The Queen, in the loss of her husband, has the great consolation of every Christian: the resurrection of the dead, part of the creed that she has professed all her life. For in the Queen, the Church of England is fortunate to have a Supreme Governor who is a committed Christian, who believes what she professes. But when she dies – and we should pray that she enjoys the long life her mother did – we are faced with a different prospect, that of the Church of England led by younger royals who do not have the same sturdy faith.
Younger royals do attend Church dutifully; they do not, however, seem to see it as their duty to engage with the Church of England as the Queen does and as Prince Philip did. Prince Charles is interested in religion, but a former Archbishop of Canterbury expressed the wish that he would love the Church a little more. Prince William and his wife attend church but never mention their faith in public. There is a misapprehension that royalty in a multicultural society must be aloof from all faiths, or at least show no partiality. This is a mistake. The Queen shows that a firm commitment to Christianity can make for a greater understanding of, and sympathy with, other faiths. One of the tasks she must now undertake is to persuade her grandchildren to be more overt and unembarrassed in their Christianity. Being modern doesn’t have to mean secular when it comes to royalty.
This article appears in the May issue of the Catholic Herald. Subscribe now.