and family
FEB 10th 2005
We have a monarchy now for the same reason that monarchies arose in the first place: to provide a head of state who has prepared for the job, who can take the role of the previous leader without a physical or metaphorical electoral bloodbath, who has been in the public eye for a long period so that the public and their staff really know who they are, who does not have any hidden agenda, and who has sufficient wealth to make them independent and free from bribery. The alternative is to elect a president. That works very well for e.g. Ireland but it would not have advantages for the United Kingdom, where the functions of the head of state and the knowledge and the authority required to carry them out are very, very considerable.  America is aways in search of a Dynasty for the same reasons but the half-and-half process they end up with is much worse and in America the Head of State is also the Prime Minister, so has to be a member of a political party. Most people recognise the really serious downside to that, so we remain a monarchy. Now perhaps we can move on and discuss the Marriage of Charles and Camilla.

It would hardly help Prince Charles to ask him to do his job without the support of Camilla, nor would it make sense to prevent them from getting married. Nor would be a good idea to suggest that the monarchy should skip a generation when it is a job that needs all the experience you can get before taking it on. However, because there is not a majority in the country in favour of her taking the title if Queen, it makes sense for her to be Princess Consort and Duchess of Cornwall.

There are no problems for the Church of England that could be resolved without giving rise to worse ones. The Church recognises their civil marriage ceremony and approves it. There are no constitutional problems either.

That about sums it up. They deserve all the support we can possibly give them.

There are those who claim the law is not clear and may technically not provide for a civil marriage of members of the royal family. If that is the case, and it matters, then Parliament wll presumably amend the law. The whole point of the law is facilitate and legalise what we collectively agree is in the best interest of society. The glory of the Anglican faith is that it can move with the times while holding fast to the essentials. That is what makes it the greatest church of the profoundest religion. Whether its own leaders understand this or not I have no idea*.

APRIL 9th 2005 - Wedding Day
re the doubt expressed in the paragraph above, I suspect on reflection that they do.
I write this witnessing with much pleasure the service of blessing in St George's Chapel, thanks to he excellent TV coverage (at this particular moment) of our national public service broadcasting corporation. I wish I could say the same of the coverage in the weeks leading up to the event. Almost beyond the limits of credibility was the reporting during the week  that the General Confession, a text that has been read aloud every Sunday by all church-going Christians not subjected to the appalling modernised versions or hog-tied by Catholicism, was a special and personal repentance for Charles and Camilla's personal previous intimacy. The increasing level of religious illiteracy and ignorance that infests the ranks now privileged with the power of microphones that reach billions is offset, to a small degree, by such intelligent programmes as the best of "Beyond Belief" (BBC Radio 4), though how many tune into that is not easily measurable. As for Charles and Camilla, they have nothing special to apologise for to any of us and require no special forgiveness from God that I know of. The General Confession is, therefore, just fine. The service was great, the music was great, the vocal participation in the memorable hymns was uplfting. The contrast with the Pope's funeral, which should have been a celebration of his life but was the most uninspiring event in spite of the massive attendance, could not be more evident.

MARCH 12th 2007
The cost of a Royal Train forms the subject of complaints today in this programme on the UK's Channel 4. But hold on - was this a cost that that went somewhere not helpful to the economy or to the railway system and its employees? Is it not part of his function? I am not convinced that the royal train causes worse service to the general public for the total taxpayer's annual input to the carrier or network rail, or worse times for their staff.

The burden of this programme was, however, the Prince's influence on government policy, which he wields in secret as well as openly. I have to say here that I have some sympathy with the presenters. Prince Charles has access to everything and everybody. That is a very good thing in my opinion. Every nation should have the equivalent of  national ombudsman to whom no doors are closed, and the heir to the throne in a monarchy is as good a way as any, in fact far better than any other, of making the appointment. But it does mean that the holder of this position must be very careful not to push his own opinions in secret as well as in public on matters that are disputed science or disputed opinion.

I think the programme makers were right to pick up certain abuses of power, even though these are greatly outweighed by his positive actions. It is also true that if and when he becomes monarch his role will change. That is probably why he is making the most of his time now.

The main contributors to this prgramme are notable for their resentment of anybody who wasn't born on a council estate and who claim royalty have no rights. It is true they have few if any, and a lot of duties, but Charles has given the impression to Amanda Platell, before whose opinions we should bow and scrape for some reason that escapes me along with those of the rabid-appearing Johann Hari, that he is extravagant in his lifestyle and in the performance of his duties because he employs too many people.

It is up to Prince Charles now to make his play and convince the people of Britain that he is not the spoiled meddler that this programme has depicted. Some points made need rebuttal, if not by him then by others who are in a position to do so. It is beyond doubt that in some very important areas, notably the failure of our primary education in reading, writing, speaking, listening, history and geography.

APRIL 14th 2006
Prince William and Kate Middleton are now the subject of press reports that they have 'split up'. Strange, since they were never married or engaged. We are told that the intrusion of the media has been the cause of this, and this gives the tabloids an excuse for more stories based on less than nothing, usuing old pictures so they can't be accused of further intrusion. Commentators have suggested that William does not intend to get married in the near future (quite probably not) and that this is because of his army career (that's reasonable) and then that "he doesn't want to make the same mistake as his father". That last is the stupidest comment yet. His father did not make a mistake in marrying Diana Spencer. The idea that William could think it was a mistake is a logical impossibility unless he regrets his own existence and he seems, on the contrary,  well up to the challenge. The only thing to be said about William and Kate is they certainly do not wish to have their lives run by the media, their engagement assumed by the media, their future planned by the media and their thoughts and acts misreported by the media.