Saturday, December 31, 2011

NPR on The Real Elizabeth

My father called my attention to Jackie Lyden's interview on National Public Radio with Andrew Marr, author of The Real Elizabeth, a new book about Queen Elizabeth II based on interviews with those who know her best. Marr's comments helpfully illustrate to American listeners who might not know much about how the monarchy actually functions how hard the Queen works and how valuable her considerable experience is to her prime ministers. His book promises to be a valuable addition to the body of literature about the most famous yet enigmatic woman in the world.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Marie Antoinette Defamed, Again

I don't understand why Mitt Romney, who in August claimed that the Obama administration resembles the government of King George III during the Revolutionary War, and now likens the president to Marie Antoinette, is trying so hard to get me (and the rest of the vast American monarchist population) to support Obama. (Not a chance, especially given Obama's apparent tilt towards Argentina against Britain regarding the Falklands, though I'm not aware that any of his Republican opponents have taken a different position, but that's another issue.)

Unfortunately this is only the latest example of an irritating pattern according to which American Republicans--knowing nothing of history outside U.S. borders and little of that within, clueless about real conservatism, and uncritical of the Jacobin interpretation of European history--think it clever to equate their Democratic opponents with allegedly "extravagant" and "tyrannical" European royalty, confident that no one will challenge the premises of their ludicrous analogies. (I am not aware of any specific recent examples of Democrats doing the same sort of thing to Republicans, but they probably exist.) The real Marie Antoinette, of course, was a great benefactress of the poor and certainly never said "let them eat cake."

Isn't it supposed to be the Left who unfairly malign royalty and Christian civilization? But of course most American "conservatives," especially since the ascent of the Trotskyite neocons with the second Bush administration, actually are a kind of "leftist;" arguably America's left-liberals and right-liberals quarrel so strenuously partly because they don't realize how similar they really are. The only Republican presidential candidate who articulates anything resembling authentic historic conservatism even by American standards is Ron Paul. Otherwise, American Republican "conservatism" continually reaches new lows of embarrassing ignorance and should be shunned by all thinking right-wingers.

Prince Charles Was Right

...about genetically modified crops, admits the Daily Mail. For years the thoughtful heir to the British throne, whose book and companion film Harmony put forth a profoundly appealing and arguably vital vision for the world, has been mocked for his causes. But one need not agree with every opinion the Prince of Wales has ever articulated to see that GM crops have not exactly been the boon they were supposed to be, and there are real costs to ignoring the warnings of skeptics of "Progress" like him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Habsburg brothers' double engagement

As reported at the Tea at Trianon Forum, Royal Musings, and Tageblatt (German), Archdukes Imre (b 1985; right photo with Miss Walker) and Christoph (b 1988; left photo with Miss Drapé-Frisch) of Austria-Hungary, sons of Archduke Carl Christian and Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg, have jointly announced their engagements respectively to American Catholic writer and activist Kathleen Walker and French diplomat's daughter Adélaide Drapé-Frisch.

My fellow royalist blogger "Elena Maria Vidal" met Archduke Imre in Pennsylvania at a TFP event hosted by monarchist Michael Drake in 2010 and had a delightful experience. Congratulations and best wishes to both couples!

In a nod to any readers disappointed by these young ladies' lack of royal birth, I'd like to add that while I admire the way many members of formerly reigning royal families (including the Archdukes' older sister Archduchess Marie-Christine who married a count from an ancient noble family of the Holy Roman Empire) have maintained traditional standards in their choices of spouses, I don't think it would be reasonable to expect all of them to continue to do so indefinitely when the nations ruled by their ancestors continue to refuse to accord them their rightful status. Privilege and responsibility are meant to go together--and the Habsburgs since the tragic fall of their Empire 93 years ago have demonstrated plenty of responsibility. It is their would-be subjects who have failed them by stubbornly refusing to restore them to their thrones despite ample evidence that the fall and dismemberment of the Habsburg Empire was a disaster for humanity.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brian Sewell on Ludwig II

British art critic Brian Sewell, who seems to be a rather colourful personality himself, discusses his fascination with King Ludwig II of Bavaria on BBC Radio 4. The pictures I posted last month complement the programme (which I learned about via Rafe Heydel-Mankoo) beautifully.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Prince Philip in hospital for heart surgery

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, 90, was treated for a blocked coronary artery after being taken to the Papworth Hospital near Cambridge for chest pains. I wish HRH a swift recovery and hope the Royal Family are still able to enjoy their Christmas at Sandringham. Knowing Prince Philip's personality, he's probably grumbling that so much fuss is being made!

Christmas Update: Just as I predicted, Prince Philip says he feels fine. "I don't want to make a fuss. I just want to go home." The rest of the Royal Family attended church at Sandringham, where a record 3,000 wellwishers turned out to greet them. In her 2011 Christmas message (text), the Queen spoke of the importance of families and communities as she reviewed her year which included triumphant visits to Australia and Ireland and the marriages of two of her children. I wish all readers of this blog a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New King for Malaysia

Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah, 84, a fan of jazz and football, succeeded Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, 49, as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Paramount Ruler) of Malaysia on December 13. Abdul Halim, who also reigned from 1970-75, is the oldest man to hold the office and the first to hold it twice. In Malaysia's unique system of constitutional monarchy, the position of head of state rotates among the various hereditary local rulers. The new king described his role as "the umbrella to the people" as "the people are the pillars of the king."

Cameron's Can of Worms

Charles Moore eloquently dissects the problems inherent in trying to "reform" the succession rules to the British and Commonwealth throne to bring them in line with modern ideas of "equality." David Cameron and other backers of these changes have really not thought them through. Meanwhile, New Zealand's new opposition leader wants to ditch the flag and the Crown altogether, which he seems to think makes him extremely daring and clever. Hopefully Kiwis will not buy it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

King Paul: The Documentary

Thanks to a Greek-Canadian royalist friend I discovered this trailer for a forthcoming documentary on King Paul of the Hellenes (1901-1964), whose 110th birthday was yesterday and who was the only modern Greek monarch to die of natural causes without ever having been deposed, husband of the fascinating & heroic Queen Frederika (1917-1981) and father of Queen Sofia of Spain, King Constantine II, and Princess Irene (the only royal for whom I have performed). It looks like an unapologetically royalist approach, which is fine with me and probably a much-needed corrective after the way the Greek royal family have been unfairly maligned for decades. The Left could never forgive King Paul and Queen Frederika for defeating the Communists (with US aid) in the 1946-49 civil war. They and their son stood out in playing a more partisan and interventionist political role than was the norm for European royalty in the second half of the twentieth century. I will look forward to seeing what this film has to say.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Prince and the Composer

A British friend complained that he was unable to watch the video on the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge mentioned in my previous post, which is apparently unavailable to viewers in the UK. I had the same kind of disappointment in reverse when I was unable to watch the BBC documentary "The Prince and the Composer," in which the Prince of Wales explores the music and life of one of his favourite composers, Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918). I also discussed Parry, whose music gloriously resounded across the world at the royal wedding in April, in my May 2011 lecture "Choirs and the Crown."

Fortunately for viewers outside the UK, however, the entire film is now available on YouTube; here is Part I. I particularly enjoyed seeing the interaction between Prince Charles and the men and boys (two of whom I met in Edington in 2010) of the choir of Westminster Abbey. Britain is incredibly lucky to have an heir to the throne (too often not appreciated as much as his mother or his sons) who cares so passionately and speaks so intelligently about classical music. (Here is a report on HRH's appreciation of the Australian Chamber Orchestra who performed for him recently in London. Note though that Prince Charles is also the heir to the Australian throne, not only the British one.)

William and Kate: Inside the Royal Marriage

I was initially disappointed when I learned that NBC had aired a new documentary on the first six months of the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, since I hadn't found out about it soon enough to record it. But I needn't have worried; in the age of the internet, no one need ever miss anything. The full program is available online here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scandal in Spain

Iñaki Urdangarín, Duke of Palma de Mallorca, husband of Infanta Cristina of Spain, is under fire for allegedly directing public money into his private business funds and has stepped down from public duties as a result. While Princess Cristina herself is unlikely to be charged with any wrongdoing, there is speculation that she may be obliged to renounce her dynastic results as a result of the developing scandal. Predictably Spain's anti-royalists are already taking the opportunity to denounce the monarchy, ignoring the fact that European republics have plenty of corruption and no one claims they should be abolished as a result. While no wrongdoing has been proven, I can't help feeling that this sort of thing--even the appearance of such impropriety--would be less likely if princesses were still expected to marry princes, who were independently wealthy via inheritance and uninvolved in the business world. I know, Times Have Changed...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011: A Vintage Royal Year

Anticipating the 75th anniversary of the abdication of King Edward VIII (December 11, 1936), Andrew Roberts reflects on how the monarchy has never been stronger.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reaction With Reason

I am pleased to present at my website my friend David Votoupal's thoughtful and wide-ranging reflections on Reaction With Reason--What Being a True Reactionary Really Means. Mr Votoupal is a young Australian Catholic monarchist of Czech descent whose ideas I'm sure will resonate with readers of this blog.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Albanians Bury Their King

To their credit (and it's very rare that I give republican governments any credit), the Albanian authorities ensured that their rightful sovereign was laid to rest in Tirana with an official ceremony worthy of a king, declaring Saturday declared a day of mourning, with flags flown at half-mast and the ceremony broadcast live on national television. Leka I has been buried like a king; hopefully one day his son and heir Leka II will be acknowledged as a king while he lives!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

War of the Vendee: The Movie

As a fan of period movies who is occasionally suspicious of their contemporary creators' ideological biases, I have long wanted to see an epic cinematic treatment of the Catholic royalist counterrevolutionary revolt in the Vendée, an unjustly little-known true story full of courage and tragedy and everything that could make a historical drama great. Now as if to answer my prayers the independent Catholic film studio Navis Pictures has released the trailer of their forthcoming (January 2012) movie War of the Vendée. With an undoubtedly sincere cast that seems to consist entirely of children and teenagers, this looks like an effort worthy of support from all monarchists. Its unsophisticated but well-meaning acting and production values may even prove a refreshing contrast from slick Hollywood blockbusters.

However, while it's all very well if Navis Pictures wants to tell this "violent and brutal" story "with a careful sense of reserve" so as to make it "safe for the whole family to watch," I would still like to see a major studio with more resources tackle a similar project someday with enough gory honesty to merit an "R" or even "NC-17" rating. The French Revolution must be seen for what it was: a sadistic bloodbath utterly without merit whose evil legacy has plagued human civilisation for over two centuries, and perhaps only a film violent enough to shock even modern audiences could convey this message properly.

À bas la Révolution! À bas la République! Vive le Roi!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

King Leka I of the Albanians (1939-2011)

Crown Prince Leka of Albania, only son and heir of King Zog (1895-1961), died at 72 of a heart attack in Tirana. Leka, born shortly before the Italian Fascist invasion exiled him and his parents, and proclaimed "King of the Albanians" in exile after his father's death, led a colourful life that included two unsuccessful attempts to regain the throne after the fall of Communism. While his militant methods were somewhat unorthodox, I admire the fact that "King" Leka actually tried, unlike some heirs to defunct thrones who seem content to accept republicanism as permanent. His titular reign lasted fifty years and therefore would have been among the longest in European history.

I am sorry to learn of the de jure king's death, but even sorrier that as with all the Balkan countries the collapse of Communism has not been followed by a royal restoration. It's encouraging, however, that Albania's prime minister now admits that the 1997 referendum "cannot be considered a closed issue." Leka is succeeded as head of the Royal House of Albania by his only son Leka (II), now an orphan at 29 since his mother (the former Susan Cullen-Ward) died in 2004. Rest in Peace, Your Majesty.

Readers wishing to send condolences can do so at this address:
HRH Prince Leka II,
Royal Court of Albania,
Oborri Mbreteror Shqiptar,
PO Box 8170,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fantastic pictures of Bhutan

While looking at the splendid photo essay on Ludwig II linked in my previous post, I discovered another set of equally magnificent photographs, in this case comprising "A Trip to Bhutan," many of them related to last month's royal wedding. This "Last Shangri-La" must be amazing to visit, but if you can't, perusing Alan Taylor's superb collection of photos may be the next best thing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

King Ludwig II, 125 years on

Shamefully, I somehow neglected to post in June about the 125th anniversary of the mysterious death of Bavaria's legendary King Ludwig II (1845-1886), which was commemorated on June 13 near the site of his death with a mass attended by Duke Franz and other members of the Bavarian royal family. So, prompted by a video about Neuschwanstein posted at my monarchist forum, I'll post about it now, as there is never a bad time to remember one of my favourite characters of royal history. To me Ludwig II is the epitome of why I love hereditary monarchy and its potential for elevating people who would never have become heads of state in any other system. It is impossible to imagine an eccentric lonely dreamer such as King Ludwig, in many ways ill suited to politics, winning a presidential election, yet 125 years later, his legacy continues to enrich Bavaria and the world incalculably in the form of magnificent castles (that have paid for themselves many times over in tourism) and the operas of Wagner, which almost certainly could not have been completed and produced without his romantic patronage.

It is encouraging and moving to see how many Bavarians still revere the memory of their "Märchenkönig." The Atlantic has a remarkable collection of beautiful large photos about King Ludwig, his castles, and the commemoration of his death. Bavarian monarchist sentiment (despicably suppressed by occupying Americans after World War II) is not unanimous; a few disrespectful republicans reportedly staged an "anti-monarchist swim" in Lake Starnberg, though the numbers of those honouring their beloved King seem to have been much larger. I salute those Bavarians who continue to keep traditional Bavarian culture & its Wittelsbach royal heritage alive and wish I could have been among them in June. Current prospects for restoration unfortunately appear slim, but we must never lose hope. Long live the Kingdom of Bavaria!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Charles & Camilla in Africa

Speaking of Africa, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have been visiting Tanzania, where among other activities they have been honoured by a Maasai tribe with the titles "The One Who Makes Cows Cry" (Oloishiru Ingishi) and "Mother of the Children" (Koto Engera) respectively. Considering the source, I was pleasantly surprised by this provocative but insightful reflection in The Guardian on the implications of a photo that calls to mind the British Empire at its height. Mr Jones might not be a traditional monarchist, but his conclusions are likely to irritate republicans more.

The euro may or may not survive but the fact is that we didn't join it. What kept Britain out? Was it the Tory Eurosceptics, Gordon Brown – or a spiritual insularity that is far older and more innate? This image says it all. We never were going to abandon sterling for two reasons that precede all others. We stayed out because we have a monarchy, and because we once had an empire.

Africa's Canute?

As I've admitted here once before, Swaziland's King Mswati III may be the world's most challenging contemporary monarch for monarchists to defend, as this Daily Mail article suggests, though I would still insist that the integral relationship of the monarchy to traditional Swazi culture should not be lightly tossed aside and that any regime that replaced it would almost certainly be worse. What really irritated me about this article though was its casual and ignorant reference to Danish-English King Canute (c 985-1035). Contrary to the mistaken popular belief implied by the headline and eighth paragraph, King Canute did not believe that he could control the ocean! In the famous anecdote (which may be apocryphal anyway) about Canute "trying" to hold back the tide, he was deliberately showing fawning courtiers that he was not as powerful as they said he was. It was a gesture of humility, not arrogance, and the story therefore means the opposite of what it is sometimes assumed to mean. King Mswati has little in common with King Canute other than that they are both kings.

Incidentally, I notice that Sherborne School [which King Mswati (b 1968) attended as a boy prior to becoming king in 1986] does not include him on their list of famous alumni. Perhaps they are not especially proud of this particular Old Shirburnian?

Middle East: Dictators fall, Monarchs endure

National Public Radio, not generally known as a bastion of monarchism, admits that in the Middle East, monarchies have weathered the "Arab Spring" wave of unrest significantly better than the region's authoritarian republics, and there are good reasons for that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Queen and my Maestro

I was delighted to learn today that HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands took the time to personally congratulate Jaap van Zweden, the Dutch music director of the Dallas Symphony in which I am a cellist, on having been named "Conductor of the Year" by Musical America, extending her appreciation to us musicians as well. Congratulations Maestro and Thank You Your Majesty! I look forward to performing with the DSO at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in early 2013; who knows, perhaps HM and/or other members of the Dutch Royal Family will attend!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Prince Charles and Kate Middleton"

While I am glad to learn of Her Royal Highness's interest in the arts and visits to Covent Garden, I am utterly sick of the ignorant British media continuing to refer to the Duchess of Cambridge as "Kate Middleton"! There. Is. No. Such. Person. Anymore. Are the idiots who write these headlines unaware that there was a little event at Westminster Abbey on April 29?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Leading monarchist on BBC

Congratulations to Rafal Heydel-Mankoo on an excellent interview with the BBC in which he explains his support for constitutional monarchy, as well as a bit of his own family background. Mr Heydel-Mankoo is everything a contemporary monarchist spokesman should be: elegant and refined without being snobbish, thoroughly committed without coming across as a fanatic. He is a credit and an asset to our cause.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

British MP supports Libyan restoration

My new favourite British MP, Daniel Kawczynski, has advocated that Libya hold a referendum on restoring the monarchy, suggesting quite properly that another politician is hardly what Libya needs right now. Only the Sanussi dynasty, steeped in history, can plausibly bring Libyans together and constitute a thorough repudiation of the Gaddafi regime. It is very rare for politicians even in existing monarchies to advocate the restoration of others; hopefully Mr Kawczynski's wise words will be heeded!

Greek crisis

In an interview with CNN, Crown Prince Pavlos said that Greece (currently making headlines for its severe economic woes and political instability) needs to "reintroduce the private sector." I'm sure he's right, but it would be even better to reintroduce the monarchy, as the Daily Mail reports at least some Greeks would like (see the FAQ at the end of the article). Perhaps this crisis will pave the way for something better to emerge out of the ashes of the discredited Greek Republic. Long live King Constantine!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Queen Frederica I?

The Telegraph has an interesting but somewhat misleading article on Friederike von der Osten, the 52-year-old German doctor who if the proposed new law of royal succession were applied retroactively to the descendants of Queen Victoria would be the current Queen of the United Kingdom. Of course, such speculation is essentially meaningless since had her ancestors been living in Britain and occupying the British throne, they surely would not have made all the same marriages, and "Friederike von der Osten" as she actually is would not exist.

Nevertheless as a royal genealogy aficionado I'm always glad to see relatively obscure corners of European royal genealogy explored in the mainstream media. Friederike (b 1959) has three daughters, Felicitas (b 1986 and also quoted in the article), Victoria (b 1989), and Donata (b 1992) von Reiche. She is the first-born child of Princess Felicitas of Prussia (1934-2009), first-born child of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1906-1940), first-born child of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany (1882-1951), first-born child of Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941), first-born child of Princess Victoria (1840-1901), first-born child of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).

More pictures from Australia

Excellent photos of the Queen's recently concluded visit to Australia are available from the BBC here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

King and Queen of Norway in Minnesota

As a former Charlotte Symphony colleague from Duluth, Minnesota has reminded me, Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway recently visited Iowa and Minnesota, a state known for its Scandinavian immigrant heritage. Minnesota Public Radio has great photos, which show Minnesotans greeting the royal couple enthusiastically. The King and Queen concluded their American trip with a visit to New York City.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Illogical Idiocy in Perth

Speaking at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia, a smug David Cameron (with "Conservatives" like this, who needs liberals?) triumphantly announced that he had secured unanimous agreement from the prime ministers of the Queen's sixteen Commonwealth Realms to amend the law of royal succession to end male primogeniture and allow potential monarchs to marry Roman Catholics. It is amazing to me that this kind of tinkering makes any sense to anybody, since as I and others have already explained, the monarchy will remain inherently "discriminatory," favouring older siblings over younger ones, and of course members of the Royal Family over everyone else. One wonders if Cameron and other backers of "reform" have really thought through all the implications, as real conservatives like Simon Heffer have. I hate to agree with the odious Graham Smith on anything, but for once he is right: the idea that the monarchy can be reconciled with modern "non-discriminatory" thinking is absurd. At least ministers had the sense to rule out trying to apply the same kind of "reform" to hereditary peerages.

Hopefully the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge will soon have a boy as their first child to render all this silliness irrelevant for another generation. If their first child is a girl and she remains heir to the throne ahead of a younger brother, I suppose I'll have to grudgingly accept it, as I already do with Sweden, Belgium, and Norway (the three European monarchies whose royal families have already been affected by such "reforms"--it's a moot point so far in the Netherlands, where the Prince of Orange has only daughters, and in Denmark, where the Crown Prince's eldest child is a boy). Only a hardcore Jacobite, the sort who insists that Franz Duke of Bavaria is the "real" British monarch (and I think I've made it clear what I think of that nonsense), can coherently deny that Parliament has the authority to alter the succession, whether it should or not. But at heart, unlike more liberal monarchists, I am ironically inclined to agree with the republicans I so despise when they say that even a constitutional monarchy is incompatible with Modern Democratic & Egalitarian Values. We simply draw opposite conclusions: I say if that's the case, then to hell with Modern Democratic & Egalitarian Values!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Queen of Australia

Robert Hardman reflects on the depth of Australians' enthusiasm for their Queen's royal visit which has apparently surprised even monarchists. Twelve years ago Australians were told by a virtually monolithic media and political class that a republic was inevitable. It is that presumption--not the monarchy--that now seems like a relic of the past as Australians turn out in droves for their Sovereign--not a "foreign" Sovereign, but their Sovereign.

Speaking of Australia, I don't normally post on non-monarchical matters, but this article by an Australian atheist who admires the great Anglican tradition of Choral Evensong, as experienced at places such as St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, is worth reading. Frankly though a practicing Anglican and adult convert to Christianity I have more respect for people like him--who just might be closer to God than they think--than for "Christian" philistines who would modernize our cultural patrimony out of existence.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Michael of Romania at 90

Today HM King Michael I of Romania, who first joined the ranks of the world's heads of state as a five-year-old boy in 1927 and is the last living adult head of state from World War II, celebrates his ninetieth birthday. Touchingly, for the first time in more than six decades he delivered a speech to the Romanian parliament in which while charitably (we royalists are always "plus royaliste que le roi") acknowledging its members as "legitimate representatives" he also stressed his conception of the Crown as "not a symbol of the past, but a unique embodiment of our independence, sovereignty and unity. The Crown is a reflection of the State in its historical continuity and of the Nation in its evolution. The Crown has consolidated Romania through loyalty, courage, respect, probity and modesty." I hope Romanians were listening!

King Michael recently defended his war record from absurd attacks. I congratulate HM on his birthday and call on Romanians to formally restore him and his family--already more meaningful symbols of the nation than any politician could ever be--to the throne. Two decades since the alleged "fall" of Communism have been squandered, but it is not too late for Romanian politicians (like the disgusting president who boycotted the speech and the Liberal leader who though supportive of the invitation was at pains to distance it from any possibility of restoration) to stop being greedy traitors and bow to their rightful King!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Danish Princess in Queens

Denmark's popular Australian-born Crown Princess Mary visited Queens, New York, to the delight of local residents, demonstrating how the magic of royalty never fails to enthrall children, who unlike far too many modern adults have not yet been corrupted by egalitarian republicanism.

Castle in Arkansas

A friend told me about the Ozark Medieval Fortress this summer while we were visiting Dover Castle in England, but being away from the internet at the time I then somehow forgot to look up the link until today. The ongoing project, whose goal is to build a medieval castle in the Arkansas Ozarks using only authentic period construction methods, is scheduled for completion around 2030 and was inspired by Guédelon, a similar project in France, with archaeologist Michel Guyot being the visionary behind both endeavors. The site is already open to tourists and offers all kinds of opportunities from brief visits to substantial volunteer work. American monarchists, especially those of us who live in the central United States which (unlike, say, California) is not normally known for its castles, will surely want to check this out; I certainly intend to plan a visit!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Queen in Australia

Queen Elizabeth II received a warm welcome in Canberra as she embarked on her 16th visit to Australia. A touching footnote was her meeting with Margaret Cunningham, who on the Queen's first visit in 1954 had as a child presented HM with flowers, doing so again 57 years later. For the first time in history, Australia's sovereign, governor-general, and prime minister are all female, making for a colourful assembly as the three eminent women met. While one would not expect a repeat of the extraordinary outpouring of 1954, when an estimated one third of Australia's entire population turned out to see their sovereign, clearly many Australians retain strong affection for the Queen despite the efforts of certain politicians--whose republican ambitions fortunately are widely considered an increasingly distant dream. At the Floriade flower festival, a little girl outshone the Prime Minister in courtesy to her sovereign; perhaps this child should be Prime Minister since she clearly appreciates her country's constitution more than Julia Gillard does. In any case, monarchists can take comfort in the widespread perception that republicanism, so chic in the 1990s, has fizzled out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Royalty in Washington

Washington, DC may be the world's leading citadel of republicanism, but the area is also home to exiled royalty from Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, and Ghana, as the Washington Post reports.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monarchists and the Occupiers

At first glance monarchists might appear to have little in common with the values and rhetoric of participants in the ongoing "Occupy" protests. Radicals such as the speaker in Los Angeles who praises the violence of the French Revolution and ignoramuses such as the transgender Maoist (?) in Philadelphia who denies that Stalin killed millions of people are as offensive to monarchists as they are to mainstream republican conservatives, if not more so. Yet if one looks beyond the wild leftist fringe to the motivations prompting at least some relatively sane people to participate in these demonstrations, it would seem that the "Occupy" movement actually confirms a key monarchist point: that the abolition or weakening of traditional monarchies & aristocracies throughout the world since the vaunted revolutions of the late 18th century has not in fact remedied any of the alleged injustices of the old order, with economic inequality and financial chicanery today being greater than they ever were under the ancien regime.

Monarchists should remain aloof from the modern republican "Right." The bourgeois capitalist republicans that emerged in the 19th century from the wreckage of the old order and tossed most of the remaining crowns aside in the 20th thought they didn't need us; they can try to "conserve" their godless, throne-less, anti-human system without us. The Whigs have made their bed; let them lie in it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Discrimination" and the Monarchy

As Britain's allegedly "Conservative" Prime Minister David Cameron proposes to tamper with the laws of royal succession to end "discrimination" against females and Roman Catholics, Andrew Schrader and the "Mad Monarchist" point out how absurd and problematic this is. "Fairness" and "Equality" are not the point of a hereditary monarchy, as David Mitchell once pointed out in one of my favourite pieces on the subject. And how is it any more "fair" to favour the eldest child? Doesn't that "discriminate" against younger siblings? The whole proposal is incoherent balderdash. As much as I despise abolitionist republicans, at least they're consistent.

I think it's also worth noting that even under the existing supposedly "sexist" system, which allows women to reign if they have no living and eligible brothers, the English monarchy has been headed by women for 185 of the past 458 years (since the accession of Mary Tudor in 1553), or about 40%--nearly half--of the time (190/41% if the five-year reign of Mary II who reigned jointly with her husband William III is included). For Scotland, it's 160/165 of the past 469 years (since the accession of Mary Stuart in 1542), or 34/35%. Clearly when God or Fate means for Britain to have a Queen Regnant, she will. Politicians should leave well enough alone and focus on the UK's real problems.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Louis XX on Henri IV

One of the two leading claimants to the French throne, Louis "XX" Duke of Anjou, is petitioning the government of the French Republic that the head of his ancestor Henri IV (one of France's most popular kings) be reunited with its body at the basilica of Saint-Denis. A worthy gesture, to be sure, but how much more glorious it would be to reunite France with its ancient monarchy. Vive le Roi!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Persepolis, 40 years later

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Shah of Iran's celebrations in Persepolis (October 12-16, 1971) of the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, I post a link to this beautiful and thorough 2002 tribute from the "Glittering Royal Events" site. The celebrations (nicknamed "Disneyland in the Desert" by Western journalists and attended by most of the world's leading royalty) surely constituted one of the most spectacular royal occasions of the 20th century, though alas the lavish event was easily exploited in propaganda by the Shah's enemies in spite of the good it did in terms of infrastructure and publicity. I wonder, as the evil current Iranian regime stumbles from one insanity to another, when those who spent the 1970s denouncing the Shah as a "tyrant" as if nothing could be worse will apologize. Something tells me we shouldn't hold our breath...

Dragon King weds his Queen

After weeks of preparation and anticipation, the world's youngest head of state, King Jigme Khesar Wangchuk of Bhutan, 31, married and crowned Jetsun Pema, 21, today in a splendid traditional ceremony at the 17th century Punakha Dzong, one of Buddhism's holiest sites. The popular Oxford-educated king wanted his marriage to be a celebration for the people of Bhutan rather than an international state occasion. Coverage reflects the sincere and widespread joy felt by his subjects as they welcome their new queen and begin a three-day national holiday. I'm sure all readers will join me in wishing King Jigme and Queen Jetsun a happy life and reign together.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"The problem with France..."

" that there is no king," says the vice-president of the Association for the Mutual Assistance of the French Nobility, in words with which any monarchist would agree. The Wall Street Journal reports on how in times when many cash-poor aristocrats struggle to maintain their ancestral properties, other nobles band together to help them out. These aristocrats are to be commended for their determination to carve out a role for nobility in the 21st century and preserve what is left of France's pre-Revolutionary heritage, though the obligatory reader comments on the article are almost uniformly depressing for a royalist to read.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Prince for Georgia

The Royal House of Georgia was thrilled to announce the birth of a boy, Giorgi, to Prince Davit and Princess Anna, whose marriage united the two hitherto rival branches of the ancient Bagration dynasty. Prince Giorgi's auspicious birth may be just what is needed to stimulate more discussion of the restoration of the Georgian monarchy. May he one day inherit the throne of his ancestors!

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."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Georg Friedrich & Sophie

In what ought to be regarded as the third major European royal wedding of the year, Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia married Princess Sophie of Isenburg in Potsdam (more photos and video here). The media seem determined to belittle the couple's royal status by slyly putting the word in quotation marks, but from a traditionalist point of view this was arguably 2011's most royal wedding since unlike the ones in Britain and Monaco both bride and groom came from titled families, the Isenburgs being one of Germany's ancient "mediatised" (lost sovereignty with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 but retained their status for marital purposes) families. I cannot for the life of me understand why Germans would rather have some boring president than this attractive and glamorous young couple. Indeed, the wedding seems to have rekindled interest in German royalty to some extent. Congratulations to their Royal Highnesses!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Germany's own Royal Wedding

Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, head of the House of Hohenzollern, may not (unfortunately) be a reigning monarch, but his marriage tomorrow to Princess Sophie of Isenburg will be celebrated in grand style. As the Wall Street Journal reports, public interest suggests that at least some Germans looked enviously at recent royal weddings in Britain and Monaco and are happy to have one of their own. I do not recognize the Federal Republic of Germany or its stupid laws regarding titles and names, and cringe at the formulation "Mr Prince of Prussia," but am glad that tomorrow's wedding will at least get some attention and ceremony, with RBB broadcasting live from 11 AM to 2 PM CEST (4-7 AM US CDT!). Many Germans obviously know that monarchies are more exciting and glamorous than republics, but it's time to move beyond fantasy and make Restoration a reality. How could anyone prefer some boring president to this attractive young couple whose ancestry is steeped in centuries of tradition and history? Down with the Republic! Restore German monarchies now!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Archduke Otto's legacy debated

This summer at Chronicles, Serbian Orthodox paleoconservative Srdja Trifkovic wrote a venomous obituary of Otto von Habsburg (for whom respect in the former Empire remains high):

to which Roman Catholic Habsburg loyalist James Bogle (who I suspect is the blogger behind Roman Christendom) responded:

Trifkovic responded to the response:

and Bogle responded to the response to the response:

Readers (some more knowledgeable than others) weighed in as well. Obviously as a generally pro-Habsburg monarchist I'm closer to Bogle's (whose lovely biography of Otto's parents Karl & Zita A Heart for Europe I own) point of view, but am not entirely sure what I think of the whole Austrian/Serbian/Muslim question. Catholic/Orthodox divisions are perhaps particularly painful for those of us who would like to see Christians and monarchists united. Not that Trifkovic is a monarchist at all; indeed, it is partly because of right-wingers like him who do not seem to regard the fall of monarchies as particularly regrettable and do not demonstrate any respect for royalty that I no longer subscribe to Chronicles (despite having enjoyed its summer schools as mentioned in the previous post) and no longer identify with the paleoconservative "Right," even if it does remain preferable to neoconservatism.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sins of Cavaliers and Roundheads

Tonight I attended an excellent lecture by Dr James Patrick (who I'd previously heard and met at The Rockford Institute's summer schools in 2005 and 2007) at the Church of the Holy Cross sponsored by the Walsingham Society, "On the Anglican Patrimony: The Laudian Revival and the Caroline Divines." My favourite anecdote involved an exchange during the English Civil War between a Puritan general and a Royalist general. The Puritan general chided his enemy counterpart, saying, "your troops drink and whore." The Royalist general replied, "aye, they do, for they are men. But your troops are full of Pride and Rebellion, which are the sins of demons."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

German royal wedding delights media, annoys republicans

I am glad to learn that the German media plan to give extensive coverage to the August 27 wedding of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, head of the Imperial & Royal House of Hohenzollern, and Princess Sophie of Isenburg, which is sure to please German monarchists but is already infuriating left-wing republican politicians. These pathetic killjoys have had their way for nearly 93 years (with such wonderful results, eh?), yet they still can't bear a single royal wedding receiving attention. Part of me though would rather see the wedding denounced than ignored, as it suggests that republicans are still insecure. Deep down many Europeans know that monarchies are more fun than republics, or the media wouldn't bother, but what will it take to get them to go beyond admiration of celebrity glamour to agitation for restoration?

Swedish crown princess expecting heir

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, 34, and her husband Prince Daniel are expecting their first child in March, the royal court announced. Sweden's 1980 succession laws mean that the child regardless of sex will be Sweden's presumed future sovereign. If it's a girl, I personally would like to see the baby named Christina (II), in honour of the eccentric 17th-century queen regnant; I would expect a boy to be named either Carl (XVII) or Gustaf (VII), though Oscar (III) is another Bernadotte possibility. In any case congratulations are in order and I am sure that many Swedes will celebrate the impending happy event, which should take attention away from some of the negative publicity that has surrounded the Swedish monarchy recently.

The Habsburg Legacy

Two articles related to the death of Otto von Habsburg I would have posted earlier if I hadn't been traveling: this report on the political ambitions of Austrian monarchists, and this thoughtful reflection by Peter Berger on the meaning of the archduke's passing.

Back from Europe

On Monday I returned from my trip to Europe, one of my best travel experiences yet. I'm not sure how to adequately summarize the four weeks in a blog post, but readers are welcome to find me on Facebook where I've posted nearly 400 photos of sites, many of them with royal connections, in England, Belgium, and Germany. (My Facebook photos are not protected so you should be able to see them even if you're not my Friend. I have nothing to hide!) Monarchical highlights included meeting up with fellow monarchists from Britain and Australia in Canterbury and London, singing services for the first time in St George's Chapel where Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, Edward VII, George V, George VI, and many other royalty are buried, visiting Dover Castle in Kent and Queen Victoria's favourite home Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, seeing the remnants of the palace where Emperor Charles V was born in Ghent, visiting Charlemagne's cathedral in Aachen, and seeing the tombs of King John and Prince Arthur Tudor in Worcester. Now that I'm back at my own computer, blogging will hopefully resume its former frequency!

Here is a photo of my choir on the steps of St George's Windsor (24 July), and here we are at Westminster Abbey (31 July).

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!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Canadians welcome their future King and Queen

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Ottawa to a rapturous reception, as reported in both Canadian and British media.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Other Royal Wedding

Meanwhile, the Principality of Monaco is preparing for the wedding of Prince Albert II and Charlene Wittstock this weekend, with no expense being spared. This will be the first wedding of a reigning European sovereign since that of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Silvia Sommerlath in 1976. Miss Wittstock's transition from South African swimmer to Monegasque princess has reportedly not been without obstacles, but that is sure to change should she and the Prince give Monaco her long-awaited heir.

Romanian president attacks king

President Traian Basescu, who for some reason is allowed to consider himself the head of state of Romania, stunned his country with a vicious attack on former King Michael, 89, who is generally well regarded by Romanians, even non-monarchists. Despite the King having deposed the pro-Axis premier in 1944, only to be deposed at gunpoint by the Communists three years later, Basescu attempted to link the King with both the fascists and the Communists. The King and his mother Queen Helen (1896-1982) did all they could to help Jews during the war, but none of that apparently matters to Basescu. Naturally I condemn the traitor Basescu and his appalling remarks totally. King Michael, the world's last surviving adult head of state from the time of World War II, is a good man who does not deserve such calumny; it is he and not this disgusting common liar who should be Romania's leader still. I call on Romanians to rid themselves not only of this horrid president but of all presidents, and show Basescu exactly what they think of his venomous idiocy by restoring the Monarchy!

Canada's young monarchists

On a happier note, The Ottawa Citizen reports on growing support for the monarchy among young Canadians. The Monarchist League of Canada not only helps coordinate and mobilize this support but is vigilant about correcting errors in the media, as with the Telegraph's bizarre and unverified claim that Canadian monarchists' goal is to install Prince Harry as King in Ottawa. This week Canadians will welcome their future King and Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for their first joint overseas royal tour.

Puritans or Habsburgs

On the occasion of the ninety-seventh anniversary of the assassinations in Sarajevo that provoked the war that all but ended Western Civilisation, this 2007 article "Puritans or Habsburgs" by Paul Gottfried is worth reading, as are Peter Hitchens's reflections (though not specifically monarchist) on what was lost.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dean of Westminster in New York

Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, who presided at the royal wedding, recently visited New York City to preach at Saint Thomas Church, whose choir school is (along with the Abbey's) one of only two remaining church-affiliated schools exclusively for choristers in the English-speaking world. While in New York he spoke with the Today show about the royal wedding.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Quiet Royal Wedding

Like another commoner who married into a reigning royal family this year, South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock has waited a long time for her prince to propose. Her wedding to Prince Albert II of Monaco on July 2 is unlikely to attract as much media attention as April's, but should still be a splendid event for the principality.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Swedish monarchy under pressure

As The Local reports, the Swedish monarchy is no longer enjoying the glow of favourable publicity that surrounded it a year ago at the time of Crown Princess Victoria's splendid wedding. Questions surround the king's alleged behaviour as described by a recent book, but Swedish royalists are confident the monarchy will survive. Hopefully the media-fueled scandal will eventually subside in a country which cannot reasonably claim today to adhere to traditional Christian sexual morality anyway. My guess is that most ordinary Swedes are not quite as appalled as republicans and the media claim they are and will continue to support their country's ancient monarchy, one of only three European kingdoms (the others being neighbours Denmark and Norway) to have endured without a break since the first millennium. Republicanism is utterly alien to Sweden, which has always been ruled by kings or queens, and must be vigilantly resisted.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Other King's Speech

I'm not one to blindly cheer "democratization," but former Ambassador Marc Ginsberg's article "The King's Speech vs. The Dictator's Deceit" shows how Morocco's King Mohammed VI has shown himself to be far more adaptable and humane than Syria's President Assad as both leaders deal with the current wave of unrest in the Arab world.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Succession "reform," again...

Hopefully these latest efforts to abolish male primogeniture and repeal the Act of Settlement will prove too complicated and go nowhere. Sometimes I find the "modernisers" almost as annoying as republicans. "Fairness" and "Equality" are not the point of a hereditary monarchy. How is it any more fair to favour the eldest child? Doesn't that "discriminate" against younger siblings? (Not to mention people not born into the royal family, as republicans--who are at least consistent, much as I despise them--will point out.) Is there no one in Government who will point this out and obstruct the nonsensical egalitarian agenda?

Asked by a liberal Dutch monarchist to address the point that to him hereditary succession itself seems more rational than favouring males over females, I responded at my forum that one
rational argument is that republicans especially in the Commonwealth countries would do their utmost to turn the necessary debate into one on the very existence of the monarchy itself. Most of us would rather not open that can of worms.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is relatively new, a creation of the post-Napoleonic era, so it is perhaps somewhat more appropriate for it and its even younger neighbour the Kingdom of Belgium to "move with the times" to a certain extent (though I don't really agree with the adoption of equal primogeniture there either). But the British Monarchy with its roots in the ninth century is all about Tradition, and the tradition there has been for male monarchs to be the norm (even if it doesn't quite seem like it due to three female monarchs having had exceptionally long reigns), with queens regnant the exception. Personally as an admirer of Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Elizabeth II I think that female monarchs shine when they are the exception, having come to the throne due to the absence of any (living) brothers.

I would consider it a travesty for Prince William's eldest son to be bypassed by a sister, which with the unique exception of Prince James Stuart (1688-1766) (hardly analogous to the present situation; somehow I doubt the "Glorious Revolution" was motivated by concern for gender equality) has never happened before in the history of the British monarchy. It is natural, and in accord with most monarchical traditions, for the eldest son of a king to expect to be king in turn, and cruel to deny that to him as it has been denied to Prince Carl Philip of Sweden (b 1979) whose sister Crown Princess Victoria (b 1977) would probably have preferred not to be heir to the throne. [In the Netherlands, ruled by Queens since 1890, it's a moot point at present since Prince Willem-Alexander has three daughters and no sons, but in Belgium Princess Elisabeth (b 2001) precedes her brother Prince Gabriel (b 2003), which still seems odd to me.]

Discovering Korea's imperial past

A Washington Post reporter encounters Korea's imperial past in a meeting with Yi Seok, grandson of Emperor Gunjong. It's a melancholy, even tragic article, though the prince's return is uplifting in a way. I often get the idea that modern Asia is even more indifferent to and disconnected from the past than modern Europe. The prince's observation that "Korean people, they don't care about the royal family. They just care about democracy" is like a knife in my heart--but probably true. I just don't understand Modern People, whether Asian or European. For me of course as with most countries there is no legitimate Korea other than royal Korea--and no, the Kims of North Korea don't count! The Asia that is "modern or fast or covered in dingy concrete" is fake and will eventually crumble, probably much sooner than the ancient monarchies did; it certainly deserves to. The real Asia is monarchical and traditional, like the real Europe--but only a minority today still listen to her spirit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Debunking "Progress"

Traditional conservatives William S. Lind (unusual in American right-wing circles for his endearingly idiosyncratic affection for Kaiser Wilhelm II) and William S. Piper propose an alternative narrative of Western history, which includes many points likely to appeal to monarchists, including the proposition that the French Revolution and the fall of the Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian empires must be regarded as tragedies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Prince Philip at 90: Videos

Two excellent recent documentaries on the Duke of Edinburgh to mark his 90th birthday, including rare footage of his early life, are now available online: Prince Philip at 90 (Part 2) and The Duke (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5) (Part 6) (Part 7) (Part 8).

Guest Blogger: Choristers and the Royal Wedding

My friend Grayston Burgess of the Campaign for the Traditional Cathedral Choir to which I belong sent me his thoughts on one aspect of the recent royal wedding. As it's germane to the topic of this blog and I fully agree with him, I'm happy to publish it here.


Like the vast majority of the population I like to take Saturday mornings at a nice easy pace; in fact so easy that I try not to wake up until 9 o'clock at the earliest. I have to tell you that I fail every time to meet my target even though I refuse to open my eyes when I put the radio on in the early hours in the hope that the drone of the morning Overseas News Service and Weather Forecast will send me straight back to sleep again. From then on it's a toss -up whether I snooze, meditate, ruminate or contemplate.

On this particular Saturday I was thinking about the recent Royal Wedding, its colour, its pageantry, its beauty, the crowds, the music – ah the music! Having been Head Chorister at Canterbury and eventually going from there into the profession (indeed I had been a member of Westminster Abbey Choir itself), I have played my part in previous Royal occasions. Like those young choristers I was brought up to perform to high standards of discipline and technique, and was thus able to appreciate the hard work that must have gone into their performance whilst not forgetting the influence of the Master of the Choristers James O'Donnell. With their clear voices still ringing in my memory my subconscious took over and I was suddenly very much awake - “what a stupid thing to say” I declared out loud, opened my eyes and sat up in bed.

I was referring to a piece I had read about the Royal Wedding which rightly praised the wonderful choirs of men and boys of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal but then added “It's probably time for the Monarchy to rectify this ancient bias, perhaps by inaugurating a parallel girls choir”. The next day a different writer added “O what a pity....things would have been even better with female singers”!!

With my background you would hardly have expected me to go along with that kind of thinking, but I have never seen such a deliberate dollop of insane political correctness and frustrated feminism! Most of us are fed up with political correctness just about as much as with some of the the ridiculous Health and Safety rulings which spoil so much of the fun and challenges in our lives, particularly those of our young children.

It is the same political correctness that insists that whatever boys do, girls must do the same, and that a male institution must have its female equivalent however unsuitable that may be. Of course we are all agreed that girls should sing as often as possible, and let us hope the present interest in Choral singing and singing in small ensembles becomes an educational and cultural requirement for all.

However, let us also remember that the sound of a boy's voice is different from a girl's, lasting a mere 5/6 years, before developing into a Counter-tenor, Tenor or Bass. Whereas a girl's voice lasts well into maturity. There is real concern that by mixing the voices of boys and girls, the unique sound of the boy's voice will be lost. Moreover, since we are also denying girls the possibility of developing their own particular style, we are in danger of reaching a creative stalemate.

We should not underestimate the benefits of creative stimulus at an early age and the positive influence that this has in later life. The tragedy is that the opportunity for building lasting self-esteem is being denied to many disaffected young people in our society. The good news is that the potential for artistic and creative success is not merely a bolt-on for those with money and privilege. There are countless musicians, artists, writers and sportsmen and women for whom social disadvantage has not been a handicap. But at some time or another these people will have been inspired to pursue their own particular excellence by their teachers or role models.

The boy chorister is no exception. He is uniquely placed to carry forward a long and distinguished tradition into 21stcentury Britain. He is making and enjoying music – often to very exacting standards – with boys of his own age, whilst at the same time being part of an adult world. We must not deprive him of the opportunity to scale his particular heights, or the evocative “Once in Royal David's City” and “Oh for the wings of a Dove” will be lost for ever.