“I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too…”

Yvonne Owens, PhD
3 min readSep 18, 2022
Lavina Teerlinc, ‘Elizabethan Royal Maundy,’ miniature, circa 1560.

Another thing I find incredibly dubious about the British monarchy…

Charles III is technically ‘Head of the English Church.’ I mostly approve of Charles’ humanitarian values and character, generally, at least as it has developed in his maturity, and I totally approve of his passions for the environment, animals and organic farming. He’s an excellent candidate for playing a role in the twilight of the monarchs in my view. It’s just that old Church and State thing, the repulsive monolith, notwithstanding the fact that the throne is largely ceremonial in function at this point.

It’s the signs and symbols associated with the monarch being head of a National Christian Church. Britain can by no means, any longer, lay legitimate claim to Christian homogeneity at this point. It’s either a democratic socialist system or it’s not. Theocracy and democratic socialism are mutually exclusive.

Since the reign of Henry VIII, the reigning monarch has been simultaneously the head of the Church. Elizabeth I (whose quote apologizing for her sex and gender we see in the title of this piece, as she pled for indulgence and fealty in a time of a violent battle at sea defending against the invading Spanish Armada aiming to restore England to the Holy Roman Catholic Church of Elizabeth’s sister, Mary I) had to fight for the title due to her sex and gender, insisting on all the rights, privileges and distinctions owed male occupants of the throne.

She also had to insist on her right to bestow ‘the King’s Touch,’ originally meant to cure tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis (commonly referred to as scrofula or the King’s Evil), rheumatism, convulsions, fevers, blindness, goitre and other ailments. She was initially barred from being both head of the Church and bestowing the King’s Touch due to her ‘feminine impurity’ (menstruation) and ‘polluted touch’ (side effect of menstruation or feminine blood generally).

While sanctified, heroic or royal male blood was considered redemptive and cleansing, feminine blood of any status or rank was considered impure, polluted and damning, even the blood of female saints, and was not even to be gazed upon…

Yvonne Owens, PhD

I'm a writer/researcher/arts educator on Vancouver Island and all round global citizen who loves humans even though we're such a phenomenal pain-in-the-ass.