A royal wedding and a glut of holidays

Breaking news:

Prince William and Kate Middleton will marry on Friday 29 April at Westminster Abbey …

Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be “a happy and momentous occasion” and would be marked by a public holiday.

Congratulations to William and Kate! They will have a lot to organise in just five months, as my bride and I discovered last year.

Now I don’t want to be at all negative about this happy occasion, or to get into the kind of trouble that Bishop Pete Broadbent got into for his critical comments about it (and which brought this blog a surge of hits because I have written about Broadbent on quite unrelated matters). I am sure that these young people know what they are letting themselves into. They have not rushed into anything, and I am confident that their marriage will last far longer than the ten seven years that the Bishop predicted – at least if the media are responsible and don’t dedicate themselves to tearing the couple apart.

But I do wonder if a public holiday is appropriate. If, as I assume, this is to be an addition to the already announced holidays for England and Wales, we will be enjoying four extra days off in less than two weeks, two successive four day weekends with only a three day week in between. That is even more time off than we get at Christmas and the New Year. Can our economy cope with more time off? Has proper account been taken of how this will disrupt all kinds of activities from education to refuse collection?

I expect that many people will take the chance to cross the Channel, not so much for Broadbent’s suggested “party in Calais for all good republicans who can’t stand the nauseating tosh that surrounds this event” as to find spring sunshine and stock up on cheap booze.

14 thoughts on “A royal wedding and a glut of holidays

  1. More breaking news: Bishop Pete Broadbent “has been asked to withdraw from public ministry” by his diocesan bishop.

    I consider this outrageous, even though I don’t support Broadbent’s withdrawn remarks.

    I’m quite sure it is illegal to deprive someone of their employment because of private remarks not related to that employment. It is certainly a breach of the fundamental human right of free speech. I expect that bishops are not covered by UK employment law, but that gap in the law is probably a breach of European human rights law, and I think this has already been challenged by some Church of England priests.

    I also note that Broadbent had already apologised his remarks. If his bishop cannot accept such an apology, he is not living up to the standards of Jesus whom he claims to serve and represent.

  2. For any who haven’t seen Broadbent’s full words on Facebook, the ones that caused the furore, Church Mouse quotes them, and makes some very sensible comments on them – as also do Bishop Alan Wilson and some (not all) others in comments.

    Broadbent’s apology is here, and the Bishop of London’s response is here.

    By the way, I note that despite Broadbent’s concerns the wedding will not be “paid for out of our taxes”. Rather, according to the BBC,

    The Royal Family and the Middletons will pay for the wedding itself, but the taxpayer will meet the cost of extra security and transport.

    Of course that security bill could be huge – but probably nothing to the economic cost of an extra holiday.

  3. I’ve just posted this on the wrong thread – let me try again!

    I’m glad to find your site after a good while spent this afternoon writing e-mails in support of Pete Broadbent.

    I wonder how many other perfectly orthodox Christian people would welcome a bishop’s lead in the way of being less than thrilled at the prospect of a royal wedding?

    I wonder what kind of constitutional crisis has been averted by slapping down such dangerous views?

    I wonder if a precedent has been set for bishops being routinely suspended in future if they say anything mildly controversial?

    Actually, I’m quite shocked to see the C of E acting decisively for once – and getting it so wrong. I too have previously thought of the other London bishop as broad … (in fact, isn’t ‘broad and generous orthodoxy’ a phrase I’ve heard him use?)

    Steve Pownall

  4. Steve, thanks for your comment (and for the one on the other thread – I am replying only here), and for your support. I wish Broadbent had come out with a proper “bishop’s lead in the way of being less than thrilled at the prospect of a royal wedding”. Sadly he went over the top in an inappropriate forum, and got in trouble for it. But his apology should have been accepted. I wonder if his suspension was really down to Bishop Chartres or if the royal family insisted on it.

  5. It hadn’t occurred to me that the royal family would have insisted … I’d like to think that is out of the question.

    That other London bishop (bless him – I think so well of him in other ways) is surely in touch with the views of the Queen but I’d be sad to think of her as learning so little from travails over broken royal marriages.

    And I’ve gathered that the ‘seven year’ comment was cynicism about the intrusiveness of the press rather cynicism about the Windsors.


  6. Thanks, Steve. I hope the seven year comment was more about the press than anything else. But I still think this was a very inappropriate thing for any pastor to say. I didn’t have many objections to the rest.

  7. Nicely put, and “Gentle Wisdom” is a great title for a blog.

    Pete’s original FB discussion was made between friends, and did not deserve to be hijacked and used in the way it has been. Unfortunately for those involved, he hadn’t checked his privacy settings, and there was no doubt a media mole waiting in the wings, masquerading as a ‘friend’ too.

    There were several of us who were arguing and challenging Pete in that original conversation and maybe that is part of the reason why he went OTT – as he was receiving little support for his views. The general tone of the exchanges was light-hearted, with plenty of banter, and I do not believe there was any malicious intent on Pete’s part – only the desire to make his point against the strong swell of opinion disagreeing with him.

    My point here is that when this conversation was stolen (and I mean stolen) by the media, it was not only Pete who suffered, but those friends who were with him. I don’t consider his use of Facebook the cause – it is the lack of integrity on the part of the media involved, media who believe they have the right to stalk and report what they want with scant regard for anything or anyone except their ‘right’ to a story; it is they who should be held to account.

    Their desire to hype this up in the wake of the Royal Wedding story, and to continue to squeeze every ounce out of it (not helped by Pete’s subsequent suspension by the Bishop of London) is shameless and shameful.

    That, and the fact that I believe the Church will be a far poorer place without him, is why I join you in supporting Bishop Pete Broadbent at the Facebook link you posted at 12.36.

  8. Thank you, Sally. Bishop Pete had at least one journalist, Ruth Gledhill, among his known Facebook friends (see here), so he should have known better – that is not to suggest that Ruth was the source of the leak. I agree that it is the media who should be held to account for this – but the Church of England doesn’t dare to take them on.

  9. Exactly. So maybe we should all try our best to strive to expose their behaviour, flag up the hypocrisy, and not be manipulated by them.

    As you know, Ruth Gledhill is no longer on Pete’s ‘friend’ list…not sure if she was the leak, or if she just passed the info on to a contact, but I’m sure she will have used the follow up to manufacture several ‘stories’ of her own!

    The difficulty is trying to get beneath the half-and-exaggerated lies to something approximating honesty.

  10. Not sure that reading Cranmer is all that helpful … or any of the often extremely partisan press-sponsored blogs that pepper the web (although I do like Church Mouse). The comments in the post you link to seem to indicate that it was written by RG anyway! The important thing is that +Pete has apologised and if, as far as he is concerned, the Bishop of London has acted appropriately, then I guess there really is not a lot more to say on the matter….

  11. Pingback: The Marriage of the Millennium: not William and Kate - Gentle Wisdom

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