Saturday, August 5, 2017

A month late: this year's July 4 thoughts

I was going to reproduce this July 5 Facebook post here, but forgot to do so until now. If anything, attending the "Enlightened Princesses" exhibit at Kensington Palace on Sunday strengthened my commitment to the Hanoverian succession.



Every year on July 4, online discussions of the American Revolution bring out not only Tories like me, but zealous internet reactionaries (one seldom encounters these people in real life) who after more than 300 years still stubbornly deny the legitimacy of the Hanoverian succession, forming a sort of unholy alliance with conventional republican defenders of the Revolution in denying that George III and his successors have been lawful monarchs at all. (A particularly extreme version I encountered yesterday rejects all English and British monarchs since Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I in 1570.) Unsurprisingly I tend to get cross with these people (whose views are not required or even supported by actual Roman Catholic teaching), but not only because of my attachment to the present Queen.
I understand the appeal of the 18th century Jacobite cause, and as a member of the board of trustees of the [American] Society of King Charles the Martyr can hardly be considered an enemy of the Stuarts. I believe I would have sided with James II in 1688. But as my irritation with modern hardline Jacobites has grown, I've realised that I am utterly unwilling to concede that the British Monarchy as it has actually existed since 1714 is any kind of inherent disappointment or lesser evil. 
There is nothing wrong with fantasy. But I believe that monarchism necessarily involves supporting real monarchies, which from time to time (not only in 1688/1714) have undergone irregularities in succession. The truth is, I love the close relationship between British and Protestant German royalty that flourished for exactly 200 years (1714-1914), not coincidentally corresponding to the peak era of British power and achievements. That relationship is essentially the foundation of the modern royal genealogy I take pride in having memorised, and inseparable from traditional concepts of Britishness (as opposed to mere Englishness or Scottishness) now endangered on multiple fronts. I don't think it's hyperbole to assert that the agony of the 20th century, and the root of much of what is wrong with the modern world, is ultimately the breakdown of that Anglo-German relationship: the failure of the cozy Victorian dream in which courts all over Germany--Hanover, Prussia, Coburg, Hesse, Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Strelitz--maintained close family ties to the little old lady in Windsor Castle.

Obviously for some the West has been at least partially on the wrong track since 1517. But for me, as a pan-monarchist Tory Anglican, Britain lost her way not when she imported a sovereign from Hanover in 1714, but nearly two centuries later when in stark contrast to the brilliantly successful policies of the 18th and 19th centuries, she drifted away from Germany into the arms of the regicidal French Republic. I refuse to believe that this rupture was inevitable, and I mourn its consequences. And I will never apologise for my loyalty to King George III of the House of Hanover and his heirs and successors. 

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Voting

One platitude beloved by Democracy lovers is "it doesn't matter who you vote for, so long as as you vote." To me that is absurd as if someone who claimed to be a health advocate said "it doesn't matter what you eat, so long as you eat." Voting properly understood should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. If you believe that an election matters, and I happen to believe that today's British one does, rationally what matters is the outcome, not Voting for its own sake. Do people actually think after what they perceive as a disastrous result, "well this party/candidate will be absolutely catastrophic for my country, but at least people Voted"? Madness. The defeat of the execrable Jeremy Corbyn and everything he stands for, hopefully by as wide a margin as possible, as well as the weakening of the SNP in Scotland at the hands of the excellent Ruth Davidson, is absolutely imperative. So I feel no shame whatsoever in expressing the hopes that as many of those inclined to vote Tory as possible will do so and that those who would never in a million years vote Tory will stay away from the polls.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

War and Ideology

Despite occasional outbursts from the comfort and safety of my computer, I'm not a violent person. I've never hurt anyone in my life and it's unlikely that I ever will. I would probably be utterly useless to any military. I generally take a dim view of war and am not inclined to romanticize it. But I am an ideological person, which means that when I look at History, some conflicts are easier for me to understand than others. Let's face it: in retrospect, most of history's wars between independent countries, including monarchies, look pretty stupid. It seems to me that it is history's civil wars that, tragic as they were, actually make sense. For example: the idea that if I were a young Englishman in 1914 I should want to kill young German men, when neither they nor their Kaiser had ever done anything to me, because they are German, is utterly incomprehensible and abhorrent to me. But the idea that if I were a young Spanish Catholic monarchist in 1936 I might need to kill Spanish atheist republicans and communists, while I'm under no delusions that it would be pleasant, at least is not irrational.

For the record, it shouldn't surprise readers of this blog that I support, in a few cases reluctantly as a lesser evil, but in most cases fervently:

King Charles I and the Royalists in the English Civil War (1642-51)
King George III and the Loyalists in the American Revolution (which was to an extent the first American civil war) (1775-83)
King Louis XVI and then the Vendeans and Chouans against the French Revolution (1789-c.1800)
the Bourbons, Habsburgs, and Papacy in the Wars of Italian Unification (1848-70)
the Confederacy in the American Civil War (1861-65)
Emperor Maximilian and his supporters in Mexico (1864-67)
the Whites in the Russian Civil War (1917-22)
the Whites in the Finnish Civil War (1918)
the Whites in Hungary (1919-21)
the Cristeros in Mexico (1926-29)
the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)
the Chetniks in Yugoslavia in WW2 (1941-45)
the Royalists in the Greek Civil War (1946-49)
the Royalists in the North Yemen Civil War (1962-70)
the Royalists in the Nepalese Civil War (1996-2006)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Monuments Man and the Princess

Here is an interesting article from October I just found yesterday about "Monuments Man" Clyde Harris (1918-1958) of Oklahoma, who married Princess Cecilie of Prussia (1917-1975), a granddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Wikipedia's article on her grandmother Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia is also worth reading.

Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951), Princess Cecilie, Clyde Harris, Crown Princess Cecilie (1886-1954), and Amarillo mayor Lawrence Hagy (1905-1993) at Cecilie and Clyde's wedding at Hohenzollern Castle, 21 June 1949

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Aksel and the Royals

As my two greatest enthusiasms in life are classical music and royalty, it would be hard to find a video more meaningful to me than this one of Norway's star treble Aksel Rykkvin (possibly the leading boy soprano soloist in the world right now) performing Handel's "Lascia ch'io pianga" from Rinaldo for his King and Queen and their guests at their 80th birthday gala in Oslo earlier this week. I love watching the royals' reactions almost as much as the music. They--and we--are very lucky that he is still singing treble at 14.



Royal guests in Norway celebrating the 80th birthdays of King Harald V (21 Feb) and Queen Sonja (4 Jul). Seated in front are their five grandchildren, Emma, Leah, and Maud Behn, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus.

Second row, standing, L-R: Princess Astrid, Queen Maxima & King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Queen Silvia & King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Sonja & King Harald, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Grand Duke Henri & Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, King Philippe & Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, President Sauli Niinistö of Finland, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson of Iceland.

Third row: Lady Elizabeth Anson Shakerley, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Princess (former Queen) Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Daniel & Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Princess Mette-Marit & Crown Prince Haakon, Princess Märtha Louise, Crown Prince Frederik & Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Countess Madeleine (Bernadotte) Kogevinas & Bernard Mach, Jenni Haukio (First Lady of Finland), Eliza Reid (First Lady of Iceland).

Fourth row: Princess Tatiana & Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Mabel of the Netherlands, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Princess Sofia & Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Crown Princess Marie-Chantal & Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume & Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, Sophie Countess of Wessex (Great Britain), Desirée Kogevinas & Carlos Eugster.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Society of King Charles the Martyr


As a recently elected member of the board of trustees of the Society of King Charles the Martyr American Region, one of my duties is to try to increase membership from among the monarchist community. I would be delighted if I were able to recruit any of this blog's North American readers into the Society. Membership costs very little ($15 a year) and will connect you to one of the few monarchy-related organizations in the United States that actually holds regular organized events. The Society offers a list of goods to purchase, many of which pertain to King Charles and the Stuarts. Information on joining is available at the above website. You do not have to be an Anglican to join. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the Society in comments on this post. I have attended SKCM national masses in 2002 (New York), 2006 (Charleston), May 2010 (Omaha), 2014 (Fort Worth), and 2017 (Philadelphia), and was always glad I did.

Readers in the UK may wish to look into the original SKCM.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 1947: Royal Transitions in Postwar Europe

Seventy years ago today, the heroic King Christian X of Denmark (whose reign, like those of the other two Scandinavian kings, had spanned both world wars), who had become a beloved symbol of Danish defiance during the German occupation, died at 76 and was succeeded by his musical son King Frederik IX.

King Christian X (1870-1947)

King Frederik IX (1899-1972)
The postwar period was a time of rapid change in Europe's monarchies. Those of Yugoslavia (1945), Italy (1946), Bulgaria (1946), and Romania (1947) all sadly fell, as Hungary and Albania which were already lacking kings but had remained nominal kingdoms were also taken over by Communists in 1946. In the surviving monarchies, there was for awhile at least one transition every year: Greece (1 Apr 1947), Denmark (20 Apr 1947), the Netherlands (1948), Monaco (1949), Sweden (1950), Belgium (1951), and finally the United Kingdom (1952) all got new sovereigns due to abdication (in the Netherlands and Belgium) or death. The last of the monarchs who had come to the throne before World War I, Christian X's younger brother Haakon VII of Norway, hung on until 1957, his death at 85 severing a last link with the monarchical Old Order. At that point, not only were there no more sovereigns from before World War I, but only Luxembourg (until 1964) and Liechtenstein (until 1989) had the same monarchs they did before World War II. Greece excepted, relatively long reigns then prevailed (and still do in Britain and Scandinavia) until the flurry of abdications a few years ago.