Illustration: Easel outside Buckingham
Palace announcing the birth of Prince
George of Cambridge, third in line to
Photo credit: see below
A New Heir to the Throne
On 22nd July a son was born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (the Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland) who were married in 2011. The child has been named George Alexander Louis and will be known as Prince George of Cambridge. We are pleased at this latest addition to the Royal Family, recognising the importance it may have for the future of our country. We trust that both parents and child will know blessing from the One who gives life and preserves it.
Prince George is third in line to succeed his great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II to the throne, after his grandfather Prince Charles, now aged sixty-four, and his father Prince William, who is thirty-one. It is the first time since 1894 that there have been three generations of the Royal Family in line to the throne. On that occasion Queen Victorian was the monarch and her son Edward (later Edward VII), her grandson George (George V) and her great-grandson Edward (Edward VIII) were the immediate heirs.
The new child is a child of providence, as all children are. However it is not every child whose arrival is celebrated with the ringing of bells and saluted with the firing of guns! These traditions are an acknowledgment of the potential significance of the birth of an heir to the throne.
There are a couple of things regarding Prince George’s birth which are worthy of note. It has often been said that the Royal Family has been a stabilising factor in our national life and we believe that is the case. We may also say that if stability was needed before then it is certainly needed now. There are many forces weakening the cohesion of our society and even threatening the break up of our United Kingdom.
There is still a great deal of affection in the country for the Royal Family and much of that has to do with our present Queen. It is good to see some of the younger royals following her example of service to the nation and if they are able to carry out their duties with the dedication which she has shown then they will gain the respect of the population in general. We recognise that much of the devotion which people have to the Royal Family is of a superficial kind: it certainly has little to do with that commitment to Protestant Christianity which the throne represents and which is the real source of our unity as the British people. We wonder how things will progress spiritually in our land until the day when, God willing, Prince George ascends the throne?
In our liberal age the demand for ‘equality’ has reached even to the Royal Family. It is now insisted, among other things, that the monarch’s female descendants should have an equal place with the male in the lines of succession. (We do not believe that those who have pushed for these changes necessarily have the best interests of the monarchy or the nation at heart.) At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, in October 2011 the sixteen prime ministers of the Commonwealth realms agreed to make the necessary amendments to the Act of Settlement. Legislation has been passed in the United Kingdom but is still in progress in some other countries; in Canada the act approving the alterations is being challenged in the courts on a constitutional point.
However although the principle of male descendants having priority in the line of succession to the throne (a principle we believe to be in accordance with biblical teaching on male headship) is being set aside this has not resulted in what the architects of the change were perhaps hoping for – at least not yet. The God who is sovereign over all things ordained that the Cambridge’s first child would be a son and not a daughter. The fact is that barring an untimely death the succession to the throne of our land will not pass to a female monarch for the best part of a century at the very earliest. What then does God intend for the new prince? Only time will tell.
Our fervent hope is that the new child will not only be a child of providence but also a child of grace. Adam being the head of our race and having fallen into sin his corruption is conveyed to us all, so that every child born has a sinful nature, with the one exception of Jesus Christ. It was a king who said, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psa. 51:5) Christopher Ness wrote: “Infants are no innocents, being born with original sin; the first sheet wherein they are wrapped is woven of sin, shame, blood, and filth. Ezek. xvi. 4, etc.”
The highest in the land need salvation, just as the lowest. The grace of God in Jesus Christ is the only answer to the plight we have when we come into this world, whatever our estate in life. Salvation is of the Lord but we should not forget that we have a duty towards the royal household here. Our Directory for Family Worship instructs us to pray “for all our superiors, the king’s majesty, the queen, and their children.” The Directory for Publick Worship encourages us to pray for “the religious education” of the royal seed.
The greatest responsibility for the Christian upbringing of a child of course falls upon the parents. Matthew Henry encouraged parents to pray in this way for their children: “Give us wisdom and grace to bring them up in thy fear, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, with meekness and tenderness, and having them in subjection with all gravity. Teach us how to teach them the things of God as they are able to bear them, and how to reprove and admonish, and when there is need, to correct them in a right manner, and how to set them good examples of every thing that is virtuous and praiseworthy, that we may recommend religion to them, and so train them up in the way wherein they should go, that if they live to be old, they may not depart from it.”
Prince William and Catherine Middleton composed a prayer which was read at their wedding. Part of it was: “In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.” We pray that our gracious God will answer their request abundantly so that they will see the gospel of Jesus Christ as the most important thing in their own lives and in love to their new child spend time and effort teaching him and training him in the way of salvation. Our nation could only benefit from that.
Easel outside Buckingham Palace announcing the birth of Prince George of Cambridge, third in line to the throne
By Philip Stevens (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons