The Defenders of the Faiths ; Unlike the Pope, Our Royals Can No Longer Claim Leadership of the Church. Leave That to the Clergy, Says NORMAN TEBBIT
Tebbit, Norman, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
The ruritanian complexities which have dogged the Prince of Wales's wedding have reminded a public not used to thinking about such things that, by law, the monarch is supreme governor of the Church of England and defender of the faith. These complexities have troubled not only Buckingham Palace but Downing Street too.
The law officers' advice has been fickle and none too reliable, finishing up relying on the Human Rights Act to uphold the right of the heir to the throne to marry while claiming it has no effect upon the British constitution. Let us hope they are right and the lumbering juggernaut of Euro law is indeed incapable of catching our elusive and flexible constitution.
All this has poked a stick in the eye of that sleeping dog, the establishment of the Church of England. As every schoolchild used to know, that has its roots in the marital and fertility problems of King Henry VIII. Had IVF and the ability to choose the sex of babies been available to Tudor medicine, we might have remained a Roman Catholic nation, but it was not and Henry made himself and his heirs the English popes of a national holy catholic church. Perhaps it's time we asked again whether an official state religion is good for either the church or monarchy.
Our monarchy has not been absolute except for short periods. The crown was not automatically inherited by eldest sons in Saxon England and the accession of William and Mary was a parliamentary, not a genealogical matter, a flexibility which helped our monarchy to survive while others perished. Now support for both church and monarchy is weakening.
To survive as a focal point of national loyalty, the monarchy can no longer be identified solely with one church any more than one political view, for neither the Church of England nor, perhaps, any Christian doctrine commands overwhelming support. Nor is …
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Publication information: Article title: The Defenders of the Faiths ; Unlike the Pope, Our Royals Can No Longer Claim Leadership of the Church. Leave That to the Clergy, Says NORMAN TEBBIT. Contributors: Tebbit, Norman - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: April 3, 2005. Page number: 25. © 2009 The Independent on Sunday. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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