Monday, December 12, 2016

Transition in Malaysia

Malaysians say farewell to their outgoing King, whose five-year term as Yang di-Pertuan Agong ended today (12 December) according to Malaysia's unique system of elective monarchy. Abdul Halim (b 1927), who has been Sultan of Kedah since 1958, is the first sultan to hold the supreme office twice (1970-75; 2011-16) and has the distinction of having been both its youngest and oldest holder since Malaysia's independence from the United Kingdom in 1957. In 1971 during his first term he represented Malaysia at the Shah of Iran's famous Persepolis celebrations. His successor is the considerably younger Muhammad V of Kelantan (b 1969). (It is already 13 December in Malaysia.)

Monarchs of the World, with Malaysia updated. Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn didn't last very long as the world's newest monarch.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Edward VIII and the Europe of 1936

Eighty years ago today, the abdication of King Edward VIII signed the previous day took effect with an act of Parliament and Royal Assent, his last act as King. Here then are European monarchies as they were upon the accession of King George VI, 11 December 1936.
I'm not particularly nostalgic for the interwar era--we monarchists had already lost so much and there were some nasty regimes about--but in itself, 15 monarchs of 18 monarchies (the discrepancy exists because Ireland and Iceland were both independent but in personal union with the sovereigns of their former colonial powers, and Hungary was a kingdom without a king) is certainly an improvement upon the present, even though we had just lost Spain. It's striking how many monarchs at this time were without a consort: Wilhelmina, Gustaf V, and Leopold III had been recently widowed; Louis II, Zog, and unsurprisingly the 13-year-old Peter II had yet to marry; Franz of Liechtenstein never married; Carol II and George II were divorced. The former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon brought all the more noticeably then a unique and indomitable presence to the world stage, where she would remain for the next 65 years.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Gone but not forgotten

This must be the saddest British Pathé newsreel ever. And they don't even include Albania, Serbia/Montenegro/Yugoslavia, or Bulgaria, not to mention all the regional German ones. (France, of course, the only major European monarchy of which no film footage exists, had fallen long before the 20th century.) Excellent old footage though, with more recent captions reflecting the perspective of no earlier than the 1970s. (At least one error in the narration: in the beginning of the Russian portion, it is the Tsar's mother, not his wife, on his arm in the procession; Russian protocol gave the Dowager Empress precedence. At the end of the segment, it is indeed Empress Alexandra who walks with her husband.) Beyond Europe, the second half of the 20th century would prove as disastrous for monarchy in Asia and Africa as the first half was for monarchy in Europe.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


I know I should be used to it by now, but sometimes it's really frustrating to me the way most of my fellow classical musicians hold such left-wing political beliefs. The societies that produced the great music that we all love were, for the most part, Christian, not secular; monarchical, not democratic; hierarchical, not egalitarian; and while sometimes multi-ethnic (e.g. the Austro-Hungarian Empire), not multicultural or multiracial in the modern sense. And I believe there are good reasons for all of that. Yes, some of the great artistic figures of history (like Beethoven) chafed at that structure--but there has to be some sort of traditional structure for artistic and unconventional people to rebel against! Strip all that away and you get the desolation of modernism from which I've felt profoundly alienated all my life. Today, ironically, I think it is those of us who question shibboleths like "Democracy," "Diversity," and "Equality" who are the real rebels. And I'm afraid anyone who's pleased by the recent Austrian presidential election results (and I think I've made it clear that I do not approve of Austria having a president at all) is seriously naive about the threat posed to European culture--including classical music--from mass immigration, especially Muslim immigration. Exceptions to the pattern of musicians being left-wing do exist, and I'm grateful for each of them.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Remembering Grand Duchess Augusta (1822-1916)

One hundred years ago today, on December 5, 1916, Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1822-1916) (born Princess Augusta of Cambridge) died at the remarkable age of 94. One of my favourite royal personalities of the 19th century, she was known within the family for her strong opinions. Among the things she disapproved of were her cousin Queen Victoria's refusal to go inside St. Paul's Cathedral for her own Diamond Jubilee service in 1897 ("thanking God in the street?!") and the democratic origins of the new Norwegian monarchy in 1905 ("a Revolutionary Coronation!"; her niece the Princess of Wales wrote back, "it is strange, but these are very modern times.") (Sometimes when I disapprove of something I say to myself, "what would Grand Duchess Augusta say?")

During the preparations for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, 64 years after the last such ceremony, Grand Duchess Augusta was frequently consulted as she was one of the few living people who could remember the coronations of not only Victoria but also her uncle William IV. Born just two years after the death of her grandfather King George III, she lived through the reigns of George IV, William IV, Victoria, Edward VII, and into the reign of George V. Close to her niece Queen Mary, she regretted being too old to travel to London for their coronation in 1911. In the last years of her life, the Great War divided her from her beloved England. But as she wrote to Queen Mary (via neutral Sweden) not long before her death, "it is a stout English heart that beats beneath these old bones." Sadly, she had outlived her son Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich V (1848-1914), though she was spared the mysterious suicide of her grandson Adolf Friedrich VI (1882-1918). Grand Duchess Augusta was the longest-lived member of the British royal family ever until Princess Alice of Athlone (1883-1981) broke her record; she remains its second-longest-lived member by birth.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Vajiralongkorn, King of Thailand

Yesterday, after a curious interregnum of a month and a half, Vajiralongkorn was finally proclaimed KING (Rama X) of Thailand.  Apparently the new King's reign will be retroactively dated to have begun on October 13, the day his father died. Long live the King!!!

I have updated all the relevant pages of my website, including this one, to reflect the fact that Vajiralongkorn is now King of Thailand. Unless there is an official statement to the contrary, I am regarding his 11-year-old son Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti as heir presumptive, though he is not Crown Prince.
King Vajiralongkorn and his son Prince Dipangkorn, 11

Thursday, November 3, 2016

1908 versus 2016

While I'm not interested in baseball per se, some of the commentary about the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908 (how is it that a sport primarily played in the USA can have a "World Series"?) does interest me as it's an opportunity to reflect on all that has changed in the country and in the world since then, as some commentators indeed have.
While no one openly celebrates the many atrocities of unprecedented magnitude that have occurred during that historical interval, progressives (and not a few who call themselves "conservatives") otherwise seem to regard the profound differences between 1908 and 2016 as generally constituting an essentially uplifting narrative of improvement. As a monarchist, and more broadly a traditionalist, I cannot agree. While I acknowledge that it is not hard at a purely materialist level (which is not unimportant) to point out many ways in which life in 2016 is preferable to life in 1908, in every other sense--politically, culturally, socially, religiously, musically, architecturally, demographically--yes, I would prefer the Edwardian world of 1908 (not knowing what was to come 6-10 years later). So, without making any comment on the present U.S. presidential candidates, I cannot help but feel in the course of this campaign (mercifully soon to be over) that some liberals' shrill attacks on the very idea of nostalgia for an unspecified earlier time are implicit attacks on people like me too, even if monarchists are not numerous enough to be singled out. If that makes me "Deplorable," I guess I'm "Deplorable." 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

King Bhumibol Adulydej (1927-2016)

I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bhumibol Adulydej (Rama IX), King of Thailand for an incredible 70 years (1946-2016) and extend my condolences to the Royal Family and People of Thailand. May he rest in peace.

This picture series includes a relatively rare photo of the late King playing the saxophone. Interestingly for Americans, HM was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and played with many jazz legends.

I have updated all the relevant pages of my website (including this one) to reflect the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with mourning black for the main page. It is a little frustrating to not yet be able to list Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn as King; given the known anxieties about the future of the Monarchy, I think it is important that his accession be proclaimed as soon as possible.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monarchy, Religion, and Priorities

I have Catholic monarchist friends who have no problem getting along with fellow Catholics who have no use for Monarchy whatsoever. Ultimately, their religion comes first. The same is probably true in Orthodoxy, though I'm less familiar with those internal debates. That would frankly be more difficult for me. (Thankfully I don't seem to encounter anti-monarchist Anglicans very often.) 

I suppose the fundamental difference between me and those who are firmly committed to the exclusive truth of their particular variety of Christianity is this: while I understand that a Christian must put Christ first (that is, while there are non-Christian monarchies I like, I wouldn't defend Saudi Arabia from justified Christian criticism simply because it calls itself a Kingdom), I'm not willing to put the divisions _within_ Christianity ahead of Monarchism. I would be Catholic if I lived in France in 1685, Protestant if I lived in England in 1570, and Orthodox if I lived in Tsarist Russia, but I would not become Muslim if I lived in Constantinople in 1453...I hope. So, I'm a Christian first, but a Monarchist second, and an Anglican/Protestant (if Anglicanism is Protestant, but that's a whole other discussion) third. To the extent that I identify as an American at all, that's fourth at best.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

William in Hawaii

I'm proud of my brother, violinist and cultural diplomat William Harvey, for this eloquent reflection on his visit to the once and future Kingdom of Hawaii.

Queen Liliuokalani (1838-1917)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


As my website approaches its 16th birthday tomorrow, I was thinking a bit mournfully about a formerly monarchist online acquaintance I'm not in touch with anymore, and it occurred to me, I'm still dreaming of a Wittelsbach restoration in Bavaria, while not only X. but also the actual Wittelsbachs have moved on. If that means I'm politically irrelevant, I guess I'm politically irrelevant. Oh well. I know I'm right, even if the whole world disagrees, and it's not quite the whole world. If you're one of the not-so-happy few (and if you're reading this blog you probably are), thank you, and let's never give up.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Elizabeth II, Charles III, William V, George VII

While I'm glad that most Britons are not republicans and want the Monarchy to continue (that is, most Britons are not evil), far too many don't understand how it works and fail to appreciate the finest Prince of Wales Britain has ever had. As one who deeply admires Prince Charles, I am so sick of this kind of stupidity. I don't think the question should even be asked or articles like this even published. The whole point of a hereditary monarchy is that it's not a popularity contest and you don't get to pick. You keep your mouth shut and accept the lottery of hereditary succession--which has a much better overall track record than presidential elections. But of course modern people think that they have a right to choose everything. They don't. I would support the normal line of succession even if it were 1816 and the heir were George (IV). But as it happens, those who denigrate THIS Prince of Wales are morons and I have no respect for their stupid opinions.

Royal Names

I think the most popular name for European monarchs (defined herein as kings or emperors) has been Charles. Let's see: two kings of England & Scotland, ten kings of France, one king of Portugal, four kings of Spain, seven Holy Roman Emperors, one (beatified) Emperor of Austria-Hungary, nominally sixteen (actually ten) Kings of Sweden, two kings of Romania, one king of Württemberg. Did I miss anyone? Oh yes, there's Naples & Sicily which gets complicated because some kings ruled both with different numerals and then the last King Charles (VII/V) subsequently became III of Spain. But if you're ever in a situation where you have to guess the name of a European monarch, you have better odds with "Charles" than any other particular name.

Louis, especially after Louis IX was canonized, was extremely popular in France, going all the way up to XVIII (Woody Allen's character in "Small Time Crooks": "how high do the 'Louis's go? Anyway, it's a top Louis."), but in other countries, we have four Holy Roman Emperors, two kings of Bavaria, one king of Portugal, and one short-lived king of Spain. Not bad I suppose.

Edward unsurprisingly has been the most popular kingly name in England; the numbering only goes up to VIII, but there were additionally three Kings Edward before the Norman Conquest. But the name never really caught on on the Continent; just one king of Portugal.

Henry is another very important monarchical name; obviously, eight Kings of England. Four Kings of France, seven Holy Roman Emperors, four Kings of Castile.

We mustn't forget my own brother's name, William. Four kings of England (and God willing, one future), four kings of the Netherlands (though the present one insists on going by "Willem-Alexander"), two German Emperors, two kings of Württemberg.

Francis: two Kings of France, two Holy Roman Emperors, and two Kings of the Two Sicilies. (Of course now there's also the pope, but I'm not dealing with popes here.)

Ferdinand was the name of seven kings of Spain, three Holy Roman Emperors (a fourth was king of Bohemia & Hungary but predeceased his father so never became Emperor), two kings of the Two Sicilies, one Austrian Emperor, one king of Romania, one king of Bulgaria.

Philip: six kings of France, six kings of Spain (including the present one), the present king of Belgium.

Leopold: three kings of Belgium, two Holy Roman Emperors.

Maximilian: two Holy Roman Emperors, two kings of Bavaria, one Emperor of Mexico.

Joseph: one king of Portugal, one dubious (Napoleonic) king of Spain, two Holy Roman Emperors.

Alexander: three Kings of Scotland, three Emperors of Russia, one King of Greece, one Prince of Bulgaria, two kings of Serbia/Yugoslavia (though the second did not use "II").

John: one king of England (not a great success), six kings of Portugal, two kings of France, one king of Saxony, one king of Denmark.

Frederick: three Kings of Prussia, nine kings of Denmark, three Holy Roman Emperors.

George: six Kings of Great Britain (III & IV were also kings of Hanover), one additional king of Hanover, one king of Saxony, two kings of Greece.

Peter: four kings of Aragon, five Kings of Portugal (the 4th of whom was also I of Brazil), two Emperors of Brazil, three Emperors of Russia, two kings of Serbia/Yugoslavia.

Otto: four Holy Roman Emperors, one king of Greece, one king of Bavaria.

Harold: two pre-Conquest kings of England, five kings of Norway (including the present one).
This isn't really in any sort of order anymore, is it?

Most other names seem to be associated primarily or exclusively with one monarchy (e.g. Christian in Denmark, Gustav in Sweden, James in Britain).

I'm just typing this, without doing too much research to refresh my memory, on a rainy afternoon for no reason really. Hope someone enjoys it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Off to the Old World!

In about 24 hours, God willing, I'll be departing from Philadelphia to Munich. I'm excited for my longest international excursion since 2011.

Basic itinerary:

16-20 July: Bavarian Castles Tour (Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee), Germany
20-22 July: Southern Cathedrals Festival, Chichester, England, UK
22-24 July: Three Choirs Festival, Gloucester
24-25 July: Birmingham
25-30 July: "Glorious Scotland" tour (Edinburgh, Glamis, Dunnottar, Kildrummy, Balmoral, Stirling, etc.) by Transcendent Travel
31 Jul-2 Aug: Edinburgh
2-5 August: visiting friends in Northern England
5-8 August: London
8-13 August: "To The Manor Born" tour by Transcendent Travel (Windsor, Highclere Castle, Bath, Boringdon Hall, Port Isaac, Tortworth, Hampton Court, etc.)
13-15 August: London

I'll hope to see as many of my UK friends as possible. After my return perhaps I'll post some pictures here.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit Victorious!

I am absolutely thrilled at the magnificent Brexit result from across the pond! While the way ahead will not be quick or easy, the United Kingdom can now once again be a fully independent country. So very proud of all my Vote Leave friends in the UK who worked so hard for this victory and wish I could celebrate with them. We have proved that the arrogant "experts" who care little for what real people love can be defeated. I never thought I would say this, but my respect for the democratic process and the British public has been restored. Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen!

In my adult lifetime there have been three major referendums in the English-speaking world, all of which I wished I could have voted in (though few if any people could have voted in all three): Australia 1999, Scotland 2014, and Britain 2016. Incredibly, all three have now gone the way I wanted, though tonight's is the most surprising as it was the only one of the three in which I backed the anti-status-quo side. Maybe I am not so alone in this world politically after all. Maybe one day elsewhere in the world we will even see a successful referendum to restore a fallen monarchy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Believing in Britain

I haven't been addressing tomorrow's EU referendum in the UK at this blog, but it's too important to ignore completely. It probably will not come as a surprise to any regular readers that I favour a Leave vote ("Brexit"). Below is a collection of recent Facebook posts of mine which I think collectively explain my position sufficiently.

The EU vote on Thursday is not about specific outcomes of particular issues. It is not about immigration, or the NHS, or fishing, or environmentalism, or workplace regulations. Less still is it about any kind of nostalgia for the Empire, prone to that as I am. It is about one thing and one thing only: who will determine those outcomes in the future. If you are British and believe that Britain should be governed by its own government, please Vote Leave.

Nations that abolished their Monarchies are dead to me. Italy died in 1946, Germany and Austria died in 1918, Portugal died in 1910, France died several times a long time ago. The Continent has nothing constructive whatsoever to offer the United KINGDOM. Break free from the corpse!

The Remain camp are awfully fond of Hitler analogies, but the surviving men who actually fought against Hitler want Britain to Vote Leave. RIP Able Seaman Leonard Moore (1924/5-2016)

All I want for Britain is for Princes Charles, William, and George to inherit the throne of a fully independent and sovereign country.

I've been against the EU for a long time, before it was fashionable. I wrote this way back in 2000, when the possibility of the UK abolishing the Pound and joining the Euro was still under discussion (thank God that didn't happen!), and when I was still a liberal on American politics. Some things in Britain and Europe have changed since then (usually for the worse), but I think other points are as relevant today as they were then.

I've never been a big fan of National Review, but when they're right, they're right.

Since the Remain camp's online arguments seem to rely heavily on "look at all the nice reasonable respectable people on our side/eww, look at the nasty extremists on theirs," I'm sure they're just delighted to have a fine upstanding citizen like Anjem Choudary on board. Two can play at that game.

Here (from a former advisor to Pope John Paul II) is a refreshing contrast to the pro-Remain blatherings of our pathetic Archbishop of Canterbury (as well as the Archbishop of Westminster). There is nothing Christian about the EU, which even now is preparing to admit Turkey with potentially disastrous consequences, and yes, Christians should back Brexit. Everyone should back Brexit.

Terrific reception for HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in Liverpool today. While the EU referendum is a distinct issue from the Monarchy, and there are certainly Remainers who support the monarchy and (as I discovered on Twitter) republicans on the Leave side, I would be very surprised if most of Britain's most fervent royalists aren't voting Leave and most of the Crown's enemies aren't voting Remain. While I prefer to try not to read too much into recent reports, it seems likely that HM and HRH would, at the least, secretly not be displeased by a victory for Brexit.

Most monarchists, though we strongly support today's constitutional monarchies and would love to increase their number, accept that the days when European countries were directly ruled by hereditary "absolute" kings and queens unchecked by democratic elections are over. What is not acceptable, however, is for power to shift away from national governments to new undemocratic elites who are no more accountable than the old royal ones but without any of their history, grandeur, or charm. If the "ancien regime" rule of Kings must continue to be superseded by more "modern" systems, let it at least have been replaced with genuine national democracy and not a counterfeit headed towards the dissolution of nations into a single monstrosity.

The European Union is the worst of both worlds: an elite at least as self-serving, high-handed, and contemptuous of the concerns of ordinary people as French aristocrats of the 1780s were alleged to be and lacking any of the respect for "The People" that democrats claim to value (as we've seen in Greece), yet simultaneously alien to the traditional hierarchical and Christian culture of European nations, whose vestiges it may very well one day seek to abolish altogether. The EU is neither democratic nor monarchist, neither progressive nor traditionalist, neither truly socialist nor truly capitalist, but some kind of unholy hybrid of technocratic statism and neoliberal finance that benefits only its own officials. The referendum tomorrow is not a Left/Right issue, it is an Independence issue. As hard as it is may be for some of us to embrace some of our de facto allies, whether you are Labour or Tory, whether in the 1640s you would have fought for Oliver Cromwell or King Charles I, if you believe in Britain, please Vote Leave!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Yes, Brazil needs an Emperor

All sorts of media are noticing the Brazilian monarchist movement, including now the Wall Street Journal. Like many of these articles it's somewhat irreverent, but at least the cause is being noticed. I was among those leaving a supportive comment on the new official Facebook page of Príncipe Dom Rafael do Brasil, though I can't argue in Portuguese.

22 June update: similar article from Global Voices

Friday, May 27, 2016

Yearning for 1898

Last night's thunderstorm project: a chart of European royalty in 1898 to go with the Corpus Christi Vienna photo I posted on Facebook yesterday. This one is different from other similar pictorial charts I've made in that almost all of the pictures come from the same source: Die souveränen Fürstenhäuser Europas (1898-99), giving it a certain stylistic and chronological consistency. The only exceptions are Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898) and Grand Duke George of Russia (1871-1899), who both died before the second volume was published (it depicted only living people) but had to be included to keep to the June 1898 theme. 

Until the shocking murder of Empress Elisabeth in Geneva that September, royal assassinations (apart from that of Alexander II of Russia in 1881) in Europe since the end of the French Revolutionary era had been quite rare; European royalty could be fairly confident they would die of natural causes. However, from then on major royal assassinations became disturbingly frequent (1898, 1900, 1903, 1905, 1908, 1913, 1914), culminating in the horrors of the Russian Revolution two decades later. (It's perhaps worth noting that during the same era presidents of the world's two leading republics, the USA and France, were assassinated in 1865, 1881, 1894, and 1901.) So the summer of 1898 can be seen as the tail end of a relatively calm time, though Europe would enjoy sixteen more years of general peace before the real apocalypse.

For absolute pictorial consistency an 1899 version is here; by then, no thrones had changed hands but the monarchs of Denmark, Austria, and Bulgaria had all been widowed, and the Tsar had buried his beloved younger brother.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Return of the Kings?

An unusually optimistic article on the future of Monarchy from a mainstream source. Let's hope the answer is Yes! Bravo Ed West!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia (1924-2016)

As I was preoccupied last weekend with a New England trip, I neglected to post about Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia (1924-2016), who died last Thursday. I've been following royalty for so long that I remember when his mother Princess Olga (1903-1997), sister of Britain's previous Duchess of Kent and a famous beauty in her youth, was still alive. His father Prince Paul (1893-1976), a patron of the arts and friend of author Robert K. Massie to whose "Nicholas & Alexandra" I owe so much, was Regent for the young King Peter II from 1934 to 1941. Prince Alexander now finally joins his younger brother Prince Nicholas (1928-1954) who was tragically killed in a car crash. He was buried yesterday in Oplenac. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Statesman on defunct monarchies

Endorsement definitely not implied. An irritatingly snarky, irreverent article (not surprising from this source, which can't even spell "Prince Philip" correctly) that I nevertheless can't ignore. These claimants and many more are exactly what the world needs. It's not pleasant to be continually reminded of how much contempt fashionable opinion has for my most deeply felt beliefs. If I occasionally raise eyebrows by straying into other issues, it's partly because I can't stand it that these days monarchism is more likely to be ridiculed than denounced.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

World Monarchs 2016

I know I haven't been blogging recently, despite a fair amount going on in the world of royalty, notably the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II last month. I'll admit I've developed a tendency to say all I have to say on Facebook and neglect this blog. However, I do have a new addition to my website: this chart of Monarchs, Consorts, and Heirs of the World, complete with heraldry and pictures. Looking up the info on the non-European consorts and heirs was interesting, though frustrating in a few cases. Let's just say I'm fonder of some of these monarchies than others. If anyone is still reading this blog, I hope you find this page a useful resource.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Romanian king ill

I am saddened to learn of 94-year-old King Michael's cancer diagnosis, but even sadder that Romania has failed to restore him to his throne when he was healthier during the two and a half decades that have elapsed since his first return.  I am so tired of waiting for Europeans to come to their senses, do the right thing, and restore their Kings. Tired of the squandering of opportunity after 1989. Now it may be too late. Is there any hope anywhere? Why do people accept republicanism? I sure don't, and I never will.

This is what happened in 1990 (I was 12 years old) when King Michael, who is now seriously ill, returned to Romania for the first time since his illegal and invalid 1947 "abdication." Makes me sick to my stomach. How DARE those impudent politicians accuse His Majesty of entering the country "illegally"? It was THEIR government that was and is illegal! He was and is their KING and they should have bowed down and begged his forgiveness. And that goes for Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, and Bulgaria too. The fact that the Balkan monarchies have not been restored since the alleged fall of Communism more than 25 years ago is the single greatest political disappointment of my lifetime.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hope for Libya?

Having just criticized the Washington Post, I suppose I must praise the New York Times for publishing this at all, though they can't resist quoting someone who thinks monarchists are "living in cloud cuckoo land," which I guess is a revealing indication of what much of the modern world thinks of people like me. Long live the Kingdom of Libya!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Trump: Our Charlemagne?

Well this is one of the most bizarre historical analogies I've seen. I'm not a Donald Trump supporter--for one thing, I don't vote--but "Trump is bad because he's like Charlemagne," as if that would be a bad thing, is not an argument that is going to impress those of us who revere Charlemagne, who did far more for Western Civilisation than The Washington Post ever has. The writer, who claims to be a history professor, ignores Charlemagne's monumental positive contributions to European education and culture, which Mr. Trump is unlikely to be able to equal. But then, I love everything this liberal American writer decries: I admire "Altar & Throne" medieval Christendom, which would not have taken shape as we know it without Charlemagne, and believe in Christian Monarchy, not American "Liberty." While those of my American monarchist friends who do support Mr. Trump may feel vindicated by this odd analogy, I'm pretty sure that as Lloyd Bentsen said about Dan Quayle and Jack Kennedy, Donald Trump is no Charlemagne.

Friday, February 19, 2016

On Nostalgia

Regarding Europe, I'm really only nostalgic for periods before 1914, though in those countries that kept their monarchies, subsequent decades can be considered preferable to the present in some ways. But regarding parts of Asia and Africa, I'm quite fond of the moderate Muslim monarchies of the mid-20th-century (particularly those of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran) and the last Christian Empire of Ethiopia, which takes us into the 1970s. So how long it's been since things were sort of acceptable depends on what part of the world I'm thinking about. It would have been interesting to have been alive at the time of the Shah's 1971 Persepolis celebrations, if only to follow the coverage from afar--and then horrify leftists by defending the Shah throughout the 1970s. There are no really controversial monarchical regimes today I'm interested in defending.

The Western Hemisphere, it seems, has been largely a lost cause from a monarchist point of view for a long time, certainly since Brazil fell in 1889, Canada and the Caribbean excepted.

Of course, ideally monarchism should not be primarily about nostalgia: if more monarchies had endured into the present, if one could visit the official websites of the current Shah of Iran or Emperor of Ethiopia or King of Hungary or Tsar of Russia or King of France, there would be no need for us to be as fixated on the past. I want Monarchy to belong to the future as well, but sadly the world does not seem to be listening.

Persepolis Remembered

The BBC's new documentary on the Shah of Iran's 1971 celebrations of the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire is now online. I do not, of course, endorse the BBC's evident anti-Shah bias, but there is some terrific footage in this, and some eloquent pro-Shah interviewees as well. Grand spectacle has been a part of all great monarchies, but in Iran too many people were seduced by evil revolutionaries like Khomeini while the naive Carter administration put pressure on the Shah that only emboldened his enemies, paving the way for the Revolution (in my estimation one of history's three worst, the other two being the French and Russian) that destroyed nearly everything he had achieved for Iran. Implicitly blaming the 1971 Persepolis festivities for all Islamic terrorism since 1979 is unfair and myopic. As for SAVAK, well, when I see what republicans in today's considerably gentler constitutional monarchies do with their Freedom, I have a hard time feeling sorry for the Shah's opponents. In the end he was if anything too indulgent. But I wish I could have called such a king mine.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Communism: A lesser evil?

I have long despised the conventional wisdom that Communism "in theory" was at all admirable, or superior to Nazism. I feel so strongly about this issue that I would like to reproduce this comment of mine, made in the context of a Facebook debate on the Allied bombing of Dresden (71 years ago this weekend), here:

I absolutely and categorically deny that the ends of Communism, let alone the means, were in any way preferable to those of Nazism and am frankly appalled at the suggestion that they were. As a Monarchist the very idea of Equality is utterly repugnant and abhorrent to me, and not "better" or "ideal" at all, even in theory. While the rich are obliged to help the poor as they can, it is meet and right that some should be rich and others should be poor and that there should be different classes in society. Communism is inherently incompatible with monarchy, aristocracy, and traditional hierarchical Christianity and as such is fundamentally evil to the core, and not only in how it was (inevitably) applied. I would rather die than live in a world without Monarchies. From my perspective, communism is worse than fascism because fascism can sometimes coexist (however uneasily) with Crown and Church, while communism cannot. Nazism, it must be said, was not all that different from communism in its attitudes towards the royal families (Hitler reportedly once joked that the only good thing about the Social Democrats was their anti-monarchy platform), though it was initially happy to take advantage of royalty and monarchists when convenient.

There is no civilisation without inequality; there is no beauty without inequality. The divine order God created is unequal. This is why attempts to abolish it
always lead to greater misery. Thank God for Inequality! And may the satanic spirit of egalitarianism be crushed forever.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Indian Monarchy?

Recognising that no empire lasts forever, I might not mind the decline of the British Empire so much (though it didn't need to collapse as quickly as it did) if it had been replaced by indigenous monarchies. Alas, republics are the norm throughout most of the former Empire, despite having no roots in the pre-colonial societies of Asia and Africa. Could India, which became independent in 1947 and a republic in 1950, have become a Monarchy instead?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Germany in 1900

In honour of today's 145th anniversary of the proclamation of the German Empire, and to go with my new Taschen book, I've created a new page of my website on Germany in 1900. It is too often forgotten that Imperial Germany was not just the Kaisers but included some twenty other reigning monarchs--kings, grand dukes, dukes, and princes--who I rather enjoyed looking up to get their pictures and dates. My favourite of these rulers is probably Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen, the brilliantly artistic "Theatre Duke." Between Wikipedia and Die souveränen Fürstenhäuser Europas
I was able to find age-appropriate pictures of almost everyone, except for Alexander Prince of Lippe (who was mentally ill, reigning with a regency), and the morganatic second wife of Heinrich XXIV Prince Reuss.

It has long struck me as one of the greatest injustices of modern history that, whatever one thinks of the causes of World War I, surely the interior German monarchies cannot be blamed at all, yet they were all dragged down in the apocalypse of November 1918. May they never be forgotten, and somehow one day restored to their charming and occasionally eccentric glory.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Monarchist Vision of Europe

As the real Europe of 2016 seems to slide further into the abyss, one can only retreat into fantasy. Here then is the Europe of my dreams. This, I think, is more or less how things should be, though rather than imagine that the World Wars etc. never happened (since in that case royal genealogy would presumably be completely different), this supposes that at some unspecified point since then Europeans somehow repent of their republican and modernist errors. The ten actual current monarchies are mostly as they are, though supporters of traditional male primogeniture will be pleased at the little changes I made to Sweden and Belgium, symbolizing a wider rejection of pathological egalitarianism. Seniority is retroactively dated to whenever the sovereign actually became head of their respective house. 

Recognizing that some things cannot be undone even in my imagination, I've invented new institutions for the German and Habsburg monarchies that take some contemporary realities into account. Very few changes to current borders are proposed, except for dividing Italy in two (a compromise between unionism and reactionary separatism that would probably satisfy no one), and returning most of Belarus and Ukraine to Russia (with part of the latter to the Habsburgs), and Kosovo and Macedonia to Serbia (or perhaps Greece in the latter case). (As much as I would love to restore historic Prussia to Germany, I don't see how this could be accomplished without repeating the horrors of 1945-50 in reverse.) As a gesture of moderation and compromise, I've implicitly allowed Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (as well as Switzerland & San Marino), to remain republics; I have ideas for a few of those but for this chart decided to confine my restorations to royal families commonly identified with their respective countries. In the disputed cases of France and the Two Sicilies, I've gone here with the genealogically senior lines only because the "Heir" question is less complicated. While some may wish to quibble with a few proposed details, I have no doubt that a Europe headed and perhaps even governed by these people would be better than what we actually have in 2016.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi (1919-2016)

Just learned that HIH Princess Ashraf Pahlavi (1919-2016), twin sister of the Shah of Iran, has died aged 96, the first royal death of the new year (as far as I know). I have her 1980 memoir, "Faces in a Mirror," which I inherited from my grandmother in 1994. A remarkable woman, fiercely loyal to her brother, she is now again united with him. May she rest in peace.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Incoherence of the Austrian Republic

Watching the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's concert, I am once again struck by the impression that modern Austria is the most schizophrenic and hypocritical of all the European republics that used to be monarchies. Everything they pride themselves on, everything they market to tourists, everything they present to the world, is from the time of the Habsburg monarchy and indelibly linked to it. There is no attempt to hide this or pretend that Austria is all about being Modern. Yet they insist on maintaining this drab ahistorical Republic, in which even the use of "von" is illegal, voting for horrid Socialists, and treating my friends in the heroic Die Monarchisten - Schwarz-Gelbe Allianz (whose stickers I proudly display on my car) like irrelevant harmless eccentrics at best, traitors at worst. The mind boggles. Austria, like the rest of Central Europe, needs an Emperor, not a President! Restore the Habsburgs!!!

(At 14:00 there's an interlude in which Dame Julie talks about how Queen Elizabeth II recently became Britain's longest-reigning monarch, but the length of her reign was exceeded by Emperor Franz Joseph's, with footage of the Emperor, concluding the narration in the room where he died in 1916.)