A TALE OF TWO PRINCES: William and Casimir

Prince William of Wales, engaged to the beautiful and winsome Kate Middleton, is the man of the hour.  With his elegant fiancée at his side, William has graced the covers of society magazines. 

 The eldest son of Princess Diana and Prince Charles (and the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II), William has, from earliest years, been groomed for the monarchy. 

  • Second in the line of succession to the British throne, William was educated at the best schools around the United Kingdom.
  • He toured the world with the Royal Family.
  • He served in Britain’s Royal Air Force, where he was promoted to flight lieutenant, then co-pilot aboard the search and rescue helicopter Sea King.
  • He has accepted his ceremonial role as Counsellor of State, officiating at events throughout Britain. 

 These are all the “perks” one would expect for the heir apparent to the British throne.  And William learned compassion at the knee of his mother, Princess Diana—as a child, visiting shelters and clinics for HIV/AIDS patients.  His humanitarian outreach has continued into adulthood, and William has volunteered at a Red Cross aid distribution center, with a mountain rescue team, and at the Royal Marsden Hospital. 

 In all, not a bad resume for a 28-year-old man.  William will be a credit to his country, and with his marriage to Kate on April 29, he will likely continue the British monarchy in style.

 *     *     *     *     *

 There was another prince who is on my mind today.  Casimir, son of Casimir IV of Poland and Elizabeth of Austria, lived in the fifteenth century; and young Casimir was destined for a similar life of royal privilege. 

 But Casimir followed a different King, the Lord Jesus.  From childhood, he dedicated himself to God.

  • For him, the riches of royalty were temptations—and he rebelled against the expensive clothing he was given, preferring to dress in simple peasant garb. 
  • His father named young Casimir head of an army to overtake the throne of Hungary; but Casimir was troubled by the mission, which was opposed by Pope Sixtus IV.  In obedience to his father, Casimir began an expedition toward Hungary; but when soldiers began to desert, he turned back toward home. 
  • Casimir’s father, angered that his son refused to invade Hungary, banished the lad to a castle in Dobzki, hoping that imprisonment would change his heart.  The opposite was true—Casimir’s faith grew stronger.
  • The King arranged a marriage for Casimir; but this, too, he rejected—preferring, instead, to spend his time in prayer, study, and almsgiving.

 Casimir lived only a short time—he died of lung disease in 1484, at the age of 23.  He was beloved by the people, and is considered the patron saint of Lithuania and Poland.

 His feastday is March 4.

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