It's a question I never really thought of before, even though she is one of the most powerful women in the world. She's the queen regnant of 16 independent nations and the Supreme Governor of the central Church in the world's third-largest Christian communion. She's a secular mini-Pope, a ceremonial powers-only Obama, and the English post-retirement Oprah all wrapped into one.
But she wrote two letters to the conservative Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans this past week. If you haven't been following, the Anglican Communion is in the fight for its soul as schism is being threatened by conservative churches who are mad that the Episcopalians ordained a gay bishop and nominated a female bishop to lead them. They're also mad that the Church of England has done little to stop the predominantly progressive American Anglicans. So the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans boycotted the Lambeth Conference last year and held a counter-conference. They want to the Communion to go back to telling gays to closet themselves and to treat women as inferior, or to destroy the Communion trying. So for Elizabeth II to support their "concerns"...
She told the heads of the traditionalist group, formed in response to the liberal direction of some parts of the Anglican Communion, that she "understood their concerns" about the future of the 80 million-strong global church.
The Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, has also wished them well with today's launch in London of a new alliance of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes in Britain and Ireland.
One leading evangelical said: "We found the letters very supportive."
So: is it boilerplate, support for unity at all costs, or actual support for the FCA's demands?
The Telegraph didn't publish the full letters, so I don't know their exact language. Perhaps the evangelical interviewed was getting a bit ahead of himself. Or not.
Google doesn't reveal any history of homophobic (or gay-friendly) statements from Elizabeth II. That makes sense - I'd imagine she'd rather just stay out of it. Peter Tatchell said she endorsed "a homophobic grouping within the Church of England," but Peter Tatchell isn't known for restraint when it comes to these sorts of things.
Experts on Anglicanism can parse the queens actions, but it doesn't seem good to an outsider like me for her to be encouraging a group hell-bent on getting their agenda through that has little concern for the Communion's unity. It can't imagine how this could help. If I know anything about conservatives, it's that they're never appeased and don't believe in compromise. You give an inch, they try to take a mile. And if you fight them over all but one inch of that mile, you become the enemy extremist opposed to whatever they deem right.
In other words, as an outsider, again, I don't see how something like this would defuse the situation.