Long live the king or not? It all depends on the Belfast area. The capital of Northern Ireland marked by thirty years of conflict between unionists and republicans, often reduced to a war between Catholics and Anglicans. At the foot of a huge mural in homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II, on the loyalist side, therefore, a mountain of bouquets of flowers.
“Mom, are we going to see the king?” asks Penny, seven years old. Her mother will not put her in school this Tuesday, September 13, in order not to miss the visit of Charles III, a historic moment five days after the death of Elizabeth II. The new ruler arrives from Edinburgh where the Scots paid their final farewell to the queen.
In these streets where the Union Jack flutters in the wind, it is still not clear that some inhabitants of the Catholic neighborhoods could celebrate the death of the queen. “The night he died, a few blocks away, they had fireworks, they had a partyPenny’s mother says. This is inappropriate. “
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Very close to here, Falls Road – Republican district. “Carlo is not my kingsays Cory, a 23-year-old electrician. He considers himself not to be “in Northern Ireland here, but in Ireland entirely.”
A mother pulls the baby by the sleeve. She doesn’t want to hear about the monarchy either: “Too many bad memories.” These days, in fact, it is difficult to evoke the death of the queen and the arrival of Charles III among neighbors. “There is still a kind of silence, the unspoken, a little taboo, we are very afraid of offending”explains Claire Moran, who lives in a mixed neighborhood and teaches French at the University of Belfast.
In Northern Ireland, at some point, we forgot about the conflict and there, it comes back and we see that it never really went away.Claire Moran, French teacher at the University of Belfast
Above all, no bad jokes so as not to offend anyone. But in the pubs of Belfast the tongues are loosened. “Fuck the king, fuck the king and fuck the queen.” There’s really no need to translate Tony’s insults. “Leave us alone”asks the Irishman.
Peter adds that England is, for him, “A strange country” and that ‘”as commander-in-chief, the new King Charles continues to take responsibility for the Bloody Sunday“. This Sunday, January 30, 1972, 14 civil rights activists, including seven teenagers, were killed by the British army during the crackdown on a peaceful demonstration in Derry. Peter hopes Scotland will vote for independence next year, setting the example for Northern Ireland.
In Northern Ireland, the visit of Charles III divides the inhabitants of Belfast. The franceinfo reportage by Agathe Mahuet