Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Royal Blessing

As “Fortress Britain” puts up the shutters and becomes the world's most repressive democracy, it's puzzling to see an island nation that has such porous borders. Surrounded by an inhospitable sea, it should have been a pretty easy matter to keep out undesirables in much the same way as a moat around a castle used to, as Shakespeare mentioned.
Blessings in the now beleaguered isle take a bit of finding to count, but there is one that is the envy of much of the civilised world. Britain has a Royal family of outstanding qualities whose value to the nation can never be overestimated.
In fact, for nearly two hundred years, Britain has been blessed with a succession of heads of state whose intelligence and common sense have proved to be of immense value, particularly now when government appears to be seriously lacking in both qualities.
The one possible exception, King Edward VIII, popular but feckless, was a narrow escape and for this the United States should be thanked for their contribution, a contribution more valuable than the later Lend Lease programme. As schoolchildren carolled that Christmas:

“Hark, the herald angels sing,
Mrs. Simpson's pinched our King.”

Monarchy is a dodgy form of government and early exponents often let matters go to their head – sometimes resulting in their losing them.
But Britain's constitutional monarchy is, by any standards, a roaring success and it is hard to imagine how matters will be following the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
But then, at the end of the 19th. Century, Queen Victoria agonised over how the nation would manage when her playboy son took over. “What will become of the nation?” she wrote in her diary.
She need not have worried. King Edward VII proved to be a monarch of great ability and charm.
There is much talk of finding role models for the youth of Britain. For the virtues of honesty and hard work, it should not be necessary to look further than to the Royal family.
But I suspect that the likes of Pete Docherty and Amy Winehouse will prevail.


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