Scandalous Monarchs And Christmas

6332d-incatationFunny how a biographical movie about England’s King George VI and his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon can start a progression of thought that ends up as a Christmas meditation, but Masterpiece Theatre’s 2002 movie, Bertie and Elizabeth (which we rented from Netflix some years ago) managed the feat quite handily.

As the movie portrayed, King George ascended the throne as a result of his brother’s love affair with Wallis Simpson, an American woman who was still married to her second husband. Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson made no secret of their relationship, and on December 11, 1936, Edward abdicated the throne in order to marry her once her divorce was finalized. His decision avoided a constitutional crisis of all U.K. prime ministers resigning in opposition to the marriage. As Head of the Church of England, marriage to a twice-divorced woman would have also been obviously problematic.

In his abdication speech, Edward explained, “But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Let’s leave the story there, at the apex of romantic self-sacrifice. I often think about Jesus leaving the glory He had with the Father in order to take on human flesh. Analogies, of course, only go so far, and there’s no way to construe Edward as a Christ figure. His sacrifice for Wallis pales in comparison to what Christ did for His Bride, the Church. To quote Charles Wesley’s magnificent hymn:

He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

One thought on “Scandalous Monarchs And Christmas

  1. Thank you for the post. For more on John and Charles Wesley, I would like to invite you to the website for the book series, The Asbury Triptych Series. The trilogy based on the life of Francis Asbury, the young protégé of John Wesley and George Whitefield, opens with the book, Black Country. The opening novel in this three-book series details the amazing movement of Wesley and Whitefield in England and Ireland as well as its life-changing effect on a Great Britain sadly in need of transformation. Black Country also details the Wesleyan movement’s effect on the future leader of Christianity in the American colonies, Francis Asbury. The website for the book series is Please enjoy the numerous articles on the website. Again, thank you, for the post.


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