...continued from Part I
Emperor Matthias: Put in charge of Hungary by his brother, Matthias aligned with the Protestant rebels, gained control of more disaffected territories and finally forced Rudolf from power. In 1612 he was elected Emperor but the methods he had used to gain power soon caused him problems. He had to deal with rebellious forces in Hungary, Slavonia, Croatia as those who he had granted concessions to before demanded more from him. His hope was to reconcile the Catholics and Protestants but the Protestants did not want to be reconciled, nor did the more zealous Catholics of the House of Hapsburg who wanted to wipe out Protestantism, an idea which even Charles V had deemed impractical. Poor Matthias was, in a way, hoisted on his own petard. He had inadvertently stirred up ambitions among the rebellious to unseat his ineffective brother only to see his own reign crippled by divisions and rebellion. His brother, Archduke Rudolf III of Austria, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, was one of the leaders in this area and succeeded in gaining power as Emperor Matthias grew old and feeble. He died in 1619 and any thought of reconciliation died with him.
To be concluded in Part III...
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
To be continued in Part II...
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Further south on the continent, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima signed a book of condolences for the victims of the Malaysian airliner that was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Dutch nationals made up the largest number of the victims. Prevailing opinion has been that the aircraft was shot down by pro-Russian separatists and it will be revealing to see how The Netherlands will handle this given that they were among the most opposed, in the past, to taking economic action against Russia over events in the Ukraine. Moving further south, TM King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain paid an official visit to the North African Kingdom of Morocco last week where they met with King Mohammed VI and Princess Lalla Salma over two days. Upon returning home, the King and Queen had a night off and went to the movies but then it was back to business and full dress uniform for the King who received the credentials of a number of foreign ambassadors.
In the diverse lands of ‘Eternal Asia’ the Crown Prince of Dubai took a video of the recent “super moon” that went viral on this here internet, the Emir of Qatar went to Turkey to meet with the President and PM, calling for talks in an effort to, let us be frank, end his pariah status with the rest of the Arab royal community. He also issued prisoner pardons for Ramadan but at last report there was no word of who was included. Usually the Ramadan pardons are given out to foreign workers in Qatar. Crown Prince Paras Shah of Nepal remains in custody in Thailand after being arrested for marijuana possession (not the first time). He has been living in Thailand with his girlfriend since splitting with his wife in Singapore (his wife comes from an Indian princely family and has returned to Nepal with their children). In Cambodia, the ashes of the late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk were laid to rest in the Silver Pagoda following a lavish procession through Phnom Penh last Saturday. Crowds of people gathered, many expressing hopes that the soul of the late monarch would help Cambodia and bring the political parties together. In Malaysia (aside from this latest tragedy for their airlines) the Sultan of Selangor had some harsh words for an elected official of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party after he suggested that the Islamic Religious Council should have its executive powers removed. The Sultan called the politician “rude” and “ignorant” and suggested that he speak more carefully in the future. And, finally, last Saturday the Crown Princess of Tonga, wife of Crown Prince Tupouto ‘a ‘Ulukalala, gave birth to a daughter, their second child, named Princess Halaaevalu Mata’aho. Congratulations to the proud parents.
This past week, it should be obvious, I didn’t get a great deal of “royal” news because other events dominated the news cycle with a ground war in the Middle East and a jet liner being shot down over Ukraine. Some people have asked me about those issues and I really don’t have much to say about either one. The fighting in Gaza seems pretty ‘cut and dry’ and as for Ukraine, my position hasn’t changed on that from what it was in the beginning. There will be a lot of bluster and stern words but the bottom line is that, other than the Ukrainians themselves, no one but Russia is willing to fight over this. Western Europe doesn’t want to challenge Russia nor do most people in the United States and I am firmly in the majority on that one. It doesn’t involve American interests or security, the USA doesn’t have a good track record in foreign policy from my standpoint and I don’t want to see anymore American forces be asked to fight and die and get their legs blown off for countries that despise them. We’re talking about a bunch of governments that I do not approve of on either side, it is not the state of affairs I would prefer nor is that currently within the realm of possibility. As far as who is to blame for this, it seems clear to me that the pro-Russian rebels shot it down but that they didn’t know exactly what they were shooting down and I don’t think Putin had anything to do with it as he’s not intensely stupid and would know that such an act would only make things more problematic for him. There are people who should be outraged over it, but they don’t seem to be, at least not enough to do anything about it and, frankly, if they don’t care I see no reason why America should. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Friday, July 18, 2014
This is an opinion piece and others may disagree, but these are simply my thoughts for your consideration. It seems to me that one reason for the lack of rebellions or authorization for rebellions in the old days (very old days) is because people were not expected to sit in judgment of their superiors. For the Jews of the Old Testament, God was in charge and God picked who would be king over them. They were to be loyal to that King who was responsible to God for his actions and if he acted wrongly or misruled his people it was God that would deal with him. This was basically stated in the covenant God made with King David, establishing his “divine right” to rule God’s people. God said that if the descendants of King David ruled badly, He would punish them but that their divine right would never be taken away for the sake of King David, the man after God’s own heart. The people were to obey so long as the authorities did not demand them to act contrary to the law of God and even then, as we see in cases such as that of Daniel, the response was disobedience but not disloyalty or rebellion. God was considered to be the master of kings and princes and the one who directed the fate of the nations. So, when Israel and Judah were conquered by the Romans, they considered that was the will of God and as their king submitted so too did they. Basically, how the Emperor behaved was God’s problem to deal with and not their’s.
The President is certainly not the sovereign of America as it was stated very clearly from the outset that the United States was to be based on the principle of “popular sovereignty”. That means everyone is king which is the same thing as saying there is no king at all. Sovereignty is claimed by the collective and invested in the public at large as “we, the people”. Did anyone then or does anyone now realize what a truly terrible responsibility that represents? This is why, for example, if one were to commit a crime or, excuse me, if one were to be *unjustly accused* of committing a crime (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) north of the border in Her Britannic Majesty’s Dominion of Canada your case would be referred to as “The Crown versus Stickyfingers McGuilty” whereas in these United States, under the same circumstances, it would be, in federal cases, “The People of the United States versus Shiftyeyes O’Liar” because the sovereign is the basis of law and authority and in Canada that is Her Majesty the Queen, which is to say, “The Crown” of Canada while in the United States there is no sovereign but the collective sovereignty of “the people”. How many people recognize the moral ramifications of this? Likewise, in Britain, laws are enacted in the name of the Queen whereas in the United States, with popular sovereignty, they are enacted in the name of “the people”. Can everyone see the important difference and what this means?
The underlying point is that the currency Christ held up was a Roman coin backed by the authority of the Emperor. In the United States, the power to issue currency is reserved to the Congress, the representatives of, again, “we, the people”. That is then combined with the fact that the power of the purse is reserved to the people’s elected representatives and that means that the general public is, to some degree, responsible for all that is done with it. Power and responsibility is, after all, a two-way street even if it may be comfortable to ignore the fact. By demanding that, “we, the people” should all be sovereign, that we should all collectively hold power and authority, we are then all collectively responsible for all that comes as a result of this. What is more revealing, at least to me, is that everyone seems to realize this when it is convenient to their cause. For example, many people, certainly in America, will have heard of the anti-war campaign “Not In My Name”. It was a very widely used slogan in the opposition to the Iraq War and has been used by numerous causes around the world, most of them of very leftist origins. These same people, however, claim to be totally oblivious to this concept when traditional Christians oppose “gay marriage”. Most Christians don’t give a toss what people get up to in the privacy of their own homes but what they do object to is the idea of the government, acting in their name, saying something in law which they believe is untrue. Thanks to collective sovereignty, it is forcing traditional Christians to make liars of themselves.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Problems did not arise until that pivotal moment in English history when King Henry VIII fell for the seductions of Ann Boleyn and became determined to put away his lawful wife Queen Catherine of Aragon. Cardinal Wolsey, ever devoted to the King, did his best to solve the problem but knew that the Pope would refuse. He earned the wrath of Ann Boleyn who tried to turn Henry against him, and other than the King, Wolsey had few friends. His rise from humble origins disturbed the aristocracy, and many envied his extreme wealth, it often being said that he lived even more luxuriously than the King himself. Wolsey was also the perfect illustration of all the problems in the Church that devoted men like St Thomas More were demanding be corrected. He became very fat, extracted fees from those given posts in the Church, was absent from his see in York, had fathered illegitimate children and had done little to strop the spread of Lutheranism/Protestantism in England. When he failed to gain the annulment Henry wanted some accused him of purposely not trying hard enough because of an ambition to be elected Pope.
Later, when it was found that Wolsey had not been at fault for the king not obtaining his divorce, he was pardoned and returned to York to try to act as the shepherd he was supposed to have been. However, he had powerful enemies that would not relent and they produced forged documents claiming that the Cardinal had been in secret negotiations with the King of France and demanded that he be tried for high treason. When the King's officers came to arrest him he famously said, "Master Kingston, I see the matter against me now it is framed; but if I had served God as diligently as I have done the King He would not have given me over in my gray hairs". Cardinal Wolsey, however, was never tried or executed for the charges against him as he died before the matter could be concluded on November 29, 1530.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
America would have then expanded just as it did, with Anglo-American forces seizing the Louisiana Territory during the war with France. During the time when Spain and France were allied it is also likely that Anglo-American forces would have seized Florida and possibly even more but that becomes increasingly less likely. With North America supporting the British war effort rather than hindering it, the allied victory over France might have been easier or come a bit sooner and the British Empire might have expanded even more but perhaps in different areas. Would India have been such a priority for Britain, for example, if all of North America was part of the empire, including the cotton states of the deep south, the coal fields of Pennsylvania and West Virginia? Suppose that British North America expanded southward in a way similar to the United States and, just like the United States, was drawn into a war with Mexico over border disputes. In actual history, Britain tried to prevent the war because it would disrupt their lucrative trade with Mexico, however, events on the ground could have provoked such a conflict in any event and there probably would have been less trade with Mexico if what became the United States had remained in the British Empire with the increased inter-imperial commerce that would provide.
In Africa, for example, the foothold in South Africa would have happened in any event as it was a result of the Napoleonic Wars. However, it might have stopped there with Britain content to let the Boers move into Botswana and perhaps the Portuguese might have been able to realize their dream of linking their east and west coast possessions, an aspiration thwarted by Britain in actual history which put some strain on the oldest alliance in Europe. The American Civil War would, of course, have been averted both because energy would be expended toward grander schemes and because the slave areas would have had much more opposition as well as a government that was not averse to giving compensation for slave owners. The war with Spain would likely have been avoided. A young Winston Churchill observed the rebellion in Cuba and came away convinced that the island would be much the worse off under their rule than that of Spain and hoped that the United States would not compel Spain to give up the “Pearl of the Antilles”. Many did not share his view and he later approved of the U.S. conquest of the island (being a lifelong admirer of America) but in the event, it is possible Britain would have stayed out of the conflict so long as Germany or some other colonial rival did not intervene.
|King George V & General John J. Pershing|
Had such a thing occurred, the Russian Empire might not have collapsed, if the war had ended before the situation in Russia became too severe and thus the subsequent Cold War and all the proxy conflicts that entailed would never have happened. Similarly, a swift end to the war might have meant that the German and Austrian empires would have come to terms before being overthrown and so there might have been no World War II at all and we would all be living in a world with a balance of powers rather than one or two superpowers in constant standoff. And yet, if the Social Democrats in Germany managed to use the defeat to their advantage and bring down the monarchy, giving room for the rise to power of Hitler and so on, World War II might have happened anyway. In that event, it would have certainly been a much shorter and more localized war. American strength would have been present at the outset rather than only from 1942 onwards and it would have been focused on Europe alone. This would mean that the war might have ended in a German defeat even before the invasion of the Soviet Union and thus there would have been no Eastern Bloc and Soviet domination of half of Europe. It would also mean a completely different picture of Asia.
|King George VI & General Mark Clark|
Similarly, without the influence of the American Freemasons, Mexico might have remained a monarchy under the Iturbide family though the rest of Latin America (outside Brazil) is more doubtful given that Spain was reluctant to recognize the independence of rebel colonies whereas Britain supported this. Much of Africa would also be a very different picture. Without the United States and Soviet Union competing during the race for de-colonization, the African colonies might have gained independence at a more moderate pace and in cooperation with native elites as Britain tended to favor doing or more newly independent countries might have chosen to maintain ties with the Crown as Commonwealth Realms. And, even in the event that this did not happen, the British Empire such as it was would have remained a dominant force considering that the primary source of strength would be North America and Australia where the people had greater bonds of history, culture and nationality with Britain as opposed to India which did not. In actual history, the loss of India was a blow from which the British Empire never recovered as India was, as one German observer put it, “the strength and greatness of England”. If, however, North America had remained and grown up united with the British Crown, the strength and greatness of the empire would have been in a land more loyal and less likely to cut ties but remain in union with the Crown as Canada, Australia and New Zealand have done.
Monday, July 14, 2014
In the Low Countries, King Philip and Queen Mathilde held a special reception for the Belgian soccer team, the “red devils” and in France, on Saturday, Prince Felix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg held the christening of their new addition, Princess Amalia of Luxembourg, with aunt Princess Alexandra as godmother and Claire’s older brother Felix as godfather. In Spain, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia visited their neighbor Portugal, meeting with the President and First Lady. After returning home, the King paid tribute to the Spanish soccer star Alfredo Di Stefano who passed away recently, the King saying that he “admired” the former player and coach.
The little Principality of Monaco made a number of headlines last week when New York businessman Adam Hock sailed into the Port of Hercules on the yacht of a billionaire Canadian friend of his, all set to attend the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix in late May as well as the celebrity birthday bash of Naomi Campbell at the Billionaire Club in Monte Carlo. However, the night after his arrival, the captain of the yacht informed him that he was ordered out of the country by Prince Albert II himself. Why? It probably has something to do with the fact that Hock assaulted princely nephew Pierre Casiraghi in New York in 2012, sending him to the hospital. Hock’s friends tried to intercede for him but the Sovereign Prince would have none of it, Hock had to go and was threatened with immediate arrest if he set foot in Monaco again. His lawyer complained of course but, thankfully, it did the sucker-punching rat no good as the Prince still has final say on what goes on in Monaco and he can expel anyone from the country as he pleases. In this case, well deserved I would say. In Paris last week, niece and new mom Charlotte Casiraghi fell from her horse in a jumping competition, still managing to look glamorous doing it (not many can pull that off). Save perhaps for a bruised bottom, no harm was done and Charlotte later appeared at Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday.
Outside Europe, the Emir of Qatar held talks with the Kuwaitis as part of the on-going efforts to decrease tensions between the two gulf states. Qatar has been on the ‘naughty list’ with many of the Arab monarchies for using their powerful news network, Al Jazeera, to generate sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood and rebel forces in the region. In the UAE, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi spoke out that the President of the country, his brother Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, is in good health despite rumors to the contrary. He also gently chastised social media for spreading such rumors. In related news, the Sultan of Oman announced plans to travel to Germany both for a vacation and for medical examinations. Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, secondary wife of the Prime Minister of the UAE and daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, donated $500,000 to aid the South Sudanese refugees flooding the Gambella region of Ethiopia while in Jordan, Queen Rania and daughter Princess Iman held a feast for orphans at the Royal Palace, a special evening meal during Ramadan. Earlier in the week, the Princess also joined her mother in visiting a care center for the elderly.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Even then, there were some grumblings about the Crown Prince making a troublesome choice. Princess Nagako had imperial and noble ancestry but it was not of the highest order most expected and she was not from the Fujiwara clan that most imperial consorts had been from. Several prominent and very powerful people objected to the match and demanded that the Imperial Household Agency call it off but Prince Kuni was just as adamant that no such thing happen, threatening to kill his daughter and then himself if this was done. Thankfully, no such drastic measures were necessary as when things became really heated HM the Taisho Emperor stepped in and endorsed Princess Nagako as his future daughter-in-law and that settled it. After that, to have questioned the match would be to question the divine will of the Emperor, which did not happen. Preparations then went ahead with the Princess spending her time until she was of a proper age to marry being given an intensive training course on how to be a Crown Princess and future Empress. The formal engagement was announced in 1921 and the wedding set for 1923. Everything was done to familiarize the princess with her duties, obligations and the ceremony and protocol of the imperial court. She was, for example, one of the last people alive in Japan who could understand the unique style of language used by the Emperor and inner court in the old days which disappeared after World War II.
As the Emperor and Empress had been brought together almost as strangers, it was to be expected that, early on, their relationship seemed rather formal and distant. However, it was all a matter of getting to know each other and as they did, they became a very loving couple, greatly attached to each other. The Empress seemed to view her primary occupation as being to shelter and support her husband, to care for him and ensure that he was able to give his best in his own duties and obligations. This, she did very well and the Emperor had no more attentive guardian and caretaker than his Empress for as long as he lived. The devotion the Emperor had for her was displayed only a few years after the marriage. In 1927, 1929 and 1931 the Empress gave birth to three girls in succession and many began to worry if a son and heir would be forthcoming. In 1932 such talk only increased as the Empress suffered a miscarriage and many began to urge the Emperor to take a concubine to ensure the survival of the dynasty. The Meiji Emperor had had several concubines and it was quite common but the Emperor would not hear of it. He was a ’one woman man’ and the Empress was the only one for him and he would have no other. As if to prove the imperial decision correct, in 1933 the Empress gave birth to HIH Crown Prince Akihito, followed by another prince in 1935. In all, they would have seven children, five girls and two boys.
What finally seems to have been too much was when HIH Crown Prince Akihito decided to get married. The two older daughters had already married and lost their status because of the new post-war laws that downsized the Imperial Family but the Empress seems to have thought that, for the heir to the throne, the traditional way would still be followed. Many of the old aristocracy were upset when the choice of the Crown Prince fell on Michiko Shoda, a commoner with a Catholic education. No one knows what was said behind closed doors but the prevailing sentiment is that the Empress was against such a choice. When it went ahead anyway, all sorts of rumors were spread around of the Empress being cold, distrustful and even spiteful toward Crown Princess Michiko, much of that probably being exaggerated. What is true is that the Crown Princess had one or two nervous breakdowns in the years after her marriage and perhaps the Empress was showing more concern than most people think. Her motives should not be questioned and one could speculate more positively that she had the best of intentions in being reluctant about the Crown Prince marrying a commoner.
To the very end, she was a dutiful and attentive wife and was heartbroken when, on January 7, 1989, His Majesty the Showa Emperor departed this life. Her Majesty was re-titled as Empress-Dowager but her own health had deteriorated so much while she focused all of herself on the Emperor that she was too frail even to attend his funeral and after his death she went into seclusion for the rest of her life. Her Majesty, Empress Dowager Kojun died on June 16, 2000 surrounded by her immediate family, at the age of 97 in the Fukiage Omiya Palace in Tokyo. She was buried near her husband at the Imperial Cemetery on July 25, 2000. Her passing marked the end of an era and a last, living, connection with the old Empire of Japan that had existed since the Meiji Era was lost with her. It was a great sadness but Japan was also fortunate to have had such a remarkable lady for so long. She was a shining example of the best virtues of old Japan and the traditional elite. She lived by an ancient code, was firm and unyielding in her principles and showing no favoritism, was devoted to maintaining what had been handed down. She was a devoted wife and mother, a supportive and dutiful Empress consort, a faithful, strong and tireless daughter of Great Japan.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
World War II in Europe would have easily been averted had the German Kaiser retained his throne. Less clear cut is World War II in Asia but evidence points to the answer being the same. Much of the motivation for Japanese involvement on the Asian mainland was, after all, the result of the expansion of the Soviet Union with Soviet-backed communists taking control of Mongolia and supporting a growing subversive element in the Republic of China. Were it not for these communist threats, all of which came about as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, there may have been no need for Japanese intervention in China. Similarly, for the wider war, it all started because of the provocations of the Roosevelt administration aimed at forcing Japan to take aggressive action which would turn public opinion in favor of American intervention in World War II, specifically in Europe. If there had been no war in Europe, there likely would have been no application of American pressure against Japan leading to war. There would also have not been the antagonism between Japan and the Western Allies that grew as a result of the Japanese delegates to Versailles being ignored and the later naval arms reductions agreements which treated Japan as a second-class power to Britain and America. But, to stay on course, this about the results of monarchies falling, not the war itself.
Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy, tried to bring both sides together but it was to no avail and one by one the parts of the former Empire of India abandoned the status of Commonwealth Realms to become republics. Independence was to be welcomed as it would benefit both sides but if the Empire of India could have been maintained, whether with a Viceroy in personal union with the British Crown or under a restored Indian monarch, so much terror and bloodshed might have been avoided, not only in the conflicts between India and Pakistan but as a result of the support from radical elements inside Pakistan to terrorist forces and rogue regimes around the world. If there had been no World War I and thus no World War II, this might have been possible.
Looking across a wider area, if there had been no Great War, there would have been no Soviet Union, thus no Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, thus no Taliban militia and possibly no 9-11 and “War on Terror”. If there had been no Great War there would have been no Soviet Union to bring down the monarchies of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia (without the Great War there would have been no Yugoslavia as there would have still been an Austria-Hungary or perhaps the “United States of Greater Austria” as some federalists envisioned). There would have then been no crackdowns and massacres such as were seen in every country of the Eastern Bloc. There would have been no division of Germany and just imagine how much more prosperous Eastern Europe, including Russia, might be today if they had not spent so many decades in the shackles of Soviet communism. The possibilities are almost endless.
Whether Europe, Asia or Africa there are few major, modern conflicts that have not been a direct or at least indirect result of the First World War. Australia was affected as was North America with South America probably having been the least impacted, though even there the case can be made that the economic consequences played a part in the revolutions that caused so much warfare and turmoil. If World War I had never happened the world would be a much better place and even if it had happened, at least to some extent, people all across the globe would have been spared considerable suffering if the monarchs of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Russia had not lost their thrones in the process.