Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales--the third person in line to the British throne--will soon be heading to Iraq with his military unit. If you have read my previous posts about the Iraqi War, you know my beliefs on this matter (if you haven't, I'm against the war and support a full troop withdrawal). The purpose of this post is not to debate the war itself, but the British governmental system that is sending a member--and an important one at that--of the Royal Family to serve in this war.
One of the powers the Queen of England currently retains is the power to declare war and emergency. While I am not privy to the Queen's personal feelings about the Iraqi War, I do know that the war is not the Queen's but the Prime Minister's. Prime Minister Tony Blair chose to act against the opinion of the majority of British people and back U.S. President George Bush in the war. The war has become so unpopular in Britain that Blair is leaving office early due in part to his commitment to the war. While it is the right of the Queen to declare war, the Prime Minister has taken that right upon himself de facto if not de jure. The British monarchy has become so emasculated by Parliament that it serves little purpose in governmental affairs save those which are ceremonial. As was stated by a reporter for the BBC in a recent report, the British Royal Family will now have a much more personal stake in the war than any of the elected members who committed that nation to the war in the first place. I truly hope the British monarchy will once again regain its rightful governmental powers.