I sympathise with all those who are upset over the death of Queen Elizabeth II but, at the same time, look forward with optimism to the reign of the new King. The modern world has chased all magic and mystery away from life and we must take them where we can find them for the human soul is such that we need these things. They call to the essence of our being and when they are denied, as now, we feel their loss acutely even if we can't articulate just what it is that has been lost. What has really been lost is, of course, the sense of the reality of the spiritual.
The British monarchy stretches back a thousand years into the distant past and provides a link to history and tradition in a world where nothing has deep roots or lasts long. The pageantry that defines the monarchy, its hierarchical dignity, the ceremony and ritual that surround it, all these can satisfy the soul in a world in which everything else is materialistic. Religion is meaningless for most people now and monarchy can fill the hole in the psyche that the absence of religion leaves behind. At least, it is one of the few things that might seem to do that. In truth it can only fill a tiny fraction of that hole.
So I do sympathise with the many people who express their support for the monarchy in the wake of the Queen's death. But I can't share their emotions and for two reasons. The first is that monarchy is fairly meaningless without God above it to back it up and give it its fundamental raison d'être. All the ritual is centred in the reality of God. Take him away and it is just theatricals. But he is not taken away, you might protest. He is right there with the altar and the archbishop and the services and the cathedrals. No, he is not there. The words are there, the outer form is there but the spirit is not there. Some of the participants in these ceremonies may be believers according to their own lights, as the Queen is said to have been, but in what do they actually believe? A tradition, an historical idea, a set of ethics, the doctrines of an official religion? Or do they believe in the living God who animates their own soul and do they demonstrate that belief in everything they say and do? Believing in God is not enough. You must love God which means love truth. I know no one can judge the state of another's soul and I do not pretend to do such but the evidence indicates that most religious people accept the world on its own terms and that to me makes them unbelievers. You cannot believe in God and accept the world. You cannot serve two masters.
The second cause for my reservations concerns the personalities of the deceased Queen and her son Charles. The Queen cannot be faulted. She served her country faithfully for 70 years. She never put a foot wrong. Her moral character cannot be questioned. This is what people say and I don't dispute it. But I would say that despite her obvious qualities she appeared to be entirely passive in the face of massive spiritual degradation. Maybe she said and did things behind the scenes but if so she was remarkably ineffective, given the spiritual situation in the UK today. Under her watch the Royal Family became all show and no substance. She went along with every change in the country including what amounts to a loss of sovereignty, the conversion of the Church of England into a branch of secular liberalism and the radical restructuring of the population. The fact that her nation and her Church are in a much worse state spiritually at her death than when she ascended the throne cannot be blamed on her personally but as far as the public is concerned she did nothing to arrest the slide downwards apart from carrying on behaving as she had been brought up to behave. On the credit side, her personal behaviour was impeccable. She did her duty to the end, acting with dignity at all times. She clearly impressed everyone who met her and not just because of her position. But how did the Queen use her role? To be brutal, as an opener of fetes. The purpose of the British Royal Family under the late Queen became simply to stay in business. It survives because most people agree that it is better than the alternative which is true enough as it does provide a link to a past rooted in God but when, in itself and as it is now, it really just seeks to be all things to all men what use is that? In reality, it has become just another arm, a traditionalist, anti-modern but really completely modernised arm, of the global elite basically used to absorb resistance to the more overt forms of globalism. King Charles claims to be a traditionalist (or even a Traditionalist) but he seems likely to go along with all the ongoing corruptions of the country and the West as a whole apart from some token opposition. Perhaps not. We shall see.
It's easy to criticise and I don't mean this as a personal attack. I recognise that the Queen had an impossible task and she was certainly a fair better monarch than her abdicating uncle would have been. But there is the sense that her main objective became to keep the family business running and if the soul of the country suffered in the meantime that was secondary. I am sure that personally she regretted many of the changes that came about during her reign but, even though she was only a constitutional monarch, she might have done a little more on the positive side to defend her nation from the depredations of the spiritual attack on it.
In 1965 on a gloomy day in January my father took my brother and me to line the streets in London for the funeral procession of Winston Churchill. I remember very little about it other than the grey clouds and the rain, both somehow fitting. My father felt this funeral marked something more than just the death of a man. It also signified the end of the British Empire and the ideals and beliefs that had governed that. This turned out to be the case. The death of Queen Elizabeth II can be taken as a similar marker of something. Despite what I say above, the Queen did at least hold the line, symbolically if in no other way. Now that she is gone we can expect, once the initial period of mourning is over, the last vestiges of the old ways to be swept away. If these were replaced by something better that would not be a problem for undoubtedly there is something better, but what these ways did at least have was a sense of the reality of something beyond this world, something to which this world should coordinate its being. The new ways are actively based on the rejection of that sense. The triumph of matter over spirit will continue and become even more entrenched in the human psyche. Whether there will eventually be a reaction to that remains to be seen but King Charles will have to go a lot further than he has if he is to be the figurehead of that reaction and not absorbed by the zeitgeist.