LONDON (RNS) A Church of England bishop has triggered fury for publicly describing Prince William and his bride-to-be as “shallow celebrities” and the whole royal family as a collection of “philanderers.”
Bishop of Willesden (London) Pete Broadbent, a self-described adherent to republicanism, made his controversial remarks on his Facebook page after William and his fiance, Kate Middleton, announced their engagement.
William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, is head of the Church of England—the same position William himself will one day hold when he, as expected, ascends to the throne after his father, Prince Charles.
The 58-year-old bishop denounced the “nauseating tosh” surrounding the royal engagement, as well as the “national flimflam paid for by our taxes.”
Broadbent followed the “shallow celebrities” jibe with a prediction that the 2011 marriage of William and Kate will last only seven years at most.
He described the royal family as “corrupt and sexist,” and laden with “philanderers” whose serial marital breakups have cost the nation “an arm and a leg.”
The prince’s family, as is standard, made no comment.
Church of England officials at Lambeth Palace said in a statement that “Bishop Broadbent is entitled to his views,” but added that “we would reiterate our great delight at the news (of the forthcoming wedding) and wish the royal couple every blessing.”
Broadbent wrote in his Facebook entry that “I managed to avoid the last disaster between Big Ears” (meaning Prince Charles) “and the Porcelain Doll” (his late wife, Princess Diana) “and I hope to avoid this one, too.”