Well as of today, Prince William and now Princess Kate are officially husband and wife. I gave in to curiosity and watched part of the wedding on TV and I wish them well, but I’m not particularly mad about the royal wedding and I haven’t followed it closely.
Despite this, I have to say, the joy brought to and the attention from 2 billion people around the world does make me glad to be British and glad that we have a monarchy. This day has not only brought celebration and unity among us all, it has reminded us of something else as well: We have something unique – a head of state who is supported by (almost) everyone in this and fifty-two other countries, regardless of their political views, and who brings an unbelievable amount of tourism, money and admiration to us from around the world.
Having said all this, I am not a staunch royalist in that I don’t believe we should keep the monarchy entirely the way it still is. Beneath all the good things about it, it is still symbolic of the elitist idea that monarchy was originally founded on – the God-given right of a single family to rule over everyone else. I know it’s not exactly how it is today, but the idea that the monarch is “Defender of the Faith” stinks of that notion that kings and queens are “little gods on earth” who, because they’re approved by God, can rule over us however they like.
As Daniel Hannan has said, back in 1701 Catholicism may have been associated with the harsh regimes on the European mainland, but it doesn’t fit nowadays. We are also now a country where people of all and no religions are treated equally (half of us aren’t religious anyway), and other large countries of the Commonwealth, like Australia, India and Pakistan respectively, are mostly Catholic, Hindu or Muslim. The monarch shouldn’t have to be Anglican, and Rowan Williams, not Queen Elizabeth, should be head of the Church of England.
While I was edgy about it at first, I now also support the way the government is trying to abolish the male primogeniture (annoying long and difficult to pronounce and remember word). This is another symbol of a disturbing male-supremacist past, and it still means that William and Kate will now be under pressure to have a son so that they can continue the rule of the Windsor family, which shouldn’t happen.
I am in no way suggesting we should be particularly ashamed of our past. Every nation has ugly parts of its history, and with the Bill of Rights, a relatively democratic past two centuries and constant peaceful campaign for change, our past is less ugly than even most other Western countries. I am no fan of political correctness, but I still think our monarchy needs a small change so it is no longer a symbol of authoritarian, theocratic rule. Instead it should simply be an apolitical symbol of our country, our heritage and the values of the Commonwealth.
I will wrap it up by wishing all the best to Kate and William. Have a very happy and fulfilling marriage and thank you for bringing happiness around the world today.