Hereditas Historiae

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The Mail on Sunday  (editorial) - 20 May 2018


A family that embraces the whole nation

'A family is a kingdom and a kingdom is a family. Both are places where authority is softened by familiarity, where love and ultimate loyalty bind people together despite any differences. Both stretch far into the past and reach into the future. It has been the genius of our own Monarchy for more than a century to appear before the country mainly as a family, not merely as the individual King or Queen. Its most serious crises have come about when it has failed or struggled as a family, and its greatest successes have come when it has held together. In an age of democracy, this fundamental connection between the throne and the people has frustrated and baffled the chilly rationalists who like to think that royalty is outdated and destined for the scrapheap. Over and over again, especially in wartime and in crisis, but also at moments of national happiness and celebration, the British Royal Family has retained the respect and the loyalty of the people when politicians and great national institutions have struggled to do so. This is why yesterday's Royal Wedding, like all other Royal Weddings, was also a national wedding, where we were all witnesses to the vows of Harry and Meghan, and all guests at a great public affirmation of enduring fidelity and constancy.

It is such promises that bind free people together. On the small foundation stone of mutual trust and dependence in the family and the home rests a huge structure of civilisation. A thousand laws, a million police officers and ten million closed-circuit TV cameras could not force us to obey the rules of civilisation which we choose to fellow of our own free will. And the shared comfort, support, patience, forbearance, laughter and tolerance that lie at the heart of every good marriage are the template for the similar pact that lies at the heart of our constitution and our society. As countries have their divisions, families have their quarrels, their embarrassing relatives, sibling rivalries and lasting grudges. But all these things are limited and held in check by something much deeper, an ancient but enduring pact between the dead, the living and those yet to be born, declared yesterday in modern language and music, yet beneath the ancient arches of and banners of St George's ChapeI.

Modernity and tradition combined because these commitments must be ceaselessly renewed in each generation, changing in their form, but not in their essence. The new Duchess of Sussex brings to the House of Windsor the vigour of the United States and the same great gifts which our new citizens from around the world have brought to us. Prince Harry himself, a child of these turbulent times and never free from the tragedy of his mother's untimely death, brings a new sort of wisdom and experience to the Monarchy, which it is likely to need as the old order fades in the next few decades.

And so The Mail on Sunday congratulates the newly married couple and welcomes the renewal of the Royal Family - which is, in the end, our family too. We rejoice in their happiness and wish them a long and blessed marriage.'