Echoes of the past in Prince Harry surprise move
History is about to repeat itself in the British royal family. In a shocking move in the New Year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a statement that they were stepping out of the monarchical confines in order to pursue a different and independent life.
Going by the reaction of the Prince Harry’s immediate family and the British public, the announcement was a betrayal of trust and privilege.
It seems the only person who Harry seriously confided in, and consulted, was his wife Meghan Markle.
Now, it is not that Prince Harry stands a chance of becoming king, unless something drastic happens to those already in the line — he is number six.
It is the symbolism of his action that has people searching for answers.
But Prince Harry’s action and fears are not totally unfounded, something he intimated during an undated interview.
He mentioned avoiding events that happened in the past, in an apparent reference to the aftermath of the strained relationship between his mother, Princess Diana, and father Prince Charles.
Princess Diana died in a road crash in Paris, France in August, 1997, an incident that the media suspected was a murder in order to cut short her love affair with Dodi Al-Fayed, heir and son of Egyptian billionaire, Mohamed Al-Fayed.
It is rumoured that Diana could have married Al-Fayed, which could have greatly embarrassed the royal family.
Now, it is also feared there are members of Britain’s high society who are not comfortable with Meghan’s racial background.
Analysts view the Prince’s action as similar to abdicating the throne. In December, 1936 King Edward stepped down from the throne so that he could marry American twice divorcee Wallis Simpson.
As King, Edward was Head of the Church of England, and the Church did not support divorce.
It is not going to be that easy for the couple. What is lost on Prince Harry, in his love-struck innocence, is that the centuries-old monarchy is not just another institution.
It carries the very essence of the British society, and what it means to be English. This nationalism is the main reason behind the UK’s pursuit of Brexit.
For eons, sex in the Catholic Church has been a no-go zone for the clergy. That is why horrid stories of sexual abuse by the clergy, particularly paedophilia and homosexuality, have perennially been hushed up.
It is no longer a secret that priests are just as randy, if not more than, your average bloke next door.
These are open secrets, but the laity is either in denial, or has simply decided not to see, nor hear, any evil.
But the progressive, albeit radical, Pope Francis, is gradually uncovering the veil of secrecy that has bedevilled the church of St Peter for centuries.
He is even flying where the saints dare not, by intimating that the church is considering ordaining married men to serve as priests, particularly in the sacramentally starved Amazon region.
But retired Pope Benedict XVI recently called for a stay of execution on this matter.
According to the 92-year-old Pope Benedict, tampering with the centuries-old tradition of celibacy in the church is bound to mess up the priesthood vocation, as one cannot serve two masters at a time.
However, Pope Francis is on the right side of history. While I revere Pope Benedict’s sentiments, I also believe time has come for the church to allow married men of integrity to serve as part-time priests.
In any case, there is no difference ordaining married men to serve as priests, faced with an increasing number of priests known to have mistresses and families.
May be, it will also save the church from some of the sordid abuse scandals involving children. — The writer is a communication expert and public policy analyst — [email protected]