The Oxford university student who led a vote to remove Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait – which sparked outrage among the highest echelons of the British government – is a wealthy American private school boy who is a fan of Captain America, it was revealed on Wednesday .
25-year-old Stanford graduate Matthew Katzman motioned to remove the picture from Magdalen’s Middle Common Room, saying it was uninviting because the monarch “represents recent colonial history.”
The members of the Middle Common Room then voted in favor with a “substantial” majority – which triggered a violent backlash.
The Queen “is the head of state and a symbol of the best in Britain,” tweeted British Education Minister Gavin Williamson. “During her long term in office, she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusiveness and respect around the world.”
A spokesman for Boris Johnson then told the Daily Mail that the prime minister “supported” his minister’s statement.
Now it turned out that the man who led the portrait removal movement wasn’t even British, but from Washington, DC – which only added to the dropout.
Katzman is the son of business attorney Scott Katzman, 65, who lives in a DC mansion valued at more than $ 5.5 million, according to Mail.
He previously attended the $ 48,000-a-year Sidwell Friends School, a historic private Quaker college – where the Mail says he “probably” counted former President Obama’s 22-year-old daughter Malia as a contemporary.
Her younger sister Sasha also went, as did Nancy Reagan, Chelsea Clinton, the grandchildren of President Biden, and the descendants of other presidents including Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.
His overall education cost at least $ 640,000, according to Mail.
In addition to the Stars and Stripes, Katzman can also be seen in photos on social media with a Captain America shield.
But the computer scientist insisted to the point of sale that removing the portrait did not “amount to a statement about the queen”.
“The royal family is on display in many areas of the college and it was ultimately agreed that it would be an unnecessary addition to the common room,” he said.
“It was decided that the room should be a welcoming, neutral place for all members, regardless of background, demographics or views,” he said.
“No stance was taken towards the queen or the royal family – the conclusion was simply that there are better places to hang this print,” he said.
Magdalen College – which has distanced itself from the vote – had long been “solidly royalist”, with its famous alumni including King Edward VIII – and the Queen herself received an honorary doctorate in 1948.
The monarch also visited her in 2008 on the occasion of her 550th anniversary.
Magdalen College President Dinah Rose stressed online that students “do not represent the college” and stressed that it “strongly supports freedom of expression and political debate”.
“The photo is being kept safe,” she said.
Oxford University Vice Chancellor Lord Chris Patten said he hoped the scandal “does not damage the college’s reputation too much”.
“Freedom of expression allows even intelligent people to be abusive and disgustingly ignorant,” he said, according to Mail.
But Sir John Hayes, chairman of a Common Sense Group of MPs, said that “those involved should be thoroughly ashamed”.