The Privileged Life: Kings and Queens (Part 4)—The Weight of the Crown

“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown….” (Revelation 14:14)

The official royal crown worn by the monarch of Great Britain—made of platinum, gold, silver, purple velvet, and ermine—contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, hundreds of pearls and the “Black Prince’s” ruby. 

Recrafted in 1937 for the coronation of King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II, it weighs in at a head-wobbling 2.3 pounds (1.06 kilograms).1

The official crown of Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen herself describes it as “very unwieldy.”

“Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head,” Her Majesty reports. “But once you put it on, it stays. I mean, it just remains itself.”

The Queen also says she must hold up her speeches to avoid looking down. “Because if you did, your neck would break, or it would fall off. So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things.”2

Quite important, indeed. Whoever wears the crown carries a heavy weight of responsibility.

I’ve always heard the Queen is profoundly aware of the magnitude of her role as monarch of a vast Commonwealth of nations. I imagine she has found the crown to be “very unwieldy” and heavy at times over the years. Yet she has stayed the course, remaining steadfast to her duty to serve her empire.

To whom will the crown pass in the future? Prince Charles, of course, is next in line. And after him, Prince William.

From across the pond, I watched the budding romance between William and Catherine Middleton. But after their blockbuster wedding 11 years ago, I found myself concerned about their welfare. Would their marriage survive in the constant spotlight, resisting the never-slaked thirst of a “royalcoholic” tabloid press? How would they keep their character in a world that views them as fossils but can’t seem to leave their private lives alone?

My conclusion is that William and Kate have done very well, indeed. Here’s why they’ve succeeded in raising the image of the British monarchy to a much-improved position:

  • William married well. William gets a lot of credit for choosing Kate as his bride. His decision to marry a “commoner” was not an insolent act of rebellion. I think Will stepped outside the lines simply for love and compatibility. He married someone who would be a rest-of-his-life partner in leading the royal clan into the 21st century. In a sense, he brought the entire country into the royal household and gave the world a fairy-tale love story with a beautiful Cinderella.
  • William and Kate are nonetheless respectful of the monarchy. Watch their wedding (I did, in real time, in my pajamas), and you’ll see a great deal of respect for the Queen. Their continued adherence to pomp and circumstance reveals that William and Kate recognize their extraordinary privilege of being in line for the throne. After enduring the heartache of his parents’ public divorce, along with a bit of partying himself, William seems to have grown up, gradually working to re-earn the public’s respect for his family. He’s acting kingly without being lordly or distant. 
  • Kate has embraced her role with dignity, too. She’s William’s helpmeet, first and foremost, deferring to him in public. But like a British equivalent of Miss America, Kate has become a popular ambassador on her own and greets her fellow citizenry with genuine warmth. Neither reluctant to be in the spotlight nor constantly seeking its glare, she appears to be quite comfortable in front of the camera. She has taken on philanthropic duties, using a soft-spoken approach to promote them.
  • William handles the media effectively. He clearly calls the shots for the protection of his family…he knows firsthand the brutal ruthlessness of the paparazzi in the death of his own mother. I see William setting trends for modern manhood—sensitive to his wife yet manning up to his role as protector/defender, keeping their three children mostly out of the limelight. He and Kate play a large role in the official websites, https://www.royal.uk and YouTube’s https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCvgLV2Ixb8KCemj-UtXZ-g, both of which carry a nice balance of poise and unpretentiousness. 

Expect to hear more from William as he engages the press and the public—he’ll probably emerge as the most endearing spokesman for England since the Queen’s dad. With his future leadership, the crown has a renewed chance for survival and significance.

What will really matter down the road, however, is the strength of his faith in Christ. His and Kate’s wedding began with a precedent of spiritual commitment to our Lord…the sacred music, the homily from the bishop, and their vows. William and Kate even wrote their own prayer.

The Romans 12 Scripture reading by Kate’s brother, James Middleton, was most telling in the ceremony, however. In those verses, the apostle Paul exhorted them (and us) not to be conformed to the word but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds…also, to be “fervent in spirit” and to serve the Lord.

It’s impossible to tell where William and Kate truly stand in their beliefs now, especially since it’s been reported that they rarely attend worship services. However, a spokesperson for the Prince said that he continues to have a strong personal faith.4 Pray for him and Kate, especially as they are tasked with raising up their children in the Christian faith.

A crown of thorns, from a Holy Land plant

As he considers the weight of his future crown, William would do well to look to his Savior, the One who is the true King of the world. Jesus Christ gave up his heavenly crown for a wreath of thorns…and then bore the crushing weight of the collective sins of humanity before His Father. Prince William will find no greater Advocate, no higher source for his strength, no worthier cause to serve, no other hope than in the Prince of Peace. Neither will we.

Whatever “crown” you wear today, let it remind you that you have a great King to serve…and that you are His royal heir as well.

King Jesus, You are the great Sovereign of our lives. Let us come before Your throne with gladness, serve You in humility, and bless Your name in all the nations. May You raise up godly leaders for us around the world and fill all of us with Your Holy Spirit, that we may praise Your name and Your glory. In Your royal name, Amen.

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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_State_Crown

2https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/imperial-state-crowns-weight-could-break-your-neck-says-queen-elizabeth/articleshow/62482880.cms?from=mdr

3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_State_Crown#/media/File:Imperial_State_Crown.png

4https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2261908/Hes-future-Defender-Faith–does-Prince-William-church-handful-times-year.html

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