"This Sceptered Isle"

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"This Sceptered Isle"

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The Economist did concede that "if the British people want a monarchy, they should have a monarchy" (p. 15). And despite its problems, most in the United Kingdom do still want their monarchy. Many reflect with pride and nostalgia on "this throne of kings, this sceptered isle, this earth of majesty" (Shakespeare, Richard II, Act 2, Scene 1)—recalling names like Queen Victoria, King James, Henry VIII, Robert the Bruce, Richard the Lionhearted, William the Conqueror and King Arthur. For some, this reflection on the monarchy stretches even farther back into the mists of time, all the way to its traditional founder Brutus, reputedly of the royal house of Troy—the famed city of Homer’s classical epic, The Iliad.

Around A.D. 1139, English chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth fancifully recounted the story of Brutus (Celtic Brwt) from earlier sources in his History of the Kings of Britain. Though discounted as myth by most historians today, notice the incredible future that was foretold for the descendants of this ancient Trojan in a dream: "Brutus, beyond the setting of the sun, past the realms of Gaul [now France], there lies an island in the sea, once occupied by giants. Now it is empty and ready for your folk. Down the years this will prove an abode suited to you and to your people; and for your descendants it will be a second Troy. A race of kings will be born there from your stock and the round circle of the whole earth will be subject to them" (translated by Lewis Thorpe, 1966).

Remarkably, Geoffrey set down these words before Britain was even remotely a world power. Perhaps it was just a case of wishful thinking on his part—yet the words do seem rather prophetic. For in the 1800s, Queen Victoria, called the Empress of India, came to reign over the largest empire in the history of the world, encompassing "a quarter of the land mass of the earth, and a third of its population" (James Morris, Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress, 1973, p. 539).

Today, though, it seems that despite multiple nations still looking to Queen Elizabeth as their head of state, the British throne’s glory days are over, particularly with more and more calls heard for its abolishment. But what really lies ahead for the monarchy? For the answer we must look back nearly 4,000 years—to a past even more amazing than the account of Brutus, and filled with far more certain prophecies. For as astounding as it may seem, the past and future of the British monarchy are found within the pages of the Holy Bible.