A LITTLE BUT significant incident occured on Sunday the day after the coronation of King Charles III and his Queen Camilla. At the interval in the royal music concert by artistes from all over the world in the great park of Windsor Castle, Prince William stood to eulogise his Father, the King. William who is now the heir apparent to the British Crown, paid full some tribute to his Father’s 50 years of service to the world. But he pointedly did not spare one word for Queen Camilla!
One should imagine that William is aware that Camilla occupies the throne that belonged to his mother the late Princess Diana. The people’s princess, as then Prime Minister Tony Blair described her, would probably not have died in a ghastly motor accident in a Paris underpass in 1997 if Charles had not divorced her. And her death opened a whole new chapter in British moral history. Dianna was dodging the paparazzi with Doddi Fayez, her boyfriend after Charles divorced her, when she met her death. Less than 10 years later Charles married his childhood sweetheart Camilla Parker Bowls whom he never fell out of love with even as he was married to Diana and had two children Princes William and Harry with her.
In very short order Camilla obtained a quickie divorce from her husband Tom Parker Bowls and on April 6 2005 she married Prince Charles and thus put herself in line to be Queen.
There was a little bit of murmuring at the time as to whether a divorcee would be Queen and married to a king who will be the Defender of the Faith of the Protestant Church of England. Queen Elizabeth probably had this in mind when she decided that Camilla would be called Queen Consort rather than Queen. But soon after her death King Charles reversed his mother’s decision and called Camilla Queen. And so, Camilla was installed the same day as her husband.
Not only are both Charles and Camilla divorcees, the Church of England had reversed itself on the question of divorce. No longer was it refusing to recognize divorced people it seemed to welcome them with outstretched arms.
The King, Edward Vlll, who abdicated the much bigger throne in 1936 when the empire included most of the populous nations like India, opted to abdicate because the Establishment fiercely opposed his love affair with an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, on moral, legal and political grounds. And rather than sacrifice the woman he loved he sacrificed the throne of the great imperial power in the world after 362 days on the throne.
But it is not only in the matter of divorce that Britain has climbed down. Very like the United States, the United Kingdom has gradually turned into a secular nation. Under Margret Thatcher, Sunday the Sabbath day that must be kept work free and holy introduced High Streets and shops starting business from 12 o’clock. Last year the law governing divorce was relaxed. It made divorce easy by not compelling the petitioner to give reasons why he wants a divorce. Divorce can be obtained in less time than it takes the petitioner to draft his case.
Again, like the United States, the line of demarcation between men and women is gradually being eroded. Men can marry men and women can now marry women. If they want to have children, they can rent the womb of a woman who will bear the child for an agreed price.
These are some of the ‘civilized’ ideas the former colonies are glad to have been spared by their independence.