The Royal Family, as you rightly pointed out in your post, 'What Will Happen When the Queen Dies?'
have a tendency to
Some see them as active agents of evil and willing
participants in the ongoing dissolution of British culture and society.
Others view the Sovereign as a genuine 'still point of the turning
world', a bulwark of stability in the face of a collapse which would
only career downwards at an even more breakneck speed without the
Queen's restraining hand.
There is much, as you say, which is unknown
about the aims and intentions of the inner circle of Royals. The truth, I
feel, lies (as ever) somewhere between the extremes.
however, a series of storm clouds gathering vis-a-vis the succession.
The poet Kathleen Raine (1898 - 2003) had, I recall, a remarkably
exalted view of Prince Charles and his role and destiny in our island
story. She saw him as standing at the heart of what she called the
'Great Battle', a standard bearer and lightning rod for everything good,
beautiful and true.
I've lionised Charles before on these pages to a
gentle hum of disapproval, so I won't labour the point, save to say that
his tremendous advocacy of Middle Eastern Christians has led some
commentators (in The Catholic Herald notably) to speculate that he might
be on the point of converting to Orthodoxy. Another potential reason,
therefore, why he might find his path to the throne blocked.
can certainly foresee a degree of tension between partisans of Charles
and supporters of William. There is an apocalyptic French prophecy from
the Middle Ages (I forget the source) which speaks of great troubles in
France followed by a civil war in England sparked by a Sovereign's death
and a dispute over the succession.
On that eschatological
note, there are three monarchical restorations, I feel, which could
potentially occur in the near future and shift the level of debate, due
to the extent to which they could possibly be seen as prefigurations of
the return of Christ as Judge and King. These restorations could come
about as a reaction to political and economic collapse, as an act of
defiance against tyranny or as a spontaneous realisation and insight
into the spiritual significance and symbolic depth of the Crown.
Christ is to return,' as the theologian John Milbank puts it, 'then so
too is Arthur.'
The three countries in question are France,
Russia and Logres. I'll come to Logres shortly, but first the other two
points of the triangle -
(1) France, because of her centuries-old
commitment to civilised values, especially in scholarship and the Arts;
the longevity of her monarchy (496 - 1793), and her Christian witness
and elevated status as 'eldest daughter of the Church' - and
due to the spiritual intensity of her people (as reflected in Russian
music and literature) and the idea of Moscow as the 'Third Rome', the
true successor to Imperial Rome and Byzantium. Whether this claim is
grounded in anything substantial or not, the very fact that it is made
reveals a religious vision and an awareness of history way beyond the
reach of most Western nations.
Logres is something different. It
is the inner, spiritual side of what is commonly known as Britain. It
is hidden, invisible, unmanifest - yet always there for discerning eyes
to catch a glimpse from time to time. The writer Paddy Leigh Fermor, for
instance, saw the ruined abbeys of post-Reformation England as the
'peaks of a vanished Atlantis drowned four centuries deep.'
It is C.S
Lewis, however, who really sees beyond the screen of surface appearance
in this sizzling passage from 'That Hideous Strength':
began,' said Dr. Dimble, 'when we discovered that the Arthurian story
is mostly true history. There was a moment in the Sixth Century when
something that is always trying to break through into this country
nearly succeeded. Logres was our name for it ... And then we gradually
began to see all English history in a new way. We discovered the
'What haunting?' asked Camilla.
'How something we may
call Britain is always haunted by something we may call Logres. Haven't
you noticed that we are two countries? After every Arthur, a Mordred;
behind every Milton, a Cromwell: a nation of poets, a nation of
shopkeepers. Is it any wonder they call us hypocrites? But what they
mistake for hypocrisy is really the struggle between Logres and
Whatever our thrust and counter-thrust regarding the
Windsors, it seems fair to say that they belong to Britain rather than
Logres. They may well represent the very best of Britain, but there is a
qualitative gap between Britain and Logres which they simply cannot
bridge. They're not on that level.
Well then, who is? The
Jacobite in me would plump for a restoration of the Stuarts and the
return of the 'King over the Water' but that again would be to plant my
standard on too low - too materialistic - a plane. Logres doesn't work
like that. We would be best advised to turn to Lewis again and the
continuation of the above-quoted passage, where Dimble asserts that
there has been a 'secret Logres in the very heart of Britain all these
years: an unbroken succession of Pendragons.'
This suggestion of
a secret or alternative line of Sovereigns chimes well with similar
motifs in other countries and cultures - the clandestine Merovingian
bloodline in France, for example, or the Hidden Imam of Shia Islam. It
ties in too with the universal myth of the Sleeping King, as recounted
in this part of the world in the story of King Arthur and his Knights
asleep in a treasure-filled cave, awaiting the hour of their country's
greatest need, when they will wake and rise again to expel once and for
all evil from her shores.
These themes, to my mind, have the
ring of truth - not the empirical truth of an 'evidence base' but the
truth of myth and story, which is an altogether deeper and richer thing,
analogous to the 'Deeper Magic From Before the Dawn of Time' that Lewis
writes of in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'.
It is this level
of truth that Winston Churchill tuned into during the Second World War.
He recognised in his country's story - its highs and lows, twists and
turns and narrative ups and downs - a greater depth of truth than the
shortfall in money, manpower and arms, which daunted so many. The
'evidence base' spoke of a prudent acquiescence to the inevitable and a
necessary accommodation with the enemy. The 'story' (a la Arthur and
Alfred the Great) sang of turning the tables and setting the odds at
This is how Churchill won hearts and minds. He backed the story
and built his strategy on that. He chose, in short, Logres over Britain.
begs the question, did Churchill himself belong to the hidden line of
Pendragons? It is an entertaining thought. Let's leave the last word to
'Some of the Pendragons have been known to history,
though not under that name. Others you have never heard of. But in every
age they and the little Logres which gathered around them have been the
fingers which gave the tiny shove and the almost imperceptible pull to
prod England out of her drunken sleep or to draw her back from the final
outrage into which Britain tempted her.'