Hail to the Boy! Featured

‘A gold filling in a mouth of decay’, playwright John Osborne so damned the Royal Family. Yet, decay or not, that piece of gold glitters away. Indeed, it sparkles. The Royal baby, that little scrap of humanity waiving his tiny hand glimpsed on TV, will have melted the heart of even the fiercest misanthropist. People are born suckers for things like that. Well, why not?

Virgil, the poet singer of Roman imperialism, in his fourth eclogue tells of a blessed ‘pure’, a holy child, a boy sent down from Heaven to begin anew a golden age for humanity, redeemed from sin and evil. Christians naturally read it as a messianic hint, a foretelling by an inspired pagan of the coming of Christ, the Prince of Peace. Virgil of course had been born into a world scarred by horrendous civil wars. Rome itself seemed doomed, until Augustus had emerged triumphant and created a new order. Hence, the poets’ immortal verse expressed the universal longing for a better life, a happier society. That vision of glory and justice then incarnated itself in the awaited holy babe.

Alas, William and Kate’s child is not the harbinger of a golden age. British society will continue the decline John Osborne cynically announced. When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 sycophants blathered about the dawn of another ‘Elizabethan Age’. It was nonsense. Under the first Elizabeth the English race had launched into its phenomenal, epic adventure of world expansion and conquest. Along with a cultural flowering that included a genius like Shakespeare. The second Elizabeth, dutiful and gracious as she is, has presided over her nation’s increasing shrinking power and, sadly, inevitable decay. That is not the fault of the monarch but of what used to be called ‘British subjects’. As you make your bed...

This is no time for gloom, however. Voila’ three reasons why the priest likes what the golden boy means.

First, it is about kingship. True, today’s monarchs are basically crowned presidents. Constitutional figureheads. Not quite useless King Logs, though. A king is a reminder that not all power is necessarily from below. Curmudgeons like Kevin Maguire, Mehdi Hasan and Yasmin Alibaba-Brown are right in being upset by the boy. They perceive that enthusiasm for the little prince implicitly means a slap in the face of the dreary goddess at whose feet they tediously worship: democracy.

One day the boy will wear a crown of gold – the massive crown of St Edward the Confessor. I like that. Never mind how faintly, a golden crown is a bit like a halo. It hints at something higher, supernatural, greater than the abstraction called ‘the people’. Wasn’t one of the gifts the Magi gave to the child Jesus a piece of gold? Very apposite. Because gold stood for power. Royal power. Power not just from below but from above. You see, God is no president. And presidents do not wear crowns – kings do.

Second, the boy is... a boy. That matters. The orgy of relentless feminist propaganda swarming in the media seemed at times to have made it compulsory that it had to be a girl. Instead, three men are now in direct line to succeed the Queen. Dull Dave Cameron’s pathetic ruse to ingratiate himself to the ‘sisters’ has copped out. Feminist ideologues – female and male alike - must be eating their hearts out. They appear to enjoy insulting and denigrating the male of the species as a matter of course. They have managed to make it look as if it were almost a crime to be born a man. Pity providence and nature have given their designs a little check. Hahahahah!

Second, it is about that many-splendored, golden word: love. William and Kate love each other. Even republican fanatics would not deny that. These are two human beings who are in love. Sounds corny but...compare them with Charles and Diana. Ah, the tragedy of that marriage! (Of any marriage like that.) One in which the man was not really in love with his wife. Unhappiness and disaster followed. Not so with William and Kate. And now their love has issued in the miracle of a new life, their child. That is how it should be. Marriage’s purpose, as the Anglican Book of Common Prayer has it, is threefold: a remedy against fornication, for the procreation of children and for the mutual love binding man and woman. Such excellent mandates are handed down from the Creator. William, Kate and their son embody and demonstrate all three grounds.

Third, it is about the Absent One. There is one grandmother missing to celebrate this Royal birth. I mean Princess Diana, whom, I say in fear and trembling, I was privileged to know. References to her have been few and far between. Yet William’s mother smiles on her grandchild from where she is now. Where? I believe Diana has not quite made it to heaven yet. The princess is now climbing the seven-storey mountain, whose name is purgatory. But make no mistake about it, purgatory is probationary only in a positive sense. You can’t slip back down the ascent, you can only climb upwards. Purification is necessary but the supreme goal is assured, God willing.

Iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto. ‘Now a new progeny is sent down from high heaven’ sang Roman Virgil. A golden child. Who cares about the hype? Poetry does it for me: all hail to the boy!

Frank Gelli I am an Anglican priest and cultural critic and commentator. I have BA in Philosophy, MA in Christian Ethics, MA in Islamic Studies, PGCE in Religious Education and Oxford Certificate in Theology. I have been a journalist & drama critic in Italy and England.
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