From Mr John A de Waal SIR – Without wishing to get involved in the debate over Charles and Camilla I would question, in the interests of accuracy, P S Crawley in his interpretation of John the Baptist’s attitude to Herod Antipas and Herodias (Letters, March 11).
He claims that John the Baptist condemned Herod for marrying his dead brother’s wife. I stand to be corrected but I believe his brother was still alive – this is what made the relationship between Herod and Herodias so scandalous. Indeed, it was an ancient custom of the Jews for men to marry a deceased brother’s wife in order to keep property within the family. This custom was known as the Levirate and is referred to by Jesus in his parable concerning the woman who had had seven husbands – all brothers.
This may not be a problem for Prince Charles but it was for his ancestor, Henry VIII, whose case for annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon revolved around this very issue.
Yours faithfully, JOHN DE WAAL firstname.lastname@example.org