Second marriages are often very happy ones. Typically involving two people who have had some life experiences, and a first marriage, second marriages are usually mature marriages of choice. Of course, Canadians are free to marry people of their choosing even the first time around. King Charles recently made a very significant decision to drop the term “consort” when referring to his current wife Camilla. She will be referred formally as Queen Camilla, and not the Queen Consort rumored to be her new formal title.
As Marriage Counselor, I view this decision as a loving act towards the King’s chosen bride. Divorce rates in England have sored in recent decades similar to rates in the United States of America and Canada. This is an interesting trend for England and the United Kingdom, which pride themselves on tradition. The air of change has certainly arrived at the doors of the royal family. Princess Catherine, or Kate witnessed another very important change to the royal line when the sex of her new baby would not have changed the child’s future status as King or Queen. Prince George of Wales was born a male, which means that following Queen Elizabeth’s lengthy reign as monarch, the United Kingdom will have three reigning Kings.
Some of us are old enough to remember the pressure on the then, Prince Charles when he had to marry. Already smitten with his best-friend Camilla, he truly did not seem to have the choice to formally marry the woman of his heart. At the time, the media referred to the requirement of the future queen to be a virgin. Princess Diana’s beauty was iconic, and the world is likely never to forget her charism, charm, and dedication to people in need. However, it was pretty clear from the very beginning that Charles’ first wife had been chosen for him. After so many years together with Camilla, perhaps the world is finally able to soften the harsh views they have held for so long over the mystery of this relationship.
Love between two people when you are lucky is exactly that, a mystery – one that it is not always completely understood by onlookers. This move to dignify his wife with a proper title of Queen has softened my view of the King. He has restored honour to the sacrament of marriage by underscoring the importance of choice between two adults who choose to marry traditionally and in the church. There ought be no shame in remarrying as the circumstances leading up to divorce are personal. For traditional Catholics, Pope Francis also modernized processes of annulment, which expedites the dissolving of marriages more quickly than in previous centuries where people required proof and years of living apart before being granted the permission to remarry in the church.
Traditional institutions change over centuries. I feel very fortunate to live during modern times where the winds of change are slowly catching up to the practices of the people. I look forward to the Coronation of King Charles with his chosen bride Queen Camilla by his side. The royal family, like so many modern families have had their shares of difficult times. I hope that as this special mature couple start their new adventures together, that their adult sons and grandchildren will enjoy some much needed peace and happiness as well.
In Family Systems Therapy, the patriarch and matriarch of families do set the tone for everyone else. Perhaps, the strong love of Charles and Camilla will be good-enough to hold this important global family together for the next several decades.
If your own marriage is faltering, reach out for help. Families are worth fighting-for, and there are many marriage counsellors who can help smooth out the rough spots, or help you to make the mature decision to separate or divorce.
by Lisa Romano-Dwyer, BSc, MSW, PhD, RSW