Adapted from the concluding essay of Dark Albion: A Requiem for the English by David Abbott. Dark Albion is available on www.sparrowbooks.webeden.co.uk and Amazon.
NO destiny is harder to describe than one that is unprecedented. But we’ll have a go.
In the scorching summer of 2066 a convoy of cars carrying a delegation of ruling politicians is waved through the gates of Buckingham Palace for a meeting with the doddery old King William by smiling tanned policemen shouting, ‘Allahu akbar!’ in regional English accents.
Leading the delegation is the new Prime Minister, Maulana Asmatullah. Also in it are the England police commissioner, Mahmoud Aziz, and the London mayor, Zohaib Ahmed.
King William has sprayed on cologne, aware that even after a shower or bath he still smells sourly of old age. He has come to dread his public duties.
He is never certain any more what anyone says. Though he is resigned to the fact that deafness is another of the many defects of old age, it is still inconvenient and embarrassing at meetings such as the one he is about to endure - indeed, especially at meetings such as this one, for he knows his sole duty today is to listen.
The meeting turns out to be even worse than he expected. The king is aghast at one of the visitors’ non-negotiable demands, that his grand-daughter, Prince George’s beautiful blonde daughter Alexandra, marries a Muslim. This will strengthen the legitimacy of what is in effect a conquest. Cursing his deafness, he is not sure he has heard right, and asks them to repeat it, a bit louder. They obligingly do so, almost shouting.
Continuing to speak louder than usual for his benefit, they argue that a similar thing almost happened once. If the crash in the Paris underpass had not occurred, his mother would have married the Muslim boyfriend who also died and they would have had Muslim children, who would have been members of the royal family.
William feels like blurting out that it was precisely to prevent this that the crash was engineered, but feels it would not be diplomatic. And anyway, he is not in a position to refuse. Although it is a sweltering day and they are indoors two of the men are wearing overcoats, and never take their hands out of the pockets, and he had been often enough in war zones all those decades ago to know this is because they are keeping their hand on a gun. In those days, such people were part of his bodyguard. The formal tone of these visitors is tinged with a fundamental hostility.
It is an unpleasant conversation. The king, deaf, a bit senile and still numb from the recent death of his beloved wife Kate, does not fully understand what is happening. He vaguely wonders why so many of these swarthy men in his palace have a bushy beard, and assumes it is simply the current fashion.
A cleric in Muslim ecclesiastical robes and turban shouts at him, ‘A solid government is now at last ruling the land!’ The cleric adds that the security of the Crown will be guaranteed, the power of the monarch even strengthened, but that ‘a purifying fire will rage through the stinking realm’.
And then, stroking his forest of beard, he loudly announces that the coronation oath will need to be abolished.
Now the king understands. This loud announcement, more than anything else, signifies to him that a revolution has taken place.
In 1953 Archbishop Fisher, robed in white and gold, had said to William’s grandmother at her coronation, according to custom: ‘Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England?’
And Elizabeth had replied, according to custom: ‘All this I promise to do. The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God.’ She solemnly confirmed that one of her titles as the monarch would be ‘Defender of the Faith’, originally a papal bestowal reflecting the sovereign’s position as the head of Christianity in England.
In the following decades Prince Charles often said he would like the coronation oath to be changed so that he would be ‘Defender of Faith’, a champion of all religions; and this was duly done for his coronation.
William now realises that altering the oath, first at his father’s coronation and then at his own, was a significant mistake, a concession, like all those concessions over so many decades, regarded as weakness by its supposed beneficiaries, and as a base from which could be demanded more concessions. In the circumstances, the next coronation, that of Prince George, could not be far off. And now, when only a culture suffused with the doctrines and values of Christianity can save the kingdom from a return to the Dark Ages, it will contain no oath at all.
With the discarding of the commitment to Christianity, Charles was discredited, while William himself from the very beginning of his reign was known as William the Conquered.
After the swarthy guests had left the palace, the king, jolted into awareness by the imposition of a foreign ideology, ruefully muses, ‘A country is not the land that it holds, but the opinions of the people in it. For a century now, too many of those settled here have owed their allegiance to Islam and their ancestral homelands. Their opinions, which they aggressively proclaim as eternal verities, have destroyed my kingdom. Everywhere now instead of harmony there is discord. Instead of peace there is conflict. They are as much aggressors as if they had come wielding weapons. We made the sword we carried blunter and blunter by degrees from feelings of humanity, from an exaggerated concern for human rights, and now the arm has been lopped from our body.
‘In 2010, attempting to allay mounting disquiet, we said, “Muslims only make up five per cent of our population.” A decade later we said, “The followers of the Prophet in our country comprise only ten per cent.” Ten years after that we said, “The worshippers of Allah among us are only fifteen per cent.” Muslims multiplied until they were numerous enough to seize power, as their leaders had always said they would. Settlers from some of the most hellish, backward, corrupt countries in the world have been permitted to take control of my kingdom. Why did we allow this to happen? What possessed us?’ He sighs. ‘Instead of respecting them, we should have clung to our contempt. It might have steeled us against catastrophe.’
The old king wipes his constantly weeping eyes. He thinks about all the indigenous writers who, for decades, concerned about their personal safety, wrote about other things, as though anything else mattered, all those trillions of words signifying nothing but cowardice. Journalists, broadcasters, academics and publishers had stayed silent as Islam threatened the basic standards of intellectual life. Fear paralysed their best instincts. The vengeance of foreigners permeated and rotted the whole of society. All that writing! All that struggling to appear clever and witty, purely to entertain for profit or fame, avoiding the grim business of the silent fight to the death.
It seems inconceivable to William that his kingdom could be taken over by these men wearing joke-shop beards presumably held in place by hooks over the ears. It is as if the Sioux had taken over the American continent or the Picts the Roman Empire.
Long before he became king, he had often seen alarming statistics, but he ignored them. Enjoying himself too much gallivanting round the world with Kate, he never took the trouble to think about them; and now episodes of civil strife in his kingdom have been escalating alarmingly.
The new rulers try to hide this with distracted decrees, calling the strife mere tumult. But others are calling it an insurrection. The insurgents are mainly indigenous English, compelled to attack their own land as though it were a hostile power.
William muses, ‘Internal dissension is the one destructive influence that brings down great countries; and my kingdom is split in two. A polarisation has taken place, each side moving further and further apart with nothing to link them.
‘And,’ he muses, ‘if the bearded ones hold on despite rebellions and uprisings, they will become the rulers here for…’ He baulks at the thought. ‘Well, I suppose… for ever.’
William yearns for bed, for oblivion, and does not know if this is age, grief or the times.