Her Majesty the Queen has unfortunately been ill with gastroenteritis recently.
Understandably this has started speculations, I hope premature, about what could happen in case of her death.
I like her, and I wish her a very long life.
Who will succeed the Queen is a very worrisome question. I dread to think of her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles as the King, not only because of his, shall we say, lack of grasp of realityÂ (Oriana Fallaci, the Italian best-selling author who, with her book The Rage and the Pride, was post 9/11 among the first to alert the West to the dangers of Islam, called him "babbeo", a TuscanÂ term which could be reserved for the village idiot), but even more importantly because he has repeatedly made it obvious that he is not a Christian faithful, and that he keeps an "open mind" on different religious faiths.
How can that be reconciled to his future status, if he becomes king,Â as the "Supreme Governor" of the Church of England?
If he is consistent he should refuse to be the next monarch.
To obviate this problem he famously said, as found on his official website: "I personally would rather see it [his future role] as Defender of Faith, not the Faith", meaning all faiths and not just Christianity.
Almost 80% of people in England agree the Queen still has an important faith role, a BBC poll suggests.
In a poll by Comres to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, 79% of respondents said the monarch's religious role remained relevant.
Meanwhile, 73% said she should continue as supreme governor of the Church of England and keep the Defender of the Faith title first given to Henry VIII.
Charles' own website shows that his connections to Islam are very strong:
The Prince has given many speeches on the need for greater understanding between different religions. In March 2006, His Royal Highness addressed over 800 Islamic scholars at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, and called for greater dialogue between the three Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Prince was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university for his work to encourage inter-faith dialogue and was the first Western man to receive this honour.
During the same overseas tour with The Duchess of Cornwall, His Royal Highness repeated his call at Saudi Arabiaâ€™s most senior Islamic University, the Imam Muhammad bin Saud University in Riyadh, the first Christian to speak there.
His Royal Highness also set up The Princeâ€™s School for Traditional Arts in Shoreditch, London, to bring a wider appreciation of the arts and craft skills which have deep roots in all the major faith traditions.
The school teaches Islamic architecture, icon painting, Islimi and Arabesque craft, and stained glass skills to pupils of all religions and backgrounds. The school has developed outreach and education programmes for young people and is also working with a number of governments in Arab and Asian countries to build links with institutions.
The Prince of Wales was at the White House last week, hoping, the Daily Telegraph reported, 'to convince President Bush of the merits of Islam ... because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since Sept. 11, 2001.' This is a drum Prince Charles has been beating for years. In 1993, for example, he scolded those in the West who peddled 'unthinking prejudices' about Muslim culture â€“ for example, 'that sharia law of the Islamic world is cruel, barbaric, and unjust.' Two months after 9/11, he was lambasting the American attitude toward Islam as 'too confrontational'.
Islam scholar and political activist Robert Spencer also has this in Jihad Watch:
Bonnie Prince Charlie: East has what the West lacks.
The East, that is, Islam, or at least Sufi mysticism. Attending a whirling dervish ceremony in Turkey, Charles waxed enthusiastic:
When they had finished the Prince gave a speech on Rumiâ€™s appeal in the 21st century. 'Whatever it is, it seems to me that Western life has become deconstructed and partial.' The East, on the other hand, had given us 'parables of the soul'.
Islam scholar Daniel Pipes offers a long catalogue of reasons that make himÂ wonder whether Prince Charles is a convert to Islam.
I can't imagine many things worse for a future (or present, for that matter)Â British monarch to utter than what Prince Charles said to an audience of scholars for the 25th anniversary of the University of Oxford's Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, "which attempts to encourage a better understanding of the culture and civilisation [sic] of the religion", organization of which he is patron: "Follow the Islamic way to save the world".
If you look at the photos of students accompanying the article and, even more, if you read the comments to it, you'll notice that that speech didn't go down very well.
Some little pearls representative ofÂ the many more disparaging comments: "Must be the medication he's on for his chest Infection.", "And this guy will be your future king,be afraid very afraid.", "'Follow the Islamic way to save the world,' Does that include honour killings and stonings and public executions for gays Charlie?", "When Charles is crowned King, he will have to swear to be the Defender of the Faith - and that is the Christian faith, not Islam.", "to come out with this is utter insanity", "Just shows you how out to lunch he is!!!", "Go back and talk to the trees!", "It really amazes me that the citizens of this country put up with the thought of this man being the next King of England.", "Now tell me he's not crazy!", "Who are the fools who think he is worth a penny of the taxpayer's money?", "I also find it disturbing that you, as Head of the Church in a Christian country, would single out another religion in the way that you have. Really Sir - your comments are 'unhelpful' at best.", "'we cannot exist on our own without the intricately balanced web of life around us. Islam has always taught this and to ignore that lesson is to default on our contract with creation.' Yes Charles but then can you explain why it is then that some followers of Islam spend most of their time trying to obliterate some of this finely balanced web? Get a grip Sir, you are paid for out of British Taxpayers Money and you represent people such as those killed and maimed in the July bombings. If you feel such a fan of Islam then why not go visit the relatives of those people and try explaining to them the fine balance that you talk about.", "I cannot believe that a future king and defender of the faith, christainity , church of england , could come out with such garbage. I sincerly hope he does NOT become our king.", "Prince Charles a 'practising Christian' ???!!! Says who?", "I pray that this man will NEVER sit on the throne of the United Kingdom!", "And this from the man who may become the head of the Church of England? God help us all.", "If he wasn't so stupid he'd be a joke.", "Who would not be a Republican after reading this?", "He shames our country.", "Could the potential head of a country possibly be more out of touch with his people?", "Where does he get the idea that Islamic spiritual principles protect the environment? We have just returned from a holiday in Egypt (Cairo and Alexandria) the atmospheric pollution and discarded refuse was unbelievable.", "I think that Islam needs to follow the world actually..With people like this bloke at the helm I grieve for this Christian Nation.", "Thank God there's a chance the succession to the throne will skip a generation.", "How differently things might have turned out if this practising Christian had remembered the commandment - Thou shalt not commit adultery. Christian values made Britain great. It is very sad how those values have been eroded over the years.", "We are the plebs who keep him and his mistress in the luxury they're acustomed to!! Time to say NO - think of the damage he's going to do, IF he ever becomes King.", "The prince apparently lives in some kind of parallel universe. As King, he will be "Supreme Governor" of the Church of England, and here is on spouting on and on about Islamic values! Championing an Islamist cause is a strange role indeed for this man, but perhaps not surprising considering how weird and unsuccessful his life has been to date. He needs a reality check imho.", "He is an outright embarrassment. Why doesn't he just go ahead and convert to Islam already instead of being the royal Dhimmi that he is".
And this comment from an Aussie nicely sums up my own feelings: "I do hope the Queen sticks around for another 30 or so years", or more.
I wonder, if there was a public vote, say a referendum on his accession to the throne, whether Prince Charles would be the choice of the people. I very much doubt it.