Marc Roche: “The Windsor saga has the same ingredients as the Borgias”

In a book dedicated to the British monarchy, journalist Marc Roche looks back on the 70-year reign of Elizabeth II, a “ubiquitous” queen who sacrificed everything for the sake of state and never hesitated to eliminate “Machiavellian fashion” any rebels who there was in its own way”.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations begin on June 2nd. With her 70-year reign since 2015, she has broken the record set by her great-great-grandmother Victoria. As of 2016, she is also the longest-reigning and oldest sovereign in office.

>> Read about this: Queen Elizabeth II cheered Windsor at the start of her centenary

The journalist Marc Roche, who specializes in the British monarchy, traces the great events of the recent past in his book “The Borgias at Buckingham”. In a scathing portrait, he tells what goes on behind the scenes, at what price the monarchy and the Queen are so beloved. Frozen to marble tunes in public, the Windsors engage in a ruthless turf war in which a triumvirate (Elizabeth, Charles and William) uproots the “rotten branches” of the family.

>> In particular, read: Harry, Meghan and Andrew were deprived of the balcony for the anniversary of Elizabeth II

“Like the Borgias, a bloodthirsty family of Renaissance Italy, the Windsor saga has the same ingredients. There’s adultery indeed, the scandals involving Prince Andrew and the allegations of underage rape, the brother hatred between William and Harry… The only difference is that there’s no blood or poison with the Windsors, but it looks a lot like it,” concluded Marc Roche on Wednesday in La Matinale de la RTS, who also corresponds to London for The Point.

The British royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. [EPA/Neil Hall – Keystone]

Acceded to the throne unprepared

According to him, it is thanks to the determination of Elizabeth, Charles and William that the Crown of England is so solid today. “The Queen is more popular than ever, with an approval rating of over 75%, Prince Charles at just over 50% and Prince William at 65%. hard core of the monarchy, with a very Machiavellian elimination by the Queen of all the rebels who were in their way, from the nails”, continues Marc Roche. He quotes in particular Andreas, his favorite son, but who, despite everything, “sacrificed for reasons of state” was, although she herself was “convinced of his innocence”.

Because of this extraordinary journey, since she was not to become queen, Elizabeth II will be adamant and sacrifice everything to reasons of state, to accusation, to duty

Marc Roche, economist, journalist and author. [Miguel Medina - AFP]

Marc Roche, journalist specializing in the British monarchy

The reason for Elizabeth II’s toughness may have to do with her “not very spoiled” generation before World War II. This included her unexpected accession to the throne in 1952 after her father’s sudden death from cancer, when she was unprepared and had enjoyed a “very patchy” education. “Because of this extraordinary journey, since she was not to become queen, Elizabeth II will be adamant and sacrifice everything to reasons of state, to office, to duty.”

A Queen “Above the Battle”

Its longevity proves it has been able to adapt to the many changes that have transformed the UK. “She’s a conservative woman and proud of it, traditional, very passive […]. They never manage to unravel the mystery of Elizabeth II and that is their genius. In times of transparency, of social media, where everyone is talking all the time, she managed to keep the magic going by not saying anything,” Marc Roche analyzes. “If you ask me if she was for or against Brexit, I don’t know. I don’t know because nobody knows!”

She managed to keep the magic going in the age of transparency, of social media where everyone is talking all the time, by not saying anything.

Marc Roche, former Le Monde correspondent in London. [RTS]

Markus Roche

At a time when Scotland dreams of independence and Northern Ireland dreams of reunification, it remains the symbol of national unity, ‘the last’, while Boris Johnson is a factor of division. “The queen is above the fight,” said the journalist.

Despite the evolution of communication methods, it never seems outdated by technological evolution, but rather adapts to it. “She’s a bit like a football coach, moving players up and down the pitch depending on their performance,” Marc Roche illustrates.

She’s something of a soccer coach, moving players up and down the pitch based on their performance.

The guest of Romain Clivaz (video) - Marc Roche, correspondent of Le Monde in London [RTS]

Markus Roche

Diana, “his big fault”

However, she has already made a mistake, like in 1997 when Diana died. “It is her great fault. She failed to feel the country and the grief her death caused. She saw her as a nutcase who knocked the monarchy off its pedestal, arguing in particular that Karl was unworthy be to rule.” However, Elizabeth II, out of step with the country, will very quickly regain the upper hand.

“The Brits have gotten so used to them over time! It is becoming increasingly rare to meet subjects who have known another monarch,” notes Marc Roche. This is the whole paradox of Elizabeth II: “She is omnipresent, but paradoxically we see little of her because she never speaks and shows herself less and less physically”.

>> Read about this: Charles takes Elizabeth II’s place for the traditional speech in Parliament

>> Also read our large format: Elizabeth II, 70 years reign

Interview by Frédéric Mamaïs
Web adaptation: Vincent Cherpillod

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