Friday, 18 May 2018

When Harry met Meghan

Queen Elizabeth 2nd is monarch of around forty countries. Her grandson Harry is unlikely to become king, but is nonetheless a prominent (and popular) member of the Royal Family. He has chosen to marry Meghan Markle, an American woman of black heritage.

To me, their union augurs well for the future. One of the most basic Bahá’í principles is that of the oneness of all mankind. The Bahá’í Writings state that all humanity was created from the same original stock. The general public acceptance of Meghan as a member of the Royal Family is hugely significant. Over a hundred years ago, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Son of Bahá’u’lláh, urged the early American Bahá’ís to promote inter-racial marriage. He Himself suggested to Louis Gregory, a prominent black American Bahá’í whose parents were born slaves, and to Louisa Matthews, a socially well-connected white English woman, that they marry. Their marriage was a happy and successful one. To establish new Bahá’í communities, they frequently moved to new cities in America. Sometimes they were living in states whose marriage laws prevented inter-racial marriage!

As far back as the 1860s, Bahá’u’lláh wrote weighty letters to many of the world’s rulers, advising them to make radical changes to the way their territories were run. Only one of these monarchs – Queen Victoria – sent a response, and hers is the only monarchy which survives, out of all those which Bahá’u’lláh addressed.

On the supposedly rival systems of monarchy and republicanism, Bahá’u’lláh wrote: “Although a republican form of government profiteth all the peoples of the world, yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof. If the sagacious combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God.” On another occasion He wrote: “The system of government which the British people have adopted in London appeareth to be good, for it is adorned with the light of both kingship and of the consultation of the people.” Due to this moderate approach to government, the peoples of Britain seem to be largely happy with their monarchy.

But what of the marriage itself? Bahá’ís see marriage as a “fortress for well-being”. The right of the couple to choose one another is sacrosanct – arranged marriage is not permitted – and only then is the approval of the family sought. Ideally, both families should be in complete support of the marriage, which will help it be successful. In the case of Harry and Meghan, they would appear to have very similar interests. Both are heavily involved in charity work, and both devote themselves to the service of others. Common interests and purposes – common enthusiasms even – give a marriage a real chance to blossom. (I can vouch for that J!) I wish them every success in their life together.