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The British Monarchy, Grenfell Tower, and Inequalities in London

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‘This is a tale of friendship, and a story of togetherness’: The British Monarchy, Grenfell Tower, and Inequalities in London

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Date: Wednesday 2nd June

Time: 4 - 5pm

Speaker: Laura Clancy, Lancaster University, UK

The fire at Grenfell Tower, a block of public housing flats in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, in June 2017 has come to epitomise the growing divide between Britain’s rich and poor in the last decade. Yet, the proximity of Kensington Palace, home of many senior British royals, has been almost entirely ignored in scholarship and commentary on the Grenfell Tower atrocity. This is especially remarkable given the philanthropic ‘work’ the monarchy has engaged in in the fire’s aftermath. This paper explores Together: Our Community Cookbook, a cookbook released by the British monarchy as part of Meghan Markle’s royal charitable ‘duties’, to raise money for The Hubb Community Kitchen - a group of women displaced in the fire, who prepared meals for their families and other survivors in the aftermath. The cookbook repeatedly emphasises unity, collectivity and togetherness: the importance of a local community response in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to rehabilitate Grenfell survivors. This paper argues that in releasing the cookbook, the British monarchy itself is incorporated into this narrative of community and recovery, which fundamentally erases the inequalities in power and privilege between the monarchy and Grenfell survivors (and, indeed, those in similar socioeconomic positions).

Dr Laura Clancy is a Lecturer in Media at Lancaster University. Her forthcoming monograph, Running the Family Firm: how the royal family manages its image and our money, explores the cultural politics of the British monarchy and its role in (re)producing consent for global inequalities and class power. You can follow her on Twitter: @Laura__Clancy.


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