Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crowning Insult

A. N. Wilson indignantly deplores New Labour's latest attacks on the monarchy. His point that the Queen's constitutional obligations to Anglicanism are surely far more offensive to militant secularists than to most actual sincere adherents of other religions is a particularly important one.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Edward VII & Theodore Roosevelt

Continuing our Anglo-American theme....

For some reason the New York Times chose to assign the review of David Fromkin's The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners to the notorious republican Johann Hari. Mr. Hari may have a legitimate point in questioning whether this alleged "friendship" between two men who never met was all that important, but unsurprisingly for a Brit who despises his own country's greatest institution, there is much that is sloppy and haphazard in the review.

Mr. Hari claims that upon Edward VII's accession, "[a] relative of the king, Princess May of Teck, summarized the public mood in Britain when she howled, 'God help us all!'" Princess May of Teck (who by that time would have been known as Mary, Princess of Wales) was not just a "relative," she was his daughter-in-law (would it have been so difficult to say so?), and it is difficult to imagine anyone less likely to express herself by "howling," nor am I aware of any evidence of horror at her father-in-law's accession. The remark, if made, was more likely to have been an expression of grief and shock at the loss of a beloved queen and grandmother-in-law without whom many who grew up during her reign could not imagine Britain. Mr. Hari also flippantly refers to the much-maligned Kaiser Wilhelm II as "half-mad," as is this were an incontestable statement of fact, conveniently ignoring that the very newspaper in which he is writing, the New York Times, lavished praised on the Kaiser in 1913 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his accession for having maintained the peace in Europe.

The next time the New York Times wishes to review a book on the British monarchy, perhaps they could assign the review to someone with more credentials to his name than adolescent pseudo-rebellious contempt for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Eagle and the Crown

Despite their country's anti-monarchist beginnings, Americans have a long history of fascination with the British monarchy. I am hardly the first American to gaze lovingly across the Atlantic. Dominic Sandbrook reviews Frank Prochaska's The Eagle and the Crown: Americans and the British Monarchy.

(Thanks to my father for the link.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Savoy-Greece marriage

Marriages between members of different royal families used to be standard but are now rare. Special congratulations are therefore due to HRH Prince Aimone of Savoy (great-great-great-grandson of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy) and HRH Princess Olga of Greece (great-granddaughter of King George I), who married in a civil ceremony at the Italian embassy in Moscow on September 16 and will have a religious wedding in Greece on September 27.

More on Democracy and "Choice"

William S. Lind explains why opponents of Bush's foreign policy, though rightly against McCain, cannot have much confidence in Obama either. The last line makes it clear why this article belongs here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prince William to become RAF search and rescue pilot

Ending speculation that he was about to leave the military to focus on royal duties, Prince William has chosen to become a full-time pilot with the Royal Air Force.

Republican leads Australian opposition

Australia's opposition conservatives, the Liberals, have chosen republican Malcolm Turnbull as their leader. However, monarchists deny that this will aid the republican cause in the near future, since even Turnbull admits that no constitutional change will occur in the reign of the present queen.


Robert Hardman predicts that the Diamond Jubilee will eclipse the Olympics.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Duke Paul of Oldenburg in Chicago

The Institute of Christ the King announces that HH Duke Paul of Oldenburg (b. 1969) will be in Chicago as the guest of honor at a September 27 recital by tenor Trevor Mitchell to benefit the Institute's restoration of its church there, the Shrine of Christ the King. Duke Paul, the son of Duke Friedrich of Oldenburg and Princess Marie Cecilie of Prussia (herself a great-granddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II and great-great-granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II), is a convert to Catholicism and a supporter of the Latin mass. He and his wife, the former Maria del Pilar Mendez de Vigo y Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (whose father is descended from the secret second marriage of Queen Maria Cristina of Spain) have four young children, whose ancestry I've posted here. This looks like a very special event; it's not too often that royalty, classical music, and traditional Catholicism converge in the United States. I encourage any monarchists in the Chicago area to attend.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Prince Harry "coolest young royal"

Prince Harry, 24 tomorrow, can also celebrate being voted Britain's "coolest young royal," with voters citing his charity work and military service.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monarchy, Choice, and Power

Recently TheMonarchist did me the honour (British spelling intentional) of inviting me to join their blogging team. I posted my first contribution there today, and hope that readers of this blog will enjoy it as well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

King Henry Wako Muloki (1921-2008)

Uganda officially buried the traditional King of Busoga, who died last week at 87.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

William and Harry to bike through southern Africa

Princes William and Harry plan to bike a thousand miles across South Africa and Lesotho to raise money for orphans and AIDS victims.

Swaziland celebrates independence

King Mswati III, 40, led celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Swaziland's independence from Britain.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Costs of a Living in a Fairy Tale Kingdom

The New York Times doesn't understand why most Swazis still love their king despite their poverty and his wealth. Admittedly Mswati III is a difficult monarch for modern Western monarchists, accustomed to monogamous constitutional sovereigns of countries with high standards of living, to defend. But the people of Swaziland would do well to remember that not once in history has abolishing a monarchy ever ameliorated poverty; in fact, the lot of the poor has usually gotten worse in the wake of such revolutions, often accompanied by greater repression.

While I wish for the sake of the monarchy's long-term future that King Mswati had a more astute sense of public relations, and hope that he and his court will be mindful of what happened in Nepal, I don't think His Majesty needs lectures from the newspaper that covered up the Ukranian famine of the 1930s. And in an era when most of the world's remaining monarchs are forced to constantly kowtow to the restraints of liberal democracy, I have to admit I'm tempted to find it oddly refreshing for a king to refuse to toe the line.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Showtime's Henry VIII won't get fat

I enjoyed the first two seasons of The Tudors, willing to overlook the various historical inaccuracies. However, I'm dismayed by reports that the producers have no intention of making Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who admittedly has always been a somewhat eccentric choice for the lead role, appear to gain weight during the third season. The 2009 installments will presumably cover the period during which Henry VIII (who ceased exercising after a jousting accident in 1536 when he was 45, an event depicted in the second season) achieved his famous girth. Unlike all the other historical details that have been altered so far, most of which are only bothersome to history buffs, the aging king's obesity is a central feature of Henry's place in the popular imagination, and to keep him slim throughout his later marriages would seem to stretch suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. One wonders how viewers are supposed to feel particularly sorry for Catherine Howard if her husband (who was more than twice her age and overweight by the time he married her in 1540) still looks like a 31-year-old model and movie star.