Constitutional implications of Royal Wedding?

DR JOHN COULTER is a Northern political columnist with the Irish Daily Star. He controversially argues that Charles and Camilla’s wedding could signal the end of the English Monarchy as we know it, with the UK becoming a republic before the end of the century.

By John Coulter

The announcement of Prince Charles’ engagement to his very long-time partner, the divorcee Camilla Parker Bowles, was wonderfully timed in terms of a PR stunt to take advantage of the traditional St Valentine’s Day euphoria across the British Isles.

But the impending marriage on 8th April will signal a St Valentine’s Day Massacre for the future of the English monarchy.

This specific royal marriage will start a chain reaction so devastating that within a century, the monarchy will be so reformed it is irrelevant as an institution, or else the UK will be a republic.

Bloody Mary, the executed catholic Queen of Scots, must be spinning in her grave with laughter at the prospect of Camilla becoming HRH Duchess of Cornwall.

Ardent Royalists have been assured Camilla will never become Queen of England if Charles ever succeeds his mum to the throne. But the fact two divorcees will head the Royal Family after Queen Bess Two dies or retires is the beginning of the end of the English Monarchy as established by King Billy himself in 1688.

It’s a far cry from 1936 when suspected Nazi sympathiser King Edward VIII was forced to abdicate, allowing him to wed American divorcee Wallis Simpson. In the years after the death of fairytale Princess Diana, Royalists were also assured Charles and Camilla would never marry as the nation would never allow it.

Less than a decade later on 8 April, the pair will marry. Their marriage effectively sounds the death knell for the 1701 Act of Settlement which decreed all future monarchs must be communicate members of the Protestant Church of England.

With the worldwide Anglican Communion set to split over the ordination of homosexual clergy, the modern day Church of England has slipped a long way spiritually frpm the tough moral stance it imposed on Edward VIII.

The present Queen is in her 70s, so catholic Royalists and ecumenical Anglicans know it is only a matter of time before the full frontal assault on the Act of Settlement can be unleashed.

At some future date, with a catholic once more on the throne of England, a further campaign can begin to reunite the Church of England with Rome – just like in the good auld days of Henry VIII, Bloody Mary and James II.

All these moves also sound alarm bells for the two Orange Orders and the Royal Black Institution. Their loyalty to the English throne is conditional – only a Prod can wear the crown.

For generations since the formations of the Orange Order and Royal Black in the late 18th century, and the Independent Orange Order in the early 20th century, the reading of the ‘loyalty to the English Throne’ resolution at the platform proceedings at the various demonstrations has become as traditional as the banners and bunting.

Fundamentalists within the ranks are already uneasy at the present Queen’s relationship with the Pope. They will feel even more uncomfortable spiritually swearing allegiance to an ex-divorcee if Charles becomes king.

But what happens if a future monarch either is a catholic, or converts to catholicism? Even worse for the Loyal Orders, with the growth of radical Islam in Britain, within a few generations could the death knell of the Act of Settlement eventually see either a muslim queen or an Islamic heir to the throne?

Pro-Diana Royalists had hoped to put enough pressure on Charles – with or without a marriage to Camilla – to persuade him to relinquish his right to succeed to the throne in favour of his eldest son, Prince William.

This campaign found considerable support amongst Royalist in Ulster who merely saw not just a revitalised monarchy, but also the prospect of another King William sitting on the throne. In William, there was the hope the monarchy would become more ‘in tune’ with the ordinary population.

However, the Charles/Camilla package would appear to have a more sinister agenda than simply trying to ingratiate an unpopular long-time lover, fiancee, and soon to be Duchess of Cornwall with a largely sceptical public.

Royal spin doctors will now work 24/7 to sell the present Charles/Camilla wedding package to an already divided nation. They must convince millions of Britons a future King Charles/Princess Camilla is the only hope to prevent the nation from eventually dumping the monarchy and becoming a republic.

The irony of the Royal dilemma is that the Camilla factor may well prove to be the catalyst which an unholy alliance of English republicans and anti-Act of Settlement campaigners have been waiting for to bring about a major reform of the monarchy not witnessed since the early 1700s.

Royalists loyal to the memory of Diana may have lost the battle to prevent Charles and Camilla marrying without any promise from the heir he will give his place as king to his eldest son, William.

Had she lived and Charles had remained faithful to her, the nation would have warmly embraced a Queen Diana. In reality, once Charles has been on the throne for a few years, the spin doctors will hoodwink the nation into believing the monarchy would benefit from having a Queen Camilla.

But far greater worries lie ahead for the Orange and Black institutions. Without the Acts of Union and Settlement, their existence and oaths of allegiance are meaningless. In the 1680s, just as English Protestants looked to Holland to find a Royal champion, maybe the time has come for Orangeism to once more look abroad to find a decent monarch worth swearing allegiance to.

  • Malachy

    maybe the time has come for Orangeism to once more look abroad to find a decent monarch worth swearing allegiance to.

    How about Queen Latifah ? She’s very non-controversial.

  • Keith M

    My ideal solution of a federal republic of the British Isles gets closer by the day.

  • David Vance

    Dr Coulter is well suited to the aspiring readership of the Daily Star. What a stunna he is – with his impressively wacko republican dreams – the British Monarchy will last a lot longer than the Daily Star – someone should tell the good doctor to calim down, if only for his health’s sake.

  • maca

    “My ideal solution of a federal republic of the British Isles gets closer by the day.”

    Not going to happen Keith.
    Anyway, “ideal solution” for who?

  • Cill Ros

    Propagandists like Bruce Arnold, OBE, one presumes.
    The last time something like this happened (the abdication crisis), de Valera used the opportunity to loosen the clutches of the Crown on the 26 counties, so I assume Keith M. would love to reverse the process.
    Who needs pesky things like freedom nowadays? We’ve moved on so much.

  • fair_deal

    I thought the aim of slugger was to encourage a higher standard of debate – if so why does it give this individual and his dross the time of day?

  • Friendly Fire

    Well if QE 2 lives as long as her mother, this is news for 2020+

  • vespasian

    Who really cares?, let’s discuss something relevant.

  • Sherlock

    Good morning all,

    I don’t wish to seem pedantic, but, “…start a chain reaction so devastating that within a century…”!!!???

    In political/constitutional terms a chain reaction can encompass months and maybe even a decade, but hardly a century.

    That aside, the article is exactly what we have come to epect from Dr. Coulter.

    Best wishes,

    Alex.

  • Rebecca Black

    Is the 1701 Act really relevant anymore?

    Its not like if Camilla became queen (which by the way she isn’t going to anyway) she’d start burning protestants at the cross like Mary 1. The royal head of state effectively has no power, we have a catholic prime minister too and that has not led to any dire consequences.

    This is a storm in a teacup, make Camilla queen for heavens sake.

  • Butterknife

    What do we expect from Dr. Coulter? I believe the UUP and DUP should re=examine their their loyalties. Maybe to the constitutional monarchy instead of the Crown per se.

  • George

    Rebecca,
    What Catholic British Prime Minister are you referring to? There has never been a Catholic Prime Minister of Great Britain.

  • George

    Just so you know, Tony Blair is an Anglican and there is not a chance he would convert to Catholicism while British PM as there would then be issues like a Catholic Prime Minister making recommendations to the Queen on the appointment of Church of England bishops.

    The idea of a Catholic PM of Britain is nearly as far-fetched as a Catholic king.

  • Alan2

    Really? Wasn`t IDS a Catholic (last Tory leader) and isn`t Howard Smith Jewish?

  • Alan2

    Really? Wasn`t IDS a Catholic (last Tory leader) and isn`t Micheal Howard Jewish?

  • Alan2

    Ok third time lucky. Michael Howard.

  • Alan2

    Anyhow viva le Republic. The Monarchy is more or less meaningless now-a-days except in the military where it plays an important role and as a tourist attraction.

  • Colm

    God forbid we should have a Catholic PM. The thought fills me with absolute horror. Please let us not even think about it. It’s just too frightful to contemplate!

  • George

    Alan2,
    last time I looked IDS and Michael Howard weren’t within an asses’ roar of becoming PM.

    I believe the word “fanciful” is the perfect description of those men’s chances of becoming PM.

    You need the support of the establishment to become British PM and considering it has never supported a Catholic I don’t see any reason why it should change now. Fanciful idea that they would.

  • George

    Ann Widdecombe is Catholic too but that doesn’t mean we’ll live to see a Catholic British PM.

    I don’t see anybody looking to remove the Catholic Relief Act of 1839 which makes it illegal for a Roman Catholic to directly or indirectly advise the Sovereign on appointments in the Church of England.

  • Keith M

    Maca ” Anyway, “ideal solution” for who?”.

    There’s a hint in the sentence “My ideal solution…”. Now see if you can spot it!!!!

  • DCB

    George

    There may not have been a Catholic PM, but if Tony where to convert you’d not see any great constuitutional crisis – it’s unwritten so you can fiddle it as need be

    But wasn’t Deserli a jew

  • Alan2

    “I don’t see anybody looking to remove the Catholic Relief Act of 1839 which makes it illegal for a Roman Catholic to directly or indirectly advise the Sovereign on appointments in the Church of England.”

    You have to put that into context that their were really only the two major religions in those days and as such why should a RC have a say in who is appointed to the CofE?

    CofE matters should be a matter soley for the CofE members. But seeing as the whole thing is about the religion of a handful of people the argument is largely irrelevant unless they object to it themselves. The restrictions apply to the Monarchy not to us.

    Coulter also seems somewhat ignorant of the fact that the Orange Order in the USA, Ghana and Togo have no connection with the monarchy. The abolition of the monarchy would be of little consequence to the Order..

  • Butterknife

    Its a well know fact that the PM’s wife is a Roman Catholic, his children attend schools that are dominated by that doctrine and he himself willl convert as soon as he ceases to be PM.

    I believe that the last non-protestant PM was Benjamin Disraeli (Jewish) although i could be wrong. However what is worse have a a PM of the ‘wrong’ faith, or have a PM of ‘no’ faith?

  • Butterknife

    Will ‘Kick the pope’ bands be renamed to …. no SURELY not!

  • Vera

    This specific royal marriage will start a chain reaction so devastating that within a century, the monarchy will be so reformed it is irrelevant as an institution, or else the UK will be a republic.

    You mean things will change over the course of a century?! Stop the presses!

    This guy manages to win both the Captain Obvious Award and the Chicken Little Award on the same day.

  • Vera

    Hadn’t Disraeli actually converted to CoE? I thought he was a former jew, or someone of jewish heritage rather than a practicing jew.

    Constitutional crisis averted!

    Also, didn’t the guy in the original article get his Marys mixed up? Bloody Mary (oldest daughter of Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I’s half-sister) and Mary Queen of Scots are not the same person.

  • Occasional Commenter

    We can’t be certain that Camilla is a Catholic. She married and divorced a Catholic, but that doesn’t mean she is.

    It doesn’t matter anyway, because the 1701 merely blocks Catholics from being monarch, the monarchs spouse doesn’t matter. Is anyone suggesting Charles is a Catholic?

    The law doesn’t require a CofE monarch, just that he/she is not Catholic.

    What would we call the UK if it ceased to be a Kingdom?

  • Davros

    It’s historically a fascinating subject.
    Part of the trouble was because in the distant past the Papacy claimed the right to invalidate any oath of loyalty taken to a monarch. However the worry about interference or influence in temporal affairs continued in the 20th century* and even as recently as the last presidential election in the USA things got ugly over the abortion issue.

  • George

    Alan2,
    “You have to put that into context that their were really only the two major religions in those days and as such why should a RC have a say in who is appointed to the CofE?”

    If you had an RC Prime Minister tomorrow that is exactly what would happen. The 1839 Act hasn’t been repealed so is as valid today as it was then. It doesn’t need to be repealed as there isn’t any likelyhood of a Catholic becoming Prime Minister of Britain any time soon.

    DCB,
    the some of the Prime Minister’s friends are Catholics arguement doesn’t hold any water.

    Disraeli converted to Anglicanism from Judaism as he wouldn’t have become Prime Minister otherwise.

  • maca

    Keith
    “There’s a hint in the sentence “My ideal solution…”. Now see if you can spot it!!!!”

    Indeed, spotted it was. But in the greater scheme of things you matter not, nor do I.
    ‘My ideal solution … for … the people of Ireland?’

  • Alan2

    “What would we call the UK if it ceased to be a Kingdom?”

    Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
    United Countries? United States of GB and NI?
    British Federation? British Republic? Republic of GB and NI?

  • willowfield

    United Republic would be the obvious name.

  • George

    Occasional Commenter,
    I believe Camilla remained an Anglican.