Relics from the British royal family who came from the wrong way

  After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, some countries, especially African countries, which had been looted by Britain for a large number of cultural relics, once again demanded that Britain return the precious cultural relics. For example, Nigeria asked for the “Benin Bronze” (from the ancient “Benin Empire” in southern Nigeria), South Africa asked for the “Star of Africa”, Egypt asked for the “Rosetta Stone”, and India hoped to use it to call it “Light” Mountain” diamonds.
  Unlike other looted wealth, cultural relics are related to a nation’s history and even identity. Therefore, after the war, the international community also made efforts to protect cultural relics. In particular, the International Court of Justice in The Hague and UNESCO formulated conventions in 1954 and 1970 respectively, stipulating that the plundering of cultural properties during wartime is prohibited, and the occupied cultural properties must be returned after the war. National cultural property, etc.
  Under civil and social pressure, many European governments and some institutions began to return or announce the return of some cultural relics irregularly. For example, in 2021, Germany announced the return of more than 1,100 “Benin bronzes” to Nigeria, Belgium also announced plans to return some collections in the country’s museums to African countries, and French President Macron subsequently announced that dozens of cultural relics would be returned Return to the Republic of Benin.
  The UK, by contrast, has been reticent in returning cultural relics. This may not only reflect the “imperial complex” of some British people, but also has a certain relationship with the British royal family.
  The British Museum is known to have the largest collection of looted artifacts. At the same time, the British royal family also has a large number of plundered cultural relics, including the world-famous “Mountain of Light” originating from India (due to historical reasons, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries also believe that they should belong to them) and some Benin bronzes. Most of these cultural relics are contributed by others, donated or obtained through the auction market. They belong to the “private collection” of the royal family, and many are managed by trust funds belonging to the royal family.
  In February 2017, the UK passed the Cultural Property Act, promising to fulfill its obligations under the Hague Convention. However, British media revealed that the British government and the royal family had reached a tacit understanding, and had presented the bill to the Queen beforehand and received her approval. In March 2021, when the British police were preparing to search the properties of some of the royal family’s trust funds to see if there were any looted cultural relics, they were told that the royal family had immunity in this regard. Some liberals are quite dissatisfied with this. However, it can also be seen from the “exemplary role” of the British royal family in returning cultural relics. Since the royal family, a symbol of the British Empire, has such an attitude, the negative attitude of the British government and society towards the return of cultural relics is understandable. It must also be stated here that many museums and private institutions in the UK have joined the list of returned cultural relics.
  Regarding their reluctance to return cultural relics, some Britons also argued that, on the one hand, cultural relics are “the cultural property of the entire human race”, and on the other hand, they also believed that if cultural relics were returned to some countries, they might not be able to protect these precious cultures. property.
  The latter view is not unique to the British. For example, a Canadian museum with a large number of Benin bronzes believes that the Nigerian government is very corrupt. If these cultural relics are returned to them, they may become victims of corruption. In this regard, Nigeria’s Minister of Culture retorted in an interview with the US “Atlantic” Monthly: “You can’t steal something from my house, and then when I ask you to return it, you say you have no confidence in me.”
  In fact, the United Kingdom still has Many liberals believe that even if the British royal family cannot immediately return those cultural relics, they should at least disclose to the public how many historically looted cultural relics the royal family has. If we adopt this transparent method, let the public know, let the public discuss, and finally decide the ownership of cultural relics, wouldn’t it be in line with the spirit of modern democracy? Why doesn’t the British royal family do this? What do they “need to hide”?
  These problems may also be faced by the British royal family in the future.

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