Historian schools MSNBC host Ali Velshi for talking about 'colonialism' in TV special honoring Queen

Roberts insisted during his interview that the majority of Britons, and people throughout the Commonwealth, continue to support the monarchy

Historian schools MSNBC host Ali Velshi for talking about 'colonialism' in TV special honoring Queen
British historian Andrew Roberts (R) slammed MSNBC host Ali Velshi (L) for beginning a special on the Queen's legacy by condemning monarchy (Don Lewis/Twitter)
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NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: During a recent live conversation remembering Queen Elizabeth II, MSNBC host Ali Velshi got into a heated exchange with British historian Dr Andrew Roberts. The historian questioned the host for beginning a special on the Queen's legacy by condemning the monarchy and royal family on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

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The host of the show stated, "She endeared herself to the public, and her popularity is unmatched by any other member of the royal family." He also claimed, "As beloved as Elizabeth was, she also represented an institution that had a long and ugly history of brutal colonialism, violence, theft, and slavery."

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He then added, "For many centuries, the British robbed other nations of their wealth and power, and exploited their people, even as Queen Elizabeth's reign largely marked the beginning of the post-colonial era, the horrors that her long line of ancestors inflicted upon many generations of people across the globe continues to be the source of pain." Watch the full video here.

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According to DailyMail, before introducing the guests, Velshi presented a clip of King Charles III's speech upon taking the throne. This later turned out to be a matter of discussion for the historian who disputed much of what the MSNBC host said. Later, Velshi stated on the show, "Even as Queen Elizabeth's reign largely marked the beginning of the post-colonial era, the horrors that her long line of ancestors inflicted upon many generations of people across the globe continues to be the source of pain."

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(YouTube)
Ali Velshi got into a heated argument with British historian Dr Andrew Roberts (Tom Boggioni/ YouTube)

Velshi later told Roberts, "There are many people who are Queenists; they're not monarchists, people who liked Elizabeth but do not necessarily like the institution." To which the historian responded that it is simply not true. He then continued, "I think when you look at all the opinion polls, we're about 80 to 85 percent in favor of having a constitutional monarchy whoever's on the throne. So I think this is extremely overdone, frankly."

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Roberts then slammed the host stating, "Rather, I'm afraid to say, as your introduction as if we had given so much pain to people throughout history, why was Prince Charles chosen by every single Commonwealth country — many of which are former imperial countries?" 

Then, Velshi told Roberts to "hold on a second." He then asked, "Are you really denying what I just said about British colonialism?" The agitated host then stated, "Andrew, are you really doing that?", "Andrew this is not a propaganda show," and "Andrew I need you to stop!" he added.  He later interrupted Roberts, "I need you to stop for a second."

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"Are you really taking issue with the horrors of colonialism?" he asked, to which Roberts replied, "I'm taking issue with your remarks about slavery, which we abolished 32 years before you did." "We didn't have to kill 600,000 people in a civil war over it," he added.

However, Velshi was not ready to give up and asked, "So you think that that's fine, that there are people all over the world who are born in colonial countries?" Further, he questioned, "Because when I was born, the British Empire still existed. And that's OK for everybody to say."

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks with staff during a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre.
Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, September 8 (Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Later, Roberts went on to question Velshi in which country he was born. To which, the host responded, that he was born in Kenya. Then Roberts stated, "The Kenyans not only supported the appointment of Prince Charles, now King Charles, as the head of the Commonwealth, we've [also] just had a fantastic statement from the president of Kenya saying what a wonderful thing."

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Roberts then questioned Velshi on even President Biden also going to the Queen's funeral, to which Roberts claimed, "Then why on Earth do you want to concentrate on the only negative things of an institution, which is 100 years ago now?"

To this question, Velshi said, "I said there are many people in the world, many millions of people in the world — I don't know if you have social media, but you should check it out — who don't think we should be celebrating the British monarch right now. And many in Britain by the way, many in Britain."

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Roberts then slammed saying, "No, not many in Britain — where are these people in Britain? You know, as I said, between 10 and 15 percent of the people don't want a monarch. He also added, "I think if 80 or 85 percent of people believe anything you'll far more likely and far more right to concentrate on them rather than the tiny minority." 

Velshi then argued saying, "So I actually think one of the failings of our history is that we don't concentrate on minorities or the views of minority. So you and I will differ in that. I actually think that when there are minorities who don't see things the same way as everyone else, we should actually shine a light on them."

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However, the historian claimed, "On a great national occasion like this, I really think to concentrate on that 10 percent of people rather than what 80 to 85 percent of people say." Velshi further said, "There's a lot more people in the world who don't see it the same way, who grew up under the yoke of colonialism and the British Empire."

Roberts then noted, "Leaders of the entire world are writing to, even evil monsters like Putin, are writing to King Charles and saying what a great thing his mother's reign was." Further, he added, "In your intro, you had to talk about the great imperial family to which we all belong. You know the idea that this is in some way an attack on our past is further negative."

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The conversation then wrapped up by Velshi stating,  'Well, it's nice to be able to whitewash that sort of thing, Andrew. And I'm glad you closed off with the idea that even Vladimir Putin had nice things to say about the Queen — that sort of steals the conversation for us."

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