Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Indian Monarchy?

Recognising that no empire lasts forever, I might not mind the decline of the British Empire so much (though it didn't need to collapse as quickly as it did) if it had been replaced by indigenous monarchies. Alas, republics are the norm throughout most of the former Empire, despite having no roots in the pre-colonial societies of Asia and Africa. Could India, which became independent in 1947 and a republic in 1950, have become a Monarchy instead?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Germany in 1900

In honour of today's 145th anniversary of the proclamation of the German Empire, and to go with my new Taschen book, I've created a new page of my website on Germany in 1900. It is too often forgotten that Imperial Germany was not just the Kaisers but included some twenty other reigning monarchs--kings, grand dukes, dukes, and princes--who I rather enjoyed looking up to get their pictures and dates. My favourite of these rulers is probably Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen, the brilliantly artistic "Theatre Duke." Between Wikipedia and Die souveränen Fürstenhäuser Europas
I was able to find age-appropriate pictures of almost everyone, except for Alexander Prince of Lippe (who was mentally ill, reigning with a regency), and the morganatic second wife of Heinrich XXIV Prince Reuss.

It has long struck me as one of the greatest injustices of modern history that, whatever one thinks of the causes of World War I, surely the interior German monarchies cannot be blamed at all, yet they were all dragged down in the apocalypse of November 1918. May they never be forgotten, and somehow one day restored to their charming and occasionally eccentric glory.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Monarchist Vision of Europe

As the real Europe of 2016 seems to slide further into the abyss, one can only retreat into fantasy. Here then is the Europe of my dreams. This, I think, is more or less how things should be, though rather than imagine that the World Wars etc. never happened (since in that case royal genealogy would presumably be completely different), this supposes that at some unspecified point since then Europeans somehow repent of their republican and modernist errors. The ten actual current monarchies are mostly as they are, though supporters of traditional male primogeniture will be pleased at the little changes I made to Sweden and Belgium, symbolizing a wider rejection of pathological egalitarianism. Seniority is retroactively dated to whenever the sovereign actually became head of their respective house. 

Recognizing that some things cannot be undone even in my imagination, I've invented new institutions for the German and Habsburg monarchies that take some contemporary realities into account. Very few changes to current borders are proposed, except for dividing Italy in two (a compromise between unionism and reactionary separatism that would probably satisfy no one), and returning most of Belarus and Ukraine to Russia (with part of the latter to the Habsburgs), and Kosovo and Macedonia to Serbia (or perhaps Greece in the latter case). (As much as I would love to restore historic Prussia to Germany, I don't see how this could be accomplished without repeating the horrors of 1945-50 in reverse.) As a gesture of moderation and compromise, I've implicitly allowed Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (as well as Switzerland & San Marino), to remain republics; I have ideas for a few of those but for this chart decided to confine my restorations to royal families commonly identified with their respective countries. In the disputed cases of France and the Two Sicilies, I've gone here with the genealogically senior lines only because the "Heir" question is less complicated. While some may wish to quibble with a few proposed details, I have no doubt that a Europe headed and perhaps even governed by these people would be better than what we actually have in 2016.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi (1919-2016)

Just learned that HIH Princess Ashraf Pahlavi (1919-2016), twin sister of the Shah of Iran, has died aged 96, the first royal death of the new year (as far as I know). I have her 1980 memoir, "Faces in a Mirror," which I inherited from my grandmother in 1994. A remarkable woman, fiercely loyal to her brother, she is now again united with him. May she rest in peace.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Incoherence of the Austrian Republic

Watching the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's concert, I am once again struck by the impression that modern Austria is the most schizophrenic and hypocritical of all the European republics that used to be monarchies. Everything they pride themselves on, everything they market to tourists, everything they present to the world, is from the time of the Habsburg monarchy and indelibly linked to it. There is no attempt to hide this or pretend that Austria is all about being Modern. Yet they insist on maintaining this drab ahistorical Republic, in which even the use of "von" is illegal, voting for horrid Socialists, and treating my friends in the heroic Die Monarchisten - Schwarz-Gelbe Allianz (whose stickers I proudly display on my car) like irrelevant harmless eccentrics at best, traitors at worst. The mind boggles. Austria, like the rest of Central Europe, needs an Emperor, not a President! Restore the Habsburgs!!!

(At 14:00 there's an interlude in which Dame Julie talks about how Queen Elizabeth II recently became Britain's longest-reigning monarch, but the length of her reign was exceeded by Emperor Franz Joseph's, with footage of the Emperor, concluding the narration in the room where he died in 1916.)

Monday, December 28, 2015

UUI and Pluralist Monarchism

Yesterday, for the first time in years, I attended a service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis where I grew up (1987-96), mainly because my dad was preaching a lively and thought-provoking lay sermon (which you can read at his blog). Not having an obvious Episcopal church in Indianapolis to attend anyway, it was good to attend a service with my father and brother for a change, not something that happens often. While I formally rejected Unitarianism when I got baptized at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in 2009, it occurred to me that there is at least one sense in which (perhaps ironically, given that most UUs are very far from being monarchists) my UU upbringing shaped and continues to influence my approach to monarchism. This is that I refuse to let my commitment to Monarchy as the best form of government be limited by sectarian or theological divisions, and so (despite strong reservations about a few of them, particularly Saudi Arabia) I make no apologies for supporting not only non-Anglican but also non-Christian monarchies, probably more so than most (though not all!) of the Christian monarchists I know.

Obviously I think Christianity has something to offer that no other religion does, or I wouldn't have embraced it. Nor does it make sense to me for an English-speaking, Anglophilic traditional monarchist of European descent to adhere to any religion other than Christianity. But I refuse to be the sort of believer who sees value in earthly institutions like Monarchies only if they conform to my particular religion. This pluralist approach has occasionally led me into conflict (usually online) with fellow Christians (often Roman Catholics) who while they may have some sympathy for monarchies of their own faith decisively reject my kind of pan-monarchism. Anglicanism has its problems, but at least no Anglican coreligionist has ever given me a hard time for supporting Catholic or Orthodox monarchies!

In particular, while I think it is clear from Facebook posts like my recent one about St. Francis de Sales Oratory that I have nothing but respect for traditional Roman Catholicism, over the years on the internet I've often been frustrated with the sort of Catholics who have a bitter Anglophobic chip on their shoulder, as if they personally suffered in the Irish potato famine which presumably just occurred last month. I'm deeply grateful for my Catholic friends who are not like that, but it's an overly common problem in online Catholic circles, and gets quite tiresome. I just Blocked one such individual, which is probably more prudent than getting dragged into an endless and nasty argument. I wonder if it ever occurs to Roman Catholics who imply that being a good Catholic means hating England and The British Monarchy, that if they really believe that there is No Salvation Outside the (Roman Catholic) Church, they are essentially condemning an entire nation (dispersed via imperialism throughout the globe) to hell, for there are millions of people (including me) who are never going to be convinced that they ought to repudiate their heritage or their Crown.

More broadly, must Christian monarchists cut ourselves from the even larger numbers of people who can see, or might conceivably be persuaded to see, the merits of Monarchy, but are less likely to be convinced of Christianity? I don't think so, for if something is good at the natural level, it is good, and to be a monarchist is to believe that Monarchy is good. For Monarchy more than any other system of government reflects the Divine order, and this is true even if the monarch is not a Christian. So God Save the Queen, by all means restore the Habsburgs and Bourbons or Romanovs, and hooray for European Altar & Throne traditionalism, but let us also praise and support the Kings of Jordan, Morocco, Bhutan, Cambodia, & Thailand, the Sultan of Oman, and the Emperor of Japan, and let us pray and work for the restoration of the King of Nepal, the Shah of Iran, the kings of Laos, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, and so many others!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Brunei Sultan bans Christmas

The Sultan of Brunei used to be reasonable, as did southeast Asian Islam in general. I don't know what's gotten into him. I fear Malaysia may be headed in the same direction. Basically the only current Muslim monarchies I still like (and I like them a lot) are Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. I wash my hands of the others (which doesn't mean that revolutions wouldn't make things even worse). It's the relatively secular ones that were overthrown in the second half of the 20th century (Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Iran), none of whose kings would have done such an asinine thing, that I really miss.