How different it must be to be born into an estate that projects one into the role of Monarch of a Nation. So different from electing, as a life choice, to become a President or Prime Minister. Unlike the latter, the Monarch has only one choice besides reigning, and that is to abdicate. Of course monarchies are different the world over and we will look at that later but for the moment let us consider. Taking as an example the lengthy reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second of England “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith” , we might consider the number of Presidents of the United States of America she has watched come and go, and their lives after office. Similarly the number of Prime Ministers she has asked to form a government.
As a Monarch Queen Elizabeth has been an exemplary leader. Not because she has ridden out in front of the troops as they did the bidding of parliament in one engagement after another, but in the role she has played in the public field, for the edification of other monarchs and leaders around the world.
Following the reign of Henry the 8th the role of the British monarchy changed. They became also the defender of the Faith – a spiritual leader to the nation, no less in Britain and beyond than the Pope is for Catholics in the world. This carries a certain weighty responsibility with it. The woman, if I might make so bold as to strip her of her title for a moment, has chosen to take her roles in the world seriously and, while the knotty question of Indian independence was dealt with by her forebears, has nevertheless overseen the transformation of an Empire into a Commonwealth of Nations. A laudable action one must declare. And bravely done. She remains the smiling face through all adversity that has beset her. A truly noble figure.
As one grows towards one’s wholeness it becomes clear that life’s circumstances were far from accidental and that one’s life has a certain symmetry which is demonstrated by both family and circumstances into which one is born and that offers the greatest opportunity to resolve former karmic debts and scars and to advance on one’s own journey to the fullness that awaits us all. No less the Prime Ministers than the Monarchs of the world.
How then can we question the same be true for monarchs? Thus the issue of the divine right of Kings stands unquestioned. That some may abuse this right is unquestionable. But have we ever seen a President or Prime Minister who has no skeletons in his or her closet, or is not guilty of feathering his or her own nest one way or another. There is no question that some souls being given power become deluded and corrupted by it. This too is an important lesson for a soul to learn.
But how much more can one do with a lifetime of devotion to duty, compared with a three or four year term of office with the threat of deposition at the end of it? Surely this breeds a very different approach to one’s life and actions than that shared by a mere politician gambling on a further term. It takes ambition to become a politician, it takes, as stated in the title above ‘ the Grace of God’ to become a monarch.