Monday, November 30, 2009

Kingdom of Canada

Andrew Coyne defends the Canadian monarchy, while suggesting that its long-term future might be best served by making Prince Harry a resident King of Canada. That's an interesting idea, though I would ask Mr Coyne, what about Her Majesty's fourteen other Commonwealth Realms? Even if Prince Harry himself were agreeable, I am not sure there would be enough other members of the Royal Family prepared to leave Britain to give each of them its own monarch. Why is it more problematic for Canada to share its sovereign with the United Kingdom than, say, St Vincent & the Grenadines, where a republican proposal was recently defeated?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Queen Mother on Politics and Life

Yesterday I finished reading William Shawcross's excellent official biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (1900-2002). This post is not a full review--perhaps I will attempt that later--but I wanted to share two delightful private comments from Her Majesty, one from the beginning of her public life and one from near the end.

"I am extremely Anti-Labour. They are so far apart from fairies & owls and bluebells & Americans & all the things I like. If they agree with me, I know they are pretending--in fact I believe everything is pretence to them." [letter to D'Arcy Osborne, 1924] (412)

In the mid-1990s [Major Michael] Parker [organizer of HM's 80th, 90th, and 100th birthday celebrations] had tea with the Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother. When the Princess of Wales said to her, 'We're all so looking forward to your hundredth birthday,' Queen Elizabeth replied, "Oh, you mustn't say that, it's unlucky. I mean I might be run over by a big red bus." Parker said he thought this was very unlikely, to which Queen Elizabeth replied, "No, no, it's the principle of the thing. Wouldn't it be terrible if you'd spent all your life doing everything you were supposed to do, didn't drink, didn't smoke, didn't eat things, took lots of exercise, all the things you didn't want to do, and suddenly one day you were run over by a big red bus, and as the wheels were crunching into you you'd say 'Oh my god, I could have got so drunk last night!' That's the way you should live your life, as if tomorrow you'll be run over by a big red bus.' (912)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Act of Settlement revisited, again...

Once again the Act of Settlement and male primogeniture are under scrutiny, as Gordon Brown reportedly prepares to address what the modern world apparently regards as one of the greatest evils imaginable, "discrimination." It does seem like some journalists and politicians like to get excited about this every few years, [fortunately] without anything actually happening. It's almost a ritual. Perhaps this time they mean it, but all those Roman Catholics presumably traumatized by the fact that the Earl of St Andrews is not considered 25th in line to the throne, and all those women supposedly oppressed by the fact that the Princess Royal is 10th rather than 4th, probably shouldn't hold their breath.

Surrender as false resistance

Recently a number of conservative Christian clergy representing the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant traditions signed something called the "Manhattan Declaration" affirming their common opposition to secularist policies regarding abortion and same-sex marriage. Their efforts have been widely hailed, even by Gerald Warner, as representing a bold orthodox challenge to political correctness. But this document is nothing of the kind. In fact it is a sad reflection of the pathetic tendency of "conservative" Christians to concede entirely too much to the liberalism that has paved the way for the current state of affairs they find so objectionable.

I wouldn't bother posting on this here, though, if I hadn't been irked by, among other concessions to the worldview of those the signers claim to oppose, a completely unnecessary swipe at the European monarchies of the past:

In Europe, Christians challenged the divine claims of kings and successfully fought to establish the rule of law and balance of governmental powers, which made modern democracy possible. And in America, Christian women stood at the vanguard of the suffrage movement. The great civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s were led by Christians claiming the Scriptures and asserting the glory of the image of God in every human being regardless of race, religion, age or class.

Far from a daring challenge to secular leftism, this paragraph is a model of the Progressive interpretation of history that uncritically celebrates the advance of "Democracy" and "Equality" and regards the past four centuries or so as an uplifting struggle of liberal Good against reactionary Evil in which Good so far has usually triumphed, an interpretation with which I vehemently disagree. While some Christians did indeed support the developments this paragraph lists, other Christians opposed them. Did they necessarily sin by so doing? Is there now only one Christian position on all the great political controversies of the past? When did universal suffrage, for example, become Christian orthodoxy?

While no Christian monarch ever claimed divinity in a pagan sense, many pious Christians ardently supported royal claims of divinely based authority, with one of the most tragic defenders of "divine right," Charles I, traditionally regarded as a martyr in Anglicanism. Are he and his supporters to be cast into darkness? I am tired of the way official "conservative" Christianity--Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant (the Orthodox usually not so much)--aligns itself with liberalism on every issue other than sex and abortion.

Contemporary Conservative Christianity too often seems to want to say to its liberal enemies, "we really love all the Liberal Progress that's been made and believe in Democracy and Equality and Human Rights and Religious Liberty just as much as you do, we just don't like abortion and homosexuality." Apparently, God was always on the "progressives'" side in past conflicts, He just isn't today, because now having ruined everything else, they're going after sex, and we can't have that, because sexual peccadilloes are absolutely the worst thing imaginable, and the decline of traditional beliefs about sex is ever so much more intolerable than the decline of everything else people used to believe in. Sarcasm aside, this kind of thinking is simply incoherent. Why leftists should pay attention to those who assure them that they've previously always been right about everything, but please let's just not go any farther, is beyond me. As long as conservatives and Christians refuse to challenge the Left's basic premises, offering it only a pale echo, they deserve to lose.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hitchens on "comedians" vs the Queen

Peter Hitchens defends the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh against the thoughtless jibes of ignorant so-called "entertainers" like Ben Elton (of whom I had happily never heard), who still ludicrously imagine that they are boldly challenging the "establishment" when in 2009 it actually shows far more independence of mind to declare oneself a monarchist, even in the United Kingdom.

Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20

Today is not only the 62nd wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, but also the 97th birthday of HI&RH Archduke Otto of Austria-Hungary, son and heir of Emperor Bl Charles I, who if there were any justice in modern Europe would be internationally recognized as Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. This is a particularly significant birthday for AD Otto because it means he has reached a higher age than even his mother Empress Zita (9 May 1892 - 14 Mar 1989) did.

Other blogs saluting Europe's uncrowned emperor include Wilson Revolution Unplugged, Ad Orientem, A Conservative Blog for Peace, and The Mad Monarchist.

God Save the Queen and God Bless her Consort! Gott erhalte Otto den Kaiser!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

French Royal Birth

Congratulations to Jean d'Orléans, Duc de Vendôme, and his wife Philomena on the birth of their son Gaston in Paris today. For French monarchists who accept the Utrecht renunciations, this little boy now represents the future of French royalism. Even for those who do not, he is still a Capetian prince. Vive le Roi!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obama and the Emperor

The tiresome uproar over President Obama's apparent bow to the Emperor of Japan is a perfect illustration of why I hold that monarchists who happen to live in the United States should not necessarily identify with the American "Right." Not only are bows standard greetings in the Orient, but presidents of republics are still commoners, and it's entirely appropriate for commoners to bow to royalty, especially the world's only remaining Emperor. I am reminded of the Vatican's excellent seating arrangements for the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005, when as Fr Brian Harrison observed, royal guests, no matter how small their countries, sat in the front row, while republican representatives, no matter how powerful theirs, were firmly relegated to places behind them. It's also worth noting that Obama has been a head of state for less than a year, whereas Akihito has reigned for 20 years and is a generation older. While I disagree with Obama on many issues, his appropriate gesture of respect for a senior world leader and ally is not one of them, and for it to be considered an "issue" at all reflects not so much on him as on the pathetic infantilism of knee-jerk Americanists.

Friday, November 13, 2009

King of Tonga surrenders power

In yet another triumph for "Democracy" and defeat for tradition, King George Tupou V of Tonga has agreed to relinquish his executive powers in favour of the development of a Western-style parliamentary constitutional monarchy in which politicians will presumably be the real rulers. While unlike the most hardline sort of reactionary monarchists I prefer a "figurehead" monarchy to none at all, I am sorry to see yet another king reduced to a powerless symbol. Note the article's arrogant tone of inevitability. Nothing in politics is truly inevitable, yet the great triumph of the forces of "Progress" has been to convince many people that their agenda is.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lone monarchist challenges republican mob

Kudos to Suzanne Reny who defiantly stood up to Quebeçois republicans protesting the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Monarchists need more of this defiant spirit. Relentlessly sneered at by the media as in this New York Times article, Canadians who value their country's monarchical constitution--an integral part of the heritage of American Loyalists who sacrificed everything to remain loyal to the Crown and from whom many Canadians are descended--need to make their voices heard, as the heroic Monarchist League of Canada knows very well.

November 11

Yesterday, widely known as Armistice or Veterans' Day, was also the anniversary of two tragic (and in the first case, closely related) historical events: the 1918 fall of the Habsburg monarchy, eloquently mourned by Gerald Warner in the Telegraph, and New Labour's 1999 expulsion of most of the hereditary peers from Britain's House of Lords. Both developments constituted important steps of the relentless and heartless advance of "Democracy," at the expense of everything ancient, honourable, and beautiful.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ten Years since Australian monarchist victory

The Monarchist has an extensive list of links on today's tenth anniversary of the defeat of republicanism in Australia. I remember having closely followed this story while a college student and being greatly relieved by the result, probably the happiest any news story has ever made me.

It seems that it's hard for even the most diehard republicans in Australia to escape the general consensus that, ten years on, there simply isn't as much interest in republicanism as there was in the 1990s. That doesn't mean that most Australians have become passionate monarchists, but rather that appetite for radical constitutional change has diminished and most Australians are reasonably content to focus on other issues, at least for the time being. However, monarchists cannot be complacent and let their guard down; republicans have not disappeared or given up.

God Save HM Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia!