I’ll add my congratulations to Helen Mirren for her Oscar win last night. I thought the film was fantastic, primarily because it exhibited ‘the miracle of restraint’. It would have been too easy to go for money shots of Princes William and Harry grieving their mother’s death. As it was, you never even saw their faces.
At a guess, I’d predict that most in the emerging church movement are more naturally liberal than traditionalist, perhaps more anti- than pro-monarchy. I’m not.
Am I a flag-waving Unionist who stands for the National Anthem? Do I think there’s some divine right of succession? That the Windsors are somehow better than the rest of us? That power hierarchies are good? No. But I also don’t see any other practicable system working in any other nation. Does the current system do our democracy any harm? I don’t think so. Quite the reverse: to have a – albeit nominal now – totally independent figurehead who the Prime Minister’s government has to report to, and who has the right to refuse to sign into law any bill, is a strong and robust checking mechanism.
We may not believe the Queen has a divine right to rule. But, as the film suggests, the fact that she might think she has means she takes her role very very seriously. Unlike the fly-by-night Alistair Campbells and Cherie Blairs of this world. And it is essentially a benign system. It isn’t broke; let’s not whip ourselves to fix it. As a Spanish dignitary once said when asked if he thought the monarchy should be replaced, “It would make as much sense as getting rid of the tigers in London Zoo. They are toothless, and the tourists love them.”