Letter To The Queen

Following the Oprah Winfrey interview I wrote to the Queen and Prince William with an excerpt from a draft book on the evolution of Britain and Ireland:  Here is an extract:

'A fifth wave is to re-model the monarchy for the 21st century

Once the present beloved queen dies pressure will mount for UK to have a president, on the grounds that a president is more democratic, accountable and affordable. These  grounds are in fact questionable. The disadvantages of a president need to be spelt out. These include:

A monarch is a safeguard against dictatorship and abuses of power. The armed and legal services owe allegiance to the monarch, not to the Prime Minister. The monarch can order them to prevent a coup.

 A monarch is not in the pocket of financial and other pressure groups who may manipulate the presidential electorates.

Monarchy provides stability and continuity with the past: a president is ephemeral.

A royal family can develop organic, on-going relationships with each of the four nations and their cultural, union, arts, sports, minority, faith, ethnic and regional groups.

The monarch binds the Commonwealth together: a President would not.

However, there are fault-lines in the monarchy that require a re-modelling. The monarchy should shed its archaisms. It is the apex of the class-ridden, feudal British aristocracy. Although aristocratic landowners have often stewarded the land well, countless BAME citizens shine with royal qualities. Ladies in waiting should come from diverse backgrounds. Hereditary peers should be abolished.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the monarchy owning private estates, but these should become environmentally and community-friendly and not be the preserves of the hunting, shooting and fishing elite. In addition to their private estates at Windsor (UK), Sandringham (England) and Balmoral (Scotland) the royal family should have either a state or private residence in Wales and Northern Ireland whose farms or tourist income cover their costs. Their private residences should not be subsidized by the tax payer though staff in these who are needed for the work of monarchy should be.

Another archaism that needs to be jettisoned is the arranged marriage for heirs to the throne, who have affairs with the women they fall in love with in private. The debacle of Princess Diana should never be repeated. Brides do need to understand the exceptional burdens entailed in a royal marriage and to have the capacity to learn royal disciplines. It is true that few people could survive the disciplines and ethos required of the state’s head family. Yet an exceptional person from a back street of an industrial town anywhere in the Commonwealth could rise to this calling. So the heir to the throne should be the next in line who qualifies according to agreed criteria applied by a council of religious, therapeutic and political advisors. Future heirs to the throne, before they get engaged to be married, should introduce their spouse to this facilitating group who probe, advise and train.

The Meghan Markle withdrawal from royal life reveals an unmet need. The entire royal household (that is all staff and family members) need Diversity, Inclusion and Mental Health facilitation, just as do the police forces. The ratio of royal BAME staff at every level needs to reflect that in the population. The monarch has chaplains. This principle should be extended to embrace skilled pastoral counsellors available to all family members. The monarch’s advisors currently seem to be appointed or approved by the UK Government civil service. In future the monarch should have an advisory council which includes a representative from the devolved governments of the UK’s four nations, and from the Church of England, Church of Scotland, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and one from the inter-faith community.

The Crown should require all serving members of the Royal Family to undergo accountability training and, if called for, restorative justice. Restorative justice seeks to bring about a change of heart that will reduce the likelihood of re-offending, and reparative disciplines that help to restore relationships that have been  damaged./ For example, if Prince Andrew were summonsed to a court he should be required to attend. If found guilty he should serve a prison sentence.. Better still, he should make reparation through a community service programme. The monarch and the next two in line should be exempt from prison, but should be expected to volunteer to engage in restorative justice; for security reasons this could include manual work and penitential exercises in a monastery.

The monarch and the next several in-line and their spouses should on oath subscribe to an agreed set of principles associated with the Crown. This may seem counter cultural, but a footballer who disregards team disciplines can be suspended. The Nolan Principles established in 1994 by the UK government Committee on Standards in Public Life, and adopted by the Commonwealth, could be included. These principles are: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, Leadership. To these should be added Inclusivity and Diversity, confidentiality, and the Church of England requirement of faithfulness in marriage.

The me-first, say-what-you-like culture destroys the common good and its institutions. So in addition to royal heirs and spouses signing up to agreed principles, these should be taught in the core curriculum of all schools throughout UK.  This will help pupils understand foundations for civilisation.

The Scottish National Party wish to retain the Union of the Crowns. If the UK evolves into a federal system the monarch has quarterly audiences with the First Minister of Scotland, and representatives of Scotland’s military and legal structures are on the monarch’s staff. There are quarterly audiences with the First Ministers or their equivalent of each devolved administration.

The Monarchy should not only have a residence in Wales, it should also have an Advisor from Wales, a Welsh participator in the coronation and a Welsh Bard. The Welsh National Assembly, National Gorsedd and National Church should have Crown representatives.

The Monarchy and the President of the Republic of Ireland should espouse joint charitable enterprises. For example:

 a) An annual meeting and a Joint Award for Cross-Country Achievement;  

b) The Prince’s Trust offers twelve Ireland placements each year;

c) A Prince’s and President’s Charitable Trust pursues cultural, educational, environmental, sporting, faith and trade partnerships (one of Prince William’s descendants was Irish and a supporter of Catholic Emancipation. Following their first visit to Ireland William and Kate said they hoped their links would grow).

d) A residence on one of the royal estates should be offered to Presidents of Ireland for holidays.

e) The town of Killaloe invites the future Queen Kate to become Honorary Queen of Killaloe, the town of her ancestor Brian Boru, for one week each summer.

f) Representatives from the Republic’s two parliaments, faith communities, Northern Ireland’s devolved government and representatives of the UK royal family and the Irish President should plan a Commemoration Service each July 13.

g) A Republic of Ireland – Commonwealth working party should be established to identify stumbling-blocks to Ireland’s membership and to make recommendations to the Commonwealth to replace imperial hallmarks with multi-racial hallmarks of its fellowship of equality.'

PRAY.  RAY

Posted at 10:44am on 10th March 2021
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