Allow me to preface this article: I like the monarchy. No I don’t have a good reason to like it, and I don’t think you should necessarily agree with me. There are many well argued reasons not to. I like it for arbitrary emotional reasons that have something to do with a little patriotic bit of my brain that sings along loudly with the National Anthem, enjoys poking fun at my (American) wife that we didn’t ratify the American Declaration of Independence, and spells sulphur correctly. None of this sits with the left-wing part of my brain, which is at pains to point out to the right-wing part that a discussion about fairness within the monarchy is about as redundant as dieting within chocolate. You have an inherently unhealthy thing which is clearly not balanced, and besides it will make you fat. Or something.
But the right-wing part is wearing a bearskin and has started humming the tune for Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” very loudly, so he can’t hear.
In all seriousness though, this change of the law is a tad overdue. It should be met with a response of “What’s taken you chaps so long?” and nothing more. The idea that gender has anything to do with what has largely become a symbolic role anyway is laughable. Never mind the fact that (finally) a Royal heir can marry someone who happens to believe in the same deity but prefers to speak latin and use incense on a Sunday. Good grief.
What I found vaguely amusing in addition to all of this was the quote on the BBC news website, which described the status quo as being that a royal could marry anyone of any faith with the notable exception of a Catholic. I will eat my hat on the day I hear that our monarch has married any one of the following:
An American, native or otherwise.
A former (or current!) colonial.
A person of colour.
A person of the same gender.
Not because I have some fervent, backwards belief that this should not happen, but simply because there is a large enough element of our population which would object to it. Goodness knows there was enough of an uproar when Charles married Camilla. Marrying a Divorcée? Whatever next? Kate Middleton, for all her roots as a commoner, is still of a certain class, and a member of the school where the Duke of Cambridge attended. Then again, I can’t say for certain that the Prince mightn’t have married differently if he hadn’t been at a school for ‘that sort of person’. I can only hope inwardly that the marriages of the Royals is ruled more by heart and happenstance than pomp and circumstance, but it is only a hope.
The system is still very elitist, but how could it not be? The idea that somehow you gain some right to rule by genetics is patently absurd, and only the most die-hard eugenicist could support such a view in today’s society. Nevertheless, there it stands, aged and creaking and wrong.
Perhaps old fashioned pro-royal patriots like myself live in some grim hope that one day this will all redeem itself, that in a not too distant future where three out-of-touch political leaders are too busy tied up with in-fighting, a Royal will ride to the rescue with decisive leadership and a clear vision to restore a nation. To go back to broken nations and make right the things which imperialist Britain has gotten so badly wrong throughout history, to spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell, and to make right nearly a thousand years of bloodshed, false elitism and wrongdoing. Perhaps a Queen will make her illegitimate younger brother an heir not on the basis of bloodline, but on the basis of real nobility. Or perhaps this is a flowery emotional justification of the untenable ambivalence of a young, liberal twenty something who was raised on tales of noble warriors and kings.
In the meantime, at least they’re profitable for the nation. I think.
God save The Queen.
Heaven help the rest of us.