Monday, May 15, 2023

Coronation of King Charles III

While I'm obviously no longer the frequent blogger I used to be, since I don't want this blog to be considered completely defunct, I can hardly ignore here the glorious historic Coronation of last Saturday 6 May (covered extensively on my social media), in which Charles III was crowned King of the United Kingdom in Westminster Abbey. I was of course up at 4:15 AM Dallas time to watch the event live on YouTube, following along in my printout of the liturgy, and with millions around the world was thrilled by the spectacle, the spiritual power of the occasion, and the music. As a Loyalist I joined enthusiastically in the Homage of the People. God Save the King!

I assume that readers (if I still have any) have by now seen plenty of Coronation coverage elsewhere, so I will not attempt to be comprehensive in this rather belated post. Instead, I wish to share some links to photo galleries, videos, and thoughtful articles (more or less in reverse chronological order of appearance, as is fitting for the blog format) that you might not have seen, as well as the official photographs taken in Buckingham Palace after the event.

Charles A. Coulombe, After the Crowning

Fr. Steve Rice, God Bless America, God Save the King

Zewditu Gebreyohanes, Britain is Lucky to Have a Monarch (Telegraph)

Benjamin Guyer, Charles III and Kenotic Monarchy
Ruth Dudley Edwards, Coronation of King Charles is a reminder...

John Martin Robinson, Coronation Diary

YouTube: The Coronation Weekend (Prince & Princess of Wales)

Saint Thomas Church: A Service of Thanksgiving for the Coronation of HM King Charles III

CNN: In pictures: the coronation of King Charles III
BBC: Extraordinary photos from King Charles III's Coronation

Mail on Sunday: If we heeded republican wails...

Daily Mail: The new Firm assembles

Paul Shakeshaft, Why a Coronation Matters

Sohrab Ahmani, Coronation is a ritual humiliation

Esmé Partridge, In Defense of the Philosopher King

Rebecca Mead, The Self-Justifying Philosophy of King Charles

Tom Holland, Our bronze age coronation rites seem to speak to a modern love of the sacred

Aris Roussinos, Britain Needs King Charles the Weird

The Critic: Crowning Moment

Anna Tyzack, What sort of man is King Charles, and what sort of king will he be? (2022)

Monday, March 13, 2023

Review: Elena Maria Vidal's "My Queen, My Love"

Most Americans are probably not aware that the US state of Maryland was originally named after Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), daughter of King Henri IV of France (1553-1610) and wife of the ill-fated King Charles I of England (1600-1649). Readers seeking an introduction to this unjustly neglected historical figure would do well to immerse themselves in this charming and engaging book by Elena Maria Vidal, who appropriately enough lives in Maryland.

"My Queen, My Love," which covers the title character's life from her childhood in France through the births of her own children in the 1630s on the eve of the English Civil War, is a historical novel, so includes fictionalized dialogue, but is firmly based on historical research like any biography. Its style vividly brings the complex and colourful world of the 17th century to life, from Italy [homeland of her mother Marie de Medici (1573-1642)] to France to England. The central importance of religion is evident from the outset. Daughter of the pragmatic convert Henri IV, the devoutly Catholic Henrietta Maria finds herself in an impossible situation as wife of the staunch Anglican Charles I in what is by then a predominantly and fervently Protestant country, with even the King's own high church Anglicanism increasingly deemed too "catholic" by some. While the author clearly shares Henrietta Maria's devout Roman Catholicism, it is to Vidal's credit that the sincerity of King Charles who believes that his Church of England is truly Catholic is depicted in a well-rounded manner. I particularly appreciated the writer's evident love of liturgical beauty as reflected in lavish descriptions of Catholic ceremonies including sacred music. Henrietta Maria's enjoyment of the secular arts, so scandalous to the dour Puritans especially her own participation in Masques, is a consistent theme as well.

Anglicans like me who revere Charles as a Martyr, aware of his and his wife's fervent loyalty to each other during the terrible trials of the Civil War which (after the time period covered by this book) would end in his execution and her widowhood, are accustomed to thinking of their marriage as an ideal devoted Christian one, as indeed it later became. However it must be admitted that this was not always the case. While vaguely aware that King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria had had difficulties in the early years of their marriage, I had not thought much about the details until I read this book. One sensitive issue is that in order to gain French approval for their 1625 marriage Charles had had to make various promises, particularly those related to the Queen's Catholicism, that once back in England he finds himself unable to keep. It particularly galls her, understandably, that money from her dowry ended up being used to fund a war with her native France! While Vidal's Henrietta Maria never falters in her ultimately heroic love for Charles, the reader can also see without dismissing his point of view how Charles might have felt frustrated at times.

To the extent that the narrative of the challenging early years of their marriage has a villain, it is surely George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628). A favourite of Charles's father James I (1566-1625), Buckingham continues his leading role in British affairs as a sort of substitute older brother (Charles's real older brother Henry having sadly died at 18 in 1612) of the young and insecure new king. Wary of losing his pre-eminence should the Queen replace him as the King's most trusted confidant, Buckingham (though capable of great charm) does everything he can to undermine the Queen's position and behaves with shocking disrespect to her, while also being egotistically heedless of his unpopularity among the common people who tend to blame him rather than the King for the failures of his aggressive foreign policy. Charles either cannot or will not see this other side of him, and when Buckingham meets his end the reader is likely to feel that he had it coming. Whether the final chapter's theory about who was ultimately behind the assassination is true, I cannot say, but there is no doubt that Buckingham's death finally smoothes the path for Charles and Henrietta Maria to eventually enjoy a happier marriage.

Whether new to the period or an experienced student of Stuart history, any reader will be sure to finish this delightful book knowing Queen Henrietta Maria better than before, almost like a personal friend. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in royal history and look forward to further installments as given her tumultuous life there is certainly more material to come.

Friday, February 24, 2023

175 Years Without A French King

Today is the 175th anniversary of the abdication (24 February 1848) of the last French king to date, Louis Philippe (1773-1850). The fall of the "July Monarchy," itself a product of the revolt against the last Legitimist Bourbon king Charles X (1757-1836) eighteen years earlier, was the first of the Revolutions of 1848, which shook thrones across Europe, with Bavarian and Austrian monarchs also abdicating, though only the French Bourbon-Orléans dynasty lost their throne entirely. With the fall of Louis Philippe (a direct male-line descendant of Louis XIII), the last compromise between the Capetian dynasty that had reigned in France since 987 (except for the period between 1792 and 1814) and the more moderate components of the legacy of the French Revolution failed, and while there would be one more Emperor, no more Kings have reigned in France since then. 🇫🇷

Supported by the new liberal capitalist bourgeoisie, the initially popular Louis Philippe (who reigned as "King of the French" rather than "King of France") never won the hearts of either the traditional Right (who resented his 1830 usurpation) or the growing industrialized working classes. ("Les Miserables" depicts, not the original French Revolution, but a much smaller unsuccessful 1832 revolt against Louis Philippe's government by those unhappy that ousting Charles X had not resulted in a Republic.)

Not wishing to share the fate of his cousin Louis XVI (for whose death his pro-Revolutionary father had voted before meeting the same fate himself), he quickly fled to England where he spent the last two years of his life. (Louis-Philippe's wife, Queen Marie-Amelie (1782-1866), was a niece of the executed Queen Marie Antoinette.)

Many modern Catholic royalty are descended from Louis Philippe, including the present kings of Belgium and Spain. Since the extinction of the senior Bourbon line in 1883, many (most?) French royalists have accepted his descendants as rightful heirs not only to the 1830-48 constitutional monarchy but to the ancient French monarchy, currently claimed by Prince Jean, Comte de Paris

May France one day return to her one true form of government, the Monarchy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

RIP Constantine II, King of the Hellenes (1940-2023)

Yesterday came the news from Greece every royalist had been dreading. Eternal memory to Constantine II (1940-2023), King of the Hellenes (1964-73). Had he not been deposed, he could have reigned nearly 59 years. Exiled for 46 years (1967-2013), at least he got to spend his last decade in his beloved Greece. 

Prompt and thorough coverage as always at The European Royal History Journal. The entire royalist community joins in sorrow with the Greek and extended European Royal Families (especially those of Spain, Denmark, and Britain) in mourning King Constantine. More today: Constantine and Anne-Marie of Greece: A Love Story for the Ages.

Crown Prince Pavlos, born on 20 May 1967 in Athens a month after the colonels' coup that would later first exile and then depose his father, has succeeded his father King Constantine II as Head of the Royal House of Greece and, for monarchists, de jure King Pavlos (Paul) II of the Hellenes. [During the time of the Monarchy (1863-1973), when discussed in English Greek royal names were usually translated into their English equivalents, but the younger generations of Greek royals today generally prefer to use the Greek forms.] The King is dead; Long live the King!

Weirdly, King Constantine II (d. 10 Jan 2023) died the day before the centennial of the death of his grandfather King Constantine I (d. 11 Jan 2023).

Here are the Telegraph and Times obituaries. The King is often blamed for the political instability that began in 1965, leading to the coup of 1967 that he tried and failed to reverse, but let's not forget that his position that the Prime Minister should not be able to make himself also the Minister of Defense in order to head an investigation into his own son was in itself entirely correct.

Shame on the miserable gang of soulless traitors calling themselves the Greek "Government" for denying King Constantine a state funeral. The King was the internationally recognized Greek head of state for nine years, served in the Greek armed forces, and won an Olympic gold medal for Greece. He was as Greek as anyone has ever been. These scummy politicians were not worthy to tie his shoelaces. I curse and condemn the Greek Republic and pray for its destruction. I reiterate my formal repudiation of any interpretation of Christianity that concedes the application of Romans 13 to republics that have displaced monarchies, and urge the denunciation of this pointless cruelty from every Orthodox Christian pulpit in the world.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

RIP Benedict XVI (1927-2022)

His Holiness Benedict XVI (née Joseph Ratzinger), who reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of the State of Vatican City from 2005 to 2013, has died at 95, nearly four months after Queen Elizabeth II.

I particularly appreciated his love of classical music and concern for liturgical Beauty, without which in general I confess that it’s unlikely Christianity ever would have appealed to me. He cared, and understood. Aesthetics Matter. A highlight of his pontificate was his September 2010 visit to the United Kingdom. His delight at the Anglican choral tradition at Westminster Abbey was evident, and his pontifical mass at Westminster Cathedral was a musical feast of Byrd and Bruckner. 🇬🇧

Many commentaries will probably not mention that as a young man in 1951 he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber (1869-1952), a Bavarian monarchist who had also conducted the funeral of King Ludwig III (1845-1921) thirty years earlier and never abandoned his belief in the Monarchy. As the former Fr. Ratzinger was the last living priest ordained by Cardinal von Faulhaber, his death breaks a last living link with the Kingdom of Bavaria.

The undoing of his greatest accomplishment, the 2007 liberalisation of the Latin Mass, by his successor is a terrible tragedy.

I wish he hadn’t abdicated. But perhaps that’s not for us in this world to ever understand. May he rest in peace.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Our Gloriana

Here is an eloquent reflection on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, "Our Gloriana," by Bishop Anthony Burton (Rector of Church of the Incarnation 2008-22, who baptized me there in 2009).

[Edit: and here is one from a Catholic friend at Georgetown University: The Queen's Jesuit Values.]

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Australian Monarchists and their Queen

Congratulations to my friend, Australian composer and monarchist Alexander Voltz, on this excellent and emotional article on the experiences and reflections of Australian monarchists. (Warning: a disturbing passage from a vile student "newspaper" is quoted.) Other young Australian monarchists are quoted in this article, which also quotes republicans.

A new poll indicates that about 60% of Australians favour keeping the Monarchy, up from previous levels.