So it comes as a considerable annoyance to discover that His Royal Highness should have made a speech in Brussels in which he explicitly endorses the European Union and, implicitly, our membership of it and its role in the politically most sensitive matter of ‘global warming’ – sensitive, that is not just because of the arguments that exist at a political level about how it is caused and how to solve it but also because not all of his future subjects accept the existence of global warming or its causes.
EU Referendum brings us an account of the affair and turns the prism so that we may see various views of matter. But, as we shall see, there are other aspects of this matter which merit some thought.
Firstly there is the matter of His Royal Highness’s judgement. There have over the years been matters involving His Royal Highness that have suggested that judgement is something he singularly lacks. For example his daft decision to give a televised interview to Jonathan Dimbleby in which he made a public admission of adultery was, on any view, a bad idea. But he also made his mea culpas in such a way as to invite a riposte from his then spouse, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. And riposte she did, in spades. In doing so she wreaked havoc on the very fabric of the monarchy.
Most of us could have advised him not to do it, so obvious were the consequences. Those of us who, despite his foolishness, remain monarchists, despaired of him and his stupidity. But he blundered on withe the damaging results with which we have become all too familiar.
Which leads to the second thought. We live in times when a hung Parliament is said to be a potential result of the next election. Under our constitution it falls to the Sovereign to judge who to call upon to try and form a government. This requires him to exercise judgement, something which, as I have pointed out, he seems to lack. Resolving an election which has produced no clear winner is one of the most potentially divisive of political acts left within the purview of a modern constitutional British Sovereign. Getting it wrong, with the potential for opening up a constitutional crisis, is not an option.
Arising from this is my third point. It is inherently unacceptable for him to indicate his support for the European Union, given that our membership of it and the nature of that membership is a crucial political issue and that many, perhaps even the majority, of his would-be subjects would like us not to be members of the EU and that many of us are deeply sceptical of the correctness of many of the things he said about the EU and oppose strongly his support of it.
But suppose that he were on the throne at the time of an election where he opted for a pro-EU Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition that sought further integration into the EU as against a Eurosceptic minority Conservative one which sought to disengage from the EU. In those circumstances it would look as though he was exercising a personal political preference in favour of pro-EU parties because of their support for his view of the EU.
This would be bound to raise the issue of his partisanship and his fitness to sit on the throne and would immediately divide the nation. His position might then become untenable. Certainly he would lose the support of a huge part of the nation, much of which forms part of the natural constituency for the monarchy, the future of which would thus be threatened by his injudicious support now for the EU.
It would be far better if, in future, His Royal Highness, avoided such partisanship if he wishes there to be a future for the House of Windsor. If he is not able to do so and he continues to express his approbation for the EU this Monarchist will, reluctantly, become a Republican.
Arms of the Commonwealth 1649-1660
A final thought occurs. Was this speech approved in advance by the Government? If so it would strike one as a dangerous and damaging thing for it to have done bearing in mind that he expresses his approbation for the EU in fulsome terms. But perhaps that load of closet Republicans are consciously trying to dish him as part of the overall plan to debauch our constitution.