Saturday, December 31, 2011

NPR on The Real Elizabeth

My father called my attention to Jackie Lyden's interview on National Public Radio with Andrew Marr, author of The Real Elizabeth, a new book about Queen Elizabeth II based on interviews with those who know her best. Marr's comments helpfully illustrate to American listeners who might not know much about how the monarchy actually functions how hard the Queen works and how valuable her considerable experience is to her prime ministers. His book promises to be a valuable addition to the body of literature about the most famous yet enigmatic woman in the world.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Marie Antoinette Defamed, Again

I don't understand why Mitt Romney, who in August claimed that the Obama administration resembles the government of King George III during the Revolutionary War, and now likens the president to Marie Antoinette, is trying so hard to get me (and the rest of the vast American monarchist population) to support Obama. (Not a chance, especially given Obama's apparent tilt towards Argentina against Britain regarding the Falklands, though I'm not aware that any of his Republican opponents have taken a different position, but that's another issue.)

Unfortunately this is only the latest example of an irritating pattern according to which American Republicans--knowing nothing of history outside U.S. borders and little of that within, clueless about real conservatism, and uncritical of the Jacobin interpretation of European history--think it clever to equate their Democratic opponents with allegedly "extravagant" and "tyrannical" European royalty, confident that no one will challenge the premises of their ludicrous analogies. (I am not aware of any specific recent examples of Democrats doing the same sort of thing to Republicans, but they probably exist.) The real Marie Antoinette, of course, was a great benefactress of the poor and certainly never said "let them eat cake."

Isn't it supposed to be the Left who unfairly malign royalty and Christian civilization? But of course most American "conservatives," especially since the ascent of the Trotskyite neocons with the second Bush administration, actually are a kind of "leftist;" arguably America's left-liberals and right-liberals quarrel so strenuously partly because they don't realize how similar they really are. The only Republican presidential candidate who articulates anything resembling authentic historic conservatism even by American standards is Ron Paul. Otherwise, American Republican "conservatism" continually reaches new lows of embarrassing ignorance and should be shunned by all thinking right-wingers.

Prince Charles Was Right

...about genetically modified crops, admits the Daily Mail. For years the thoughtful heir to the British throne, whose book and companion film Harmony put forth a profoundly appealing and arguably vital vision for the world, has been mocked for his causes. But one need not agree with every opinion the Prince of Wales has ever articulated to see that GM crops have not exactly been the boon they were supposed to be, and there are real costs to ignoring the warnings of skeptics of "Progress" like him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Habsburg brothers' double engagement

As reported at the Tea at Trianon Forum, Royal Musings, and Tageblatt (German), Archdukes Imre (b 1985; right photo with Miss Walker) and Christoph (b 1988; left photo with Miss Drapé-Frisch) of Austria-Hungary, sons of Archduke Carl Christian and Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg, have jointly announced their engagements respectively to American Catholic writer and activist Kathleen Walker and French diplomat's daughter Adélaide Drapé-Frisch.

My fellow royalist blogger "Elena Maria Vidal" met Archduke Imre in Pennsylvania at a TFP event hosted by monarchist Michael Drake in 2010 and had a delightful experience. Congratulations and best wishes to both couples!

In a nod to any readers disappointed by these young ladies' lack of royal birth, I'd like to add that while I admire the way many members of formerly reigning royal families (including the Archdukes' older sister Archduchess Marie-Christine who married a count from an ancient noble family of the Holy Roman Empire) have maintained traditional standards in their choices of spouses, I don't think it would be reasonable to expect all of them to continue to do so indefinitely when the nations ruled by their ancestors continue to refuse to accord them their rightful status. Privilege and responsibility are meant to go together--and the Habsburgs since the tragic fall of their Empire 93 years ago have demonstrated plenty of responsibility. It is their would-be subjects who have failed them by stubbornly refusing to restore them to their thrones despite ample evidence that the fall and dismemberment of the Habsburg Empire was a disaster for humanity.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brian Sewell on Ludwig II

British art critic Brian Sewell, who seems to be a rather colourful personality himself, discusses his fascination with King Ludwig II of Bavaria on BBC Radio 4. The pictures I posted last month complement the programme (which I learned about via Rafe Heydel-Mankoo) beautifully.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Prince Philip in hospital for heart surgery

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, 90, was treated for a blocked coronary artery after being taken to the Papworth Hospital near Cambridge for chest pains. I wish HRH a swift recovery and hope the Royal Family are still able to enjoy their Christmas at Sandringham. Knowing Prince Philip's personality, he's probably grumbling that so much fuss is being made!

Christmas Update: Just as I predicted, Prince Philip says he feels fine. "I don't want to make a fuss. I just want to go home." The rest of the Royal Family attended church at Sandringham, where a record 3,000 wellwishers turned out to greet them. In her 2011 Christmas message (text), the Queen spoke of the importance of families and communities as she reviewed her year which included triumphant visits to Australia and Ireland and the marriages of two of her children. I wish all readers of this blog a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New King for Malaysia

Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah, 84, a fan of jazz and football, succeeded Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, 49, as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Paramount Ruler) of Malaysia on December 13. Abdul Halim, who also reigned from 1970-75, is the oldest man to hold the office and the first to hold it twice. In Malaysia's unique system of constitutional monarchy, the position of head of state rotates among the various hereditary local rulers. The new king described his role as "the umbrella to the people" as "the people are the pillars of the king."

Cameron's Can of Worms

Charles Moore eloquently dissects the problems inherent in trying to "reform" the succession rules to the British and Commonwealth throne to bring them in line with modern ideas of "equality." David Cameron and other backers of these changes have really not thought them through. Meanwhile, New Zealand's new opposition leader wants to ditch the flag and the Crown altogether, which he seems to think makes him extremely daring and clever. Hopefully Kiwis will not buy it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

King Paul: The Documentary

Thanks to a Greek-Canadian royalist friend I discovered this trailer for a forthcoming documentary on King Paul of the Hellenes (1901-1964), whose 110th birthday was yesterday and who was the only modern Greek monarch to die of natural causes without ever having been deposed, husband of the fascinating & heroic Queen Frederika (1917-1981) and father of Queen Sofia of Spain, King Constantine II, and Princess Irene (the only royal for whom I have performed). It looks like an unapologetically royalist approach, which is fine with me and probably a much-needed corrective after the way the Greek royal family have been unfairly maligned for decades. The Left could never forgive King Paul and Queen Frederika for defeating the Communists (with US aid) in the 1946-49 civil war. They and their son stood out in playing a more partisan and interventionist political role than was the norm for European royalty in the second half of the twentieth century. I will look forward to seeing what this film has to say.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Prince and the Composer

A British friend complained that he was unable to watch the video on the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge mentioned in my previous post, which is apparently unavailable to viewers in the UK. I had the same kind of disappointment in reverse when I was unable to watch the BBC documentary "The Prince and the Composer," in which the Prince of Wales explores the music and life of one of his favourite composers, Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918). I also discussed Parry, whose music gloriously resounded across the world at the royal wedding in April, in my May 2011 lecture "Choirs and the Crown."

Fortunately for viewers outside the UK, however, the entire film is now available on YouTube; here is Part I. I particularly enjoyed seeing the interaction between Prince Charles and the men and boys (two of whom I met in Edington in 2010) of the choir of Westminster Abbey. Britain is incredibly lucky to have an heir to the throne (too often not appreciated as much as his mother or his sons) who cares so passionately and speaks so intelligently about classical music. (Here is a report on HRH's appreciation of the Australian Chamber Orchestra who performed for him recently in London. Note though that Prince Charles is also the heir to the Australian throne, not only the British one.)

William and Kate: Inside the Royal Marriage

I was initially disappointed when I learned that NBC had aired a new documentary on the first six months of the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, since I hadn't found out about it soon enough to record it. But I needn't have worried; in the age of the internet, no one need ever miss anything. The full program is available online here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scandal in Spain

Iñaki Urdangarín, Duke of Palma de Mallorca, husband of Infanta Cristina of Spain, is under fire for allegedly directing public money into his private business funds and has stepped down from public duties as a result. While Princess Cristina herself is unlikely to be charged with any wrongdoing, there is speculation that she may be obliged to renounce her dynastic results as a result of the developing scandal. Predictably Spain's anti-royalists are already taking the opportunity to denounce the monarchy, ignoring the fact that European republics have plenty of corruption and no one claims they should be abolished as a result. While no wrongdoing has been proven, I can't help feeling that this sort of thing--even the appearance of such impropriety--would be less likely if princesses were still expected to marry princes, who were independently wealthy via inheritance and uninvolved in the business world. I know, Times Have Changed...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011: A Vintage Royal Year

Anticipating the 75th anniversary of the abdication of King Edward VIII (December 11, 1936), Andrew Roberts reflects on how the monarchy has never been stronger.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reaction With Reason

I am pleased to present at my website my friend David Votoupal's thoughtful and wide-ranging reflections on Reaction With Reason--What Being a True Reactionary Really Means. Mr Votoupal is a young Australian Catholic monarchist of Czech descent whose ideas I'm sure will resonate with readers of this blog.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Albanians Bury Their King

To their credit (and it's very rare that I give republican governments any credit), the Albanian authorities ensured that their rightful sovereign was laid to rest in Tirana with an official ceremony worthy of a king, declaring Saturday declared a day of mourning, with flags flown at half-mast and the ceremony broadcast live on national television. Leka I has been buried like a king; hopefully one day his son and heir Leka II will be acknowledged as a king while he lives!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

War of the Vendee: The Movie

As a fan of period movies who is occasionally suspicious of their contemporary creators' ideological biases, I have long wanted to see an epic cinematic treatment of the Catholic royalist counterrevolutionary revolt in the Vendée, an unjustly little-known true story full of courage and tragedy and everything that could make a historical drama great. Now as if to answer my prayers the independent Catholic film studio Navis Pictures has released the trailer of their forthcoming (January 2012) movie War of the Vendée. With an undoubtedly sincere cast that seems to consist entirely of children and teenagers, this looks like an effort worthy of support from all monarchists. Its unsophisticated but well-meaning acting and production values may even prove a refreshing contrast from slick Hollywood blockbusters.

However, while it's all very well if Navis Pictures wants to tell this "violent and brutal" story "with a careful sense of reserve" so as to make it "safe for the whole family to watch," I would still like to see a major studio with more resources tackle a similar project someday with enough gory honesty to merit an "R" or even "NC-17" rating. The French Revolution must be seen for what it was: a sadistic bloodbath utterly without merit whose evil legacy has plagued human civilisation for over two centuries, and perhaps only a film violent enough to shock even modern audiences could convey this message properly.

À bas la Révolution! À bas la République! Vive le Roi!