Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ertugrul Osman (1912-2009)

The man who would have been Sultan of the Ottoman Empire died in the city formerly known as Constantinople at the age of 97.

Monday, September 21, 2009

King of Thailand in hospital

Thailand's beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-serving head of state, is reported to be "stable" in hospital where he has been admitted for a fever. I wish HM the best for a speedy recovery.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Habsburgs seek right to seek Austrian presidency

Lawyers for the Habsburgs are trying to overturn the ban on members of the dynasty which ruled Austria for centuries until 1918 running for the republic's [ceremonial] presidency. I have mixed feelings about this. A monarchist might be expected to side with councillor Ulrich Habsburg-Lorraine and enjoy the chance to point out the republic's hypocrisy. But in a sense it is fitting for the Habsburgs to be excluded from the office of president of the republic, as the Republic of Austria (which in my view has no right to exist and deserves no respect from anyone, least of all the Habsburgs) is the antithesis of all for which the Habsburgs stood.

Habsburgs should be Emperors, not Presidents, and with all due respect to former MEP Archduke Otto, I have always felt that involvement in the democratic process as politicians is beneath the dignity of royalty. I could perhaps support a Habsburg presidential campaign if it were intended as a step towards restoration of the monarchy, but this does not seem to be what Ulrich, as a "Green," has in mind. As long as full royal restoration eludes the Habsburgs, it is perhaps better for the law to remain on the books, reminding Austrians that the Republic represents a negation and defeat of their ancient heritage, and even after 90 years remains fearful of Austria's legitimate rulers.

Reflections on Equality

The following excerpt, from The Worm Forgives the Plough (1973) by John Stewart Collis (1900-1984), appeared in the latest bulletin of the Campaign for the Traditional Cathedral Choir to which I belong, and I think it's relevant for monarchists as well.

"I took a short cut and made for the Big House and entered the Old Garden. It was not open to the public, but it was open to the private, so to speak. No one seemed to be in residence at the moment. The door through the wall in the garden was not locked and I went in. I sat down on a seat backed by the high wall and fronted by a pool of lawn cliffed by ancient trees..."

"...I fell into contemplation of the Old Garden. Aloof in the melancholy shade of history, it gave out peace and cast the ancient spell. How did it come into existence? By some men being rich and others poor, by inequality, by privilege. Entering the era of equality, shall we then throw them open to the public? The moment we do so they will become--something else. They will, no longer be gardens: they will be parks. Instantly their essence will evaporate and they will no longer be what they were. We must face the logic: the moment privilege becomes public it ceases to be privilege, for you cannot have a privileged many--they would not then be privileged. So our question is--Shall we have a privileged few? Well, the many do not like this kind of place anyway; secluded reverie is alien to them, quiet reflection wholly unsought--they prefer the definite peopled park. But they also enjoy on occasion the parade of circumstance and the pomp of power. And I said--Let us not throw everything away in the name of Equality. Let there be privilege! Let there be pride! Let there be palaces though they be built out of the pennies of the poor! The time is coming when the flood-tide of the multitudinous Many shall flow through all the gates and into all the courts of pleasure; but even then, let there be here and there a too favoured Few, so that scattered throughout the land there may yet remain, enwalled from the world's babel, the sequestered place, the pool of silence, the repository of peace, into which the wanderer may come and bathe in the spirit of the past and hold converse with the mighty dead!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shawcross on the Queen Mother

William Shawcross, author of her aforementioned official biography, elaborates on why the late Queen Mother was a joy to profile.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wanted: Fergie

The Turkish government is demanding that Britain extradite the Duchess of York for trial, who it absurdly accuses of trying to "smear" Turkey in order to keep it out of the European Union. Ankara is annoyed that she and her daughter Princess Eugenie dared to draw attention to the mistreatment of children in Turkish orphanages by participating in an undercover documentary. I hope the British government tells the Turkish government exactly what it can do with its extradition request. While I highly doubt that Her Grace had any such intention, I also hope this kerfuffle does hinder Turkish EU membership; Turkey is not a European country and does not belong in the EU. Whether the EU should exist at all is of course another question...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

From Secretary to King

Peggielene Bartels, a secretary at the Ghanaian embassy in Washington, was surprised 15 months ago to discover that she had become the new King--not Queen--of Otuam in Ghana. Her story has already caught the attention of royal biographer Eleanor Herman.


The Dutch royal family gathered for the glittering opening of Parliament by Queen Beatrix.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Windsor Wedding

Lord Frederick Windsor, 30, son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, married actress Sophie Winkleman in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, where Henry VIII married Katherine Parr in 1543. More (and pictures) from the Telegraph and Hello!.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Royalist Riot in Uganda

Police loyal to the republic and supporters of the traditional King of Buganda clashed violently in Uganda. While riots like this are perhaps not particularly constructive, I can't help wishing that monarchists in Europe demonstrated a little more militancy. There must be some sort of middle ground...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Czars, real and false

Conservative Telegraph blogger James Delingpole, commenting on the Van Jones "green czar" controversy in the United States, rather tastelessly calls for "a Yekaterinburg of ALL the Czars." My comment:

I don’t disagree with any of Mr Delingpole’s criticisms of Obama or the appalling Van Jones. However, as a reactionary monarchist who actually believes in real czars, I am sick of the modern world’s abuse of this ancient and noble title and don’t appreciate the irreverent reference to Yekaterinburg, perhaps the single definitive horror of the 20th century, which set the stage for all the others. America certainly does not need “czars” like Van Jones, but Russia does need a czar…or, to be specific, a czarina, since the current rightful claimant to the Imperial Throne is a woman, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna. Bozhe, Tsarya khrani!

Architecture and the Prince of Wales, cont'd

Peter Hitchens defends Prince Charles against modernist architects. (See previous posts here, here, and here.)

There now seems to be an orchestrated campaign by architects against Prince Charles. Hardly a week goes by without another one attacking him. I think we should all side with the Prince. He is the nearest thing we now have to the great John Betjeman, who saved many fine buildings from being destroyed, and spoke up for beauty against barbarism. Charles may be wrong about many things, but he is right about buildings, and his interventions against ugliness have been a proper use of his influence. These architects, all glinting efficient types who seem unable to design anything except boxes, go on about democracy. But who chose them, or the hideous and un-British styles they force on us?

A lively discussion follows (relevant comments excerpted here). My contribution:

Other respondents have already defended the monarchy calmly and eloquently. I will add, perhaps less calmly, that republicans like the one to whom they were responding make me sick. I've lived in a republic (the USA) all my life and find it profoundly alienating; I cannot stand having a head of state who other people voted for but I did not. Far more fair to have a head of state selected by no one. Critics of Prince Charles don't seem to understand what "above politics" means: it means that the sovereign and royal family are not products of the partisan political process, not that they are to express no opinions on anything which might be controversial. I do not agree with the Prince of Wales on everything, but I am glad he speaks his mind, and he is certainly right about architecture. What is so sacred about the "democratic process" anyway?

I recently spent a month in England and despite all the inconveniences of travel felt at home there in a way I cannot in the USA, and the monarchy was a big part of that. Places like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are thrilling to visit not only because they are beautiful, but because they can offer what Versailles and Schonbrunn cannot: the excitement of a working palace, still used for its intended purpose, still occupied by the direct descendants of those for whom it was built, still part of an ongoing tapestry of tradition and pageantry. When I would love to live in a constitutional monarchy but due to number of practical obstacles cannot yet do so, it makes me absolutely livid to see those lucky enough to have been born in one spit on their good fortune, showing nothing but contempt for those of us who love Britain as she is--or at least was. The monarchy is not for the benefit of the royal family, it's for the benefit of the ordinary people like me, neither powerful nor rich, who love it. Yet republicans in the UK would tear the heart and soul out of their country, cutting it off from all continuity with its past, depriving their monarchist countrymen of the very centre of their patriotism, alienating people like me forever. I cannot see their goals as anything less than evil. As far as I'm concerned, "British" republicans are essentially traitors who ought to be consigned beyond the pale of civilised discourse. Just as I do not seek to transform America into a monarchy, but rather hope one day to immigrate to the country I truly love and join the noble fight for England's heritage and traditions, perhaps republicans should consider immigrating to the United States. I'd be happy to trade places with any of them. In the meantime though, they should at least keep their mouths shut.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fall Books

Two books coming out next month look like must-reads for all fans of the British royal family. One is From A Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb (reviewed movingly here) by Nicholas Knatchbull, grandson of Lord Mountbatten and twin brother of Nicholas (1964-1979), who was also killed in the explosion whose 30th anniversary was marked recently. Knatchbull's memoir of tragedy and healing will be available in the US on October 27.

The other is William Shawcross's long-awaited The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, due to arrive in American bookstores October 20.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Watching the Coronation in Ireland

Ireland has a more complex relationship with the British Crown than republican propaganda would suggest. Irish journalist Mary Kenny recalls secretive enthusiasm in Dublin for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, mostly among Protestants but from which even Roman Catholics were not entirely immune, to the horror of dogmatic republicans.

(H/T: American Monarchist)

Young Australians for the Crown

It is a fond myth of anti-monarchists in Australia and elsewhere that their eventual victory is inevitable because "only old people support the monarchy" and "no new monarchists are being born." Not so fast, say these young Australian monarchists.

(H/T: American Monarchist)