Equality, liberty, fraternity, and other revolutionary and broadly lefty values – inspired by my take on what it means to follow Jesus – these are what I tend to set my compass by.
But when I discovered Prince William was coming to Coventry Memorial Park this coming Wednesday I found myself scanning the internet for details (so that the missus and I could go and wave union jacks or something, I scarcely know). And when I read today’s article in the Independent about controversy over the Royal Family being granted a new right of secrecy, I found myself sympathetic not to the lefty-liberal voices of protest, but to Ma’am and her family.
I sympathise with the succession of Labour Prime ministers accused by Helen McCrory’s Cherie Blair in the film, The Queen, of throwing out principle and going ‘gaga over the Queen’.
But I sympathise with them, too.
And before we rush to paint these medieval rustics as dwellers in a cruder, more superstitious age, remember those Labour Prime Ministers. Remember the flowers for Diana. Remember ten million annual Queen’s Speech viewers.
So I don’t think I’m all that unusual regarding my strange hypocritical royalism. I think royalty has an enduring appeal. And not just our British Royalty, either – royalty per se.
Even when human beings get rid of kings, they replace them with pseudo-kings. Mr President, perhaps. Or Mrs Iron Lady. Or Mr or Ms rock/sports/film star.
Something deep within the human psyche longs for a monarch, someone with power, who knows what’s best and will make it so.
Could it be that human beings long for a Messiah? A once and future king?
To quote some 12th century words still sung today:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.