I read in the paper that the Church of England is demanding that if he wants them to bless his marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles, Prince Charles must first apologise to her first husband. You'd think that, in their privileged and no-longer-deserved position as the established church of this country, they'd bend over backwards to be a part of an event that is bound to be a major media occasion. You might think they'd see it as their job to bless the marriage of the future monarch, and be grateful for the chance to do so. I don't think the Catholics or the Jehovah's Witnesses would have been quite so picky!
You might also think that they would recognise that the world has actually moved on since the Reformation, and that society no longer regards the sanctity of marriage in quite the same way. You might think they'd have realised that we live an awful lot longer now than we did in past centuries, and that the solemn vows we make at the altar have to last a hell of a lot longer these days. In the words of the old joke, marriage is a sentence; in the 21st Century it's more like two life-sentences running consecutively. You might think they'd know that the upper classes have always rutted like minks - the carpets in many a stately corridor are threadbare from the inter-bedroom traffic during those weekends in the country.
You might think they'd recognise that they just aren't that important any more. But no, they think they've got the poor bugger where they want him so they can make themselves feel good by throwing their weight around.
Like many people I have a soft spot for Prince Charles. He's a bit of a plonker, true, but then lots of us are, let's face it. And look at what he's had to put up with. A mother who won't either die or move over so he can get a proper job. A father who's always been a bit barking. Enormous ears. An education, not at a proper toffs' school like Eton or Harrow, but at a sort of outward-bound tree-huggers' hostel in Scotland. Then he was forced to marry the vapid, simpering Princess Diana, surely the most irritating woman this century. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but I know I couldn't have stayed in the same room with her for more than ten minutes. It's taken my wife thirty-four years to achieve that; Diana did it in weeks. And all the time in everything he does, he is the object of constant press attention, criticism and innuendo.
And when he does actually find someone he likes and can stand to have around, a perfectly nice woman with a face like a cheerful horse, look at the difficulties we place in his way. Can he marry her in church? Can he marry her at all? Will his mother come? Will anybody come? And now this - the church insists that he apologise to her first husband. In fact Andrew Parker-Bowles moved on with a vengeance, marrying someone else only a year after the divorce, so it doesn't look as though he was exactly pining for her, does it? I doubt very much whether he is looking for an apology.
Thousands and thousands of people marry for the second and third time in this country. Does the church demand that they apologise? Even more people just live in sin. I haven't noticed the church being particularly vociferous about this, have you? But they're happy to victimise this poor sod who wants to marry the woman he has loved for 33 years - just because they can.
It makes you wonder if Henry the Eighth didn't have the right idea after all. If these churchmen get uppity and won't do their job, cut their heads off. If that doesn't work, ban the church all together and start a new one with you at the head of it. That'd show the buggers.
We have received this comment from Terry Deighton: "Dear Grumpy Old Sod, whilst perusing your many comments on this septic isle, I'm quite surprised to see a glaring omission from your organ" (Christ, I didn't know you could see my organ on the internet - oh, I get what you mean ...). "For it is he, Charles Windsor, a man of small intellect and questionable moral fibre who seems to think he can opine on any subject and expect an appreciative response. What has this bloke ever done? Never worked, gets everything done for him, even dressing himself is apparently a big deal. Get a load of what he has to say and you'll see he has no ideas. He is a genuine 24 carat self-indulgent, pompous fogey. Can't one be told to put one's sock in it?"
The GOS says: I don't actually agree with you, Terry. Granted, he is all you say. But I think any society ought to have room for a few pompous old fogeys (my secret ambition is to become one myself one day). Also, he has never made any serious attempt to foist himself or his views on me personally - he hasn't installed any speed cameras on my local roads, or banned hunting, or done any of the things I usually complain about. It's Tony Bloody Blair and his cronies who think that 33% of the vote gives them a mandate to tell me how to live my life. Charles just bumbles uselessly about, and I don't mind that.
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