Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Atlantic on Europe's non-reigning royals

I have mixed feelings about The Atlantic's new article on Europe's non-reigning royalty, focusing on Prince Leka of Albania and Archduke Karl of Austria, but it's worth reading. I for one will never give up on the dream of Restoration.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Shen Yun

Finally surrendering to its famously ubiquitous advertising, I saw Shen Yun on Saturday afternoon. I knew that the Chinese Communist regime is against them, and vice versa, and that was enough for me to be, at the very least, curious. I loved it. The dancing was some of the most spectacular I've ever seen, and an instrumental erhu soloist was impressive too. An animated electronic backdrop makes it look as if dancers are moving in between the real stage and the fantastical worlds and eras depicted on the screen. I've seen live theater and I've seen animated movies, but I've never seen them put together quite like that. Everything is beautiful and colorful, except for when evil communist characters (quite rightly depicted as dark and sinister) appear.

Most of all I found it wonderfully refreshing to see a production that unlike too many contemporary Western opera, ballet, or theater productions was not trying to "deconstruct" or "update" anything, simply an unapologetically lavish, beautiful, and proud celebration of an ancient traditional homogenous and monarchical culture: "China Before Communism." (Why can't we have more shows that do that with European culture?) While I don't necessarily agree with all of the Falun Gong (I learned that its adherents apparently prefer the name "Falun Dafa") movement's ideas, I certainly do agree with its anti-communist ones. My only criticism would be that, accustomed to ballets in which the plot is explained in detail in the program, I wasn't always sure exactly what was being pantomimed in a few of the numbers. But everything is so gorgeous to look at, with so much elegant athleticism, that that didn’t matter much. If you've ever wondered what all that advertising is about, I highly recommend Shen Yun. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Real French Choice

As France for some reason prepares for yet another presidential election, let's remember what the only real choice is. (I don't take Bonapartism very seriously, but I have a few monarchist friends who lean that way, and I do respect Prince Jean-Christophe and his genealogically splendid marriage.) 

This would be a fantastic graphic if only the numbers were correct. But it is inconsistent to count Louis XIX (1775-1844) (who might have nominally reigned for a few minutes in 1830 and was the senior Bourbon from 1836) and Louis XVII (1785-1795) (who never reigned at all but thanks to the subsequent restoration of his uncle Louis XVIII is universally counted) but not the de jure monarchs of the Orléans and Bonaparte lines. Jean should be Jean IV, in honour of his great-grandfather Jean Duke of Guise (1874-1940), who would have been "Jean III" from 1926. Meanwhile Napoleon would be Napoleon VII. ["Napoleon IV" was the Prince Imperial (1856-1879), followed by "Napoleon V" Victor (1862-1926), followed by the present pretender's grandfather "Napoleon VI" Louis (1914-1997).] I wish I knew how to do things like that.

Friday, April 1, 2022

From George II to Paul I, 1947

While this is unlikely to draw as much attention even for monarchists as the centennial of the death of the last Emperor of Austria, today is also the 75th anniversary of the death of King George II of Greece (1890-1947) and (since he was childless and divorced) the accession of his younger brother King Paul I (1901-1964). King George had had a turbulent reign (1922-24 & 1935-47), exiled first by the First Republic and then again by World War II. ("In my profession one must keep one's suitcase packed," he joked.) Reports of his death at 56 were initially thought by some to be a morbid April Fools' joke, but no, just like a very different sovereign of a very different monarchy 25 years earlier, he really did die on April 1. King Paul turned out to be the only one of the seven modern Greek kings whose reign (1947-64) began with the death of his predecessor and continued without interruption until his own death. Here is my "updated" chart of European monarchies 75 years ago, with George's and Paul's beleaguered nephew King Michael (1921-2017) still hanging on for a few months in Romania as the Iron Curtain was descending. 

King George II (1890-1947)

King Paul I (1901-1964)

Remembering Bl Karl

Today I attended a mass in honour of the centennial of the death of Emperor Bl. Karl (1887-1922) at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Flower Mound, Texas. The brand new church is one of the most attractive new churches I've seen, with expansion of the sanctuary and a new Casavant pipe organ yet to come. The celebrant was Fr. Allan Hawkins, originally from England, who had corresponded with Bl. Karl's son & heir Archduke Otto (1912-2011) for decades. It was Fr. Hawkins who in 2010 invited me to give a talk on sacred music at St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church in Arlington, of which he was then the pastor. Not having expected until he invited me to be able to attend any events commemorating this centennial, I was very glad to be able to attend this mass, which concluded with appropriate English words to Haydn's immortal Kaiserhymne, the Habsburg imperial anthem.

Blessed Karl, pray for us!

Centennial of the Death of Bl Karl

One hundred years ago today, the holy Emperor Karl I of Austria-Hungary (1887-1922), died at only 34 in exile in Madeira. A true royal saint of modern times, he had done his best in his brief reign (1916-18) with the challenging situation he inherited and did everything he could to end the horrors of the Great War and serve his people, but treacherous and ignorant men thwarted and betrayed him. Emperor Bl. Karl, pray for us and for the restoration of the Habsburg Monarchy!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Prince William and the Commonwealth

Upon the conclusion of his and the Duchess's tour of Belize, Jamaica, and Bahamas, HRH the Duke of Cambridge issued an unprecedented statement obliquely acknowledging that he may never be Head of the Commonwealth, or King of any of those countries:

Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. What is on the minds of Prime Ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children. The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities.

I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future. In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon. But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.

Catherine and I are committed to service. For us that's not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have.

It is why tours such as this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn't what is on my mind. What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.

Under the circumstances it's hard to see how HRH could have said anything very different; indeed, there was never any hard evidence for the ubiquitous media assertion that the main purpose of the tour was to discourage those three countries from imitating Barbados and breaking with the Crown. But let's remember that the point of the Crown is not the glory of the Royal Family but the well-being of the people it serves, and so while it may be true that Prince William himself would not be particularly distressed by a reduction in the number of his future Realms, those who live there who do believe in the Monarchy and have looked forward to having him as their King one day would be. So would all monarchists and believers in the essential Royal dimension of the Commonwealth throughout the world, including me. I know that I for one would cease to have any interest in the Commonwealth were this aspect of it to be sacrificed in favour of yet another bland platitudinous international organisation stripped of any central role for the Crown.

I do specifically regret the use of the word "foreign," which seems to me to concede to republicans their mistaken premise that the Monarchy is "foreign" to countries like Belize, Jamaica, or Barbados. In fact since independence the Crown is theirs as well; the Queen transcends such narrow concepts as single nationality and legally belongs equally to all 15 of her remaining Realms. It would have been better to describe the recent tour as "international." As the grandson and heir of the Queen of Jamaica, Prince William cannot truly be considered a "foreigner" in Jamaica. (He and Catherine certainly did not look like "foreigners" when participating in local dances!)

While Peter Hitchens tends to be more negative than I am about the contemporary royals' concessions to modernity (and incidentally I also have a bit of a soft spot for Rishi Sunak since I met him in 2015), I basically agree with him here:

The British Monarchy will not save itself by sucking up to its enemies, or by making penitent speeches about slavery.

Barbados has dumped the Crown and Jamaica is going the same way.

Left-wing radicals aren't that bothered by slavery in general, though it is a useful whip with which to scourge what is left of the old British establishment.

Always remember that the biggest slave empire of all time was created by Soviet Communism in its Gulag camps.

And there is a good argument for saying that modern China does the same thing, especially to the persecuted Uighur people, in its vast network of cruel prisons.