As I stood amongst the crowds at Tuesday afternoon’s Queen’s Birthday Parade I noted a constant theme amongst the chitter chatter. Everybody was seemingly very pleased with the Royal visit and the Earl of Wessex had proved a very popular guest indeed.
Given that Prince Edward has taken over the leadership of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards from his aging father this is not the first time he has visited the Rock nor do I suspect will it be in the last in that role. This led me to thinking that given his obvious ease with Gibraltarians and their liking for him why shouldn’t the bond be cemented and he be named as our next Governor?
The Governorship of Gibraltar has always been traditionally military because of the Rock’s strategic importance and as for the early centuries at least it was in the thick of it with sieges from Spain. The Governor is the British monarch’s representative in Gibraltar but now the Rock is a fully fledged democracy with its own government the role of the man in the white hat is more symbolic than hands on.
Over the years it was suggested that Prince Charles in his younger days might be made governor of now fully fledged nations such as Canada and Australia. Hence the assuming of such a role in Gibraltar by a member of the Royal family would not be incompatible: after all what was considered for the elder brother could be assumed by the younger.
So my proposal is this: once the current Governor’s tour of duty ends then Gibraltar should lobby for Prince Edward to take his place. Such a move would firmly cement relations between the Rock and Britain and underscore that nobody is more loyal to the Crown than Gibraltarians.
Of course as a working royal there would be no need for the Earl and Countess of Wessex to be in Gibraltar all the time. They could still fulfil their obligations to the ‘Royal firm’ but as London and Gibraltar are just a two and half hour flight away could come and go as needs demand. After all the Convent has a support staff and in the end event it is the Foreign Office that makes the key decisions affecting the Rock.
Nor would there be any real danger of conflict with Prince Edward as Governor as London has long ceased to dictate to Gibraltar. Relations are now largely carried out on a bilateral basis between the respective governments in London and in Gibraltar. The Governor is the British Monarch’s representative in Gibraltar and should no more interfere in the governance of the Rock than the Queen currently does in Britain. Both countries give allegiance to the monarch of the day but have democratic governments who run the countries.
To make the Earl of Wessex the Governor of Gibraltar would give him a defined role in the British Royal Family whereas currently he is just the Queen’s youngest son. It would not cut across his other duties or his role in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in which young Gibraltarians are enthusiastic participants. I believe it would strengthen the already strong links between Gibraltar and the British Crown. It would also send a signal to Spain that whilst modern Gibraltar is a fully functioning democracy with its own government its monarch is the monarch of Gibraltar and a leading member of that monarchy wears the top sombrero blanco here.