Queens and Presidents, and Duty
November 29, 2016 3 Comments
Melanie Phillips wrote in the £ Sunday Times about how the Queen Elizabeth II has to subsume the woman in the duty of the queen. It’s not a new theme for us, we spoke of her mother’s sense of duty owed to people and God in Duty Is the Rent You Pay For Life. It is something that also runs deep, in soldiers, it was Robert E. Lee who said,
Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things.
You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.
And yet, that is asking an awful lot of a man, or a woman. Not many make the grade, and it strikes me that none of those that make it, rely on their own strength. Lee was a serious Episcopalian, his quotes about God are nearly as numerous and intertwined with his quotes about war and the army he loved. Elizabeth is the head of the Church of England, and as Melanie says, she has often gone against her own desires to fulfill her duty to her people, and her God, from whom her reign comes.
Yes, that is a difficult concept for Americans to grasp, she is queen by the grace of God, but her duty is twofold, to God and people, simply because she is not accountable to the people. In a very real sense, the British have to simply trust her to do the right thing, and because of her sense of duty, she nearly always has.
[Speaking of the Netflix series The Crown] It’s rather that, most unexpectedly in this age of sneering secular utilitarianism, the series pivots around the key but largely disregarded point of the monarchy: that the wearer of the crown is consecrated to God.
That’s why the monarch is crowned in an abbey and anointed rather than appointed. The coronation is a near-mystical act of transfiguration. As King George VI says in the drama to his young daughter Elizabeth: “When the holy oil touches me I am for ever changed, brought into contact with the divine.”
The paradox is that the monarch is bound by an unparalleled duty to the people precisely because the wearer of the crown does not answer to them. As Queen Mary tells the new, young Queen: “Loyalty to the ideal you have inherited is your overarching duty because it comes from God.
Monarchy is God’s sacred mission to grace and dignify the earth to give ordinary people an ideal to strive toward. You are answerable to God, not the public.”
It is this sacramental bond of duty that places the monarch on a superior plane altogether from any prime minster or president.
That mystical place beside God has been held by the Constitution and the flag for most Americans through history because that mystical place must be filled, or we are simply brutes competing by whatever means for our individual gain. That is why so many on the left accuse us of doing exactly that because they have no conception of a higher power to which duty is owed. That is what doomed the Duke of Windsor, that he put his personal benefit above his duty. It is a large part of why Hillary Clinton was defeated in the election.
The Queen is portrayed as someone who takes this absolute duty to heart, with often devastating consequences for all the flesh-and-blood people who carry this burden.
The Queen’s identity is split down the middle. There is the human Elizabeth, the wife, mother and sister; and then there is Elizabeth Regina who, when these identities come into conflict, has to override the human being involved.
That is obviously true, but it is also true of her entire generation, this is the wellspring which has made them, British, American, Canadian, and Australian (and the rest as well) our greatest generation.
via Royal sense of duty may die with the Queen | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times Do read the whole thing™.