Faith and Truth I Will Bear Unto You
Following Lord Goldsmith's report on British Citizenship there has been a lot of coverage in the press asking if, as suggested, school-leavers should swear the oath of allegiance to The Queen. I for one don't think this would necessarily help. I don't have a problem with school-leavers having the opportunity to take the oath, but they should not be compelled to. That would not be very British at all.
Certainly any ceremony of citizenship for foreign nationals or any voluntary citizenship ceremonies for British nationals (of any age) should contain the oath. The point here is that the monarch or The Crown is bigger as a concept than the person of one little old lady. Much has also be said in comparison with the US habit of swearing "allegiance to the flag of The United States of America and the republic for which it stands". In Britain, we don't have "the flag" as a symbol of the state in the same sense. In fact the flag is a relatively new addition to our symbol collection. Rather than investing this kind of symbolism in a piece of cloth, it is invested in the monarch.
I also think it is short-sighted to see the oath as a vindication of monarchy. Documents and all our coins may all say that The Queen is there "by the grace of God", but in truth she is there by the collective will of the people (through Parliament). Swearing an oath to The Queen's "heirs and successors according to law", does not preclude a successor outside of current convention if it is the will of Parliament to change the law accordingly. There is a tenet which has also appeared on coins in the past which says "The Love of the People is the Queen's Protection".