Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

27 July 1980

reminded me that today is the 30th anniversary of the death in Cairo of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran (1941-79). The Shah was betrayed by his Western "allies," particularly the incompetent American President Jimmy Carter (who 30 years later, not content with having helped destroy Iran, would cheer on the collapse of yet another monarchy in Nepal), and rejected by the people for whom he had tried to do so much. His regime was not perfect but infinitely superior to what Iran has endured since, as anyone familiar with the history of revolutions should have been able to predict. R.I.P.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heartbreaking Contrast

I was reading Wikipedia's article on East Prussia and was struck by two adjacent photos that I think when juxtaposed together illustrate as starkly as possible the difference between traditional Christian monarchical Europe and modern secular republican Europe, all the more so because the hideous "House of the Soviets" stands on the very site of Königsberg Castle, tragically destroyed along with so much else in World War II. Whatever its flaws, the Europe of Kings and Princes cared about Beauty and left an unparalleled legacy of magnificence, of which Königsberg Castle was but one of countless examples. The Europe of Presidents and Bureaucrats is ugly to the core, and is fittingly represented by the House of the Soviets. The French writer Anatole France (1844-1924) perhaps foreshadowed the lesson of these two buildings when he wrote, "For every monarchy overthrown the sky becomes less brilliant, because it loses a star. A republic is ugliness set free."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Le Roi Danse

For some time I had wanted to watch the 2000 film Le Roi Danse, about the relationship of King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) (Benoît Magimel) and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) (Boris Terral) whose music provided the soundtrack for the splendid early years of the Sun King's personal reign. The movie is not available on DVD in the US; however, tonight a friend informed me that it is available (in 14 parts; here is the first) on YouTube, so I finally saw it. While pausing thirteen times to let the next installment load is not the most satisfying way to watch a movie, that should not be allowed to detract from Gerard Corbiau's triumph in capturing ancien regime France in all its glory.

Few movies could be as appealing for lovers of both the French monarchy and Baroque music (expertly performed here by Musica Antiqua of Cologne). Gorgeous sets and costumes bring the court to life, while Magimel's performance perfectly captures the king's complex mixture of regal aloofness and artistic enthusiasm. In Louis XIV the badly behaved genius Lully had a patron who fully understood the power of the arts and lavishly exploited it to the hilt, and was not without skill as a dancer himself. As with many monarchs who lived and reigned a long time, historically the image of the elderly, intolerantly pious, and warmongering Louis can tend to overshadow that of his younger self; this movie puts the glamorous, sparkling, talented, and fun-loving Louis of the 1660s and 70s back in the center of our imaginations. How the once-great nation of France could go from Louis XIV to the elected common nonentities that have dared to claim to be its heads of state for the past 140 years is beyond me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Today (my 32nd birthday, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's 33rd) France, for some reason, celebrates the beginning of its evil Revolution, which swept away centuries of tradition & heritage, destroyed a great civilization, and led to a vicious bloodbath, in the long term paving the way for the horrors of 20th century totalitarianism according to which unlimited atrocities are justified in the name of creating a New Order. (More from RadicalRoyalist here; from MadforMonaco here; from this blog in 2008 here and here; from TeaAtTrianon here; from Confessions of a Ci-Devant here.)

This year's festivities in Paris were apparently marred by criticism over the presence of various African leaders of former French colonies whose human rights records are less than stellar. Monarchists can be grimly amused by the complaint that "[i]t would be no small paradox that during a celebration of the values of the Republic, these values should be flouted by the presence of torturers, dictators and other predators of human rights, and that instead of pursuing them, France honours them." Paradox? No, actually, I think it makes perfect sense. The Republic was born in blood and terror; surely the presence of "torturers" and "dictators" affirms, not flouts, its real "values."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Default Republicanism?

Robert Hardman criticises British politicians' neglect of the monarchy and explains its oft-misunderstood financial situation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Queen in New York

Having concluded a triumphant tour of her Dominion of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived in New York City this afternoon for their third visit there, where the Queen addressed the United Nations and laid a wreath at Ground Zero.

Congratulations to my friend Cian Horrobin (a fellow participant in the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in Toronto last month) who appears in this CBC clip expressing his support for the Canadian monarchy earlier today.