Today is probably my favourite secular holiday. On the third Monday in May Canadians celebrate the reign of Queen Victoria, the granddaughter of King George III.
Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father’s three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
Putting aside the fact that England renounced the True Faith when King Henry VIII insisted on receiving a divorce from his wife, and when his faithful barrister Thomas More refused he persecuted him terribly, I quite like the Monarchy. It would be all the better if the next Monarch reverted to the True Faith, and left the Church of England [Anglican Church or Episcopal Church] to die on the vine.
The Catholic Church has long taught that Monarchy is the best form of government, followed by Aristocracy, and then Democracy. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that a blend of all three is likely best. I think here in Canada, along with Great Britain and the other Commonwealth states have the closest to that commingling. We have the Monarch who’s able to assert herself (through dissolving Parliament or allowing a new government to be formed from an existing elected Parliament) if need be in a time of crisis. We have the Aristocracy in the Senate, the upper Chamber which is meant to be a House of “Sober Second Thought”, and we have the democracy in our elections where we choose for ourselves the men or women who represent us in Parliament, which is supposed to be a safeguard of our liberty, not a threat to it as it tends to be today.
Its unfortunate that the two dominant national political parties (Liberal and Tory) are both effectively Republican at this point, and only pay lip service to the Monarchy as a relic of the past that isn’t relevent to the present or the future. I would warn that given the climate we live in today, the Monarchy might become more relevant and necessary in our politics than we realize.
But amidst the apparent chaos and unruliness that seems so pervasive in our culture, lets remember who the real King is. He doesn’t seem well known anymore, and his adherents have not done well proclaiming him and making converts of their neighbours. His name is Jesus Christ, he is the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity. He who created the world ultimately governs it. His governing style is benevolent, his justice is merciful, and he truly serves those who toil in the garden in his name.
God Save the Queen, and make her a convert to the Catholic Church. Our Lady of Walsingham, Ora Pro Nobis.