A wave of sadness swept the globe when Queen Elizabeth II, 96, died Thursday afternoon, marking the end of an era. Throughout the last week, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch has been memorialized for her grace, power and longevity by politicians, celebrities and even everyday Americans.
But the queen was not universally loved. Her legacy as a participant in Britain’s history of colonialism in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia often goes untold, and at times, is downplayed or romanticized (even having been controversially framed as a “long-standing relationship with Africa” in a BBC tweet). Critics have highlighted her role in this historic empire that perpetuated colonization, racism and the suppression of independence movements and calls for reparations.