Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here comes the revolutionary?

I don't know about you. Maybe if I was in the same situation I might feel differently. When I was planning my wedding, the last thing on my mind would have been trying to change history. I was too busy fretting over seating arrangements, favours, choosing a unique wedding dress, perfect tiara, rings, photographer, and guiding my errant, indecisive maid-of-honor towards a dress, in the chosen color, we would both be happy with.

I wasn't 10th in line to the throne. So I didn't have to worry about gaining the Queen's approval. I wasn't marrying a Catholic, so I didn't have to worry about losing my place in the line of succession because of my future husband. I was a bride trying to enjoy my day. And I did.

Unfortunately, sometimes it isn't that simple. Look at Autumn Kelly, the fiancée of Peter Philips. Engaged to the grandson of the sovereign, young, beautiful and Canadian - she has everything going for her. But did I mention she's Catholic? Were it not for who she's marrying, this wouldn't be a problem. Now we're discussing a religious quandry. Will she give up her religion? Does she need a special dispensation from the Vatican? Can love conquer the Act of Settlement of 1701? Bridal nerves takes on a whole new meaning. We're talking about changing history.

It's not something brides usually add to their checklist. You won't find it in any of the wedding planning books; religious quandary pros and cons, dispensation applications, phone numbers for the Vatican. Maybe people trying to hijack this event can supply these to Peter and Autumn?

For most couples, these issues don't normally come up. But Peter Philips is different. He falls under the Act, which along with the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, regulates royal marriages and excludes Catholics or anyone marrying a Catholic, from coming to the throne. There have been two examples of this in the immediate family: Prince Michael of Kent, and his nephew, George - Earl of St. Andrews, both of whom married Catholics. And as a result, forfeited their place in the line of succession. But giving up ones place, especially if unlikely to succeed, doesn't seem to have done either of these men any harm. Maybe you lose bragging rights, but that's about it.

But while many are trying to make this into an issue. Make it seem that someone is going to have to make a painful sacrifice of their identity. How do the couple in question actually feel? Or is that incidental to people trying to promote their own interests? Will Peter and Autumn leave changing history to others or will they allow their wedding to become a catalyst for change?

If so, they might be the best looking revolutionaries in the room.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is revolutionary at all. He is 10th in line. There really is a slim probability that he would ever be in the position to be king. Also he doesn't strike me as being in the "royal circle" that much. He is related and but his life is respected as a private person. He doesn't even have a title or perform duties. I think thay will live a happy affluent life away from the royal stage anyway. If it was one of york daughters or the wales boys then it would be an issue. I think the media will beat this for a while and then it will die down.

The wedding will be private anyway.

Again no revolution- a minor skirmish.

Marilyn said...

I don't think this issue has anything to do with the couple. On the surface it does - He's in line for the throne, she's a Catholic. Whether it does or doesn't affect them is incidental to people trying to use this as a situation to get the 'word' out there. Like all of the hoopla surrounding Terri Schiavo - all the interest groups parking themselves outside the hospice in order to promote themselves. Or the Republican movement crying out when there's a big royal event. Whether it's the York daughters or Peter Philips makes absolutely no difference. In the unlikely event that they do decide to challenge this Act and be successful - it would be revolutionary. It would change history.

Anonymous said...

If they changed the law I still don't thik you would see a big change in the religious leanings of the royal family. Their history is so tied to the anglican faith. I also thik that if they changed religions the quiet majority that supports them will raise arms.

Plus although it is possible for them to marry into other faiths like buddist muslim etc I don't think the public thinks of them as particularly valid (ethnicly speaking) in this circumstance and if the catholic ban is raised then the other possibilities will be raised to the forefront. Then you will see all of the underlying predjudice and bigotry come out. With the way fear of certain religions is today... can of worms

I personally think they should lift the ban on catholics. let them marry but just raise the children in the tradiion of the family- whatever that is.

Frec said...

Marilyn, I am very glad you brought this up for discussion. I find it intriguing and, like you, consider the couple's plans are almost beside the point. They are the catalyst for the debate. It is precisely because Peter is as close to the throne as he is that it is worthy of discussion. Other more distant royals choosing or marrying into Catholicism have not stirred the debate nearly as loudly. Although Peter may not be "close" to the Queen in terms of his position in the line of succession , as her first grand-child, and the only son of her only daughter, he is most certainly near and dear to her heart. It will be "emotional" for her but, no doubt, the Queen will follow her duty, as she has always done. Actually, what choice does she have? It is the law.

It is, in fact, not for the Queen to change the law, or even lobby for it. That is for others. I, for one, believe it is time for those persons to recognize their own duty and make the change. It is an outmoded law based on prejudice, fear, and power-holding.

As for the happy couple, they should follow their hearts. If either one of them wants to change religion and adopt the faith of their beloved, they should. Or keep their religion of birth. It's a personal decision. And, by the way, I am one of the brides who did make such a decision, not for anyone else, but as a matter of my own conscience.

Marilyn said...

Anonymous

although it is possible for them to marry into other faiths like buddist muslim etc I don't think the public thinks of them as particularly valid (ethnicly speaking) in this circumstance and if the catholic ban is raised then the other possibilities will be raised to the forefront. Then you will see all of the underlying predjudice and bigotry come out. With the way fear of certain religions is today... can of worms

Yes, I agree with you on that. I think it would definately open up a big can of worms.

I personally think they should lift the ban on catholics. let them marry but just raise the children in the tradiion of the family- whatever that is.

I don't think that they should necessarily change the law, although if you leave it to Prince Charles he might go forward with becoming a 'Defender of Faiths' instead of Defender of the Faith. He seems to have an open mind but traditionalists may not like it. Ultimately, I think that they should allow for those in the line of succession to marry Catholics without being penalized for it. And, raise their children in the Church of England if they want to keep them in line for the throne - as Prince and Princess Michael of Kent's children are.

Frec:

I think ultimately that the Queen wants her children and grandchildren to be happy. Regardless of the rules and laws, they will remain her family, so I guess that's the most important thing. Who knows how the couple actually feel, or whether they even care. I don't even think I've ever heard any official confirmation that Autumn is actually Catholic. How does anyone know?

I say, leave the couple in peace. If people want changes to be made then go forward without using Peter and Autumn's relationship for their own purposes.