Anyway, getting to the point, here are a few of my thoughts on the monarchy in general. Unfortunately, too many Americans snicker at how "archaic" the monarchy is or act patronizing and denote it all as "cute". In truth, it is simply different than we are used to, and we're not quite sure whether to love it or hate it. Just as the British Constitution is not written, so their head-of-state is not elected. Their ways of doing things generally have more gray areas than our black-and-white diagrams. But they have also managed to preserve a timeless subtlety and quiet efficiency that we have lost. The concept of having a single person representing the nation, somewhat distanced from politics yet conversely at the ceremonial center of them, has a magical quality that cannot be pinned down. As much as I deeply appreciate the American system and how it works fo us, I also deeply appreciate the British system and how it works for them.
Interestingly, as much as the royal family features in the tabloids, they still manage to be remembered in a fonder light than some high-ranking elected politicians in Britain. Margaret Thatcher who was called "The Iron Lady" and others called "The Golden-Haired Assassin", is a perfect example. As Britain's first female prime minister, she led the country through economic crisis and the Falklands War, gaining much love and hate from her people along the way for her hard-held convictions. She stood for a united and strong Britain, grounded in major conservative values and rightly proud of her ancient history and heritage. She worked alongside President Reagan and Pope John Paul II in giving support to the Communist dominated nations of Eastern Europe, encouraging them to claim their freedom and bring the Cold War to a close. Although she was far from perfect on issues like abortion and many had legitimate disagreements with her policies, she still proved herself to be a true patriot and lady of character, and therefore should be respected by all. But the point is her name was bombarded by all sorts of vile insinuations upon her recent death this past April. The Queen, on the other hand, manages to retain general respect because she both represents the country but also remains somewhat aloof from clear-cut political conflicts. I'm not sure if I could remain neatral if I were Queen, but she basically manages to do so.
Royal events are always full of fascination and splendor. It's like a little piece of the old world preserved for us, full of symbolic meaning and bound by an intimate personal connection. The soaring Westminster Abbey, the beautiful old carriages, and the colorful costumes (complete with wigs!) really make it a treat to observe. The inately Christian nature of the ceremony and the choral music was deeply inspiring. Also, the finale RAF flying display, using planes from the Battle of Britain, was stirring in it's demonstration of British tenacity. Plus, the bride and groom really were an attractive couple, William in his scarlet uniform and Kate in her swooshy white dress. Yes, I know Kate has dressed in some atrociously revealing attire in the past. Yes, I know she and William lived together prior to their marriage. Yes, I know she has recently been photographed "topless". But I do believe, in spite of their various imperfections and gaffs, that they come off as having rather attractive personalities. Trained to "play the part" as they are, they do seem to be genuinenly in love with each other and caring towards other people. An English duchess who can dress like a cowgirl has to have a good side ;-) I just hope that they stay together and avoid rerunning the reel of royal divorces.
All this brings up the question......who will be the next King of England: Charles or William? It seems likely that it will be Prince Charles, as he has been reared for the job and is Prince of Wales. However, his personal scandals involving Princess Diana and Camilla, now Duchess of Cornwall, are bound to haunt him for the rest of his days. I do feel just a little sorry for him, as he loved Camilla to begin with but was pressured to give her up in favor of Diana. He tried to go for "duty" as opposed to "love", but then tried to have both, breaking his wife's heart and sending her into a self-imposed exile that ended in her tragic death. In the end, he got the woman of his dreams, but his infidelity to the beloved Princess Di is still a stain on his reputation. As for Prince William, he may not completely know what he is doing, but he hasn't done anything too crazy as of yet, and if he remains true to his wife and his duty, he has a chance of carrying the monarchy forward in a positive direction. The key for Will and Kate is to avoid the pit-falls of celebrity status and not let their popularity go to their heads. I would probably support Charles being skipped in William's favor, as unlikely as that move may be.
As a finally sprangling of royal news that I've wanted to discuss for some time, back in March the Queen signed a pledge to oppose the "discrimination" against homosexuals and support the "empowerment" of women. Of course, the wording of the pledge was reasonably vague, but against the backdrop of David Cameron's campaign to enforce same-sex marriage in Britain, it has a very ominous ring to it. And now just last week Parliament passed measure to legalize same-sex marriage. For those Brits and Commonwealthers dedicated to traditional marriage, it was all a bitter pill to swallow. I join them with my sympathies, as I do heartily believe that marriage is ordained by God through nature to be between one man and one woman. Anything else cannot properly be considered a marriage, as even basic anatomy is in conflict with homosexuality. I am concerned about what will happen to those opposed to the political measure. Will they be accused of "hate crimes"? And what about clergymen who refuse to marry same-sex couples? Will the law take action against them? It's all a rather hairy mess. I can't help but wonder exactly what the Queen thinks of all this. Is she for it, or against it? Was the pledge really something she wanted to sign in the first place?
Not to sound harsh, but sometimes I wonder if the protective element of distancing herself from all forms of political debate is always the right course to take. After all, she has the Constitutional right and duty to "Council, Encourage, and Warn", and there is no doubt that she has done so in the past. I remember how proud I was of her when I watched an old rerun of a speech she made supporting the unity of the country, saying "I came to the throne of a United Kingdom." The cheers were inspiring. I just hope she'll make a similar speech before the Scottish Independence Referendum takes place. I honestly don't think the Queen, as a devout Christian lady, can be thrilled about the course her country is taking in the area of morals. I don't think she is necessarily in favor of things like the legalization of same-sex marriage, much less the legalization of abortion. But she dare not speak out against these things, as the decisions were made in the Parliament, and she doesn't want to risk overstepping her boundaries. I wonder what would happen if a monarch ever dared to try.......
To wrap up this article, I've made up a little list of things I'd do if I woke up in the morning and found myself to be Queen Pearl I of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth:
* I would make a public speech against abortion as a matter of human rights, not random policy.
* I would make a public speech denouncing Same-Sex "Marriage" as unnecessary and harmful to society.
* I would make a public speech with regards to the dangers of the Scottish Independence Referendum and the importance of maintaining national unity.
* I would introduce the concept of making the Archbishop of Canterbury the Head of the Anglican Church, thus leaving the Royal Family free to be Catholic, as I would certianly be!
* I would keep the title of "Fidea Defensor" and serve as a sort of "second-in-command" guardian of Christianity within realms, under the jurisdiction of the Holy Father.
* I would introduce the concept of sharing the great cathedrals in my realm equally between Anglicans and Catholics, since the latter was in possession of them first.
* I would fly to Northern Ireland and announce that there will be weekly Orange/Green massive ecumenical church yardsales (great for togetherness.....I know from experience!), and if there are anymore riots from either side, those responsible will be locked in the Tower for life.
* I would encourage a closer bond among the Commonwealth countries, possibly even suggesting a common currency and citizenship to replace the UN membership.
* I would support reassembling some of the defunct Highland regiments in return for downscaling some of the monarchy costs to make things less burdensome for my subjects.
* I would support of the manditory teaching of native Celtic languages in schools, such as Welsh in Wales, Scots-Gaelic in Scotland, Irish-Gaelic in Northern Ireland, Manx on the Isle of Man, Cornish in Cornwall (if anyone even knows how to teach it anymore!), etc.
* I would champion a more engaging, more thorough teaching of history in schools and beyond, as well as making it easier for those parents who would like to homeschool within my realms.
* I would stock the royal kitchens with pepperoni pizza, pistachio muffins, cookie-dough ice-cream. Plus lots of salad, or else my mother would have my head!
* I'd knight that dedicated public servant who unplugged the aged Bruce Springstein and Paul McCartney at the park.
* I'd appoint Wyndysascha to be my legal advisor, GWright my royal engineer, Rae-Rae my naval archivist, Byrnwiga my personal piper, Mack my poet laureate, Meredith my royal memorabilia keeper, Cameron my royal arms keeper, Emerald my grammar guru, Mary D. my royal magazine editor, Lena D. my bearer of the royal rings, Katherine Anne my leading librarian, Ellen Virginia my royal dog trainer, Carolyn my royal dance instructor, Rebecca my American relations ambassador, Henry, Paul, and Effie my Unionist advisors, Kat my royal research wiz, Ian K. my travel expert, and Rev. Yates.......well, he can be the Archbishop of Canterbury, as long as he takes Wandering Pilgrim along for his second and promises to calm down any angry Anglicans who might seek to overthrow me. I don't want the Jacobite rebellions to have a replay!
* For all those hearty souls who I accidentilly forgot to appoint, comfort yourself with the knowlege that family and friends of the royal "us" get a free pass to "our" palaces and golf courses!
|The Crown Jewels of England|