Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

A self-proclaimed Irish republican confesses her admiration for the British Monarchy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Controversial Versailles exhibition upheld

Prince Charles-Emanuel de Bourbon-Parma was unsuccessful in attempting to halt an exhibit at Versailles by an American "pop artist" which he felt was disrespectful to his royal ancestors. Note the claim by the republican in charge of Versailles that a victory for the prince would have been "tantamount to proclaiming that the Revolution didn't take place." Really? (If only it hadn't!) It is interesting that even after 138 years of having their way, French republicans are so defensive that they can see a single legal dispute like this as a threat.

In a related story, Frenchmen of the heroic Vendée, stronghold of Catholic and royalist resistance to the Revolution, demand that the First Republic's horrifying massacres of men, women, and children there in 1794 be recognized as a "genocide." It's unfortunate, though, that the Vendean historian quoted can only go so far as to claim that the Vendée atrocities constituted "faithlessness of the Revolution to its own principles," when in fact it was the French Revolution's evil principles themselves that were the problem, and led naturally and logically to the extermination of those who did not wish to live under the revolutionaries' new order.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I'm excited about celebrating Christmas Eve tonight by singing, for the first time in my life, in traditional Christmas Eve services, as a member of the choir of the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas. Music will include the Missa ad Praesepe by George Malcolm (1917-1997), who was organist at London's Westminster Cathedral.

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, I will fly to Indianapolis to join my family there.

I would like to wish my readers a very merry Christmas!

The Passionate Prince on YouTube

The recent BBC documentary Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince is now available in nine ten-minute installments beginning here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Labour MPs back disestablishment

Never able to leave well enough alone, Labour MPs are seizing on the Archbishop of Canterbury's technically true but unwise observation that disestablishment of the Church of England "would not be the end of the world" to advocate bringing it on, since, after all, it would not, in the strict sense, end the world. Predictably, the [disgraceful and tragic] expulsion of the hereditary peers from the House of Lords in 1999 is used as precedent. And unfortunately, they have a point: if it's "wrong" for peers to hold seats in Parliament based on heredity, if the liberal principle of "non-discrimination" is to govern everything, surely it's also "wrong" for clergy of a particular religion that now represents only a minority of British people to hold on to theirs. What's left unsaid is the question of what all this ultimately means for the monarchy itself, beyond the Roman Catholic succession issue. I shudder to think of how disestablishment might affect the next Coronation...

Jean d'Orléans in the WSJ

The Wall Street Journal interviews the recently engaged Jean, Duc de Vendôme (b. 1965), son of the most widely recognized claimant to the French throne. (H/T: Royal Musings)

I'm glad to see the WSJ paying attention to non-reigning royalty (though the reader comments--open only to subscribers--are uniformly disgusting), and that HRH persists in believing in the future of the French monarchy, no matter how unlikely its restoration seems at present. But there are a few misleading statements in the article.

(1) The [Spanish] Bourbons (the French Bourbon senior line became extinct in 1883) and the Orléans are not two separate families or dynasties. They are different branches of the same family, the Capetians, who ruled France from 987 to the Revolution and then again until 1848, and remain on the thrones of Spain and Luxembourg. Both the Duke of Anjou ("Louis XX") and the Duke of Vendôme are descended in the male line from King Louis XIII (1601-1643), the former from his elder son Louis XIV (1638-1715) and the latter from his younger son Philippe Duc d'Orléans (1640-1701). While it is not incorrect to state that "[t]he Orléans are related to Louis Philippe I, who ruled France between 1830 and 1848 and was related to Louis XIV's younger brother," why not specify that the Orléans are descended from Louis Philippe I (1773-1850), who was descended from Louis XIV's younger brother? "Related" makes it sound like some vague connection less direct than it actually is. As direct male-line descendants of Henri IV (the first "Bourbon" King of France) and his son Louis XIII, in a sense the Orléans family are "Bourbons" too.

(2) Luis Alfonso de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou (b. 1974), is not a "distant cousin" of the King of Spain. His father was Juan Carlos's first cousin, making them first cousins once removed. That is not a "distant" relationship!

(3) The idea that a Spaniard cannot be King of France is not really an "old tradition," but rather an odd way of summarizing the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, which stipulated that the crowns of Spain and France could never be united. The main issue, however, is not that stipulation (since Luis Alfonso is not in line to the Spanish throne), but rather the fact that Louis XIV's grandson Philippe Duc d'Anjou (from whom the Spanish and Italian Bourbons, including Luis Alfonso, all descend) renounced for himself and his descendants any claim to the French throne in order to be recognized as King Felipe V of Spain (1683-1746); the validity of that renunciation is the key dispute between supporters of "Louis XX" and supporters of "Henri VII" (Jean's father).

That said, kudos to Prince Jean for his determination to remain above "Left" and "Right" and "sow ideas" for Restoration. Vive le Roi---whoever "le Roi" is! (This blog would gladly acclaim either Louis XX or Henri VII rather than the French Republic!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

More on Luxembourg

Gerald Warner weighs in on Grand Duke Henri and euthanasia. A petition in support of the Grand Duke is here.

(H/T: Jørn K. Baltzersen)

As I pointed out at my friend Mr. Baltzersen's blog, Mr. Warner, whose blog I've often admired, does not seem to be defending Grand Duke Henri so much as reproaching him and other Catholic monarchs for not being even more intransigent on issues such as euthanasia, even if it led to their abdication. This is not a position I'm willing to take; in fact I would probably not take it even if I shared Mr. Warner's Roman Catholic faith.

Like it or not (and I don't!), "Democracy" is held sacrosanct in modern Europe (except of course when popular referendums might hinder the agenda of the EU...), and it is not within the ability of the continent's remaining constitutional sovereigns to change that. Catholics opposed to euthanasia, abortion, etc., are obliged to work within the democratic process like everyone else, not rely on monarchs whose constitutional limitations in most cases were set before they were born to "save the day" or risk the fall of the monarchy with grand gestures of defiance. As I've said many times in arguments with those who while not unsympathetic to monarchy in principle don't see the point in today's "emasculated" versions, symbolism matters, and I would much rather Europe's monarchies survive by making compromises with modernity than allow themselves to be replaced by republics whose very existence would be repulsive and repugnant and would certainly not do Catholics any good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Loyal Thai answers republican Economist

Thailand's former Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai responds to The Economist's recent criticisms of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

(H/T: Jørn K. Baltzersen)

Duke of Braganza in London

Speaking in London, Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza, delivered an acclaimed speech on the ills of Portugal, to whose throne he is the most widely recognized claimant.

(Thanks to R.J. Stove.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Anarchy in Greece?

David Flint of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy points out that Greece's republican politicians, united only in their contempt for King Constantine, cannot even maintain order in the absence of the Crown.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why I support Caroline Kennedy for U.S. Senator...

...because anti-dynastic Americanist republicans do not. Ruth Marcus writes in the Washington Post:

More unsettling, political dynasties are fundamentally un-American. This is not -- or is not supposed to be -- a country in which political power is an inherited commodity. The notion that Caroline Kennedy could simply ring up the governor and announce, or even politely suggest, her availability grates against the meritocratic ideal. After all, even the children of politicians generally take the time to climb the usual rungs rather than parachute into top jobs.

Confusingly, Marcus ends up endorsing Caroline, precisely because her appointment would make her a "national princess" in a "fairy tale," for which other more consistently anti-dynastic commentators have criticized her:




The last link is a good example of why I eventually concluded I could have nothing to do with American paleoconservatism, even though Daniel Larison has written some things I agreed with. Dynastic politics are a sign of health, not "sickness," an indication of the natural human desire for family leadership fighting its way through against the artificial constraints of 18th-century republicanism and "meritocracy."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hitchens on Prince Charles and the monarchy, cont.

Peter Hitchens responds to those responding to his original post on the Prince of Wales. An excerpt:

I groaned at my admirer Tony Dodd's cliche-ridden classification of Prince Charles's life as a "privileged yet worthless existence". I was glad to see others take him to task for this boring, ill-informed comment. If we must have republicans here, can they at least argue sensibly? The Prince's Trust, and many other of Charles's activities, are plainly thoughtful and worthy things, the fruit of a serious and generous mind. The 'privilege' of the monarchy (as any reader of Shakespeare must know) is all about maintaining its mystery and standing. In any organisation or institution, the senior figures are hedged about with various special facilities and privileges, whether they be the key to the executive washroom, the chauffeured car, the corner office, the big desk, the pretty PA, and of course the invariable use of a title "Managing Director", "Prime Minister" etc..

How can informed people continue to imagine that the monarchy is expensive and luxurious? Why are the same people unbothered by the huge government car fleet, and the flunkeydom and perks which attend the lives of ministers? Why do they snivel about the formal respect granted to Majesty (which stands for our sovereignty over ourselves) - yet not object to the gloopy sycophancy of the mad, Stalinesque standing ovations given to political leaders for their dire orations?

We know now about the Queen's Spartan breakfast table, the Tupperware and the ancient radio. These people are not the Bourbons or the Romanovs, who were themselves maligned in the same way by revolutionaries. Revolutionaries, on the other hand, usually end up living in gross luxury once they are safely in power.

As a patriotic Protestant Englishman, Hitchens is of course entitled to prefer the style of monarchy represented by the Windsors to that of the Bourbons and Romanovs, though this blog supports all three dynasties. I'm glad though that even from his relatively Whiggish perspective he can acknowledge that French and Russian royalty were also unfairly "maligned...by [hypocritical] revolutionaries."

Sark Update

Apparently the glorious new era of Democracy in the Channel Island of Sark isn't going so well. What a surprise.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gloria in Extremis

Beliefnet's "Idol Chatter" blog notes a New York Times Style Magazine profile of "punk-princess"-turned-devout-Catholic Princess Gloria von Thurn & Taxis.

Royal Wedding in Belgium

Uniting two ancient houses, Archduchess Marie Christine of Austria (niece of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and great-granddaughter of Emperor Bl. Karl) married Count Rodolphe of Limburg-Stirum at Saint-Rombout Cathedral in Mechelen, Belgium on Saturday.

Some more pictures here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Queen Rania's Top Ten

Spoofing David Letterman, HM Queen Rania of Jordan explains why she started her own YouTube channel:


Ill Thai King misses speech

Troubled Thailand's beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 81, was too ill to give his traditional birthday speech, said his son and heir Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.

More on Grand Duke Henri

The BBC and the Times report on the euthanasia crisis in Luxembourg.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maria Theresa on "Freedom"

Yesterday on the airplane en route from New York to Dallas I finished Julia P. Gelardi's new book In Triumph's Wake: Royal Mothers, Tragic Daughters, and the Price They Paid for Glory. Drawing parallels between the lives of Queen Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504) and her daughter Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England (1485-1536), Empress Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary & Bohemia (1717-1780) and her daughter Marie Antoinette, Queen of France (1755-1793), and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (1819-1901) and her daughter Victoria, German Empress (1840-1901), it's a good read that I would recommend to anyone interested in those royal personalities.

Coming across this quotation on the "Enlightenment," from a letter of the great Empress to one of her sons, I thought readers might find it particularly interesting, as relevant today as it was in the 18th century.

Nothing is more pleasant, nothing more suitable to flatter our egos as a freedom without restrictions. "Freedom" is the word with which our enlightened century wants to replace religion. One condemns the whole past as a time of ignorance and prejudice, while knowing nothing of that past and very little of the present. If I could see these so-called enlightened figures, these philosophes, more fortunate in their work and happier in their private lives, then I would accuse myself of bias, pride, prepossession, and obstinacy for not adjusting to them. But unfortunately daily experience teaches me the opposite. No one is weaker, no one more spiritless than these strong spirits; no one more servile, no one more despairing at the least misfortune as they. They are bad fathers, sons, husbands, ministers, generals, and citizens. And why? Because they lack substance. All of their philosophy, all of their axioms are conceived only in their egotism; the slightest disappointment crushes them beyond hope, with no resources to fall back upon.

Grand Duke of Luxembourg to be stripped of remaining powers

Luxembourg's politicians, determined to force through the legalization of euthanasia recently approved by parliament, intend to strip Grand Duke Henri, apparently a faithful Catholic like Queen Sofia of Spain, of his remaining constitutional powers after he warned that he would not sign such a bill. It is particularly irritating that even those who personally opposed the bill, like Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker himself, are committed to this step, indicating that ultimately their highest loyalty is to their real god of "Democracy," rather than either their Sovereign or their conscience.