Students at the University of Oxford have voted for a portrait of the Queen to be removed from a common room at Magdalen College, because of the “recent colonial history” it represents.
- Students of Oxford University's Magdalen College have voted for a portrait of the Queen to be removed to make sure it is a “welcoming” space to all.
- It’s been explained that the depiction of Her Majesty represents “recent colonial history” that may make some students feel uncomfortable.
- This royal news comes after Prince Edward revealed the sad reality that makes the Queen struggle to suppress her heartache.
It was decided by graduate students of Oxford’s Magdalen College Middle Common Room committee that a portrait depicting a 1952 photograph of the Queen was to be removed from the walls of their main common room.
The decision has been made in order to “neutralize” the student space, ridding it of the “recent colonial history” the portrait represents, in order to make it a “welcoming” place for all.
The imagery, which shows the monarch in her mid 20s wearing her crown and a blue sash, is set to be put into storage, having been bought by the committee back in 2013 to hang in the common room.
Explaining the decision, MCR president Matthew Katzman told The Telegraph, “It has been taken down. It was decided to leave the common room neutral. That was what this was about.
“The college will have plenty of depictions of various things, but the common room is meant to be a space for all to feel welcome.”
The choice to remove what the committee feels is a symbol of colonialism comes after calls for statues to be taken down across the UK and US, in a bid to support the Black Lives Matter movement with anti-racist actions.
The Guido Fawkes website reports that the committee explained that “patriotism and colonialism” are “not separable” during a discussion about taking the portrait down.
“The Queen represents an institution responsible for much of colonialism throughout history and the modern era, and these depictions cause some students discomfort,” minutes from the committee meeting go on to say.
The decision has sparked a response from the UK government, with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson branding the move “absurd”.
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 worldJune 8, 2021
He responded to say that the Queen is a "symbol of what is best about the UK.
“During her long reign, she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity and respect around the world,” he wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Magdalen College President, barrister Dinah Rose, has taken to social media in support of the students.
Being a student is about more than studying. It's about exploring and debating ideas. It's sometimes about provoking the older generation. Looks like that isn’t so hard to do these days.June 8, 2021
“The Middle Common Room is an organisation of graduate students. They don’t represent the College.
"Magdalen strongly supports free speech and political debate, and the MCR’S right to autonomy,” she tweeted.
"Being a student is about more than studying. It’s about exploring and debating ideas. It’s sometimes about provoking the older generation.”
Caitlin is Junior News Editor for woman&home, covering all things royal, celeb, fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
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After leaving uni, she dabbled in fashion PR as a Press Assistant for Arcadia's Topshop before becoming a part of the Now team at Future for her first real job in the world of online journalism, joining the ranks as a Digital Writer in 2019.
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When she's not working you'll find Caitlin sipping bubbles at brunch with her besties, thinking about her next iced coffee, trying to close the rings on her Apple Watch, scrubbing up on her royal family knowledge or scrolling through the Zara app, trying to resist tapping 'check out' again.
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