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The last King of England

We are quite possibly less than a decade away from seeing the Monarchy, the Church, and marriage as a historic institution become intellectually and rationally indefensible in Britain

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Do our institutions still stand up?
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Benjamin Harris-Quinney
On 10 December 2012 15:07

This week's news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a child has been greeted with an international media storm consummate with the world's most famous couple, and such febrile interest was always going to be the reaction to such significant news from Kensington Palace.

Aside from the natural interest in their celebrity, this particular Royal pregnancy, however, has a guaranteed significance unlike any preceding it. For the first time, whether male or female, the child of the Duke and the Duchess will be third in line to the throne as the British Government and the governing body of the Commonwealth have agreed to remove the rules of primogeniture that govern hereditary rule.

The second half of the 20th century witnessed, on a global scale, among the most significant social changes in human history. Over the last 60 years God, the Queen, and Country, once the pillars of British society, have been strongly challenged by atheists, republicans, and progressives alike, heralding a form of post-modernist thought that its adherents compare to the renaissance.

The result has, however, been not a strengthening of British society, but a weakening, and the answer to why for those on either side of the debate can be found in the impure ideology of consensus politics.

Three issues that underpin the old pillars of British society are currently among the most present in the public mind: hereditary rule, the ability of women to hold positions of leadership in the Church, and gay marriage.

On each of these three issues the institutions to which they are relevant are clear, and have been clear for millennia. Hereditary rule is bestowed upon a subject to rule by God, and it is on this basis alone that they are heralded as the chosen monarch; the Bible sets forth that women cannot teach or serve in leadership positions within the Church; and marriage by Church or by state has forever been between the sexes.

In Britain however it appears that the above can be ignored or adapted to fulfil an immediately modern ideal of societal correctitude, rather than adhered to entirely, or discarded altogether. Surely for a nation so resonant with intellect and debate this is a depressing circumstance indeed.

There are three clear approaches that one can take to any of the above issues. One can accept that the institution and its founding doctrines are incorruptible and correct. Alternatively, one can conclude they are an undoubted human construct with no relevance in the modern world. Or, finally, one can accept them as a false construct and outdated institution, but one that should be kept for the sake of continuity and compromise.

The first two approaches are entirely defensible, but the latter appears a dereliction and a terrible compromise of a nation which presents itself as one of the world's leading societies. It guarantees only a slow a painful death of the invested system. From the perspective of the state, either the words long written down as the foundation to our society are understood for the absolutes which they are and accepted entirely, or discarded entirely.

If even those in the Church and the Monarchy no longer believe in God, and if that is the consensus, then why must we continue as a state to pay for Churches, ceremonies, religious holidays, and a monarchy that is based on a fallacy which even the institution itself fails to propagate.

I don’t believe that I can acceptably inform my children that the Queen is the Queen by rule of God, except that in 2010 David Cameron, in his wisdom, decided to change that rule, otherwise it would have been the King.

We are quite possibly less than a decade away from seeing the Monarchy, the Church, and marriage as a historic institution become intellectually and rationally indefensible in Britain.

If it is time to change the rules, adhered to for thousands of years, on our national Monarchy, our Church, and our interpretation of marriage, then surely it is time to acknowledge what that really means, and classify Great Britain as a secular republic now, rather than subject it to decades of slow death by knee-jerk compromise. 

Ben Harris-Quinney is Chairman of The Bow Group. Follow him on Twitter @B_HQ

Read more on: Benjamin Harris-Quinney, duke and duchess of cambridge, Kate Middleton, the church, the church of england, separation of the church and the state, gay marriage, republicanism, monarchy, and British constitutional monarchy
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