This past week a delegation of Quakers from Britain & Ireland – among them three (that I know of!) LGBTQ+ Friends – exercised a historic right to address Charles III. They thanked Charles for speaking out on the environment, saying that a just solution to the climate crisis requires disrupting existing economic systems. I’m also glad that Leasa Lambert, of the Black, Brown & People of Colour Quaker Fellowship, who read the address, told Charles that Quaker communities welcome trans & gender diverse people.
The report from British Quakers said that the address noted Quaker commitment to make reparations for past involvement in slavery, the address said there is a moral imperative on us all to repair the harm done & reiterated the Quaker peace testimony.
“We may think wars end through force of arms or negotiation, but peace is maintained by building relationships, mutual dependency and shared prosperity.”
In 1660 it was a woman, too – Margaret Fell – who addressed Charles Il: ‘We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace, love and unity; it is our desire that others’ feet may walk in the same.’
The last time British Quakers addressed the monarch in this way was in 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee.
The Quaker relationship with being a ‘privileged body’ is a difficult one, along with the idea of making a ‘loyal address’. Quakers uphold a testimony to equality, which is at odds with hereditary monarchy. But I accept that the address offered a rare chance to catch the ear of power.