Monday, July 30, 2012

The Queen's Jewry

In the history of the British monarchy, there have been only two Diamond Jubilees.  Last month, Elizabeth II celebrated sixty years on the throne. In 1897 Queen Victoria marked the same milestone. To mark Victoria’s Jubilee the communal leader and scholar Lucien Wolf published an article entitled “The Queen’s Jewry” that set out the progress that Jews had made during Victoria’s reign.

Wolf’s title was curious: in what sense were Jewish subjects of the Queen “the Queen’s Jews”? They possessed no specific rights or privileges from the Crown. They did not pay a special tax. Their leaders were not appointed or approved by the monarch.

Perhaps they were the Queen’s Jews simply because it was useful for them to be so. --  Ben Elton, Jewish Ideas Daily

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