TROUBLE IN BUCKINGHAM PALACE
ABOLISH THE BRITISH MONARCHY, STATE CHURCH AND HOUSE OF LORDS
In the normal course of events news from England’s Buckingham Palace, the seat of the British monarchy, does not directly concern socialist militants except in a propagandistic way. Most of the news lately has concerned the ‘plight’ of poor Prince Harry (or is it Prince William?) and his non-deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan with his tank unit. However another more recent piece of news permits me to make some points about the socialist attitude toward those ‘revered’ English institutions of British royalty, the established Anglican Church and the moribund House of Lords.
I will admit that I have received this news second hand but Queen Elizabeth’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips, son of her daughter Princess Anne, has become engaged to a Canadian woman. Nothing extraordinary there. However in the convoluted process of the British royal succession Peter Phillips stands number ten in line to the throne. That, again, would be neither here nor there except that the woman he proposes to marry, Autumn Kelly, is a strongly self-professed Catholic. And there is the rub. Although Peter's real chances of getting to be the ’once and future king’ are just a shade better than mine apparently if he marries the Catholic woman without some form of renunciation he violates British law. According to the Act of Settlement of 1701 (the one that brought Queen Anne, daughter of the papist James II, to the throne) no British monarch can marry a papist- a Roman Catholic. Thus, either Peter Phillips has to renounce his right to the throne or Autumn has to renounce her religious beliefs. Attempts, including one last year, to rescind that law have failed. And that is where socialists have a duty to comment.
Strange to have to say in the year 2007 but socialists, while hostile to religion on principal, are opposed to religious tests for anyone- including marrying into royalty. A great part of the struggle during the heroic days of the rise of the bourgeoisie and the fight for the Enlightenment centered on this very question of state support of, and interference in, the private realm of religion. But that is not the main point. In England the head of state, in this case the queen, is also the head of the state church. This brings me to the real argument. Despite the so-called aura of tradition and despite its alleged benign symbolic place the real fight here is to abolish the monarchy. When Oliver Cromwell and his friends established the Commonwealth during the English Revolution one of the important acts, if not the most important act, was the abolishing of the monarchy exemplified by the beheading of Charles I. I, however, do not believe that Cromwell spent enough time trying to round up Charles' sons, who later during the counter-revolution became Charles II and James II, in order to eliminate (or at least curtail) the chances of restoration. So here is my proposal. British militants take note. In order for the kids, Citizen Peter Phillips and Citizen Autumn Kelly, to get married life off to the right start-ABOLISH THE BRITISH MONARCHY, ABOLISH THE STATE CHURCH and ABOLISH THE HOUSE OF LORDS. In short, finish the tasks of the old English Revolution of the 1600’s. Those are our tasks, among others, in the British Isles.