Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Queen

Author Robert Hardman, known for his companion book to the excellent 2007 BBC documentary Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work, has written a new comprehensive book on Queen Elizabeth II, Our Queen, which promises to be one of the most insightful and revealing portraits of the most famous woman in the world ever published. To whet royalists' appetite, the book is being serialised in the Daily Mail. In Part I, Prince William expresses his admiration for his grandmother in a wide-ranging interview. In Part II, Mr Hardman sheds light on the Queen's character and how she copes with the challenges of her unique role. Part III discusses the saga of the royal yacht Britannia and the Queen's relationships with her Prime Ministers. Part IV examines changes in the operations of the royal household during the present reign, and the serialisation concludes with a variety of anecdotes including how the late Queen Mother deliberately timed a hip operation to take attention away from her late granddaugher-in-law's 1995 Panorama interview.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Wittelsbach Museum

A new Museum of Bavarian Kings, devoted to the Wittelsbachs who ruled Bavaria from 1180 to 1918, opened to the public earlier this month. The museum sounds fascinating and I'm sure I would enjoy visiting myself. However, Bavarians--traditionally the most conservative and Catholic Germans--should not be content to confine the great Wittelsbach dynasty to their beautiful country's past. The ancient family must become a central part of Bavaria's future too: time to restore the monarchy. Long live the Kingdom of Bavaria!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Willing King for Libya?

Prince Mohammed el Senussi, great-nephew of King Idris I, is ready to serve as King of Libya if its people want him. Leaders of the rebels, typically reluctant to share any power or glory, deny that he and the royal family are to have a constitutional role in post-Gaddafi Libya, but other Libyans surely back a return of the King. Hopefully their rightful aspirations for constitutional monarchy will not be thwarted by republican scheming inside and outside Libya as has happened in far too many other countries on the brink of restoration. Monarchists can oppose making the Crown dependent on electoral consent without violating our own principles, since we do not claim "majority rule" as the basis of all political legitimacy (whether it is prudent to do so today is another matter), but if democrats are true to theirs, they must allow a free vote on the restoration of the monarchy and respect the result whatever it is. Long live the Kingdom of Libya!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Battle over French royal inheritance

I hate the French Republic as much as any royalist, and lean towards the "Orleanist" position on the post-1883 royal succession, but the late Count of Paris (who would have been King Henri VI) (1908-1999) did not exactly distinguish himself with his bizarre vendetta against his children from whom he was determined to exclude his vast fortune. Now via the courts his heir Henri "VII" and his surviving siblings may be poised to recover their inheritance. I never understood the late Count's behaviour, and his children probably have the right of the argument, but it leaves a bitter taste in the royalist mouth that they must rely on the laws of the French Republic (whose citizens have a complex relationship with royalty) to make their case.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Archduke Felix of Austria (1916-2011)

His Imperial & Royal Highness Archduke Felix of Austria & Hungary, the last surviving child of Emperor Bl Karl and Empress Zita, died yesterday in Mexico at the age of 95, about two months after his elder brother Otto. The generation of Habsburgs born when their family still reigned is now gone. Shame on modern Europe for failing to restore them to their rightful place. Archduke Felix, to his credit, never renounced his rights to the throne and so was once threatened with arrest by the criminal enterprise that calls itself the Austrian Republic for the "crime" of visiting his own country. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Retreat of Canadian republicanism

Canadian columnist Jack Knox skewers republicans upset by the recent restoration of the word "royal" to the Canadian navy and air force, thoroughly demonstrating how monarchists can turn the tables on republicans who often seem to believe that irreverent humour is on their side while in fact coming across as grumpy and dour, especially compared to cheerful monarchists like Mr Knox.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Genghis Khan: The Exhibition

Today I visited the excellent Genghis Khan exhibit at the Irving Arts Center. This exhibition, which continues through September 30, is the largest collection of Mongol artifacts (including the remains, coffin, and possessions of a medieval Mongol aristocratic woman) ever displayed in one place and is well worth a visit by anyone in the North Texas area who is interested in history. Genghis Khan (1162-1227), the greatest of Mongolian monarchs who is still widely revered in Asia today and was the subject of the 2007 film Mongol, was a complex figure difficult to pigeonhole as either a hero or a villain. Certainly he was a man capable of both brutal destruction and visionary benevolent insight whose varied and widespread legacy remains significant nearly eight centuries after his death. I was particularly interested to learn about the impact of Mongolian bowed string instruments on European music (whose string instruments were previously limited to plucking), without which my profession as we know it would not exist.

Genghis Khan, a product of a nomadic culture in which leadership though not unrelated to family ties was normally taken by force, presents an interesting paradox as a ruthless authoritarian ruler whose regime included elements of democracy and meritocracy as well as enduring innovations such as passports and diplomatic immunity. Whether Genghis Khan was the type of monarch present-day monarchists wish to defend is debatable, but as our nomenclature literally means "rule by one," monarchist visitors to this fascinating exhibit may find themselves agreeing with his vision that "there should be one Khan as there is one sun in the sky."