The ten days of mourning for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was not “healthy in a modern democracy”, according to Shane Coleman.
The Newstalk Breakfast presenter said he understands how important Queen Elizabeth was to many people in the UK – but he has found himself looking on in puzzlement at the reaction to her death.
He said he is not alone in his opinion, noting that there must be lots of people in the UK quietly, privately scratching their heads and saying to themselves “this is all a little bit bonkers”.
He said today’s funeral is a very important moment for the people of Britain – but it is not the historic moment that so many in the British media insist it is.
‘There must be people in the UK quietly, privately scratching their heads and saying this is all a little bit over the top.’ Shane Coleman and @jonathanhealy on the 10 days of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II @NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/jJ3EZ1cGzd
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) September 19, 2022
“In terms of world news, will we look back in five years, ten years, 20 years on this as a moment?” he asked.
“I mean, this isn’t the Congress of Vienna or the fall of the Berlin War or the end of World War II; it is none of those things.
“I do want to be respectful of people in Britain because as I said, it is important to them but I am very puzzled and I don’t think what has happened over the last ten days; the extent of the mourning, the length of the mourning and the ridiculous things that have been forced to close down … I don’t think that is healthy.
“I really don’t think it is healthy in a modern democracy, the extent of that mourning. It just, it was an excess of mourning. I don’t think that’s healthy in a country like that.”
Fellow presenter Jonathan Healy said today’s funeral will be historic, “whether people like it or not” – but that is not the reason you will find Irish people tuning in.
“I think they’re going to tune in out of a sense of ‘Hello’-style interest,” he said.
“They want to see who is sitting next to who or whether there is any interaction between the two princes. They want to see the pomp and ceremony; they want to see the silly hats.
“They want to take on that experience. That is why people have an interest in the royal family. It’s not because we’re furlough-tugging, cap-doffing royalists. It’s because we’ve always had an interest in how the other half lives across the water.
“There will be a huge interest in this today whether people like that or not.”
He said the scenes over the last ten days of people queuing for hours on end to see Queen Elizabeth’s coffin were carefully choreographed.
“That queue didn’t need to exist,” he said. “They had technology that would have allowed people access Westminster Hall at the appropriate time, they could have turned up maybe an hour or two in advance.
“They chose to have people queue up for 24 hours as a symbol of what the mourning period represented. It was deliberate action.”
Shane said there are many people in Britain who agree with his stance.
“There must be people in the UK as well, lots of people, quietly, privately, scratching their heads and saying this is all a little bit over the top,” he said. “A little bit bonkers.”