Once again American monarchists' unhappiest anniversary is upon us. Keen to live up to a friend's description of me as "the worst American [she's] ever met," I am wearing black (including my new souvenir shirt from the "Royal River" exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich featuring Canaletto's 1746 masterpiece "The River Thames with St Paul's Cathedral on Lord Mayor's Day") in honour of King George III and the Loyalists. On this date more than any other, American monarchists--especially those of us who identify primarily with the British monarchy--are reminded that we are strangers in a strange land as everyone around us celebrates what to us were treasonous, unjustified, and lamentable actions, severing us from the Crown we love and wish were ours.
I don't expect most Americans to agree with my negative view of the Fourth of July and what it represents. But I cringe when British conservatives with whom I otherwise often agree wax all pro-American, as Ed West does today. What I find so depressing about essentially Whiggish British commentators like West (Daniel Hannan is another example) is that while they may score valid points against the contemporary Left now and then, articles like this make it clear that deep down they are not coming from the same place as I am at all. The contemporary "Right" is almost completely dominated by the sort of men who probably would have fought for Cromwell in the English Civil War (1642-51); in Britain almost as much as in America, the Cavalier point of view is comparatively silent. West and his ilk might defend the monarchy when they have to (though if I recall correctly his main reason for celebrating the Royal Wedding last year was that it annoyed leftists), but what they really care about is the Whig cult of "Liberty." Whereas what I love about England is the monarchy and its pageantry, the countryside, the castles, the cathedrals, the Church (pre- and post-Reformation) and its traditional liturgies, the music--especially Tudor and Anglican sacred choral music, angel-voiced boys in cassock and surplice lining up to process into an ancient church for Evensong...none of which have much to do with "Liberty," at least not as Roundheads, Whigs, and "Patriots" have understood it. Any Englishman who says that the Declaration of Independence (treasonous war propaganda full of slanders against a good anointed Christian King) is England's "greatest gift" to the world is obviously moved by a very different concept of England than I am.