The Christian Queen

The Christian Queen

Last week was the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. I was asked to speak on the topic “The Christian Queen” at the Australian Monarchist League conference on Saturday. Here is a copy of my address.

The genius of our political system, the constitutional monarchy, is that a politician is not the final authority, nor for that matter is the monarch.

The Almighty God of the Christian Bible is. This is of course not legislated or codified – nor does it ever need to be.

But it is recognised in the symbols, rituals and history of the British Crown which is sovereign over 14 nations and is revered by the 54 nations of the Commonwealth – accounting for one third of the world’s population.

When John Howard made his statement in support of the No Case during the 1999 Republican Referendum, he said he was supporting the Crown not out of nostalgia, but because it provided a system of governance that worked.

It had evolved over time and it provided stability.

In addressing the topic allotted me - “The Christian Queen”, I too do not want to indulge in an exercise in nostalgia but rather to explore from the symbolism of our heritage what is relevant to today and why modern politicians need to be reminded of the Crown and the transcendent source of its power now more than ever.

It’s easy for the emblems of the past to become relics and be discarded.

But I want to suggest today that lying behind the rich symbolism and traditions of the Crown, we can discover the secret to why it works, why it provides stability, why it is a beacon for justice and mercy and importantly - why it provides a unique check on the ego and grand delusions of people who find themselves with power.

When it comes to religious and spiritual issues, it is not so much that we have abandoned these concepts in our modern secular enlightened age, it is that we have changed them.

The demise of religion and Christianity in particular has not led to a naked public square, it has simply been filled with other rituals that are no less religious or superstitious.

Our obsession with collective guilt and de-legitimising our history has led to an interest in indigenous spirituality.

That interest is not a bad thing – the more we can learn about indigenous culture and religious practices the more that adds to our knowledge and understanding.

But intellectuals of the age of reason who once taught us to despise the idea of transcendent with their finger firmly wagging at the Christian God, now genuflect at Aboriginal smoking ceremonies.

They stand in awe and reverence at tales of the Dreamtime and giant spirit serpents. Yet Christianity, the religion of our elders past and some present, and many emerging - with its oracles, stories, poetry and wisdom literature is relentlessly mocked with impunity.

In modern Australia it is easier to come out of the closet as gay than it is to stand up in public and say I am a proud and serious follower of Jesus of Nazareth.

Mark Latham, not a Christian and a Republican (two black marks right there), in his maiden speech (apologies for using gendered language) said:
“No Australian should be fearful of proclaiming four of the most glorious words of our civilisation: ‘I am a Christian’.”

The reality is that many Australians are petrified of saying these words out loud and after the toxic tenor of the Religious Discrimination debate this week in Canberra, probably even more so.

As a Christian and as someone who has been involved in the culture wars for more than 20 years, it has intrigued me that more and more the most prominent proponents for a return to the principles of Christianity upon which the West derives pretty much everything good about it, are non-Christians.

Rowan Dean, Alan Jones and Mark Latham have done more to promote Christianity in the public square than most pastors and bishops.

It is not a coincidence that Australia’s Republican movement is headed by one of our most prominent atheists and scoffers at all things Christian.

Much of the Republican impulse, not all of course as there are Christians who are republicans, but much of the impulse - is driven by an animus towards Christianity.

The Marxists amongst us, particularly today’s cultural Marxists, see Christianity as the religion of the oppressor – particularly when it comes to sexual expressionism and gender identity.

Moral codes are out of fashion in an age of “to thy self be true” and if it “feels good do it”.

Radical secularists want nothing of the reminders of Western spirituality, ie Judeo Christianity, influencing our civic and political life.

Hence the Greens’ relentless attack on the prayers in Parliament.

Almighty God, we humbly beseech Thee to vouch safe Thy blessing upon this Parliament. Direct and prosper our deliberations to the advancement of Thy glory, and the true welfare of the people of Australia.

This prayer, prayed each sitting day in Canberra, reminds politicians that God is God and that, by the way, you are not.

One of the hardest human instincts to tame is pride and ego and this daily reminder to our politicians is aimed at giving them a perspective of their place in the world.

It means there are laws of God and divine virtues which God’s son Jesus modelled to us and which we should strive to emulate.

What are some of these virtues?

Servanthood – Jesus came to serve and to lay down his life.

Strength through weakness – the passion and resurrection of Christ epitomise this

Humility – Christ said blessed are the meek, blessed are the poor in spirit.

Self sacrifice – a life for others.

Now let’s ask the question, name an Australian politician who embodies these?

But if I insert the name Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, alongside these qualities, there is immediate alignment.

On paper she holds the most power as head over 54 nations in the Commonwealth. She is revered. More people of colour revere her than any other leader on the planet. They know that she knows that black lives matter.

She never acts out of hubris or ego.

It’s not because she wields power or has a megaphone, though she has a platform. Through humility and servanthood and the example of a life lived for others, she is revered.

I think it is a delicious irony that when a no confidence motion was passed in the Fraser caretaker government in 1975, the text of that resolution was sent to the Queen at Buckingham Palace with a request that she use her power to intervene. The Left’s mantra has always been “whatever it takes”.

Her reply came:

…the Australian Constitution firmly places the prerogative powers of the Crown in the hands of the Governor-General…and the Queen has no part in the decisions which the Governor General must take in accordance with the Constitution.

Humility and a deft touch.

I’ll return to the Queen’s well know personal faith in Christ in a moment but I want to examine the spirituality behind the throne as embodied in the coronation ceremony.

Because again, this goes to setting the tone for how our politicians should conduct themselves, and that goes to whether or not we have good or bad government. 


I’m indebted to historian Nick Spencer’s book – Freedom and Order: History, Politics and the English Bible for the information about the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

He writes:

“The coronation has its origins in a service first used in 973.

Although modified greatly since then, it retains the same basic

structure, being located in a Christian church, presided by a

Christian minister and based on the service of the Eucharist.

“According to the most recent precedent … the service, which is held

in Westminster Abbey, begins with the choir singing an anthem

based on Psalm 122.”

Here’s what Psalm 122 says:

1 I was glad when they said to me,

    “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

2 Our feet have been standing

    within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem—built as a city

    that is bound firmly together,

4 to which the tribes go up,

    the tribes of the Lord,

as was decreed for[a] Israel,

    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

5 There thrones for judgment were set,

    the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

    “May they be secure who love you!

7 Peace be within your walls

    and security within your towers!”

8 For my brothers and companions' sake

    I will say, “Peace be within you!”

9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,

    I will seek your good.

The peace, security and justice described here of Jerusalem is what the monarch is to seek to create in her or his realm.

Spencer goes on:

“Once seated, the monarch promises, among

other things, to ‘maintain the Laws of God and the true profession

of the Gospel’ and to uphold the cause of law, justice and mercy.

She is presented with a copy of the Bible (‘the most valuable thing

that this world affords’) by the Moderator of the Church of

Scotland, who says to her, ‘Here is Wisdom; this is Royal Law;

these are the lively Oracles of God.”

Up until about five minutes ago in British history, legal opinion was that a law which contravened the laws of God was no law.

This is what made progress on human rights possible leading to the abolition of the slave trade in the 19th century.

Campaigners like Wilberforce and Hannah Moore could always appeal to the Bible and the fact that British law was trashing the human dignity of African people.

The coronation’s Communion Service then begins with the words of Psalm 84.

How lovely is your dwelling place,

    O LORD of hosts!

2 My soul longs, yes, faints

    for the courts of the LORD;

my heart and flesh sing for joy

    to the living God.

This speaks of the human heart’s innate desire for God. Secularism has not abolished this, people are simply filling it through the Gaia pantheism death cult of the Greens, through indigenous spirituality or engaging with Asian spirituality.

Spencer continues:

“The queen is anointed with oil just as ‘Zadok the

Priest, and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon the King’, in the

words of Handel’s anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’, which has been sung

at every coronation since 1727.”

Nathan the prophet and Zadok the priest are important figures in the Bible.

Zadok was a holy priest who carried the ark of the covenant. He assisted David by providing him God’s wisdom before and during his kingship over Israel and here he is with pride of place at Solomon’s coronation and remembered at the coronation of the British monarch.

He is inserted here to remind the monarch and all political leaders of the importance of Godly counsel. 

Nathan the prophet is also highly significant. He confronted David during his kingship about his grievous since of adultery with Bathsheba and his subsequent murder of Bathsheba’s husband as part of the cover-up

Nathan the prophet’s pride of place in the coronation is to remind everyone that not only is it okay to speak truth to power, even to a king or queen, but it is a duty.

Try that with Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin or Dan Andrews.

Here are the words of Handel’s anthem (it is worth watching on YouTube as it is a powerful piece of music):

Zadok the priest

And Nathan the prophet

Anointed Solomon king

And all the people rejoiced, rejoiced, rejoiced

And all the people rejoiced, rejoiced, rejoiced

Rejoiced, rejoiced, rejoiced

And all the people rejoiced, rejoiced,

Rejoiced and said:

God save the king

Long live the king

God save the king

May the king live forever

Amen, amen, alleluia, alleluia, amen, amen

Amen, amen, alleluia, amen

God save the king

Long live the king

May the king live forever

Amen, amen, alleluia, alleluia, amen

May the king live

May the king live

Forever, forever, forever

Amen, amen, alleluia, alleluia, amen, amen

Alleluia, alleluia, amen, amen, amen

Amen, amen, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, amen

God save the king

God save the king

Long live the king

May the king live

May the king live

Forever, forever, forever

Amen, amen, alleluia, alleluia, amen, amen, amen,

Amen, amen, amen, alleluia, amen

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,

Amen, alleluia!

Next the Queen is presented with the orb.

Spencer writes:

“It is made of gold, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, amethyst, diamonds, pearls, and enamel.

The Orb shows Christian sovereignty over the earth with

the words, ‘Remember that the whole world is subject to the Power

and Empire of Christ our Redeemer.’

“She is invested with the

coronation ring, with the worlds, ‘receive the ring of kingly dignity,

and the seal of Catholic Faith … may you continue steadfastly as

the Defender of Christ’s Religion’.

“She receives the sceptre with the

cross, the ensign of kingly power and justice’. And she is given the

rod of ‘equity and mercy’, marked by the dove, the symbol of the

Holy Spirit.


Queen Elizabeth has said: ‘For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.’

She has embodied the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ, who said of himself: he ‘did not come to be served, but to serve’.

Although Prince Philip’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten, had been assassinated by the IRA, the Queen shook hands with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in a gesture seen as a vital step in securing reconciliation between nationalists and unionists in the troubled Northern Ireland.

Closer to home, in 2021 when her own family life was rocked by an interview given by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, she responded with that same spirit of love and forgiveness saying, ‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved family members.’


If we junk the Crown and replace it with a politician or even an eminent statesperson – as worthy as he or she might be – we are cutting ourselves off from the wisdom of our elders.

Elders who over 1000 years of installing kings and queens in Christian coronations were able to appeal to the wisdom of the Bible and Christianity to improve the conditions of men and women throughout the Empire and now the Commonwealth.

The work is not finished. Wherever there is injustice there is the need for the mercy and justice of Christ to come and put things right.

This happens as leaders follow the example of Christ – strength through weakness, leadership through service, not in being served, humility.

These things are counter-intuitive to the pride and ego of anyone who finds themselves with their hands on the levers of power. It is why there is so much strife and injustice in the world. It is why here in Australia our politics is broken.

We have been fortunate to have Monarchs like Queen Victoria, King George the Sixth and now Queen Elizabeth the Second who took their faith seriously and knew that in the humility of Christ lies the secret to true power and influence.

In her 2021 Christmas message the Queen said: 

"It is this simplicity of the Christmas story that makes it so universally appealing: simple happenings that formed the starting point of the life of Jesus — a man whose teachings have been handed down from generation to generation, and have been the bedrock of my faith," she said.

"His birth marked a new beginning. As the carol says, 'The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.'”

Our hope is that the teachings of Christ will continue to be handed down for generations to come. The Crown is a powerful transmitter of these teachings which are essential to good governance and stability.

That is why it is under relentless attack from people who in their pride and vanity will acknowledge nothing higher than themselves.

God save the Queen.

Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communication for the Christian Democratic Party. To keep in touch with Lyle's political commentary, sign up here