Thieves like us: the British monarchy, celebrity, and settler colonialism

Holly Randell-Moon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article considers how the treatment of the British Royal Family as celebrities simultaneously maintains and displaces the white diasporic ties between Commonwealth settler nations. The media production and consumption of the House of Windsor in terms of celebrity culture is a crucial way in which the British monarchy is legitimised as an important part of civil and public life in settler countries such as Australia and New Zealand. This article focuses on print news reporting of two state visits by Prince William to Australia and New Zealand in 2010 and 2011. As part of this reporting, I examine the mediation of protocols of sovereign welcome and recognition by and for the Royal Family and Gadigal and Māori peoples in terms of their contribution to a civic polity that normalises settler durability. Although Royal visits are enabled by white diasporic links between settler countries and the United Kingdom, I argue that media tropes of celebrity aura and divine charisma function to ex-nominate whiteness and race from media reporting on the British Royal Family. The celebritisation of constitutional monarchy has the effect of obscuring the racial and religious power that authorises constitutional monarchy as well as these states’ settler colonial histories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number3
Early online date27 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • British monarchy
  • celebrity
  • indigeneity
  • Royal Family
  • settler colonialism
  • sovereignty
  • whiteness


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