Why do Celtic fans hate the Royal family?
As football fans around the world united to mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II, one club stood out. Tempers flared when Celtic F.C took to the field. The Celtic faithful displayed shocking banners in the stands in their Champions League game away to Shakhtar Donetsk and chanted demeaning songs aimed at the Royal Family. What this illustrates is the bitter sectarianism still rife in Scottish culture, especially in Glasgow. It reveals the atrocities committed by the Crown towards Irishmen, with whom Celtic shares a historical bond.
Most Scots are descendants of various ancient Celtic tribes. It's especially prevalent in the Catholic-majority East End of Glasgow, the poorest suburb in the Scottish capital and home to Celtic Football Club.
Historically, Ireland caught itself trapped in the crossfire of the British Royal power struggle. On numerous occasions, Ireland was sanctioned for supporting the wrong monarch. The failure of the 1534 rebellion by the heir of the popular Fitzgerald, Earls of Kildare proved to be pivotal.
Anarchy spread across Ireland, with minorities having their rights snatched away. The harsh measures of King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I only made things worse. Naturally, the Crown put the blame squarely on the Catholics. Shifting the narrative allowed the monarch to vanquish Catholics into the social fringes. It also allowed the Royals to promote Protestantism and dissolve the Catholic majority Church of Ireland and merge with the Church of England.
Until the 20th century, systematic oppression of Irish Catholics continued. Although many people took a stand during this period, including the disastrous 1848 Young Ireland Rebellion, it only brought more tyranny. 'The Penal Laws', aimed at outlawing Catholicism and pan-Irish sentiments, weakened the socioeconomic position of Irish Catholics. The Potato Famine of 1879 proved disastrous. With no food, no work and no future in their homeland, thousands of poor Irish Catholics immigrated to the industrially robust Glasgow.
Against this cruel setting, Celtic Football Club was formed on the 6th of November in 1887 by Irish Marist Brother Walfrid. Its purpose was simple. To act as the voice for the Irish Catholics who suffered from the Crown's barbarity. Over the years, their zealous hatred for the British Monarchy only grew as the Crown oppressed Ireland mercilessly.
During Irish Troubles between 1960 and 1998, British troops swooped down on Ireland. Celtic fans showed unconditional support for Irish Republicanism and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Their fierce anti-monarchy stance shone through.
Celtic's resentment for the monarchs was turbocharged by the prevailing intolerance in Glasgow. It runs so deep that there was a period when Rangers refrain from signing Catholic players. Celtic's rivalry with the unionist, pro-Royal Rangers also fuels the fire among the club's faithful to bring the British Royal Family to justice for the atrocities they committed against Catholics and the Irish.
The historical influence of Celtic in Scottish culture is undeniable, with Hibernian and Dundee United fans following Celtic in jeering the British Monarchy. Additionally, it portrays the bigger picture. The world is becoming increasingly aware of the misdeeds of the ancestors of the Royal Houses.
1. Unofficial Royalty. 13 May 2011. The tangled history of Ireland and the British Crown.
Inqiad is a long-suffering Man United fan and a self-proclaimed Targaryen. Contact him at [email protected]