Today I took my affirmation of allegiance to King Charles III at Aberdeen’s Marischal College and in return I received my certificate of British citizenship. They didn’t reject me for my convict ancestry or my endless campaigning for cycle paths and so I’m very proud to say that I’m now a fully fledged British citizen.
It was the first citizenship ceremony since the change in sovereign so we were the first to swear allegiance to a king instead of a queen.
Here’s what I said.
I Rachel Martin do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British Citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his Majesty King Charles III, his Heirs and Successors, according to law
I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.
I memorised these two paragraphs but it turned out I needn’t have as the registrar read it out a few words at a time and we all repeated it after her. She accidentally referred to the King as King Charles II. Oops. King Charles II died in 1685. He was the son of King Charles the I who was beheaded and his death was followed by a brief period during which England had no monarch at all. Oliver Cromwell was appointed Lord Protector and ruled from 1653 until he died in 1658. Cromwell’s son briefly succeeded him as Lord Protector but he was incompetent and so the monarchy was returned with Charles II taking the throne in 1659.
But I digress. Back to the citizenship ceremony. There were about a dozen or so of us with some choosing to swear to God instead of the secular version I spoke above. It was held in the Grant Room which is also sometimes used for marriages.
After our pledge or affirmation we went up one by one and received our certificate from, I think, a deputy Lieutenant of the city. It was all over in about 30 minutes.
Afterwards I went outside to my bike and there was litter on the ground next to it. I thought about cycling off but having just pledged to fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen I was forced to pick it up and go in search of a rubbish bin.
I have always felt British. Ever since I came to this little island for the first time as a young and naive student in 1993. I was poor and arrived in December without a coat. I didn’t own one as they were not necessary in Brisbane and nor did I have the funds to buy one. It was cold but I still loved it here and somehow deep in my bones it has always felt like home.