Categories Religion in the world

The purpose of the monarchy and the problem of inequality

I was disappointed to read that Richard Coles is now a born-again monarchist (How Princess Anne made me a monarchist, Journal, 1 January). His somewhat uncritical dismissal of objections to privilege, wealth and prestige being ascribed on the basis of accident of birth, would, I suggest, sit uncomfortably with his Christian faith. It is worth noting that the rich young man in Matthew 19 was told to “go sell your belongings and give to the poor”.

But it is Coles’ last paragraph that ultimately subverts his own argument: “in an era of growing anxiety, and even more menace, the monarchy here, like other monarchies in other places, could be the best defence against the rise of tyrants”. Really? Surely the recent attempt to prorogue parliament illustrated how our constitutional monarch, far from being a bulwark against tyranny, was an agent of it, albeit unwittingly.

What I believe Coles’ all-too-easy conversion has done is show once more, that if the Church of England is to ever be in the vanguard, rather than the guard’s van, it needs to be disestablished – now.
Rev David Black
Tilston, Cheshire

I became a monarchist in 1977. Not only was I living in Germany and surrounded by a nation that deeply envied us for our monarchy, but I picked up how the silver jubilee was important for so many British people of all ages and backgrounds.

When there was controversy over Kurt Waldheim’s suitability for the Austrian presidency, my feelings were reinforced. And in 2020, were we to abolish the monarchy, whom could we all unite behind as a possible president? Thank you for publishing Richard Coles’ thoughts.
David Jones
Spalding, Lincolnshire

Richard Coles is absolutely right about Princess Anne and the monarchy. When our town celebrated the bicentenary of the granting of its charter she came to collect “the good Scots penny” the monarch was promised in the charter. She had done her homework about the town, spent the day with us, unveiled two commemorative plaques, opened the refurbished Scout hall and had a buffet lunch at which she spoke to everybody in a very relaxed manner.

Having her mother as our monarch enables us to rely on such a steady, non-political figurehead that many countries must envy. Most of the royal family are worth every penny for all that they do – and I would not begrudge the relatively small amount it costs us for their presence, whereas I’d pay plenty to lose a “ruler” like Trump.
Helen Keating
Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire

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