Comments from the Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth have created something of a sticky wicket within the Church of England. In a blog post on Thursday, the notable gay rights advocate encouraged Anglican Communion adherents to “pray in the privacy of their hearts (or in public if they dare) for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman.”
This “Prince George” is the four-year-old son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, previously identified as Prince William (the late Princess Di’s oldest child) and Catherine Middleton (Pippa’s sister). The tyke is third in line to the throne after his father.
Holdsworth’s suggestion is likely meant to coincide with the mania over William’s sibling Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle. Although Markle looks curiously like both Duchess Kate and Pippa, she is 1. American; 2. of mixed-race; and 3. divorced. The notorious Wallis Simpson had number 1. and 3. in common with Markle, though she and her last husband Edward, the Duke of Windsor, were Nazi sympathizers. Edward abdicated the crown in 1936 so that he could marry the twice divorced, irresistible Simpson.
Holdsworth is using the opportunity and popularity of the royal family to urge the Church of England to permit same-sex marriage. When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have their wedding in May 2018, it will be at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle as the Church of England now allows (since 2002) marriages of divorced persons “in exceptional circumstances” (such as an extravagant wedding involving a royal that will generate millions in commemorative merchandise).
The Church of England’s present-day policy on conducting same-sex marriage is “it remains the case that it is not legally possible.”
Holdsworth is the provost of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, which is part of the Scottish Episcopal Church. This arm of the Anglican Communion voted in June to permit clergy to solemnize same-sex marriage. The Very Reverend thinks the acceptance of same-sex unions would be expedited if an openly queer member of the monarchy wished to marry the person they truly loved.
“A royal wedding might sort things out remarkably easily, though we might have to wait 25 years for that to happen,” Holdsworth wrote. “Who knows whether that might be sooner than things might work out by other means.”
The progressive cleric upset folks last January when he allowed a reading from the Quran during a service. The comments he made this week were widely reported in the media, though his blog was found “inaccessible” Friday morning. Former royal chaplain Reverend Gavin Ashenden had a huffy retort to Holdsworth’s idea.
“To pray for Prince George to grow up in that way” is to “pray in a way that would disable and undermine his constitutional and personal role,” Ashenden told Christian Today, an online news provider.
Whatever, Pops. He went on to stress the expectation that the prince’s duty would be “to produce a biological heir with a woman he loves.” Of Holdsworth’s urge to pray for LGBTQ equality, Ashenden called it “the theological equivalent of the curse of the wicked fairy in one of the fairy tales.”
Meanwhile, the first official joint visit of the newly engaged Harry and Meghan was to Nottingham, England, for a World AIDS Day charity fair.