Friday, July 26, 2013

American commentary on the royal birth

Whenever I see "conservative" commentators and their readers grappling with the fact that many Americans are interested in the British royal family as if this is some sort of embarrassing problem to be solved, I am reminded why I do not consider myself a conservative. Nevertheless, Collin Garbarino's "Why Americans Care About the Royal Baby" is an interesting article.

Meanwhile, over at the libertarian Reason, Matthew Feeney (apparently a British-born immigrant to the United States) offers what may be the
about the most ambivalent "defense" of the British Monarchy ever, "The Benefits of Monarchy." Anyone who can dismiss the "pomp and circumstance" as "irritating" has no heart (which critics of libertarianism might say is appropriate in a libertarian publication). Still, good for Reason for publishing it, I guess.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

George Alexander Louis

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have named their son George Alexander Louis. He will be known as "HRH Prince George of Cambridge." While I superstitiously refrained from saying so, George was actually my first choice. I hope this will put to rest speculation that the Prince of Wales will reign as "George VII" and that he will reign as "Charles III" so that his grandson (after "William V") can be "George VII." "Alexander," while never used by a King of England, was the name of three medieval Kings of Scots, and more recently of Queen Mary's brother the Earl of Athlone (1874-1957) and of Prince Alexander of Hesse (1823-1888), progenitor of the Battenbergs/Mountbattens. "Louis" of course was the name of the Prince of Wales's beloved great-uncle Lord Mountbatten (1900-1979) and is the Duke of Cambridge's own fourth name. The only departure from tradition is the use of three, rather than four, Christian names. Perhaps this is what commentators mean when they talk about a "slimmed down" monarchy.

All hail the mighty Prince George Alexander Louis!

These are the
uses of the new prince's names in European monarchies [A.D.]:

6 kings of Great Britain (2 also of Hanover)
2 kings of Greece
1 king of Bohemia
1 king of Saxony
1 additional king of Hanover


(8 popes)
3 kings of Scotland
3 emperors of Russia
2 kings of Serbia/Yugoslavia
1 king of Greece

1 Byzantine (Eastern Roman) emperor
1 Roman emperor

18 kings of France
4 Holy Roman Emperors
3 kings of Bavaria
3 kings (?) of Naples
2 kings of Hungary (1 also of Bohemia)
1 king of Spain
1 king of Portugal

Monday, July 22, 2013

IT'S A BOY!!!!

Congratulations to TRH the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge on the safe delivery of a healthy prince (4:24 PM, 8lbs 6oz), third in line to the throne!!! A joyous day for the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and the entire world, and the first time since 1901 there have been four living generations of the British Royal Family in direct line. The baby is the first grandchild of the Prince of Wales and the first great-grandson & third great-grandchild of the Queen & the Duke of Edinburgh.

The greatest scene of monarchist propaganda ever filmed has never been more appropriate:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The King has Abdicated; Long Live the King!

The Belgian Royal Family on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Brussels (video)

L-R: Princess Eleonore (b 2008), Prince Gabriel (b 2003), Queen Mathilde, Crown Princess Elisabeth (b 2001), King Philippe, Prince Emmanuel (b 2005)

In a moving and dignified ceremony Albert II has relinquished the Belgian crown in favour of his son Philippe, who becomes the seventh King of the Belgians. Europe, for the first time since 1991, now has two minor heirs to thrones, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, 9, and Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, 11. One of the many wonderful things about Monarchy is the prominence and respect given to children, reminding everyone that the head of state represents the people of all ages. Long live Philippe and Mathilde, King and Queen of the Belgians!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

King Albert's Farewell

On his last night as King of the Belgians, Albert II addressed his subjects, urging them to support their new King Philippe and Queen Mathilde. (There's a silly mistake in the Telegraph article, though; Albert II is hardly the first Belgian king to abdicate, since his father Leopold III did so in 1951, not exactly ancient history.)

I'm contemplating tomorrow's Belgian royal transition with some emotion, as Albert II becomes the first European hereditary monarch of whose reign I can remember both the beginning (twenty years ago as a 15-year-old already-royalist student at Point CounterPoint chamber music camp in Vermont) and the end (as a 35-year-old member of the Dallas Symphony), and Philippe becomes the first European monarch I have met (in 2000 in New York City).

Leve de Konig! Vive le Roi!

Royal Assent and the Queen

Some right-wingers who claim to be monarchists are perennially outraged by this or that bill gaining Royal Assent. There are valid arguments to be made for the kind of monarchy in which the sovereign actually rules the country. I have made them myself, and am hardly devoid of nostalgia for such monarchies. But that is not the kind of monarchy that the United Kingdom currently has. And in our present circumstances, with so little consensus on much of anything, there are also valid arguments for an apolitical head of state who both sides of any particular issue can respect. When we defend the present British Monarchy, that is what we are defending, and it is worth defending. A Sovereign who attempted to overrule the elected Government, in an age that worships "Democracy", would hardly be "apolitical." So if you don't like a particular law, blame the politicians and those who voted for them, not the Queen. And be grateful that Britain, unlike so many unfortunate countries, has a Sovereign at all. God Save the Queen.

Canadian monarchist interview

Cian Horrobin, Dominion Vice-Chairman for Ontario of the Monarchist League of Canada, is a friend of mine and one of the few active monarchists who I originally met via a musical activity (Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in Toronto in June 2010) rather than via monarchism per se. (He noticed my 2002 Queen's Golden Jubilee shirt.) Here he explains to a slightly condescending interviewer why he fervently supports the Canadian Crown:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

2013's Fourth Abdication

Honestly, my first thought was the not particularly reverent, "This is getting ridiculous." King Albert II of the Belgians, 79, in an address to the nation has announced his intention to abdicate on 21 July in favour of his son and heir Prince Philippe (Filip), Duke of Brabant, 53. I can remember learning (without the internet) of King Baudouin's death and his brother's accession twenty years ago as a 15-year-old music camper at Point CounterPoint in Vermont, making Belgium the first European monarchy to go through two royal transitions within my politically conscious lifetime. 

This is becoming quite a year for voluntary monarchical transitions. Is the British monarchy becoming the only one left where the throne is seen as an office to be held for life? To be fair, modern longer life expectancies have created a somewhat new situation. Monarchs in previous centuries often didn't live to be 80; today's probably all will, and beyond. As sovereign of a seemingly perpetually divided country (it is sometimes said that the royal family are the only Belgians; others are either Flemings or Walloons), Albert II has had a uniquely challenging role as constitutional monarch over the past two decades, making his decision understandable.

Princess Fawzia of Egypt (1921-2013)

HRH Princess Fawzia of Egypt, daughter of King Fuad I (sister of King Farouk, aunt of King Fuad II) and first wife of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, died yesterday at the age of 91. She will be buried in Cairo. As Egypt undergoes yet more turmoil with the military ouster of President Morsi today, one more link to an era when Egyptians enjoyed relative stability and liberty is gone. Egypt and Iran are still paying the price for the ouster of her brother & nephew and husband respectively.