Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, are visiting Washington DC. During their visit to the US, they will commemorate three things — the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the most important secular document in the history of the English-speaking peoples; the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War; and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
The Prince of Wales visited the National Archives yesterday where a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta is on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England. The Magna Carta is embodied in the American Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
I’ve had the privilege of viewing the same Magna Carta, signed by King John at Runnymede on June 15th, 1215, in Lincoln, which is not far from my hometown. A depiction of the event can be seen on the bronze doors of the Supreme Court building.
It’s been over forty years since the Washington Post claimed that President Richard Nixon was brought down by Magna Carta. The charter established the principle that everybody is equal before the law, including the king or president. This principle separated England from the continental powers, where the head of state is above the law. When French President Jacques Chirac was accused of corruption while in office, nothing could be done about it until he was no longer president of France.
Exactly ten weeks after King John was pressured into signing the charter, Pope Innocent III declared it null and void. He said that no people had any right to demand anything of their king. Consequently, England was plunged into civil war.
Magna Carta reminds us that: “God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34) We are all equal before God, who is the ultimate Law-giver.
It’s a good thing that the royal couple were not in America on Sunday, where they might have seen the first episode of “The Royals,” on the E! Network. This show depicts a fictional royal family ruling in England.
I watched the first 30 minutes of the 75-minute much-hyped premiere.
It was utter and total trash.
If any of today’s royal families behaved like those in the fictional series, they wouldn’t last very long.
Monarchy has a serious side. According to the organization “Democracy Watch,” the seven most democratic countries in the world are all constitutional monarchies. They are: The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada and New Zealand (the United Kingdom was not included in the list, maybe because it does not have an elected Upper House).
They have all also been the most stable countries in the world.
Constitutional monarchy also happens to be the cheapest form of government.
There’s a lot to be said for constitutional monarchy. In contrast, there is nothing positive to be said for the new television series, which raises trash to a whole new level – and that’s really saying something when it comes to TV!
While on the subject of royalty, I have to recommend the new “Cinderella” movie.
My son and I took his two girls to see it on Sunday. The girls, aged 8 & 9, have gotten used to me falling asleep whenever I take them to a movie. Brooklyn, the youngest, promised to wake me up if this should happen again.
But it didn’t. The movie was engrossing. It is beautifully made with real people.
I have never been one for fairy stories, even when I was a child. But this was different. It’s a real old-fashioned love story, with an upbeat ending that will leave many in tears.
Lily James (Rose in “Downton Abbey”) plays a very convincing Cinderella. (One of her ugly step-sisters is played by Downton’s Daisy.) Richard Madden plays the prince. Helena Bonham Carter, one of England’s greatest actresses, plays a humorous Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett plays the Wicked Step-Mother.
The movie was directed by Kenneth Branagh, one of England’s greatest theatrical talents.
A superb movie, perfect for the whole family. It’s also perfectly respectable for married couples to go without children — I intend to take my wife who could not go on Sunday.