God Saved The (Future) Queen’s Marriage | Hansel Chestnut-Browne


In writing this piece, I wanted to present new argument that once and for all would persuade monarchists to royal wave goodbye to the group of tax-taking toffs living it up in palaces and castles, checking their schedules for the next ribbon cutting to keep them in pocket. It could be a fond farewell, in light of the upcoming diamond jubilee celebrations.

Prepare to be disappointed (or pleased, depending on your view). A new royal scandal is not in fact forthcoming, but rather my musings on a personal journalistic failure. I am enraged that I have been unable to assemble the revelatory polemic about which I had so dreamed, yet not properly researched. I had targeted The Duchy of Cornwall.

My arguments were to be drawn from clever reading of ecclesiastical and crown publications. “Queen consort!? More like Concubine consort!” I had prepared so eloquently. These were in response to Her Majesty’s statement in February concerning her hope for Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s future positioning within The Royal Family. I was to prove that the ignorance of their own rules would mean the chance of continuation of this family’s hereditary game of constitutional rule is under serious threat.

Alack! The rest of this subsequent worded wreckage is witness to my impotency to dig up dirt on The House of Windsor. The points I sought to prove were as follows: firstly, that Prince Charles is not married to his legal spouse in the eyes of God. This means as defined by The Church of England, of which he is likely to become Supreme Head. Secondly, Camilla may not assume a title in line with so-called hubby’s accession, namely Queen or Princess. This is because her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, is still alive.

The decision in 2005 to not confer the vacated title of Princess of Wales upon Camilla was not only a careful move to preserve the legacy of the vaunted late Diana Spencer, but would also be impossible because of my first point concerning the assumed illegitimacy of her marriage to Charles.

It turns out that both initial points are false. But I beg your patience and ask for one last chance. My ineptitude as detective has strangely confirmed two other matters in my mind. These are that the monarchy must go, and that The Church of England is openly an unbiblical, relativist Christian denomination that seeks to find loopholes to ingratiate public opinion and our monarch. The CofE and the monarchy are bound together and any remaining respect they command relies in large part upon Queen Elizabeth II. As head of both, she has shown leadership and dignity, unlike most of the other bigwigs propping them up. So whilst I describe how I was wrong, I hope to convince you of the immense frailty of two of England’s oldest institutions.

The Legitimacy of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s Marriage

The knee-jerk reaction of the majority of people with a basic knowledge of English history would be to say that divorce and remarriage have been accepted by The Church of England since its founding by Henry VIII. These folk are wrong; no divorce law existed until 1857. Henry never sought divorce, only annulment, proposing that two of his unions could be dissolved because they never fulfilled necessary criteria for a proper marriage. The tyrant actually had fairly legitimate grounds in both instances, even by Catholic standards. Google the reasoning, there is no time to explain it here.

I digress, I seek not to teach history, but to prove that The Church of England’s recently revised rules concerning marriage are nonsensical, based only on sentiment and modernist thinking. Divorce had always been considered unbiblical (Jesus concretely rules it out: Matthew 19:3-9). Further, the reason that Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 was because he wished to marry divorcee Wallace Simpson and avoid public scandal.

So what happened to change feeling and allow Charles to marry Camilla? The simple answer is the gradual acceptance in wider society of divorce and remarriage as the rate increased from the 1960s onward. It was this sentiment that The Church of England responded to. A proxy for traditional church marriage before God was introduced in 1985 by The General Synod for divorced Anglicans seeking civil remarriage, namely, a service of prayer and dedication. Marriage in The Church after Divorce (2002) lays out the guidelines to its clergy:

“There may be some cases when a marriage in church is deemed inappropriate, yet you will wish to offer the couple the possibility of beginning their life after a civil marriage in the context of Christian worship.”

How nice, how forgiving you might think. But the same publication goes on to state something rather interesting, or for want of better words ‘dumb’ about such a service:

“[it] is not intended to be used as a substitute for the marriage service… vows taken in a civil marriage are just as binding as those taken in church but the Service gives the couple an opportunity to express their commitment before God. The Church witnesses publicly to the permanence of their marriage, while also expressing in a more personal way the love and forgiveness of God.”

Here I contest that The Church of England proposes two contradictory teachings:

  1. Divorcees should not get married before God
  2. Civil marriage is just as legitimate as a Church marriage and civilly married divorcees deserve recognition of their new union before God

A later document confirms this doctrinal doublethink:

“The greater involvement of the state was never understood to mean that there were two kinds of marriage, a ‘religious’ and a ‘civil’ marriage, with different laws appropriate to each. There have simply been two kinds of marriage ceremony. Correspondingly, the Church has generally not questioned the reality of marriages performed in civil ceremonies.”

Section 43, State and Church in Relation to Marriage in ‘Men and Women in Marriage’ (2012)

Marriage in The Church (2002) also drew up a series of questions concentrating on the intentions of the couple and whether allowing the remarriage would be harmful to anybody involved. One of these is the following:

“Would permitting the new marriage be tantamount to consecrating an old infidelity?”

Yet still, the adulterous affair which caused the breakdown of Charles and Camilla’s respective marriages in the 1990s was not enough to nullify their request for civil remarriage plus blessing, because doubts do not lead to prohibitions. The questions are simply to help lowly parish clergy decide upon a less royal couple’s situation. The final decision is episcopal and the boss of all bishops since 1952 has been Elizabeth Regina (AKA The Queen).

Queen Camilla

My findings above quashed efforts to expose any marital illegitimacy. The Church of England has been very careful in its definitions. It does not consider marriage to be properly a sacrament and it need not even be Christian in nature to be legitimate. All that seems to be required is that it is called a marriage and ratified in law. The civil marriage of The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 was conducted at Windsor Guildhall, followed by a service of prayer and dedication in St George’s Chapel.

The Queen and Prince Philip did not attend the civil marriage but waited around in the castle chapel instead. Happily for everyone involved though, Charles and Camilla (together with the whole congregation in St George’s) went through the rigmarole of making public penance. Staunch Anglicans will nod approvingly that their words were drawn from the hallowed 1662 Book of Common Prayer, a final vestige of tradition that marks out Anglicans from other Protestants and just about continues to unite disparate factions. This hallmark of the service of prayer and dedication blesses the married-previously-divorced couple.

Then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams stated that “These arrangements have my strong support and are consistent with Church of England guidelines concerning remarriage which the Prince of Wales fully accepts as a committed Anglican and as prospective Supreme Governor of The Church of England.”

While not a tyrant necessarily, its Supreme Governor’s happiness is at the forefront of The Church of England General Synod of Bishops’ mind when making decisions. The process likely goes like this:

  1. Monarch wants X.
  2. X is discussed by bishops.
  3. Some bishops put forward argument that X is inconsistent with Church teaching and the Bible.
  4. Other bishops propose that scripture requires interpreting again. Perhaps they were wrong about X previously?
  5. X gets passed.
  6. Confusing documents are written to ratify X.

Queen Elizabeth I played a huge role in deciding upon exactly what she wanted Anglicanism to look like in The Religious Settlement bills of 1558-59. Decisions made concerning the liturgy and practices were quite often based on a whim and she personally blocked further strict reform. To suggest, as I have, that new Anglican moral teaching, liturgy and canon law can be based on the fancy of the current Supreme Governor has historic precedent and is to be expected. A redefinition of marriage to suit the Prince of Wales was easy to achieve.

To the future Queen Camilla then. Well, according to the rules of the State Church, she is legitimately married so the title will legitimately be hers. I bear her no ill will personally. But I protest against her place as a paid up public servant and millionaire through tax as I do against each and every Windsor, including Queen Elizabeth herself.

For a royal family to have a place in society, each member must be morally upstanding and set a public example of patriotism and duty. To state a depressingly obvious fact that needs no further exposition with examples, new levels depravity and scandal were rife amongst The Royals decades before I wrote these words. The Queen should still be regarded as an exception in her family, even if she secured a ridiculous marital loophole for her son.

Many ardent royalists fear what the politically engaged Charles will get up to once he ascends the throne. The best thing he could do would be to immediately abdicate and help establish a republic. The argument that the positioning of constitutional monarchs draws away dangerous power from a president is frail and based only on nostalgia and fear of the new.

As for The Church of England, I hope you agree with me at least that the formulation of its new attitudes towards divorce and remarriage in fact has no genuine precedent and is an insult both to the idea of a marriage before God and to many of its followers who would profess the indissolubility of marriage based on a principle of fidelity toward scripture.

CofE bishops were certainly divided on this matter, as they were on ordaining women. But division on pretty much everything is allowed in this Church; there are just the backward faithful and the trendy faithful. As congregations plummet, a question asked in the future will surely be: which cathedral shall we sell off first? Anglicanism in its current form, not unlike the idea of a queen, approaches death.


Photo Credit.

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