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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