Friday, February 24, 2017
In Rome, following a massive stroke, Pope Francis resigned. In the fastest gathering of the College of Cardinals yet seen, American Cardinal Raymond Burke was elected as the Successor of St Peter, taking the name of Pope Innocent XIV. There appear to be many changes going on behind the walls of the Vatican but we have been told that by next month Pope Innocent XIV will have a coronation to mark the beginning of his pontificate, the first since the coronation of Pope Paul VI in 1963. The new Pontiff has made it clear that he shall be very different from his predecessor but said he intends to be crowned with the Papal Tiara of Pope Francis as “a fitting tribute” to the now former Pontiff. However, pundits are still arguing over whether this is actually meant to honor Francis or a not-so-subtle slap in the face of the previous Bishop of Rome most known for his ostentatious public displays of humility.
On the North American continent, while forging ahead with his plan to build a wall on the southern border, President Trump was presented with a proposal from friend and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage for the United States of America to join the British Commonwealth of Nations as an “Associate Member” with the Royal Commonwealth Society currently in negotiations concerning the opening a branch office in New York City to work toward that goal. The plan reportedly has the support of Queen Elizabeth II and was undertaken at the present time due to the often-expressed admiration that Donald Trump’s late royalist mother had for the Queen. The White House was, according to Andrew Wigmore, “very positive” about the proposal for the United States to join the Commonwealth, made up almost exclusively of countries formerly part of the British Empire.
This has been totally Fake News from The Mad Monarchist, all the news from around the world that is completely fake and unfit to print. Unfortunately.
(For those who did not spot it, the one accurate story was the paragraph about the proposal presented to the White House for the United States to join the British Commonwealth. That did actually happen.)
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Some, I have noticed, seem to have no sympathy for the Swedes because of that, even holding them in contempt because of it. I am certainly not among them. Their plight may be their own fault but it is no less tragic in my mind for that. The majority in Sweden seem to have taken liberalism to its ultimate, unfortunate, conclusion and are embracing death purely for reasons of self-image. They seem to think it makes them morally superior to sacrifice themselves for the less fortunate peoples of other lands. That is not something to hate them for but rather something to pity. The Kingdom of Sweden is a part of the rich tapestry of western civilization and I do not wish to see the kingdom nor the Swedes themselves depart from the world. Evidently, saying that, makes yours truly quite an evil person in the eyes of many but so be it. Sweden is more to me than lines on a map. It is for that reason that the level of crime, while certainly terrible and worth talking about, is not finally the point.
There is, of course, little I can do about the matter other than what I already have done which is to make my opinion on the subject known. I have also tried, in the small way I can, and as I have done with others, to remind people of their own glorious past. To remind people, in this case Swedish people, that they are better than this current population of willing victims to demographic suicide. I admire the history and heroes of the Kingdom of Sweden, even if I would have been on opposite sides to some of them, for their great achievements. I have posted here before about King Charles XII, “the Last Viking”, about the Swedish empire overseas, the brilliant Marshal Torstensson, “the father of field artillery”, King Gustavus Adolphus, “the Lion of the North”, the controversial Queen Christina who caused such a splash in her own time, one of only three women to be buried in the crypt beneath St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and King Sigismund III of Poland who dominated Eastern Europe and, for a time, was also King of Sweden. The blood that flows through the veins of Swedes today is no different than that which flowed through the people who dominated northern Europe, made the Baltic a Swedish lake and left their mark on far distant shores.
I view the Swedish royals as being not far removed from hostages at this point. They are under the power of their captors with a sword of Damocles constantly hanging over their heads. Monarchists who feel no support or sympathy for the Swedish royals because they do not think as you do would be well advised to keep in mind what sort of people you would be making common cause with by opposing them. The Swedish Republican Association, while having some members from what passes for the “conservative” right, is largely dominated by Social Democrats and open-borders globalists. They even considered changing their name in years past for fear of being associated with American Republicans like Sarah Palin. Their Secretary-General, in 2010, Mona Abou-Jeib Broshammar is a native of Lebanon with a Syrian father and Swedish mother. Her father evidently fled Syria for Lebanon and then the family fled Lebanon, due to the war there, for the Kingdom of Sweden. Yet, two failed republics in her own family background has not dissuaded Ms. Broshammar from campaigning to bring republicanism to Sweden.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
|The Palatine Tiara|
|Tiara of Bl. Paul VI|
|Tiara of St John Paul II|
|Tiara of Pope Benedict XVI|
|Tiara of Pope Francis|
|Pope Francis being presented with his tiara|
Thursday, February 16, 2017
A new Danish empire stretching across the shores of the Baltic Sea was established by two particularly powerful monarchs with the same name; King Valdemar the Great (1131-1182) and King Valdemar the Victorious (1170-1241). Thanks to their successful campaigns, the lands of the Kingdom of Denmark stretched across much of northern Germany, the island of Gotland and east to what is now Estonia. It was also King Valdemar the Victorious who gave Denmark its first legal system known as the “Jutland Code”. This law code was to remain in effect in Denmark until 1683 and influenced subsequent Danish law codes far beyond that. However, the Danish empire built by the two Valdemars eventually met its match with the rise of the German merchant city-states that banded together in the Hanseatic League. Denmark lost most of its continental possessions to the League as well as absorbing an amount of German customs due to proximity and close interaction. But, you can’t keep a good Dane down and as the 1200’s gave way to the 1300’s the Kingdom of Denmark began to rise again.
|Queen Margaret I|
|Baptism of Bluetooth|
|King Christian III|
The defeats at the hands of Sweden were certainly demoralizing but they did prove rather beneficial for the Danish monarchy. The nobility of Denmark had been devastated by the wars with Sweden and this gave rise to the middle classes increasing their power and eliminated the nobility as a major rival for power with the King. The middle classes wanted stability and the opportunity to advance themselves and so joined with the King in opposition to the aristocracy and so it was that in 1660 King Frederick III (1609-1670) made the Kingdom of Denmark an absolute monarchy and, officially, a hereditary monarchy. In the old days, the monarchy was elective but effectively hereditary as the eldest son of the previous monarch was invariably chosen to be the next king but Frederick III made this official. Even modern historians have had to admit that royal absolutism benefited Denmark.
|King Frederick VI|
Like the country as a whole, King Frederick VI was embittered by this loss and a gloomy mood seemed to hang over Denmark in the aftermath. The King abandoned the tentative liberalism of his youth and turned hard reactionary though he did allow for consultative assemblies on the local level. This, however, produced two problems in the decades that followed; disputes between the Danes and Germans in the Schleswig-Holstein region and increasing demands for even more democracy and representative government in Denmark. The absolute monarchy came to an end in Denmark with King Frederick VII (1808-1863) who signed a new constitution that allowed for the creation of a Danish parliament and made Denmark a constitutional monarchy in 1849. There was also the growing crisis over Schleswig-Holstein to deal with. Did the new constitution apply to these areas? To make matters worse, these lands were becoming of greater interest to the Germans at a time when the Prussians were starting to move to displace the Austrians as the dominant power in the German-speaking community.
|Victorious Danish troops|
|Danish attack in the Second Schleswig War|
Nonetheless, in the ensuing years, Denmark become more and more prosperous. Industry and trade expanded, new farming methods were devised and cooperative enterprises were developed. The Kingdom remained neutral during World War I and in 1918 granted independence to Iceland though it remained in union with the Crown of Denmark. In 1920 a political shift occur when King Christian X (1870-1947) dismissed his elected cabinet and this brought about a left-wing backlash that further subordinated the Crown to the elected government. Though, that same year, following the collapse of the German Empire, northern Schleswig voted to rejoin the Kingdom of Denmark. However, the era of peace was not to continue indefinitely. With the outbreak of World War II, Denmark and her neighbors thought they could remain neutral but this proved impossible, mostly due to efforts to infiltrate Norway. On April 9, 1940 the Germans invaded Denmark. The government had largely neglected the armed forces and put all of their faith in other countries respecting their neutrality. As a result, Denmark was taken by surprise and was practically helpless in the face of the German attack.
|King Christian X|
King Frederick IX (1899-1972) came to the throne in 1947 and presided over Denmark joining the United Nations and abandoning neutrality, which had not proven an effective defense, in favor of joining NATO in 1949. During the war the Allies had occupied Iceland and during that time Iceland severed ties with the Crown of Denmark and became a republic. Themselves under German occupation at the time, Denmark was unable to respond to this. In 1953 a new constitution was adopted which saw Greenland upgraded from a Danish colony to an independent country but still within the Danish Commonwealth in union with the Crown of Denmark. In 1953, following a referendum, the Danish monarchy changed to allow women to succeed to the throne for the first time in the modern history of Denmark and upon the death of King Frederick IX he was succeeded by his eldest daughter Queen Margaret II, the first female Danish monarch since the fourteenth century.
|Queen Margaret II|
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
A Short Look at the Life of Marcus Aurelius Valerius Claudius Augustus, Emperor Claudius II
Sunday, February 12, 2017
|Prince Anh during his sojourn in Siam|
While the Tay Son turned their aggression on the Trinh, abandoning their earlier promise and ousting the Le emperor to establish their own, short-lived, imperial dynasty and even defeating a Qing Dynasty army from China sent in to rescue their Le Dynasty vassal, Prince Nguyen Anh rallied the remnants of his family’s forces. Despite his young age, he proved a very inspirational figure, cunning leader and, above all, a young man of boundless determination. After regrouping, he succeeded in re-taking Saigon from the Tay Son forces and, for a time, a sort of stalemate ensued as the two sides battled back and forth for domination of southern Vietnam. In 1783, however, the stalemate was broken and the Nguyen forces once again suffered a devastating defeat. Having earlier taken refuge in Siam, this time Prince Anh fled to Phu Quoc. A Catholic seminary was there and he was given a safe haven by the French missionary Pierre Joseph Pigneau de Behaine, a Catholic priest and eventual Bishop of Adran. Pigneau and Prince Anh quickly became very devoted friends.
The Tay Son had originally posed as the friends of the Christian minority in Vietnam but, after achieving power, began persecuting them. Pigneau wanted to do something to end the suffering of his fellow Catholics, naturally, and also to secure special favor for his native Kingdom of France in what was then known as Dai Viet. Prince Anh, likewise, knew that his own forces were far too depleted and he would need foreign assistance, particularly advanced foreign warships and firearms, to achieve his goal of victory over the Tay Son. Despite his setbacks, he was more determined than ever to not only regain his family’s rule over the south of the country but to reunite the whole country under his leadership.
|Pigneau de Behaine|
Pigneau finally returned in 1789 with two ships filled with French soldiers of fortune and various war materials along with Crown Prince Canh, who had been baptized into the Catholic faith. Prince Anh would be forever grateful to his friend Pigneau for this and used these forces to regain control of his ancestral lands in the south. He won over the locals who had become disenchanted with the Tay Son who had promised much but delivered little. Prince Anh impressed the people with his honesty as he admitted that his family had made mistakes in the past, had acted incorrectly but promised to set things right with a renewed commitment to morality and good government based on the ethical code of the great Confucius. Spears were made, muskets and swords distributed, ships were stocked, cannon were loaded and the war elephants were prepared. Prince Anh launched a massive and devastating offensive against his enemies, sweeping inexorably north through the country until the Tay Son were totally defeated and he stood victorious as the master of all.
To their annoyance, France did not receive the pride of place they had expected due to the fact that they had not fulfilled their promise to aid Gia Long. He knew that what help he received was due to Pigneau and not to the government in Paris. Therefore, out of respect for his late friend, Christianity would be tolerated in Vietnam as long as Gia Long was alive. He was, however, not entirely pleased that his late son and heir had been converted to Christianity and was careful not to allow western influence to spread in his country. Rather than any particular religion, Confucianism was to be the backbone of the country under Gia Long and trade and contact with the west was restricted. This was the basis of what has become the major criticism of Emperor Gia Long, which is that he isolated Vietnam and allowed the country to stagnate and thus become vulnerable to French expansion in later years. This, however, is not entirely fair.
Most of the reign of Emperor Gia Long was concerned with consolidation. Fairly early on there developed two different factions at the imperial court, one of which was more focused on establishing ties with the west, based around the family of the late Crown Prince Canh, and the other which favored closer ties with China and isolation from the west which was focused on the family of Prince Nguyen-Phuc Dam and this was the faction that Emperor Gia Long favored, naming Dam as his heir and successor. Emperor Gia Long was obliged to neglect the navy so as to have funds for the building of fortresses and an extensive infrastructure project of building roads to improve travel and communication as well as canals and other waterway projects to boost agricultural production. Again, not all of these were popular at the time, but all of them paid dividends in the long run though the lack of a modern navy would be problematic when the French came calling in the years to come.
Emperor Gia Long, first emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, founder of the last Vietnamese imperial line, died at the age of 57 on February 3, 1820. He was buried at Thien Tho Tomb, which he had originally built in 1814 for his beloved wife Empress Thua Thien, but which has since, sadly, fallen into disrepair. For someone who had such a remarkable life, rising from the ashes of defeat and the massacre of his entire family, to triumph over his enemies and forge an empire, the historical legacy of Emperor Gia Long has been grossly distorted due to the political bigotry of those who have come to power since the Nguyen reign. While generally dismissive of the entirety of traditional Vietnamese history, the Communist Party seized on Emperor Gia Long as a particular enemy in their propaganda. Taking the side of the Tay Son rebels, they tended to heap all blame for any misfortunes which befell Vietnam on Emperor Gia Long and his policies. This is quite unfair and quite outrageous considering the extent to which Emperor Gia Long is responsible for what most recognize as traditional Vietnam even today.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
|Young Cardinal Farnese|
His election had taken only two days, a sign of the respect his fellow cardinals had for him as well as being seen as no friend of the King of France but also not beholden to the German Emperor though he was careful not to cross him. As someone who owed his red hat to his sister being the mistress of Pope Alexander VI, it should not be too surprising that, while his own life had changed considerably upon entering the Church, Pope Paul III was not above laughing at a bawdy comedy, turning a blind eye to the indiscretions of the Roman court and elevating his teenage grandsons to the Sacred College. Nonetheless, when it came to matters of the Church, the spiritual life of the Church and the revival secular historians have dubbed (erroneously) the, “Counter-Reformation”, Pope Paul III provided invaluable leadership to Catholic Christendom.
In political matters, Pope Paul III was not too timid to clash with the secular authorities. He famously excommunicated King Henry VIII of England for his divorce of Queen Catherine of Aragon, appropriation of Church property and various other desecrations of the sacred which Henry termed as a ‘campaign against idolatry’. Paul III was though careful not to find himself opposed to Emperor Charles V and he backed the Habsburg war against the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes in Germany which was happily in his own interests as well. However, Paul III knew there was only one thing that would fully satisfy Emperor Charles V and it was the one thing all of his predecessors since the first outbreak of Lutheranism had been reluctant to do; call a general council of the Church.
|Pope Paul III with two of his grandsons|
This actually had a huge impact and was probably the single most significant thing that Pope Paul III did during his reign. Nothing happened overnight, but the Council of Trent did provide the framework and the starting point for what would be a Catholic revival which would ensure that the Church of Rome not only survived the Protestant storm but would push back against it, ultimately regaining at least a good deal if not all of what had been lost. As part of this overall campaign, Pope Paul III also continued the work of his predecessor Clement VII in pushing for reform in the religious orders. The Theatines, Capuchins, Somaschians and Barnabites were rejuvenated, the Ursulines (a teaching order of nuns) was established in 1535 who would prove quite effective and in 1540 Pope Paul III officially recognized the Society of Jesus. In 1550 he would confirm their constitution and he showed great favor to the Jesuits, viewing them as the spiritual ‘shock troops’ of Catholicism in combating the spread of Protestant sects. He also established and gave extensive powers to the Holy Office of the Roman Inquisition. Despite his worldly reputation, Paul III was obviously someone who took his faith seriously.
|Pope Paul III|
Monday, February 6, 2017
At the end of World War I, the King of Italy was actually one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe, due to the fact that the original constitution of Italy was rather vague and reserved considerable powers to the King. It also made a difference that King Victor Emmanuel III was not a man who relished involvement in politics. He disliked stepping in and generally did so only when the politicians could not sort things out for themselves. So, when no liberal politician was prepared to take responsibility for the disastrous state of affairs in the country, he appointed Benito Mussolini to power. Despite the changes brought about by the Fascist regime, it was still the King who was the only one able to dismiss Mussolini from office in 1943. His power drastically declined after that, due to the situation of World War II at the time but the Italian monarchy had only a few more years of life left to it in any event. For Italy, as with some others, the King mattered a great deal right up until the point where he ceased to matter at all because he ceased to be King.
The fate that befell King Leopold III of the Belgians in World War II was somewhat similar to that which befell Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide of Luxembourg in World War I. She had been a monarch with rather robust powers and who played a prominent part in the government of her country. However, her decision to remain in Luxembourg during World War I when the country was under German occupation resulted in a considerable backlash that almost saw Luxembourg deprived of its independence by the victorious Allied nations and which almost brought down the monarchy in Luxembourg itself. Grand Duchess Charlotte gained considerable prestige for going into exile during World War II and standing for resistance to the German occupation (and indeed annexation of Luxembourg) but no monarch would ever be quite so influential again as had been the case prior to World War I. In recent years the Grand Duke Henri voluntarily gave up having any significant part in government due to his unwillingness to be a participant in certain actions by the government which violated Catholic moral teaching so that today the monarchy of Luxembourg is effectively ceremonial.
The French, of course, remained republican before, during and after both world wars. The last monarch to reign over France was Napoleon III who was, of course, the dominant figure in the Second French Empire but the last King to reign over France was King Louis Philippe. He was a constitutional monarch but still one in which he played an active role in government and making policy. That, of course, ended with his downfall and the end of the monarchy altogether.
In the Kingdom of Portugal, which was destroyed prior to the First World War, the monarchy had shifted from absolutism to constitutional rule with the Liberal Wars of 1823 to 1834, the cause of absolute monarchy being defeated with King Miguel I but the monarch retained certain powers and continued to play an active role in national policy right up until the overthrow of the last King of Portugal, Manuel II, in 1910.
So, as we can see, World War I had a major impact on the power of kings but only in certain countries. For others, World War II was the pivotal conflict and for others, neither had all that much to do with their ultimate overthrow or loss of power to elected politicians. The years between the wars saw some of the most dramatic changes; the King of Spain lost his throne, the King of Denmark lost his power while the Kings of Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia saw themselves empowered to the point of practically becoming absolute monarchs. The purely ceremonial monarchies of today are a rather recent innovation when one takes the broad view and, as was seen in the recent Supreme Court case involving Britain leaving the European Union, we are reminded that monarchs today, such as the British monarch, often still retain considerable power and authority but are simply not allowed to exercise it. Given how chaotic politics is becoming these days, I would say it is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that a monarch who acts to put himself (or herself) at the forefront of a campaign for national revival in a time of emergency might be able to reverse this recent trend. However, whether any would and whether the situation develops in a way that would be conducive to it, is anyone’s guess.