The Queen from the common room. The Oxford students voted to remove it, on the basis of it being a symbol of “recent colonial history”. The move has both been praised and criticised in the following days.

According to a BBC article, the motion was tabled to make the common room a more welcoming place for all students and to recognise that “for some students, depictions of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history”. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has called out the students for their decision. On Tuesday, 8 June, he posted on his Twitter criticising the move. He said “Oxford University students removing a picture of the Queen is simply absurd. She is the Head of State and a symbol of what is best about the UK. During her long reign she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity & respect around the world”. 

However, many people have stated that this is simply student politics and should not be considered any sort of significant move. President of Magdalen College, Barrister Dinah Rose, also tweeted about the choice. She highlighted that the students voted in 2013 to put the portrait up, and that this is no different from that. She added: “Being a student is about more than studying. It’s about exploring and debating ideas. It’s sometimes about provoking the older generation.“

Several members of The Royal Family have returned back to in-person engagements in addition to virtual engagements. Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday, 15 June, and the Queen is expected to attend.

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Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com