Why England Wept,"

Cameos of the House of Windsor

and Princess Diana the Molothrus ater ater,

by Eben

I

Edward the Tippler

Playboy of the Western World (he knew the plot), Prince Charming to the eye, he danced and took free-handed his loves like boys gulp soda pops--this one, that one, discarding the empties. Finally, one “drink” too many drank the drinker, and he was hers--to the losing of his Crown. Beside Mrs. Simpson, he thought, all was rot, and so he wandered all the Western World, arm in arm with fatal liquor who never once let him drink too much of her--and so kept him open-mouthed to the last drop and the trapdoor’s spring. “Gotcha, sweet prince! But he was too easy--not much challenge to him! Now, who’s next?”@

II

George the Sawn Asunder

Reluctant king, thrust between Rock and Hard Place, Crown and Duty by erring brother, the shy and stuttering, tender man found his life must be lived out against his grain. Steeling all his resolve--not near enough. Christian faith must fill the gap.* Stoic too, of ancient stamp, helped to keep the lip and chin firm in glaring light. Storm and stress cutting without (Hitler’s hordes assailed the ship of state, and freedom’s white maiden tower), storm and stress ripping within (the struggle and the cost, daily, of kingship). Yet he endured it well as Christian king and stoic knight--at the end sinking, sinking, (no! still sinking?) until the decided last rally failed due to just enough grams of morphine-- probably thought mercy for the Dying Man, and thought necessary for the Waiting Nation, but actually a final smothering crush from Edward’s crown (and a Shadow pressing from the dead?).

“Zwounds! Missed by a mile on that one!

Well, then, the next one for sure, or heads will roll!”

III

Elizabeth the Heart-Shaped Locket

Except for Edward, she hadn’t claim to Crown and Throne, but he changed all. Eldest of Sawn Asunder, there was no one else. She, Elizabeth, must reign in Daddy’s stead. Plucked on eve of marriage and happy lot, she too was thrust into the crucible alive. For this she was more well prepared, her character gold upon a neck chain, with Daddy, Mummy, enshrined within, since parents mentored her in royal craft-- the art of public service, composed face, while self and secret heart inward writhe, or at least wait and wait and wait--Fidelity itself. Unioned to a handsome duke, a man of wit and Scottish flair, who played the game as it was handed him, Elizabeth made reigning seem the thing that she was destined to; but royal offspring came, and they grew up, each pulling from the parents’ hold. Parties, indiscretions reported in proper press, scandals in the tabloids, lovers too, the troubles came, in twos, sixes, twelves. Sister Margaret gave some pain, this man, then another yet. But children grown to public sins will turn a mother’s heart to grief. They watched the Windsor scandals mount (Edward’s phantom pulling strings?), but hopes were set, the people’s too, on eldest son to wear the Crown. Inside the heart-shaped locket (if three could be) smiled his young face-- a lad with promise, who looked a prince in gold braided uniform. “Good work, but the chief is still upset about old George and his daughter holding on to the Enemy--we have to do something quick, boys, or we’re demoted to porn movie studios!”

IV

Charles the Hare

In the kingdom of Peter Rabbit, Lion, and Unicorn, unchosen by the Welsh, he was crowned the "Prince of Wales." His mother set it on his head in a castle by the sea, the same place before him Edward stood aghast, stiffed silly by what he wore (the strangest costume, white and puffed, and ballet tights upon his legs). Here again Wales’ Prince was made, Queen of England blessed. He pled fealty to her, then all went home to real life, the princeling to his own heart sore. Never joined at any schools, for where could peers to him be found? Big eared too, he was the butt of cruelty and many pranks. Tender eyes, bequeathed by George, and shyness too, no doubt, again the sawing heart and soul to bleeding pulp, cameras popping everywhere he went. Bolting from the wide, rude world, the prince found one who shared his pain--but not the one he found his wife. “Ah! Now that was real progress! We’re just an inch from the Throne! One push of the old lady and we’re sitting pretty, pretty, pretty!”

V

Diana the Molothrus ater ater

She flew, a glossy asset to the nest, chosen by the experts and the Queen. All credentials were quite good, and beauty almost covered pain. But signs there were--seen but ignored? Her father’s rupture in his love, halfway down his course of life, left his daughter and a son high and dry in their own loss. Schooled in the English way, alone, far off from both parents, Diana, eldest, fought for him, the brother who was all she had. From this life she stepped into fame, instantly a royal princess now. How to act? How to speak? The Spenser in her rose to it. But this other thing--Crown Prince’s wife? She must learn. Produce a Windsor for the Throne? She birthed the future king--then one more prince beside. But this other--loving Charles? A faithful wife who stays at home? Vows at St. Paul’s were one thing, life was “another,” she found out. Charles had his comfort holed-- a married woman “with a heart.” (O phantom Edward, your “slighted life,” mere “Duke of Windsor” to your grave, takes full revenge on these victims of the gilded cage!) Heart she had for Hare alone, divorced her husband--and for what? Diana swallowed down her rage, and found her comfort too like Hare. She could play Princess Charming with a Starry Wand-- but won, too late, a world’s heart. Too late to save her from old pain, too late to save her married role. Too late to save brave George’s grace, too late to heal a Spenser’s wound. Charities, two growing sons, were all she knew of life’s good things. Divorced, divorcing, Prince and Princess, went about their severed ways. Each had life to live, they thought. One was wrong--it was quite over. [PAUSE--tears for a fast-tracked princess, smashed in a Paris tunnel.] But let there sound Christ’s anthem, “Risen!” You never know--the foolish may yet make a saving choice, escape the Judgment before the Great White Throne.**

Thus we heard it in Westminster: choiring One who died cross-beamed to pardon sins that plague and doom. Now that was Grace in freezing dark, though He goes begging still, a Pauper Prince, a Lazarus at the gate, while Monsignor Dives reads the best in Post-Christian theology. Perfected by the ages, formal, dead, Religion does her solemn thing within cathedral walls. Tall stained glass bleeds on mourning black below. Candle? England’s rose?^ Diana cannot rest in death, even now in public eye. Millions round the world grieve. So they lay Molothrus ater ater quite alone, her bier hid in Faerie Camelot,**** beside a parrot and Spenser dogs-- guardians of a lost princess. But what of her William, next in line behind the Hare? Does he grasp in turn a pale, guiding hand?# “Not bad! Not bad at all! Never mind all the ruckus about the princess--it’ll die off in good time. But we’ve got work to do, my boys-- no slacking off now while the prize is in reach. We’ve built momentum at the court--thanks to Eddy’s tip. The Spensers up in arms, the two boys to be disaffected from the queen granny--what a joy this line of work is when things are going our way -- ”

Molothrus ater ater, cowbird, whose young are reared by other birds

*Psalm 18, **Ps. 85:4-9; Ps. 79:8-9

****Althorp, the Spenser family estate 75 miles from London

^In Westminster, a noted pop singer likened Diana to a wind-blown candle and called her “England’s rose”

#the disastrous and tragic chain of events following Edward’s abdication afflicting Europe’s chief royal dynasty

@ in C.S. Lewis’s, The Screwtape Letters, a master devil mentors a nephew devil, neophyte at the business of deceiving and damning human souls