Thursday, February 10, 2005


I refer, of course, to the engagement of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles. It is dumbfounding to see exactly how much airtime and newspaper space is spent analysing and dissecting this event. As if there weren't important things to worry about.

Monarchy is some kind of polite but persistent psychosis, I think. Or perhaps an unwitting psychological contract whereby people project their own expectations and unfulfilled longings onto a small group of self-selecting people -- whose continuation is a matter of pure eugenic priviledge. This is about as far removed from the Gospel of God's special love for the last, the least and the lost as you could plan to get, at least in terms of constitutional routine.

All of which makes the Church of England's continued involvement with it a horrid mess. To put the ekklesia at the disposal of the Crown isn't just inappropriate, it's wrong. But no-one seems to be noticing this massive political and theological issue lurking in the corner of the latest Royal Soap episode.

Though a staunch republican, I wish the Windsors well in their marriage -- even if the means by which events led up to it involved a lot of pain and wrong. But I still can't help concurring with the radical poet Adrian Mitchell, who I recently discovered lives in the same road as me when I'm staying in London. Mistakenly written to by the Daily Telegraph, which was seeking wordsmiths to offer homage to Charles on the anniversary of his investiture as Prince of Wales some years ago, Mitchell wrote back as follows:

For HRH Prince Charles: Monarchy is an illness. Get well soon.

Or words to that effect. (The 'poem' is, as the Dinsdale Brothers might have put it in that Monty Python sketch, "vicious... but fair".)

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