Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tonga embraces Democracy

One of the world's last "absolute" monarchies has given way to "Progress," as King George Tupou V welcomes Tonga's first popularly elected, "commoner" Prime Minister. While I'm glad that there does not appear to be any significant movement to abolish the monarchy entirely, I fail to see what is so wonderful about this development. It's not like elected commoners have done such a spectacular job throughout the rest of the world...

Elizabeth II, Charles III, William V

To his credit, Prince William has no time for suggestions that he, rather than his father, ought to succeed the Queen. Looking forward to embarking on married life with Kate Middleton, he is not in a hurry. As Peter Hitchens points out, such speculation is at best stupid and at worst sinister. I happen to believe that the Prince of Wales will make an excellent King, but more importantly, a hereditary monarchy is not a popularity contest; that's part of the point, and those who don't understand that might as well be republicans.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

April 29

Prince William and Kate Middleton have decided that their wedding will take place on Friday, April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey. While I'm slightly disappointed that I will not be in London for the event as previously speculated, watching on TV will be more comfortable and probably almost as exciting, with a more comprehensive view of events.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of London has quite properly suspended his suffragan who made such nasty remarks on Facebook.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Altar and Throne

Decent Anglicans are horrified by the Bishop of Willesden's insulting online comments about the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton, in which he predicted the marriage would only last seven years and expressed his contempt for the royal family and monarchy in general, intending to plan a "republican holiday" to France. (Telegraph, Mail) Frankly I can't help wishing that Henry II or Henry VIII were around to deal with this neo-Jacobin creep. Lambeth Palace pathetically refused to censure the bishop, claiming that he is “entitled to his views.” Well, he may be entitled to any idiotic views he likes as an individual, but he is not entitled to be a bishop or use his stature to promote such treasonous nonsense. Pete Broadbent is supposed to be a bishop of the Established Church of which HM the Queen is Supreme Governor. As such he is obligated to pray for the Queen and Royal Family and to honour & obey her in all things but sin. There is no place for republicans in the hierarchy of the Church of England, the Church that King Charles the Martyr died to save. If Bishop Broadbent doesn't like that, perhaps he could find a better occupation--or better yet another country.

On a lighter note, this morning at my own parish guest preacher Joseph "Skip" Ryan (former pastor of Park Cities Presbyterian Church) gave an interesting sermon for Christ the King Sunday. He began by noting, unfortunately correctly, that Kingship is something that doesn't sit well with Americans, perhaps especially Texans, a statement that I would have to agree with if qualified by "most." Rev. Ryan went on to note that Americans tend to think of kings as being either ruthless despots or ineffectual figureheads, and jokingly wondered what our Canadian Rector (himself a loyal subject of the Crown) was thinking when he invited an Irish-American Presbyterian to preach on Christ the King. Such generalizations about "Americans" tend to make me feel that I don't really belong in this country, but I appreciated Rev. Ryan's subsequent comments critical of Oliver Cromwell; indeed, he later assured me privately that he is not anti-monarchist at all. During our own Rector's Greetings after the sermon, I got some unexpected free publicity when Bishop Burton, pointing out that the most famous Presbyterian in the world is Queen Elizabeth II of the Church of Scotland, introduced me as "the most stalwart monarchist in the United States" and encouraged the congregation to look for a "rebuttal" at my website, the URL to which I then provided at his request. I'm not sure this blog entry qualifies as a rebuttal, especially as I mostly agreed with the bulk of Rev. Ryan's sermon, but thanks Bishop Burton!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

William and Kate

After years of waiting and speculation, the media (Telegraph, BBC, Guardian, Daily Mail, New York Times) finally got their big announcement. HRH Prince William will marry Kate Middleton (ancestry) in the spring or summer of 2011. While I rather doubt they read this blog, I congratulate the happy couple on their engagement and wish them all possible joy and success. The timing of what will probably be the biggest royal wedding since that of William's parents thirty years earlier seems perfect; 2012 is the year of his grandmother's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, so London has enough going on that year, and waiting any longer would just be ridiculous. Prince William is unlikely to want to evoke parallels with his parents' wedding in St Paul's Cathedral, so in all likelihood the ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey. I hope the exact date will be announced soon, so that I'll know if it will coincide with my choir's trip to England (July 16-August 1). If it's during or shortly after the tour (personally I'm hoping for August 6), I'll be in England for the royal wedding! Somehow though I don't think we'd get to sing for it...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bertie in America

The divide between Americans who love British royalty and Americans who do not is nothing new, as indicated in this New York Times article about the visit of the teenage future King Edward VII to the United States 150 years ago this month.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lords "reform" at 11

On the occasion of the 11th anniversary of New Labour's expulsion of all but 92 hereditary peers from the House of Lords, an unforgivable act of constitutional vandalism, Sean Gabb's 1998 defence of the peers' role in Britain's ancient constitution is worth a re-read. Too bad the so-called "Conservatives" currently governing the UK, who won't even try to reverse this travesty, don't care. A documentary on "The Lords' Tale" is available at YouTube.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Queen on Facebook

HM the Queen has joined Facebook....or rather, an official Facebook page has been established for the British Monarchy. The page, launched this morning, already has over 75,000 fans, including me of course. Actually I did not have to do anything today to be included among the fans; it seems that the new official page has taken over the URL of an older unofficial page of which I was already a fan.

Unfortunately, it appears the numbers may be slightly inflated by republicans who have joined only to insult the monarchy and argue with real fans; hopefully they will remain a tiny minority. The page promises that "any offensive comments will be deleted," but given the nature of the internet that will be a big job if they're really serious and comments continue to be open to anyone who clicks "Like." I must say I don't understand the mentality of people who join a Facebook page or group that is diametrically opposed to their actual beliefs; I would never join an anti-monarchist page or group in order to argue with them. But then consistency and courtesy have not been known as republicans' strong points, have they?

I wish the Royal Household the best in its admirable continuing efforts to take advantage of the best of modern technology in promoting an ancient institution. This Facebook page is a perfect example of how monarchy can and should adapt to the contemporary world without sacrificing tradition and dignity. God Save the Queen!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Resurrecting the Czar

A symphony colleague called my attention to an article in the latest issue of The Smithsonian (available online) on the continuing controversy over the remains of the Romanovs, as well as the monarchist movement in Russia. I find myself in the awkward position of being inclined to agree on the facts with the scientific establishment (which holds that the remains of all seven martyred members of the immediate Imperial Family have been definitively identified) despite sympathizing ideologically with Russian monarchists who, like the Russian Orthodox Church, tend to still be skeptical. I can see why in an age when our cause tends to be dismissed as foolish and irrelevant by the Powers That Be, after so many decades of Soviet lies, monarchists might be inclined to regard the pronouncements of any contemporary establishment with suspicion, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, and it does seem to me that these scientists know what they are talking about even if they are not Orthodox Christians or monarchists. I hope that one day the issue can finally be resolved so that all those interested in the Romanovs, whether scientifically or ideologically, can finally stop quarreling with each other, though that seems unlikely at present.

It is encouraging, however, to read about the efforts and activities of monarchists such as Georgy Fyodorov of the Russian Imperial Union and artist Xenia Vyshpolskaya who specializes in portraits of the tsars. They have not given up, and neither should their sympathizers abroad. Боже, Царя храни!

Swedes and their allegedly "Reluctant Monarch"

Swedes, or at least the Swedish media, have been atwitter about the revelations of a new biography of King Carl XVI Gustaf, subtitled "The Reluctant Monarch". But the Telegraph article admits that few have actually changed their opinion of the King and most are inclined to give the royal family some privacy. Perhaps this book in the end will not have as much of an impact as its writers and some of their colleagues in the press seem to hope.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Imperial Mexico, and other blogosphere highlights

I usually try to avoid posts that simply link to specific entries of blogs that I already feature permanently on the side of my own blog, but sometimes my fellow royalist bloggers (most of whose blogs are rather more colourful than mine) are so inspiring that I have to make an exception. Andrew Cusack has a great post on Mexico's imperial heritage encompassing both Emperors, Augustin (1783-1824) and Maximilian (1832-1867). Coincidentally, Mr Cusack's excellent "Mexico Week" has immediately preceded my own Dallas Symphony Orchestra's presentation of "Latin Masterworks" under the direction of the young, beautiful, and gifted Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra with whom it has been delightful to work.

Also recommended are Elena Maria Vidal's account of her meeting with Archduke Imre of Austria and Prince Bertrand of Orléans-Braganza (Brazil) (of which I couldn't help being a little envious) and Gareth Russell's 255th birthday tribute to Marie Antoinette.