Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Discussing the French Revolution

I was pleased to be mentioned in my friend Gareth Russell's eloquent reflection on Monarchy and the French Revolution, even if he is a tad too even-handed towards republicanism. Coincidentally, the same day he posted it, I received in the mail information for The Rockford Institute's 2011 Summer School on the French Revolution (July 12-17). I don't always agree with American paleoconservatives and no longer subscribe to Chronicles, but TRI Vice President Christopher Check's introductory letter opening with a defense of Marie Antoinette was right on the mark. I would attend myself if I weren't leaving for England with my choir on July 16, but I'd like to encourage readers of this blog to seriously consider attending, especially if you live anywhere near Rockford, Illinois. Scholarships are available for students and high school teachers. I went in 2005 (experience described here) & 2007 and had a great time. Anyone interested in learning and socializing in an intellectually stimulating environment with a counterrevolutionary perspective on what arguably remains the most destructive event in the history of Western Civilization should not miss this year's summer school.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Prince William in Australia

Prince William has been delighting the people of allegedly republican-leaning Australia. Articles in the London Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald and this ABC News video demonstrate both his natural warmth with the crowds and his serious dedication to duty which is surely making his grandmother proud. Truly those of us who value the future of the British and Australian monarchies are tremendously fortunate in this admirable prince, more worthy than whom no elected president could possibly be.

Friday, March 18, 2011

United Italy at 150

Yesterday, March 17, was the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of Vittorio Emanuele II (1820-1878) of Sardinia as King of Italy; Sunday, March 20, will be the 150th anniversary of the formal abolition of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and thence the end of the reign of his traditionalist rival King Francesco II (1836-1894), who had been defeated at his last holdout of Gaeta the previous month. "MadMonarchist" reflects on his ambivalence towards the anniversary. I would probably support the Kingdom of Italy if it were still around, but since it isn't, do not see that the 150th anniversary of its unification via anti-clerical republican thugs is anything to celebrate. Italians themselves don't seem particularly enthusiastic either; note that this article in trying to find a positive note says that Italians "still take pride in [their] abundant beauty, art, food and architecture"--all things that have nothing to do with Garibaldi's unified state and existed long before it, when Italy was a beautifully complex patchwork of regional monarchies, small organic republics, and the Papal States.

Royals and the Earthquakes

Natural disasters have been dominating the news lately, first with the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and then the even more devastating one in Japan. Visiting Christchurch, Prince William honoured the victims of both disasters with a moving speech and toured the area. In Japan, for only the second time in history Emperor Akihito addressed the nation. Respect for the monarchy may be one reason why the Japanese people have risen to the occasion so admirably. My thoughts are with the people of New Zealand and Japan, both constitutional monarchies whose royalty are serving as symbols of unity.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Royal Wedding Music

I am delighted to learn that the new music director of the Charlotte Symphony (of which I was Assistant Principal Cellist from 2004 to 2008) will be conducting the London Chamber Orchestra at the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey on April 29. I played under Christopher Warren-Green's direction in 2005 when he first guest conducted in Charlotte and recognized him from having seen him on TV conducting the orchestra at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall a few weeks earlier. Mr Warren-Green is a great musician and it is a wonderful coup for Charlotte to have landed him as music director. Congratulations to Mr Warren-Green and my former colleagues in Charlotte!

I am also pleased that in eschewing pop stars in favour of classical sacred music, William & Kate have demonstrated that for all their "modern-ness" (and I'm sure that as private individuals they probably do have some more contemporary tastes and outlooks than die-hard monarchists like me), they understand the importance of tradition and quality at solemn, major events such as their marriage.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Britain's pathetic republicans

British anti-monarchists would like to think of the royal wedding as a boost to their horrid cause...but most actual British people aren't interested, even if they're not all diehard monarchists either. Abroad, German attitudes are summed up by the journalist who admits that Kate Middleton is on the covers of popular magazines, but no one cares who the President of Germany is. (Note to Germans: there is a solution for that.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Groom's father left out?

The Prince of Wales seems to be in an awkward position as the nation prepares for his son's wedding, reports the Washington Post. His mother is as venerable and revered as ever; his son and daughter-in-law-to-be are young and glamorous. Caught in the middle, the heir to the throne is neither. I have long felt that Prince Charles has been unfairly treated by the media and the public; he has carved out a unique and genuinely useful role for himself arguably surpassing all previous Princes of Wales, and I think he will make an excellent King. But even if this were not the case, the sinister idea that William should "bypass" Charles (even to raise the question is to assume essentially republican premises) strikes at the heart of the very idea of a hereditary monarchy, which is supposed to be above the volatile whims of popular opinion. Unfortunately it appears that monarchists have their work cut out for us in persuading the people of his mother's realms to fully embrace Charles as their future king.

(Thanks to my mother Susan Raccoli for calling my attention to this article.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Other Emancipation Proclamation

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the liberation of the Russian serfs by Tsar Alexander II, the New York Times glimpses into the past. Unlike his correspondent Abraham Lincoln, the Tsar managed to end slavery in his country without a bloody civil war, though as the article notes there were other important differences between the Russian and American systems. Tragically, Alexander II was assassinated twenty years later, apparently confirming the adage that "no good deed goes unpunished."

The King's Speech revisited

I still think The King's Speech was a good film and maintain that movies based on history are not obliged to be strictly "accurate" in every respect. Nevertheless I appreciate its leading right-wing critic (who happens to be the brother of its leading left-wing critic) taking the time to respond in depth to me on his blog. I will admit that Peter Hitchens does make me wonder if some monarchists (including myself) might have been too quick to unequivocally embrace the movie. Yet I also felt that Oscar-winning screenwriter David Seidler (a former stammerer himself) made a good case for his work, whatever Christopher Hitchens says. Certainly no other recent film, not even The Queen, has provoked as much serious discussion of the British monarchy in the 20th century.