Monday, October 31, 2011

Queen Frederica I?

The Telegraph has an interesting but somewhat misleading article on Friederike von der Osten, the 52-year-old German doctor who if the proposed new law of royal succession were applied retroactively to the descendants of Queen Victoria would be the current Queen of the United Kingdom. Of course, such speculation is essentially meaningless since had her ancestors been living in Britain and occupying the British throne, they surely would not have made all the same marriages, and "Friederike von der Osten" as she actually is would not exist.

Nevertheless as a royal genealogy aficionado I'm always glad to see relatively obscure corners of European royal genealogy explored in the mainstream media. Friederike (b 1959) has three daughters, Felicitas (b 1986 and also quoted in the article), Victoria (b 1989), and Donata (b 1992) von Reiche. She is the first-born child of Princess Felicitas of Prussia (1934-2009), first-born child of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1906-1940), first-born child of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany (1882-1951), first-born child of Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941), first-born child of Princess Victoria (1840-1901), first-born child of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).

More pictures from Australia

Excellent photos of the Queen's recently concluded visit to Australia are available from the BBC here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

King and Queen of Norway in Minnesota

As a former Charlotte Symphony colleague from Duluth, Minnesota has reminded me, Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway recently visited Iowa and Minnesota, a state known for its Scandinavian immigrant heritage. Minnesota Public Radio has great photos, which show Minnesotans greeting the royal couple enthusiastically. The King and Queen concluded their American trip with a visit to New York City.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Illogical Idiocy in Perth

Speaking at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia, a smug David Cameron (with "Conservatives" like this, who needs liberals?) triumphantly announced that he had secured unanimous agreement from the prime ministers of the Queen's sixteen Commonwealth Realms to amend the law of royal succession to end male primogeniture and allow potential monarchs to marry Roman Catholics. It is amazing to me that this kind of tinkering makes any sense to anybody, since as I and others have already explained, the monarchy will remain inherently "discriminatory," favouring older siblings over younger ones, and of course members of the Royal Family over everyone else. One wonders if Cameron and other backers of "reform" have really thought through all the implications, as real conservatives like Simon Heffer have. I hate to agree with the odious Graham Smith on anything, but for once he is right: the idea that the monarchy can be reconciled with modern "non-discriminatory" thinking is absurd. At least ministers had the sense to rule out trying to apply the same kind of "reform" to hereditary peerages.

Hopefully the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge will soon have a boy as their first child to render all this silliness irrelevant for another generation. If their first child is a girl and she remains heir to the throne ahead of a younger brother, I suppose I'll have to grudgingly accept it, as I already do with Sweden, Belgium, and Norway (the three European monarchies whose royal families have already been affected by such "reforms"--it's a moot point so far in the Netherlands, where the Prince of Orange has only daughters, and in Denmark, where the Crown Prince's eldest child is a boy). Only a hardcore Jacobite, the sort who insists that Franz Duke of Bavaria is the "real" British monarch (and I think I've made it clear what I think of that nonsense), can coherently deny that Parliament has the authority to alter the succession, whether it should or not. But at heart, unlike more liberal monarchists, I am ironically inclined to agree with the republicans I so despise when they say that even a constitutional monarchy is incompatible with Modern Democratic & Egalitarian Values. We simply draw opposite conclusions: I say if that's the case, then to hell with Modern Democratic & Egalitarian Values!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Queen of Australia

Robert Hardman reflects on the depth of Australians' enthusiasm for their Queen's royal visit which has apparently surprised even monarchists. Twelve years ago Australians were told by a virtually monolithic media and political class that a republic was inevitable. It is that presumption--not the monarchy--that now seems like a relic of the past as Australians turn out in droves for their Sovereign--not a "foreign" Sovereign, but their Sovereign.

Speaking of Australia, I don't normally post on non-monarchical matters, but this article by an Australian atheist who admires the great Anglican tradition of Choral Evensong, as experienced at places such as St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, is worth reading. Frankly though a practicing Anglican and adult convert to Christianity I have more respect for people like him--who just might be closer to God than they think--than for "Christian" philistines who would modernize our cultural patrimony out of existence.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Michael of Romania at 90

Today HM King Michael I of Romania, who first joined the ranks of the world's heads of state as a five-year-old boy in 1927 and is the last living adult head of state from World War II, celebrates his ninetieth birthday. Touchingly, for the first time in more than six decades he delivered a speech to the Romanian parliament in which while charitably (we royalists are always "plus royaliste que le roi") acknowledging its members as "legitimate representatives" he also stressed his conception of the Crown as "not a symbol of the past, but a unique embodiment of our independence, sovereignty and unity. The Crown is a reflection of the State in its historical continuity and of the Nation in its evolution. The Crown has consolidated Romania through loyalty, courage, respect, probity and modesty." I hope Romanians were listening!

King Michael recently defended his war record from absurd attacks. I congratulate HM on his birthday and call on Romanians to formally restore him and his family--already more meaningful symbols of the nation than any politician could ever be--to the throne. Two decades since the alleged "fall" of Communism have been squandered, but it is not too late for Romanian politicians (like the disgusting president who boycotted the speech and the Liberal leader who though supportive of the invitation was at pains to distance it from any possibility of restoration) to stop being greedy traitors and bow to their rightful King!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Danish Princess in Queens

Denmark's popular Australian-born Crown Princess Mary visited Queens, New York, to the delight of local residents, demonstrating how the magic of royalty never fails to enthrall children, who unlike far too many modern adults have not yet been corrupted by egalitarian republicanism.

Castle in Arkansas

A friend told me about the Ozark Medieval Fortress this summer while we were visiting Dover Castle in England, but being away from the internet at the time I then somehow forgot to look up the link until today. The ongoing project, whose goal is to build a medieval castle in the Arkansas Ozarks using only authentic period construction methods, is scheduled for completion around 2030 and was inspired by Gu├ędelon, a similar project in France, with archaeologist Michel Guyot being the visionary behind both endeavors. The site is already open to tourists and offers all kinds of opportunities from brief visits to substantial volunteer work. American monarchists, especially those of us who live in the central United States which (unlike, say, California) is not normally known for its castles, will surely want to check this out; I certainly intend to plan a visit!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Queen in Australia

Queen Elizabeth II received a warm welcome in Canberra as she embarked on her 16th visit to Australia. A touching footnote was her meeting with Margaret Cunningham, who on the Queen's first visit in 1954 had as a child presented HM with flowers, doing so again 57 years later. For the first time in history, Australia's sovereign, governor-general, and prime minister are all female, making for a colourful assembly as the three eminent women met. While one would not expect a repeat of the extraordinary outpouring of 1954, when an estimated one third of Australia's entire population turned out to see their sovereign, clearly many Australians retain strong affection for the Queen despite the efforts of certain politicians--whose republican ambitions fortunately are widely considered an increasingly distant dream. At the Floriade flower festival, a little girl outshone the Prime Minister in courtesy to her sovereign; perhaps this child should be Prime Minister since she clearly appreciates her country's constitution more than Julia Gillard does. In any case, monarchists can take comfort in the widespread perception that republicanism, so chic in the 1990s, has fizzled out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Royalty in Washington

Washington, DC may be the world's leading citadel of republicanism, but the area is also home to exiled royalty from Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, and Ghana, as the Washington Post reports.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monarchists and the Occupiers

At first glance monarchists might appear to have little in common with the values and rhetoric of participants in the ongoing "Occupy" protests. Radicals such as the speaker in Los Angeles who praises the violence of the French Revolution and ignoramuses such as the transgender Maoist (?) in Philadelphia who denies that Stalin killed millions of people are as offensive to monarchists as they are to mainstream republican conservatives, if not more so. Yet if one looks beyond the wild leftist fringe to the motivations prompting at least some relatively sane people to participate in these demonstrations, it would seem that the "Occupy" movement actually confirms a key monarchist point: that the abolition or weakening of traditional monarchies & aristocracies throughout the world since the vaunted revolutions of the late 18th century has not in fact remedied any of the alleged injustices of the old order, with economic inequality and financial chicanery today being greater than they ever were under the ancien regime.

Monarchists should remain aloof from the modern republican "Right." The bourgeois capitalist republicans that emerged in the 19th century from the wreckage of the old order and tossed most of the remaining crowns aside in the 20th thought they didn't need us; they can try to "conserve" their godless, throne-less, anti-human system without us. The Whigs have made their bed; let them lie in it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Discrimination" and the Monarchy

As Britain's allegedly "Conservative" Prime Minister David Cameron proposes to tamper with the laws of royal succession to end "discrimination" against females and Roman Catholics, Andrew Schrader and the "Mad Monarchist" point out how absurd and problematic this is. "Fairness" and "Equality" are not the point of a hereditary monarchy, as David Mitchell once pointed out in one of my favourite pieces on the subject. And how is it any more "fair" to favour the eldest child? Doesn't that "discriminate" against younger siblings? The whole proposal is incoherent balderdash. As much as I despise abolitionist republicans, at least they're consistent.

I think it's also worth noting that even under the existing supposedly "sexist" system, which allows women to reign if they have no living and eligible brothers, the English monarchy has been headed by women for 185 of the past 458 years (since the accession of Mary Tudor in 1553), or about 40%--nearly half--of the time (190/41% if the five-year reign of Mary II who reigned jointly with her husband William III is included). For Scotland, it's 160/165 of the past 469 years (since the accession of Mary Stuart in 1542), or 34/35%. Clearly when God or Fate means for Britain to have a Queen Regnant, she will. Politicians should leave well enough alone and focus on the UK's real problems.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Louis XX on Henri IV

One of the two leading claimants to the French throne, Louis "XX" Duke of Anjou, is petitioning the government of the French Republic that the head of his ancestor Henri IV (one of France's most popular kings) be reunited with its body at the basilica of Saint-Denis. A worthy gesture, to be sure, but how much more glorious it would be to reunite France with its ancient monarchy. Vive le Roi!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Persepolis, 40 years later

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Shah of Iran's celebrations in Persepolis (October 12-16, 1971) of the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, I post a link to this beautiful and thorough 2002 tribute from the "Glittering Royal Events" site. The celebrations (nicknamed "Disneyland in the Desert" by Western journalists and attended by most of the world's leading royalty) surely constituted one of the most spectacular royal occasions of the 20th century, though alas the lavish event was easily exploited in propaganda by the Shah's enemies in spite of the good it did in terms of infrastructure and publicity. I wonder, as the evil current Iranian regime stumbles from one insanity to another, when those who spent the 1970s denouncing the Shah as a "tyrant" as if nothing could be worse will apologize. Something tells me we shouldn't hold our breath...

Dragon King weds his Queen

After weeks of preparation and anticipation, the world's youngest head of state, King Jigme Khesar Wangchuk of Bhutan, 31, married and crowned Jetsun Pema, 21, today in a splendid traditional ceremony at the 17th century Punakha Dzong, one of Buddhism's holiest sites. The popular Oxford-educated king wanted his marriage to be a celebration for the people of Bhutan rather than an international state occasion. Coverage reflects the sincere and widespread joy felt by his subjects as they welcome their new queen and begin a three-day national holiday. I'm sure all readers will join me in wishing King Jigme and Queen Jetsun a happy life and reign together.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"The problem with France..."

"...is that there is no king," says the vice-president of the Association for the Mutual Assistance of the French Nobility, in words with which any monarchist would agree. The Wall Street Journal reports on how in times when many cash-poor aristocrats struggle to maintain their ancestral properties, other nobles band together to help them out. These aristocrats are to be commended for their determination to carve out a role for nobility in the 21st century and preserve what is left of France's pre-Revolutionary heritage, though the obligatory reader comments on the article are almost uniformly depressing for a royalist to read.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Prince for Georgia

The Royal House of Georgia was thrilled to announce the birth of a boy, Giorgi, to Prince Davit and Princess Anna, whose marriage united the two hitherto rival branches of the ancient Bagration dynasty. Prince Giorgi's auspicious birth may be just what is needed to stimulate more discussion of the restoration of the Georgian monarchy. May he one day inherit the throne of his ancestors!