Tuesday, 19 April 2016



Your Majesty,

‘What advice would you give to the monarch?’ the philosopher Kierkegaard was once asked. ‘He should have a very simple speech, suitable for every public occasion’, he replied. Like, ‘That was very nice and pleased me very much!’

A modern constitutional monarch – unlike those of the past, who really mattered – has to be as unobtrusive as possible, Kierkegaard believed. You have observed that golden rule pretty well. On the eve of your 90^th birthday, this priest congratulates you!

True, there were rare lapses. ‘Did you not predict it?’ you asked LSE economists about the credit crunch 8 years ago. A candid, reasonable question. Especially given your personal fortune (320 million? Much more, methinks!) had taken a huge hit. An estimated 25 million loss on the Stock market. Wow! Who can blame you for asking?

Or the occasional faux-pas, like on the death of Princess Diana. You initially did not order the Union Jack over Buck House lowered at half-mast and you were blamed. It took PM Tony Blair’s intervention to change your mind. Happily, that is water under the bridge. But is it really the case your chief concern when Diana lay dying was to ask the British embassy in Paris to get back the jewels she was wearing? Huh! Forgive me, that was a bit peculiar. Hope I am wrong…

‘When I am King I will found out the truth of my mother’s death’, Prince William is reputed to have sworn. Good luck to him! By then however you and Prince Philip and many others will be in Heaven, anyway – where else?

I only wish I knew what you meant when you allegedly told Paul Burrell, Diana’s butler: ‘Dear Paul, there are powers of which we have no knowledge’. Occult powers? Or earthly, too earthly ones? Only you and God know.

I will nonetheless defend my monarch from nutjobs who have the temerity of calling you a traitor. They rave you betrayed your Coronation Oath in allowing Britain to join the EU. Hence permitting a massive transference of national powers to a foreign entity. But that is poppycock. The nutters forget that a constitutional monarch only reigns – she does not rule. So the Queen should not interfere with Parliament and the Government. Her role, as Walter Bagehot put it, is merely ‘to advise, encourage and warn’. No more, no less.

A wee doubt might arise over your Coronation promise ‘to maintain the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel…the Protestant Reformed religion established by law’. You are thus Defender of the Faith. As Supreme Governor of the Protestant Church of England you are duty bound to defend its establishment, its doctrines, discipline and worship. Protestantism, if it means anything at all, means the Bible, aka Sacred Scripture. On at least two main counts you have allowed the Bible and its teachings to be interfered with. First, in the ordination of women and, second, in same-sex marriage. Innovations that find no warrant in Scripture or the Book of Common Prayer. As Parliament is supreme over the Church, you could not of course have stopped them but you could have hinted at your displeasure. You didn’t. Critics might say the governor has failed to properly govern…

Ultimately of course it is a matter of conscience. King Baldwin of the Belgians in 1991 refused to sign into law a bill legalising abortion. His Christian conscience prevented him from doing so. You could have followed his example. Again, you did not.

Maybe you sincerely believe certain deviations do not contradict the will of God. I disagree, because the plain meaning of the Bible, church tradition and the BCP shows otherwise. However, when so many so-called liberal Protestant churches are in apostasy, it is unfair to place the burden on your shoulders. Still, like all of us, you will have to answer for your omissions, as well as your deeds, before Christ, the Awful Judge, at the Last Day.

And yet, I have a dream. I behold you addressing, no, flaying the Bishops’ Bench in the House of Lords, breaking all the rules: ‘I warn you, my lukewarm prelates. In the name of the Bible – ‘the most valuable thing the world can afford’, as was said at my Coronation - I tell you that you ignore the Word of God. You don’t teach it. You don’t stand by its precepts. Some of you don’t even believe in the Son of God! Shame on you! Because you do not preach Christ crucified to the people. You parrot the obsessions of a trashy neo-pagan culture. You curry favour with the spirit of the age but remember: he who marries the spirit of the age will soon find himself a widower! Stop aping the ways of this wicked world! Woe to you if you don’t preach the Gospel! Sacrifice yourselves! Embrace suffering and martyrdom: the Cross!’

Be reassured, Your Majesty! Only day-dreaming. It won’t happen. You are not that sort. But it would be nice if you were.

I see a hale and hearty, well-preserved nonagenarian with a crown. Flashing your beaming smile, your finely capped teeth. Looking as happy as a sand boy. But are you, really? Does the smile perhaps conceal an inner sadness? A dismay? At what has become of your country? Your people? Your England? I wonder…

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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