Friday, April 9, 2021

RIP Prince Philip (1921-2021)

I was deeply saddened this morning to wake up to the news of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021). A full and long life, but I had really wanted him to make 100 in June. I greatly admired his outspoken wit and dedication to countless causes and duties. He will be widely missed. Prayers for the Royal Family especially HM The Queen who has lost her incomparable source of strength and support of 73 years.

Here are links to obituaries from the Telegraph, the Times, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

As the last person who had been born into a foreign royal family to marry into the British Royal Family, the former Prince Philip of Greece was in many ways modern Britain's last living link with the world of Victorian and Edwardian continental European royalty, including vanished monarchies such as those of Germany, Greece, and Russia. Guests at his parents' wedding in Darmstadt in 1903 included Tsar Nicholas II (Princess Alice's uncle by marriage and Prince Andrew's first cousin), who, evading his security detail to push through the crowd, threw a full bag of rice and a satin slipper at the newlywed bride, who promptly threw them right back at him, reducing the Tsar of All the Russias to helpless laughter in the middle of the street.

Many years later, as a maternal grandnephew of Empress Alexandra, Prince Philip donated blood to aid with identification of the Romanov remains. Once when asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union (which he eventually did), he replied, "the bastards murdered half my family."

Princess Anne and Prince Edward shared memories of their late father and reflected on his legacy. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Monarchism and Identities

One reason why I may occasionally come across as Difficult online is perhaps that I have (at least) three very different sensibilities, none of which I can belong to completely, competing in one head. I'm (whether I like it or not) an American, who wants to be British, but who tries to apply to the British Monarchy a kind of ideological "Divine Right" monarchism (defeated in Britain in 1649) that is more Continental than British, though now virtually extinct on the Continent too. While I don't think I'm a humorless person, I admittedly probably do lack something of the distinctly British sense of humour (sometimes people assume that as an Anglophile I must love British comedy; actually, with the exception of Fawlty Towers, I often do not), and don't know how to debate as well-educated British people debate. I am perhaps prone to take too seriously things that even a very conservative actual British person might laugh off or not want to make a fuss about. Just some reflections that occurred to me (and a good excuse to post van Dyck's famous triple portrait of King Charles I).

Monday, January 18, 2021

German Empire 150

Today is the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of Wilhelm I (1797-1888) as German Emperor at Versailles. I celebrated by wearing my new Wilhelm I shirt and German imperial flag mask and making brownies decorated to resemble the German imperial flag. 

I'm not entirely without sympathy for those who (whether at the time or later in hindsight) have regretted the smaller German states' loss of independence (though the Kingdom of Bavaria managed to retain some trappings of sovereignty, including its own military apparatus and consulates in foreign countries). However, at least unlike in Italy the local rulers (except for Hanover's) kept their thrones. I can't help admiring what Germany as a dynamic unified nation achieved between 1871 and 1914, and don't see why Germany should have been perpetually denied the cohesiveness that nations like Great Britain, France, Russia, and Spain had achieved much earlier. Changes in borders and of the balance of power between different monarchies are an inevitable aspect of History, with stronger states
having overpowered weaker ones for as long as states have existed. What is intolerable however is the fact that Germany has not had any monarchies at all since 1918. Here is my new chart of all the rulers of the monarchical states of the German Empire and their wives and heirs at the time of its establishment 150 years ago today, in order of seniority. I haven't been able to find suitable images for all the individuals who were still fairly young at the time, especially heirs. Maybe I will eventually. This is why I tend to get more upset about Germany being a republic than some other countries: it wasn't just one monarchy that fell in 1918, but nearly two dozen. And all the adorable little ones, whose lineages and traditions went back to the Middle Ages, should not be forgotten.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Real Monarchism

One of the many reasons I am confident in the superiority and rightness of monarchism is that Monarchists are practically the only type of ideological faction today who do NOT frequently try to repudiate various unpleasant actual examples of our preferred system on the grounds that while it may use the word it's somehow not a "real" example. (In logic this is known as the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.) Many republicans (with a lowercase "r") claim that dictatorial regimes such as the People's Republic of China or the Islamic Republic of Iran are not "real" Republics. Many Marxists claim that the USSR and its Iron Curtain satellites were not "real" Communism. At the opposite extreme, libertarian or anarcho-capitalist free-market ideologues claim that what we currently have economically in the USA is not "real" Capitalism. "NeverTrump" conservatives argue that Trumpism is not "real" Conservatism. (Even before Trump, some traditionalist conservative theorists maintained that the Republican Party had nothing to do with their ideal of "real" Burkean/Kirkian conservatism.) Apologists for Islam claim that the radical Islam of terrorists is not "real" Islam. Christians of various stripes Right and Left often claim that those Christians from whom they wish to disassociate themselves are not "real" Christians.

Some of those kinds of arguments may have more validity than others. But that's beside the point, which is that in contrast, I don't know any monarchist who denies that, for example, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a Real Monarchy just because most of us don't much like it. It is. It's listed at my website. We own up to our less flattering examples. We just maintain that they're not the norm, and that overall, what we advocate is better than the alternatives, especially when those alternatives have been the result of displacing existing monarchies. I don't think any rival ideological faction is as honest.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year!

I made some changes to my website today that no one will notice unless I post about it. For years I've compiled charts of reigning monarchs at specific points in European history. Some are permanently fixed at a particular date and so once made don't have to be changed, but others are meant to reflect the state of things at a particular interval in the past (75 years ago, 200 years ago, etc.), so have to be continually "updated." Originally these charts consisted of text only, but then I started making ones with heraldry and pictures. However for some reason instead of simply adding to older files I made new ones, with the result that I accumulated an absurd number of pages whose dates and other information had to be changed every year, some of them essentially duplicates. Rather than edit all of them today, I deleted most of the charts without images, resulting in a more manageable number of files, and added internal links so that visitors can easily navigate between them. You can start with 2021 and work your way back to 1721, or vice versa working forward.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Altar and Throne, Part II (NYE 2020)

Yesterday was the 104th anniversary of the last Roman Catholic royal coronation (of King IV.Károly of Hungary, better known as Emperor Bl. Charles, in Budapest) to date. I find the fact that there have not been any such events more recently terribly sad. [Norway held the last Lutheran coronation in 1906, Romania the last Eastern Orthodox one in 1922, Ethiopia the last Oriental Orthodox one in 1930. The present Queen Elizabeth II, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, was crowned in 1953, as was the Wesleyan (Methodist) King of Tonga in 2015.]

Often I get so fed up with the way that most Christians (whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox) today are not nearly as outraged as I am by the modern era's replacement of so many Christian monarchies with republics that with the exception of the pandemic that has touched us all I feel like I don't want to care about whatever it is that more "normal" Christian people (whether "progressive" or "conservative") today are supposed to care about. I suppose that might be considered selfish. The thing is, I want to be able to be a Christian while holding a worldview (supportive of things like monarchical government, hereditary titles, and formal class distinctions) that while once widely accepted by Christians (at least in Europe) no longer is, and I get frustrated that contemporary Christianity doesn't seem to want to let me be the type of Christian I want to be, by which I mean the sort of High Tory Anglican who loves the Monarchy, prays for his Queen (never a "President"), would have seen nothing wrong at the time with the British Empire (though in hindsight I regret that it left so many republics in its wake), and while broadly tolerant of most human traits and behaviours has very little tolerance for republicanism.
Conservative Catholics (especially ex-Anglicans) often caricature the Episcopal Church and [in the "first world"] the Anglican Communion these days as hopelessly "liberal," but in terms of the issues that matter most to me, the Roman Catholic Church of Pope Francis is no better. (Is there even one Catholic bishop anywhere who would publicly advocate the restoration of his country's monarchy? And don't tell me it's not doctrine; clergy routinely talk about all sorts of things that aren't doctrine.) At least as Episcopalians we're in communion with the most famous surviving Monarchy in the world. (I don't want to know what would happen to my relationship with Anglicanism if the unthinkable happened in Britain. Let's all please pray we never find out.)
I suppose the big historical question is, did the more hierarchical and liturgical Christian Churches (principally Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran) once seem to endorse monarchical government and hierarchical society (radical Protestants and earlier heretics like the Hussites and Lollards never did) because that's what God wants, or simply as a pragmatic approach of dealing with The Way Things Were (but no longer Are)? I would give the former answer, but I suspect most Christians today (if they think about these things at all) would probably give the latter. But I for one will continue to pray not only for an end to the Coronavirus pandemic but also for a worldwide return to sanity and monarchical government, no matter what year it is.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Altar and Throne

Even when I was at the height of my Latin Mass phase (c. 2004-07), I could never really accept it that most Catholics, even traditionalists, were just not that into restoring Catholic Monarchies. Even those who are sympathetic to monarchism in theory tend (especially if American) to have other political priorities in practice, whereas I, being incorrigibly stubborn, was and am far less interested in conforming politically to "the real world." Most of history's major Catholic monarchies are long gone, meaning that Catholic Monarchism inevitably appears hopelessly bound to the increasingly distant (pre-1914 or even pre-1789) past. (This is arguably even more true of Orthodoxy, which sadly has lacked a single extant monarchy since 1974.) The Kingdom of Spain (albeit somewhat beleaguered nowadays), of whose restoration this past Sunday was the 45th anniversary, survives, as do four smaller European Catholic monarchies, but modern Spain presents its own problems for Catholics unhappy with the prevailing values of modern secular democratic society, to which the modern monarchy has largely acquiesced (and yet is still hated by the Left).

The situation with Anglicanism is somewhat different, since obviously the only Anglican monarchy ever to have existed is still very much in existence (and shared by 15 other countries), and is the most famous in the world. So are four continental Protestant kingdoms. This enables one who identifies as an Anglican or Protestant Monarchist, if he can accept contemporary developments such as female clergy, to be more reconciled to the present than a Catholic or Orthodox Monarchist can be, to a certain extent, though of course I also remain passionately committed to the restoration of Catholic, Orthodox, and even some non-Christian monarchies. But I don't want to know what would happen to my relationship with Anglicanism if...I don't think I want to finish this sentence...

Coronation of King Louis VIII of France, 1223

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, 1953