Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Camilla, the Dutchess of Cornwall, are in town today, causing all kinds of traffic jams. The BBC highlights the environmental controversy spawned by this trip to the former colonies, and also notes that Charles and Camilla flew on a scheduled British Airways flight rather than a private charter. How ordinary of them!
Besides being the Prince and Heir to the Throne and all that neat stuff, Charles is also the prospective Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a largely ceremonial role that "appoints archbishops, bishops, and deans of cathedrals on the advice of the Prime Minister" (from The Church of England website). The website continues, "The two archbishops and 24 senior bishops sit in the House of Lords, making a major contribution to Parliament’s work." Interestingly, the massive Church of England website does not have a dedicated page for the Supreme Governor.
The Prime Minister and Monarch appoint archbishops, bishops and cathedral deans? And 26 clerics sit, as a rule, in the House of Lords? Even if these roles are largely ceremonial, doesn’t any of this look odd? Even Prince Charles himself has wondered if he should replace the traditional title of Defender of the Faith with Defender of Faith as a nod to England’s diversity (and likely his own ambivalence toward his prospective role in the Church of England – he was rebuffed by the Archbishop here).
I mean no disrespect to Anglicans and COE loyalists out there. It’s just that, to my American, Lutheran, Disestablishment eyes, this whole set-up looks odd.