An American Goes British
On March 6, 2018 in a town hall in Morden, England, I stood beside my husband and daughter and swore by Almighty God that I would be “faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law.” In short, I became a UK citizen.
Afterwards, a group that included Africans, Asians, Middle Easterners, Europeans, some Canadians and other Americans, sang “God Save the Queen.”
It was a halting, off-key rendition, with participants singing over each other. When we finished, the ceremony’s officiator said: “Magic”.
And it was.
I never expected to find myself in a room full of immigrants swearing my allegiance to a British Queen. I was born in the US, grew up in the US and expected to spend my entire life in the US. Then I met my future husband in Boston.
He lived in Rome as a boy. His mother, who died when he was young, was English. After dating for two years, my boyfriend said he wanted to move to London.
I asked if he wanted me to come too.
He said, “Sure. Do you want to come?”
I said, “Okay.”
And so there we were, twenty years later — and two countries later (Italy and the Republic of Georgia) — in London, deciding to become British.
We did it partly for our daughter. She had been in London since she was one. She couldn’t grow up in a country and not be a citizen. I wanted the right to vote, not to mention the ability to whiz through passport lines at Heathrow.
The point of this post is this: We could have made the simpler pledge to give our loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. We chose to pledge our allegiance to the Queen.
Why? In for a penny, in for a pound maybe. Or perhaps it was a more basic sentiment. I love the Queen. I feel she is deserving of my loyalty.
Critics of the Queen (and the monarchy in general) complain that she lives a life of absurd privilege paid for by taxpayers. They say the heredity system is archaic and undemocratic.