Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vienna mourns its rightful Emperor

As the culmination of more than a week of mourning, funeral ceremonies were held in Vienna today for Archduke Otto, Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ending with the moving traditional ceremony of humility at the Capuchin crypt which I watched live online via Austrian TV. The dignity and solemnity of the occasion and the large turnout of respectful crowds were impressive. For one brief shining moment, Vienna seemed to give HI&RH the status in death he was tragically denied in life, unlike the incorrigibly leftist BBC which to its shame still insists on referring to him as "Mr Habsburg" (not even acknowledging his doctorate). The Austrian capital will likely never witness such beautiful and majestic sights again...unless, of course, the monarchy is restored...

England/Belgium 2011

Ironically, blogging may be a bit light as I spend the next four weeks in two of Europe's seven remaining kingdoms, Britain and Belgium. I will be singing daily services with the choir of the Church of the Incarnation in Canterbury Cathedral (July 18-21), St George's Chapel Windsor Castle (July 23-24), and Westminster Abbey (July 25-31). Music lists (subject to change) are here and here. Following the choir tour I plan to visit a friend in Antwerp, Belgium, after which I will return to England for the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester (August 6-13). Please contact me if you are a reader of this blog who lives near any of those places! I look forward to what should be an exciting trip, my fifth visit to the United Kingdom and my first to the Kingdom of Belgium.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Canadian Monarchy and the Family

Andrew Coyne eloquently celebrates the Canadian monarchy, emphasizing its resonance with the human ideal of the family and daring to defend the hereditary principle as a positive good, not "anachronistic" at all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

George Lascelles, Earl of Harewood (1923-2011)

George Lascelles, the 7th Earl of Harewood, eldest grandson of King George V, has died at the age of 88. Lord Harewood, unlike most of his royal relatives, was a noted and enthusiastic authority on classical music, particularly opera. I always found the intersection of my profession and my hobby represented by his life fascinating. His son David (b 1950) now becomes the 8th Earl. RIP.

Royalty and Los Angeles

On the final stop of their brilliantly successful North American tour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enthralled Los Angeles, with Hollywood "royalty" thrilled to meet the real thing. Prince William amused everyone with a reference to Colin Firth's performance as his great-grandfather. But it wasn't all glitz and glamour; the royal couple also visited Inner-City Arts students. (Note to headline writers: will you please stop referring to HRH the Duchess of Cambridge as "Kate Middleton"? There is no such person anymore!)

Meanwhile, Los Angeles monarchist Charles Coulombe pays tribute to Archduke Otto.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Canada and the Cambridges

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge conclude their Canadian tour, leaving behind a nation of born-again monarchists, here is a video compiling the highlights. See more videos of the tour at Canadian Heritage.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Archduke Otto von Habsburg (1912-2011)

The phrase "end of an era" is used so often that it can become virtually meaningless, but sometimes it truly does apply. That is certainly the case with the death this morning in Germany of HI&RH Crown Prince Otto of Austria-Hungary, otherwise known as Dr Otto (von) Habsburg, at 98. Consider: when Archduke Otto was born on November 20, 1912 (about a year and a half before the assassination of his great-uncle in Sarajevo that would precipitate the war that would destroy his family's empire), he was third in line (after his great-uncle and his father) to the throne of the second-largest country in Europe, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on which his venerable great-great-uncle Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916) still sat. All of the Eastern Hemisphere except for France and its colonies, Switzerland, Portugal, and China (the last two nations' monarchies having fallen only recently) was still ruled by monarchies. Otto was one of the last, and certainly the most prominent, surviving members of European royalty born before World War I (of living royalty only the relatively obscure Infanta Maria Adelaide of Portugal, 99, is older), and the senior head of any European royal family. His titular reign (from the death of his father Bl Emperor Karl on April 1, 1922) lasted for more than 89 years, which would have made him by far the longest-reigning sovereign in European history, substantially surpassing the 72-year reign of France's Louis XIV.

Archduke Otto, who agreed to accept the Austrian Republic in 1961 and subsequently represented republican Bavaria in the European Parliament, ironically was perhaps not as fervent a monarchist as his more enthusiastic loyal supporters, though his article Monarchy or Republic and this interview are always worth re-reading. However his political career can be seen as an attempt to preserve for the great Habsburg dynasty a role in European affairs when the world had denied it its traditional royal one. A respected figure in European politics and the only Member of the European Parliament to speak all its languages, he would have made a splendid Emperor. As long as Archduke Otto lived, into the 21st century, the remarkable theoretical possibility remained (however remote) that the Habsburg monarchy could be restored without skipping a single generation. Now this last remaining link to the Old Order is gone. While I am sorry that the de jure Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary has died, I am even sorrier that the idiotic modern world never accorded him the rank to which he was entitled. Recquiescat in Pace, Your Imperial & Apostolic Majesty.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Super Royal Weekend

While I might not be blogging as much as I would otherwise due to being in Vail with the Dallas Symphony, this is quite a weekend for royal news. In Monaco, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene exchanged vows in a glittering outdoor religious ceremony. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continue to delight enthusiastic loyal crowds in Canada, despite a few noisy spoilsports in Montreal. And voters in Morocco endorsed King Mohammed VI's proposed constitutional reforms, according to which the King (though retaining more power than his European counterparts) will share the responsibilities of government with a prime minister. In three very different countries, royalty are proving abundantly this weekend that monarchy remains relevant and adaptable to the modern world.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Princess Charlene

The Principality of Monaco now has a Consort for the first time in nearly 30 years, with Prince Albert II having married Charlene Wittstock in a civil ceremony at the palace. A religious ceremony will follow tomorrow. Congratulations to Their Serene Highnesses!