Of Regal and Humanly things
Like many of us, I felt attracted to the ceremonies surrounding the recent coronation of Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, as Charles III, King of England. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Well, twice perhaps, who is counting?
I didn’t have the patience to remain glued to a television screen while the events took place, but fortunately, I have the cable connections that allowed me to record them and watch them later at our convenience.
This article is not a rehash of what I saw or think I saw. It is actually a commentary on the context of the British society that allowed the coronation to take place.
Like many others in America, I could become a multimillionaire if I worked hard enough, married right enough, or were lucky enough to buy a winning lottery ticket, but there is no way in heaven that most of us will ever become kings…, or queens.
There were close to one million people surrounding the area of the Palaces and church involved in this pageantry. The church was Westminster Abbey, the palace Buckingham Palace, and the transport back and forth was a coach dubbed Gold State Coach, a 261-year-old relic you and I would refuse to drive to commute because it is too uncomfortable. It may be fun that horses pull the carriage, but not because it is jumpy. There were thousands in the crowd, young and old, wearing golden cardboard crowns or silver helmets with painted Union jacks. And plenty of waving flags in the air. It was definitely a proud British moment.
In America, we vote for our leaders. It is also a place where we are always complaining about those we choose to vote for, including attacking our House of Congress to invalidate that vote when we change our minds. The British don’t vote for their king. It is a person who happens to be a descendant of a previous monarch and has inherited the distinction. When they are born, someone is already wearing the top title. And the King (Queen) reigns but does not rule. There are citizens in England who could live without the monarchy and what it costs, many of them expressing it violently sometimes, but there are much more who go to bed every night thankful that the head of the crown is still around to wear it. And the moment that crowned person dies, the people become anxious to scream: Long Live the King, or Queen! again, as the case may be.
It makes me wonder if we must have regal idols in heaven before we can appreciate simple humans next door. The person who wears the English crown also wears the head of their Anglican Church. They are like Popes. And watching the rituals of the Anglican religious ceremonies reminded us of the traditional masses of the Roman Catholic Church, wine and host communion included.
Such similarity is the historical breakup of the English monarchy and people from Rome. It was King Henry (1509-1547) VIII’s desire to have a male heir the well-known impetus behind his many wives and some of their untimely demises the reason he and his court asked Pope Clement VII in 1530 for the annulment of his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The king wished to move on to a new, younger bride who might be able to deliver him a son.
This Regal battle between Henry and Clement resulted in the English church breaking from the Catholic church and going its own way. Another Henry, called Henry IV of France (1553-1610), went the other way when he changed from Protestantism to Catholicism trying to save Catholic France. History is full of contradictions, but so are its actors, you, and me included.
This duality in the nature of the British monarch means that we can address the crown when we want to pray, and we can also address that crown when we want to retire and start collecting a pension. Wouldn’t you feel safe if you had that choice? In Mark 12:17, Jesus is quoted as having said, “Well, then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God”. It seems that the British have avoided that choice and made it simpler with Regal things.
And that is my human Point of View today. So Long!
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