Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary Duke & Duchess of Cambridge!

It was one year ago today that the world watched Prince William wed Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.  As they celebrate their first anniversary the Telegraph looks back at the highlights of their first year of marriage in video. I'm sure all readers will join me (congratulations can be sent to Clarence House) in wishing Their Royal Highnesses, who I hope someday will be my King and Queen, many more happy years together.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maria Vladimirovna: Twenty Years as Head of House

In addition to being the 86th birthday of the actual sovereign of the United Kingdom, today is also the twentieth anniversary of the "accession" of the woman who according to the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire established by Tsar Paul I ought to hold the equivalent position in Russia.  To mark Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna's two decades as head of the Russian Imperial House, leading Romanov enthusiast Paul Gilbert presents this comprehensive tribute page which includes a video of a substantial interview with HIH in English.  It was on April 21, 1992 that her father Grand Duke Vladimir (1917-1992), great-grandson of Tsar Alexander II and himself head of the House of Romanov for more than half a century (1938-92), died in Miami, having mercifully lived long enough to see the fall of the Soviet Union and visit the land of his ancestors, news reports of which I (13 at the time, already entranced with the Romanovs and just beginning to seriously follow royal news) actually remember.  This blog has no time for alternative interpretations of the succession and adheres to the position defended by Brian Horan in The Russian Imperial Succession.  In addition to having the best genealogical claim, Grand Duchess Maria looks every inch an Empress and as Mr. Gilbert points out is widely treated as such around the world.  Hopefully one day the great Russian nation will restore its imperial glory and acclaim her as such.  Long live Empress Maria I!

Happy Birthday Your Majesty!

As Queen Elizabeth II turns 86 in the year of her Diamond Jubilee, this Telegraph video looks back at her long and remarkable life, still as devoted to the service of her millions of subjects as it was when she first publicly committed herself to that role on her 21st birthday in Cape Town sixty-five years ago.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monarchy in the Blogosphere

Blogger "Ad Orientem" explains how he reconciles monarchism and libertarianism. While I do not identify as a libertarian, I have some views which are not in conflict with libertarians and am always glad to see Monarchy defended from whatever perspective against the leftist myth that it was more oppressive than modern states. I respond there to a reader who objects that the old monarchies were constrained only by their lack of modern technology by pointing out that in the late 18th century the French Revolution quickly transformed the French State into a far more totalitarian government than the French kings ever could have imagined without the aid of any of the technology employed by 20th century regimes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Constantine II and the Greek Financial Crisis

From an Australian think tank comes this thorough 2011 analysis of the history of the Greek monarchy and its relevance to recent events in both Greece and Australia. Writer Dr David Bennett refutes many of the republican calumnies against the Greek royal family. In particular he exhaustively demonstrates how unfair it is that the dynasty founded by George I has been smeared as tied to foreign interests when in fact they dedicated themselves completely to Greece and its interests, rather more so than many Greek politicians.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Royal Solution for Egypt

Ever seeking to be helpful, I have a solution for Egypt now that its three leading presidential candidates have been disqualified by the electoral authorities: restore King Fuad II. The much-maligned Kingdom of Egypt (1922-53) was a golden age for Egyptian Christians (descendants of the original Egyptians) who were safer then than they have ever been since. Who needs presidential candidates anyway?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two New Books

Recently I ordered and received two new books, which have little in common other than that they are both about European royalty of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and will enrich any monarchist's library.

First I'll congratulate my friend Arturo Be├ęche of on his splendid Dear Ellen: Royal Europe Through the Photo Albums of H.I.H. Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia (1882-1957). As the niece of Tsar Alexander III, wife of Prince Nicholas of Greece, and mother-in-law of three princes including Paul of Yugoslavia and George Duke of Kent, the imperious but beloved "Ellen" was closely related to all the Protestant and Orthodox royalty of Europe. With many charming never-before-published photos, and forwards by her two surviving Yugoslavian grandchildren, this tribute opens an enchanting window into the vanished yet relatively recent world of the extended European royal family during perhaps its most tragic and tumultuous period. It is particularly moving to see the light-hearted late-19th-century photos of the then-young royal generation (many of them grandchildren of Denmark's King Christian IX) unwinding merrily in private, blissfully unaware of the upheavals and sorrows that await them in the next century. Anyone who likes to wistfully pour over images of the all-too-brief era when modern photographic technology coexisted with the lingering apparent dominance of Europe by inter-related royal families will want to order Dear Ellen.

A very different approach to the same period, perhaps more enjoyable for children yet also valuable for adults, is undertaken by the comic book Karl I: The Emperor of Peace by Marcel Uderzo and Marc Bourgne. (Yes, the last Emperor of Austria-Hungary now has a comic book!) With beautiful colour illustrations based on real photographs, the graphic novel follows the saintly Karl (1887-1922) from his birth through the terrible years of World War I to his premature death at 34 in exile (recently commemorated here). The slim and inexpensive volume packs in considerable detail and sophisticated treatment of complex historical topics such as the Emperor's unsuccessful but noble attempt to bring the horrible war to an earlier end. Obviously written by and for Catholics, the book (which once I ordered it took only three business days to arrive) is suffused with a strong sense of the importance of Bl Karl and Zita's Roman Catholic faith to their lives. Karl I: The Emperor of Peace would be a great way to introduce children, perhaps especially Catholic children, to the study of the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Monarchy in general. I can recommend it highly for monarchists of all ages!

Grand Duchess Helen and Emperor Karl [third cousins once removed via Karl Ludwig of Baden (1755-1801) and Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt (1754-1832)], though of the same generation and class, found themselves on opposite sides of World War I. I do not believe they ever met; there never was all that much affection or interaction between the Romanovs and the Habsburgs, modern Europe's two greatest imperial dynasties (though ironically Dear Ellen reveals that Prince Nicholas's first choice for a bride before he decided to pursue Helen was Karl's cousin Archduchess Elisabeth, granddaughter of Emperor Franz Josef). [However, an interesting subsequent genealogical connection exists: in 1956 Helen's granddaughter Countess Helen of Toerring-Jettenbach (b 1937) married Karl's nephew Archduke Ferdinand of Austria (1918-2004). It was their grandson Prince Alexis of Windisch-Graetz (1991-2010) who has the sad distinction of being the youngest royal death reported by this blog.] Yet in their different ways, and within their different Christian Churches, they were both devoted to their families and met the challenges of the frightening twentieth century with dignity and grace.

Princess Bejaratana of Thailand (1925-2011)

King Bhumibol presided over elaborate ceremonies marking the cremation and final interment of his cousin Princess Bejaratana, only child of King Rama VI (1881-1925), who died last summer at 85. The beautiful pictures and video of the events demonstrate the rich colourful splendour of the ancient Thai monarchy and the warmth with which it is regarded by the loyal Thai population. May Her Royal Highness rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Princess Neslisah Sultan (1921-2012)

I do not generally consider the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923) to have been among history's finest examples of monarchy, but am nevertheless sorry to learn of the death of the last member of the imperial family to have been born before the fall of the Empire. Princess Neslisah, as the wife (from 1940) of Prince Abdel Monem of Egypt (1899-1979; Regent 1952-53 for the infant King Fuad II), was also involved in the final years of the Egyptian monarchy and thus held the dubious distinction of having been exiled by two different anti-monarchist revolutions. The Turkish Prime Minister was gracious enough to praise the princess, last of the Ottomans, as "the poster-child for nobleness who carried the blood of Osman. We remember her with high regard and our blessings."

Remembering the Peace Emperor

Sunday was the 90th anniversary of the death in exile of Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary. Too good for the mad world in which he was called to reign, he strove only for peace but was abandoned by his peoples and persecuted by his victorious enemies who in trying to "make the world safe for democracy" succeeded only in making it fertile for totalitarianism. Since then the world has been remade according to the dreary soulless republican vision of the horrid 28th U.S. president and we are all the poorer for it. But monarchists will not forget him. Blessed Emperor Charles, pray for us!