The relationship between the United States and England is an interesting one. Its hard to imagine another country that is as generally dear to Americans as England is. Certainly, no other is as dear to me. When I was last in England and was asked why an American would invest so much time and energy researching a figure of English history, I explained that many Americans see England as a close relative…for many of us, our “parent country”. Very much in the same way Christians feel about the old testament of the Christian bible (essentially, the “Hebrew Bible”), Americans feel English history is also “ours”.
Like all rebellious teenagers who’ve left home, Americans had a few things we needed to do our own way. But we are still close family. Most Americans have a deep respect for the stoic bravery of the English citizenry during WWII, an admiration for the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill, and an embarrassed discomfort that we didn’t get more forcefully involved in the defense of England sooner than we did. After all, it was our family that was being attacked.
Our ties are not just historical and cultural, either. American laws are based on English Common Law. Our Bill of Rights was derived from England’s. Even in our governance, which is thought so different, there are strong parallels between our congress and the English Parliament, and between the English Prime Minister and our President.
But there is no parallel in America for England’s constitutional monarchy. Given the chaos and shameless behavior of the last decade of our government, it could be argued that America is the poorer for it. Americans today couldn’t be faulted for wishing we had an independent steward of the dignity and moral compass of the country. In some sense, that void has been mitigated over the last 70 years by the adjacent presence of Queen Elizabeth II. Perhaps it will continue to be so by the reign of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
So today, our congratulations and best wishes to the new king and queen. May their wise leadership be a sound counsel and a proud legacy to us all!