Thursday, February 10, 2005

If you've watched the news today you probably know that Prince Charles is finally going to get around to marrying Camilla Parker-Bowles. Hearing about this I couldn't help but wonder once again what would have happened if Charles had been allowed to marry her 25 years ago instead of being force to pick a "virgin bride" like Diana. By all accounts Diana wasn't exactly the most worldly person when she married him, which probably exacerbated whatever differences the age gap between them made. But the Royal Family was presumably too concerned about producing an heir to take the risk of an "older" woman, especially when they could get a "pure" person like Diana.

It will be interesting to see if Charles ever does end up as King. Given the lifespan of his grandmother I doubt he's holding his breath. I suspect that if he doesn't pass over the position, assuming its possible, in favour of William he probably won't reign for that long and abdicate in favour of his son. Of course that might be twenty years from now, and a lot can change in that time. Perhaps republicanism will be the in thing in the 2030s UK and they'll consider dispensing with the monarchy entirely.

The British monarchy may have its problems, but its better off than its Japanese counterpart. Prince Naruhito, the heir to the throne, and his wife Masako have only produced one child, Princess Aiko. And therein lies the problem, for under current Japanese law only a male may take the throne. Things aren't helped by Naruhito's brother and sister in law producing two daughters, and his sister being in no hurry to marry. Masako, a commoner, has been suffering from some sort of depression or related problem in recent years, an eerie repeat of the sort of problems her mother in law, the Empress Michiko(also born a commoner), suffered in the early '60s as a result of the rigidness of Japanese imperial life. The chances of her producing a male heir become more and more remote as her childbearing years draw to a close, prompting a reconsideration of the succession law. The throne has been held by empresses in the past, but this hasn't occured since the 1700s.

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