Friday, July 31, 2009

MM Video: Qing Emperors

Monarch Profile: King Gustaf V of Sweden

Possibly the most controversial Swedish monarch to reign in the 20th Century was King Gustaf V. Today Sweden is known for having an entirely symbolic monarchy but that was not the case in the reign of Gustaf V who had no hesitation about being a king and acting like one. He was born on June 16, 1858; the eldest son of King Oscar II. In 1881 he married Princess Victoria of Baden who herself had Swedish royal blood in her veins. On December 8, 1907 he succeeded his father as King of Sweden. His conservative attitudes quickly came to the surface as he opposed the liberal trend that had been sweeping the country for some time. He opposed the spread of democracy, the increasing demands of labor union groups and political interference with the military budget. King Gustaf V was the last Swedish monarch to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the military, which he did until 1939, and was a duty he took very seriously.

Sweden remained neutral during World War I but there were real concerns on the Allied side that the Swedes might intervene on the side of the Central Powers. Queen Victoria was naturally sympathetic to the German side and Kaiser Wilhelm II thought highly of her. To what extent Gustaf V favored the German cause is debatable but much is attributed to the sympathy of his German wife and his very conservative character. Concerns that Sweden would join the Central Powers became a big enough issue that Gustaf V organized a meeting with the other Scandinavian powers to demonstrate their unity and their resolve to remain neutral. However, Sweden did benefit greatly from increased trade because of the war. More controversial would be his actions before and during World War II.

Many unfair accusations have been made about Sweden and Nazi Germany which are not worthy of consideration. King Gustaf V tried to persuade Hitler to drop his anti-Semitic policies while on a visit to Berlin but to no avail. Much has been made of the King's letter of congratulations to the Nazi leader following the German invasion of the Soviet Union for what the King called taking on the "Bolshevik pest". His PM tried to stop it but the King sent the letter anyway. However, it is important to keep in mind the fact that Swedes had been greatly alarmed by the Soviets gobbling up the Baltic states and especially the unprovoked Soviet invasion of Finland. The region had once been within the realm of Sweden, the Swedes were naturally sympathetic to the valiant Finns, feared Soviet aggression getting closer to them and many Swedes had volunteered to go to Finland to fight the Red Army. Because of the events and politics of World War II it is all too convenient to forget that Hitler had not been the only dictator who had been invading and conquering weak neighbors. The King, in fact, wanted to do more to help the Allies, even to the extent of allowing Allied troops to pass through Swedish territory but the government, fearing Nazi retaliation, would not allow it. He also used Swedish neutrality to try to gain better conditions for those held in Nazi prisons and welcomed many refugees.

The year after the war Sweden was an early member of the United Nations but thanks to the influence of the Social Democratic Party, which King Gustaf V always opposed, alliances went no farther and Sweden remained mostly neutral in the Cold War as well. In many ways Gustaf V was the last "traditional" King of Sweden. Changes were already underway during his reign which he resisted but which would come into effect later. He viewed his kingship as a duty and not something he could completely place in the hands of others. There might have been more strife in the government had not his reign been so busy with a European crisis after another. He died in Stockholm in 1950 leaving the throne to his son Gustaf VI Adolf whose long reign would see a more total transition of life and government in the Kingdom of Sweden.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Consort Profile: Eleanor of Aquitaine

One of the most famous queen consorts in English history and one of the most famous and powerful women in the world in her time was Eleanor of Aquitaine. When Eleanor was 15 she succeeded her father as Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess Poitiers. Only a few months later she married King Louis VII of France. She was known for her education, love of outdoor sports and her outgoing personality. Louis was absolutely smitten with her even though she was far from popular with most others. The leaders of the Church were often critical of her outspoken and flamboyant style and many at court rolled their eyes at the amount of money Louis spent on her.

When Louis VII came into conflict with Pope Innocent II the Queen tried to influence St Bernard of Clairvaux to intercede with the Pontiff in their favor. St Bernard did no such thing and reprimanded the Queen for being on the wrong side of the argument and for meddling in political matters. Louis felt terrible about the whole ordeal and determined to make up for it by answering the call of Pope Eugenius to march in the Second Crusade. To the shock of everyone Eleanor insisted on going along. Since a great deal of men and money were coming from her extensive estates she considered it her right. Eleanor was considered a distraction, which was probably true, but she was also blamed for disasters that were not her fault and her good advice was often ignored. Louis VII was simply not cut out to be a great crusader. Finally he placed his wife under arrest and her situation was not helped by the affection she showed her uncle, Raymond of Antioch with whom most believed she was having an affair (probably untrue).

The whole enterprise was the effective end of their marriage and the couple soon sought an annulment. Pope Eugenius III tried to reconcile the pair but it was to no avail and on March 11, 1152 Louis and Eleanor dissolved their marriage and an annulment was finally granted. Still the mistress of vast and wealthy lands Eleanor was not lacking for new candidates for marriage. She, however, set her sights on Count Henry of Anjou, Duke of Normandy. There were rumors that one of Eleanors lovers had been Henry's father, Geoffrey V, who warned his son against the lovely but worldly and ambitious woman. In any event, the two married on May 18, only 6 weeks after the annulment of her first marriage. In 1154 husband and wife were crowned King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of England.

In the years that followed she gave Henry II five sons and three daughters however the two fought constantly and over time Henry's affairs became impossible for Eleanor to overlook or ignore. When their son Henry led a rebellion against his father Eleanor supported him and when the campaign failed Henry II had his wife arrested and put under house arrest in various places and was only released for certain religious holidays. This situation lasted until Henry II's death in 1189 when Eleanor's favorite son became King Richard I of England. Richard ordered the release of his mother and she effectively ruled England on his behalf during Richard's absence. It was Queen Eleanor who negotiated the ransom of Richard with the German Emperor after he was captured on his way home from the Third Crusade. She outlived Richard and still carried out official duties during the reign of her son King John before her death in 1204, outliving all but two of her children. Her story has been retold many ways in many styles ever since and even now she remains a figure of fascination and controversy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cinema Royals: Fanny Ardant

First, a word of religious warning for readers of the Roman persuasion. The award winning 1998 film "Elizabeth" certainly does not try in the least to be fair toward the Catholic point of view and virtually every Catholic in the movie is portrayed as a horrible villain --but some still play it very well. My absolute favorite character in the movie was Queen Marie d'Guise played by Fanny Ardant, who as this film shows is certainly growing old gracefully. She plays the part to perfection even though it is a part totally out of touch with historical reality. In this movie, Marie d'Guise is essentially a cruel, ambitious and somewhat degenerate French temptress who is killed (off camera) during an illicit liaison with Sir Francis Walsingham. Marie d'Guise (the real one) was nothing like this, in fact, if anything it was she who was the victim of English treachery, and on a superficial note, by the time of the reign of Elizabeth I, Marie d'Guise looked nothing like Fanny Ardant but had by then become a rather large and sickly woman. So, why do I like her? She plays the part very well, and who could resist a French woman of her mature beauty riding on to the battlefield with an armor breastplate over her dress, glorying in her triumph over the English army? Warrior queens are usually sure-winners with me. She completely captured the style the filmmakers were going for as being strong, cunning, attractive and dangerous. The real Marie d'Guise was totally the opposite as far as her morals but she was a strong woman and a gifted ruler, always willing to face the enemy. I'm sure the real Queen would not have appreciated how she was portrayed, though she probably wished she looked as good as Ardant at that stage in her life.

MM Video: Royal Scots

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


If he could read, he would read the Mad Monarchist

Monarchist Profile: Prince Demchukdongrub

Prince Demchukdongrub led the last effort to create a pan-Mongol monarchy during World War II. He is often known as Prince Teh or Prince De Wang. The last Qing Emperor of China gave him the title of "Prince Teh the Martial" for his longtime loyalty to the Qing dynasty. Demchukdongrub was the only son of Prince Namjil Wangchuk of the White Banner in Chahar province, Inner-Mongolia. He married into the Manchu nobility and was able to stay in the good graces of General Yuan Shihkai after the fall of the Qing Empire. He became a local leader in Chahar province and was in contact with many agents, societies and individuals who wished to promote monarchism and solidarity between Manchuria, Japan and Mongolia. Prince Teh, like most all Mongol leaders, claimed descent from Genghis Khan and had long advocated the unification of all his people into a pan-Mongol monarchy.

In September of 1933 the princes of Suiyuan and Chahar provinces joined together to form a provisional government and sent word to the government of the Republic of China that if full autonomy for Inner Mongolia was not given to them they would seek aid from Japan. The Chinese nationalists were naturally opposed to this but could do little about it. Help did come in from the commander of the Japanese Kwantung Army in Manchuria and strong ties were also easily established with the restored Manchu Emperor of Manchukuo. In 1936 the Japanese sponsored the formation of the Autonomous Mongolian Military Government under Prince Teh assisted by a Japanese advisor. A long-term ideal would have obviously been unity with Outer Mongolia. However, ever since the defeat of the Russian monarchist Ungern-Sternberg Outer Mongolia had been ruled by a communist-client regime of the Soviet Union though some monarchist princes were able to attend pan-Mongol meetings in Inner Mongolia.

Prince Teh established the provisional Inner Mongolian monarchist state known as Mengjiang but had to devote most of his time to military buildup to support the Japanese war effort on which all of their hopes for the future depended. Of course this would doom them in the eyes of many future generations but all knew that there would be no hope for an independent Mongol monarchy if either faction of the Chinese republicans won the war. For a time things went well with their territory expanded through campaigns alongside the Japanese and Manchurians. A more solid and better organized government was set up but, of course, it could not survive the defeat of Japan in 1945. Prince Teh was arrested by the Kuomintang and kept in Peking for four years. When the communists were on the verge of winning the Chinese Civil War in August of 1949 Prince Teh was able to return to Inner Mongolia and tried to set up another autonomous government. The People's Liberation Army finally forced him to flee to Outer Mongolia where the people welcomed him as a pan-Mongol hero but the local communist government arrested him and turned him over to the Red Chinese.

Prince Teh was convicted of treason by the Chinese communists and thrown in prison as a war criminal for collaboration with the Japanese. Like the last Emperor of China he wrote his memoirs while in prison and was pardoned 13 years later. He returned to Inner Mongolia and worked in museum. He died in Hohhot on May 23, 1966 still a national hero in the hearts of many Mongolians who dreamed of independence and unity for all of their people.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Royal Guardians Profile: The Japanese Imperial Guard

The modern Japanese Imperial Guard is a far cry from what it used to be but is no less effective at its primary duty of protecting the Emperor of Japan, the Imperial Family and their residences. The modern Japanese Imperial Guard was formed in 1867 as part of the Imperial Japanese Army. Their style was very French though after 1870 the Japanese imported German military experts to train them. The Imperial Guard served in the victory over Russia and was greatly expanded, including two brigades made up entirely of natives of the island of Formosa (Taiwan). During World War II Imperial Guard units were sent to serve in southern China and in the occupation of French Indochina (Vietnam). Later Imperial Guard troops fought in the victorious campaigns in Malaya and Singapore. Their reputation was tarnished over these events when evidence was produced after the war at war crimes trials that members had participated in several atrocities. With the Japanese surrender in 1945 and the occupation of Japan by the United States the Imperial Guard was abolished (as was the Imperial Japanese Army as a whole) but in 1947 it was reformed as part of the National Police Agency.
The modern Imperial Guard of the Police Agency consists of some 900 members and are charged with the protection of the Emperor, his family and properties. They also train as fire-fighters to be prepared for any fires in the Imperial Palace complex. Men and women alike serve in the guard today and are a highly trained, proud and efficient security force that has been called on to fend off potential attackers and recently had to perform the unusual task of dealing with a drunken, naked foreigner who decided to go for a swim in the imperial moat!

MM Video: The Iron Czar: Nicholas I

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Princely Origins of the FBI

It was on this day in 1908 that the Attorney General of the United States organized federal agents in the Office of the Chief Examiner into the Bureau of Investigation which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI that we all know today. What made the Attorney General rather unique amongst all others to hold that position was that his name happened to be Charles Joseph Bonaparte. He served in the administration of the famous President Teddy Roosevelt first as Secretary of the Navy before becoming Attorney General. He was born in Maryland to Prince Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte who was the son of Emperor Napoleon's brother Jerome Bonaparte who he had made King of Westphalia and first Prince of Montfort. His grandfather, the former King Jerome, had married the American Elizabeth Patterson. The ceremony was performed by Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first Catholic bishop and later archbishop in the United States. His own mother, Susan May Williams, was one of the most wealthy heiresses in America and her fortune was a major reason why Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte insisted on marrying her rather than going through an arranged marriage amongst the high-born society of Europe. Even in America there was talk that Charles Joseph owed his position to his last name; that the very colorful Teddy Roosevelt simply liked the idea of having a Bonaparte in his cabinet. Whatever the reason he served the President faithfully for the duration of his term, was known for being punctual and opposed to monopolies as well as being the grandson of the former King of Westphalia and great-nephew of the famous French Emperor.

Shameless Plug

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Monarch Profile: Emperor Pedro II of Brazil

Dom Pedro II of Brazil may hold the record for being the most popular "last monarch" in the world. He was an intelligent, likeable and widely beloved and respected man and yet somehow he had the fate to become the second and last Emperor of Brazil. He was only five years old when his father, Emperor Pedro I of Brazil and King Pedro IV of Portugal, abdicated in his favor on April 7, 1831. His elder sister would go on to be Queen of Portugal but as Pedro II had been born in Brazil after the declaration of independence he was a foreigner in Portuguese law and was considered the first "home grown" Brazilian monarch. As the son of a Braganza father and a Hapsburg father he had many royal family relations. Emperor Napoleon of France was his uncle and he was a first cousin to the nominal Emperor Napleon II of France, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria and Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.

For the first nine years of his reign he was acted for by a regency during which time the country was plagued with instability and so, in 1840, he was declared of legal age early in order to fully assume the throne. He was crowned on July 18, 1841 and immediately had to deal with the regional conflicts that had brought about his early accession to the throne. At first these rebellions had the stated aim of restoring his father to power but after his death were carried on over contested elections as different groups struggled for power. Pedro II had a great deal of intellectual curiosity and genuine concern for his people and viewed his role as Emperor to act as an impartial umpire amidst the struggling factions. With his imperial authority, winning personality and the military support of the Duke of Caxias he felt able to deal with any crisis.

As Brazil was still a young country Pedro II was quick to ensure that Brazilian national sovereignty would be respected and did not back down whether dealing with smaller local nations or greater powers like the United Kingdom and the United States. In 1864 he led Brazil into the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay and by the end of the war in 1870 he had enlarged the national territory and effectively made the Brazilian Empire the dominant power in South America. It was no coincidence that during these war years his cousin in Mexico, Emperor Maximilian, envisioned a New World that would be overseen by the United States in the north, the Brazilian Empire in the south and the Mexican Empire in Central America. Pedro II, a calm and serious man, was a tower of strength in a time of crisis and became a comforting figure for Brazil. His interest in innovation meant that during his reign coffee supplanted sugar as the primary cash crop, railroad construction was rapidly expanded and more and more cities across the country were linked by telegraph. The economy stabilized and prospered, growth and expansion was everywhere and the country enjoyed a high reputation among the Latin American powers. Things seemed to be going great and Pedro II was extremely popular.

The Emperor was able to maintain a balancing act between the liberals and conservatives quite effectively. Whereas other countries in the region were torn by constant civil wars between these two factions, under the Emperor's guidance Brazil had peaceful and orderly transitions of power though that power continued to be largely concentrated in the hands of the land-owning planter class. Ultimately, the thurst for power among these elites would lead to the downfall of the monarch who seemed a permanent and popular fixture of Brazilian life. He was too progressive for the likes of the oligarchs and they began to hunger for total power rather than simply a large share of it. The final straw came when Pedro II began to slowly phase out the institution of slavery. For a country with a plantation-based economy like Brazil the Emperor knew this would be difficult and tried to lead by example (he freed all of his own slaves as early as 1840) and to enact changes little by little over time. Republicanism had begun to creep in amongst the urban liberals and some in the middle class and in time the republican idea would be seen by numerous factions as their path to power.

Pedro II did not help his cause by trying to be so tolerant and modern-minded. His rolling back of slavery cost him a great deal of support amongst the elites, his liberal ideas turned off many in the military and he lost crucial support from the Catholic Church by opposing their anti-Mason regulations after 1872. His political tolerance also meant that known republicans were allowed to gain and hold high positions both in the government and in the military. Pedro II also spoke at various times as though it mattered little to him whether the country was a monarchy or a republic, which gave little confidence to those inclined to uphold the Crown. In 1888, while his daughter Isabel was acting as regent, slavery was officially abolished and some 700,000 slaves were freed without their owners being given compensation. For many of the landed elites this was the last straw. Pedro II was still supported by a large majority of his people but on November 15, 1889 a military coup forced him to abdicate. He and the Imperial Family went into exile in Europe and died in France in 1891. In 1920 his remains and those of his wife were finally returned to Brazil and buried with full honors.

Friday, July 24, 2009

MM Video: Princes of Liechtenstein

Mad Rant: The Deadly Hot Dogs

If any more proof was needed that the world had turned completely upside down there is now a group of vegetarians (you know, like Hitler was) who have gone to court in New Jersey to have a Surgeon General's warning placed on packages of hot dogs claiming that they cause colon cancer! Yes, first it was cigarettes and now it is hot dogs. Unfortunately, we can only look forward to more of this since the Obama administration is determined to make health a federal matter. After all, if the "government" pays then everything we do that effects our health becomes the government's business. So at the same time people in California are trying to make marijuana legal another group of people are trying to put warning labels on hot dogs -and I'm sure most of them voted for the same people in the last election (and won). How screwed up are things when the country that calls itself the "land of the free" is banning smoking even in private homes, putting taxes on cookies and soft drinks and wailing about Obama's choice for Surgeon General because the woman is overweight?

Perhaps the problem is the identification of terms. "Freedom" is not something that can be very definitively described. What can be is clearly defined is independence. The modern revolutionary state is all awash in "freedom" and "rights" but very little independence. We might gain new "freedoms" every day and extent "rights" to this group or that group but across the world our independence is slipping away -no actually it is running away at breakneck speed! That was an important difference between feudal monarchies and revolutionary republics that are just dripping with "freedoms". True, your average person in the Middle Ages could not vote, worship the devil or marry someone of the same gender but that person was independent. Back then the government stuck to big issues like wars, upholding religion and regulating trade. Even in far off America just prior to the "War for Independence" I doubt that King George III was concerned with how fast someone rode their horse, how much water their out-house used, if they smoked in public or were eating anything too high in cholesterol.

Of course Britain was a constitutional monarchy, so maybe things were different in an absolute monarchy like France. Not really. True, there was no freedom of religion (wasn't in Britain either) but there were certainly plenty of people with no religion at all and they were not persecuted. Contrast that to revolutionary France wherein people with the "wrong" religion (Christianity) certainly were persecuted. There was freedom of thought; philosophes were all over the place and yet in revolutionary France people who thought "wrong" had their heads cut off. True, there was not much democracy but there was private property rights that even the absolutist King would not dare infringe upon. Therein lies the difference between "absolute" power and "arbitrary" power but I'll save that for another time. Your average person could live their life as they saw fit, take care of themselves and make their own decisions and so long as they did not challenge national stability, security or the laws of God they lived their lives as they pleased. Contrast that to today wherein we have government regulations for absolutely everything. Depending on where you live you need a permit to build an addition onto your own house, a government agent must inspect it to ensure it is up to code, you need a permit to kill a deer, a permit to buy a gun, a permit to get married, a permit to sell apples on the street corner and a permit to drive a car you bought on a road your money paid to build!

In the old days the government was called tyrannical for being in control of the big things. In post-revolutionary today the government is called "free" for being in control of absolutely everything even down to telling you what you can eat or drink. You can't be trusted to teach your own children; the government must do that. You can't be trusted to protect yourself; the government must do that. You can't be trusted to take care of your own health; the government must do that. You certainly can't be trusted to decide to smoke a cigarette or eat a hot dog so the government should give you some guidance there too. !!!@#$%^&*>?!!! If this is what is ordinary, if this is what is normal, sane and rational I certainly have no problem remaining ... The Mad Monarchist.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

40 Years a Prince

It was 40 years ago today that Don Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon was formally recognized by the Spanish state as a Prince of Spain. Before the Cortes and Generalissimo Francisco Franco he swore loyalty to the national movement and the chief of state. There were still some ruffled feathers amongst the Bourbon dynasty because of Juan Carlos being chosen instead of his father as heir to the throne, but it was a happy occasion. Stability had been ensured and the first steps taken toward the full restoration of the monarchy. Of course, King Juan Carlos did not remain loyal to the national movement (Falangism) but he has never criticized Franco and refuses to tolerate anyone speaking ill of him in his presence. Today many people think that scandalous but there is not a doubt in my mind that the better side won the Spanish Civil War and say what you will about Franco he did see to it that the monarchy was eventually restored, he kept the country together, gave a chance for some stability and growth and restored a proper respect for religion in national life. Spain was virtually a different country then compared to now. Hopefully the Spanish can work back to the good aspects and drop all the current secular nonsense.

Viva el Rey! Arriba Espana!

Consort Profile: Isabella of England

One Queen consort of England who had a life far more "interesting" than most was Queen Isabella, the only daughter of King Philippe IV of France who came to be known as the "She Wolf of France". Born in Paris probably sometime in 1295 she was pledged as an infant to marry the first Prince of Wales who would become King Edward II of England. It was hoped that the marriage would solidify peace between France and England and bring some settlement to their conflicting claims. Pope Boniface VIII favored the match but the great King Edward I of England had second thoughts and the marriage did not actually occur until the "English Justinian" had died. The two married finally in 1308. Edward I (though his reputation today has been sullied by Hollywood) was considered the ideal monarch; a wise lawgiver, a great general and all the rest. His tall, handsome son was expected to be much the same and was initially widely popular. As time went on though he would fail to meet most expectations.

Isabella was probably only around 12 at the time of her marriage but was considered one of the most beautiful girls in Europe. In time Edward II and Isabella had four children but the Queen suffered the indignity of having a husband who seemed to prefer his male favorites to her. Isabella tried to make the best of it and to use her position to have her husband's male lovers sent away but in the end he chose his degenerate lifestyle over his wife and from that time on Isabella felt no qualms about viewing her husband as her enemy. Perhaps thinking that turnabout was fair play she took a lover of her own in the person of Roger Mortimer; a father of 12 who had married money. In 1325 Isabella's brother, King Charles IV of France, attacked and conquered the English territories in France and Edward II sent Isabella to make peace. It would prove to be only one of Edward's many poor decisions.

The King of England who was such a disappointment, and who angered many of the nobles with his advancement of his male favorites, looked to Isabella for leadership in mounting a coup against him and this Isabella did. She and Mortimer raised an army of their own in France and naturally her brother did nothing to stop her. They gained more men and ships from one of her powerful relatives in Holland and in September of 1326 landed in England to depose Edward II and take the throne. Edward offered a reward for the head of his wife but Isabella responded by offering an even larger reward for the head of her husband. It helped that Edward II was such an un-inspiring leader and most of those who were his allies abandoned him without putting up a fight. Edward was captured by his wife's army and abdicated in favor of their son who became King Edward III. Eventually Edward II vanished, most say he was murdered though it is still debated as to who was responsible and others say he escaped to a life of seclusion.

Queen Isabella and her Mortimer ruled England as regents on behalf of her son until he came of age in 1330. The 18-year-old King Edward III then had his mother and Mortimer arrested. Mortimer was later executed while Queen Isabella lived the rest of her life under a rather loose sort of house arrest. She was by all accounts a loving grandmother and became more religious in her old age taking the habit of the Poor Clare Sisters. She died in 1358 and was buried in London in the Franciscan church at Newgate in her wedding dress along with the supposed heart of Edward II. Opinion on Isabella remains mixed but it says something that her husband is still considered one of the most failed Kings of England and her son King Edward III as one of the greatest monarchs of the English Middle Ages. She might consider that victory enough.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blogger Links & Business

I've tried to streamline the links section and a number have gone, mostly because they have not been updated in months and seem to have been abandoned, others have been removed for failing to provide a link back after asking to be listed here. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all readers who are bloggers that if you are a reader, have a link to this blog, I would be more than happy to put a link to yours in kind. You just need to let me know! I have found a few like that and added them later but I'm not a mind reader so if you're going to link here I'd be glad to return the favor but you do need to make me aware of it. Thanks again to all readers, subscribers, members and linkers!

Also, if anyone wants to make use of any of my homemade graphics that will appear from time to time to link back to this page (a shameless plug I know) that is certainly okay with me ;-)

Speaking of Godfrey of Bouillon

It was on this day in 1099 that Godfrey of Bouillon was elected "Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre" and the first ruler of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem at the victorious climax of the First Crusade. It is therefore fitting to have a little reflection on that long past monarchy. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was the dream, prize and crown jewel of the Crusades. It existed from 1099 until 1291 though the Holy City of Jerusalem fell to the Muslims earlier in 1187. There were roughly 23 monarchs over Jerusalem in that time and the claims to the kingdom and the dream it represented continued for much longer. In fact, the claim nominally continues to this day as King Juan Carlos of Spain still includes among his long list of titles that of "King of Jerusalem". Today it has become rather fashionable to emphasize the failures and shortcomings of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the Crusades as a whole, but it should not be forgotten that there were many great, heroic and upright figures associated with that long lost kingdom and the vision of those who founded it still shines in the mind all these centuries later. For a time the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was a beacon of light; a cosmopolitan kingdom, a crossroads of the world, a hub of trade and a place where Christian, Jew and Muslim lived and worked side by side in peace. One of those admirable figures was surely Godfrey de Bouillon.

The founding of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was the crowning achievement of the Christian victory in the First Crusade, summoned by Pope Urban II when Muslim forces invaded and threatened to overrun the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire. The retaking of the Holy City by Christian forces was an event which gave no indication of the tolerance to follow. After miraculously snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the Crusaders stormed into the city and in their pent up rage carried out a massacre horrific by all accounts. However, not all the crusaders took part in this shameful act, one being Godfrey of Bouillon, a great knight, who was offered the throne of the newly proclaimed Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. He had not set out as the leader of the Crusade but during the course of events his courage, skill and chivalric behavior earned him the admiration of his troops and so was about the only man who commanded enough respect and trust to be offered the crown of Jerusalem.

Godfrey, however, was a humble man and refused to, as he put it, wear a crown of gold where Christ had worn a crown of thorns. Rather than the title of king he was called the Advocate of the Holy Sepulcher and was installed into that office in a solemn ceremony in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Arnulf of Chocques was elected first Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, thus fulfilling the balance in leadership between the lay and the clerical that existed in the Middle Ages throughout Christendom and was one of the hallmarks of the era. There was some doubt, at the outset, as to whether or not the Kingdom of Jerusalem would ever have a monarch at all; some wanted to see the establishment of a Christian theocracy under the guidance of the Pope, and whether or not the new country would be able to maintain its independence. That matter was settled when Godfrey of Bouillon marched out with the True Cross before him and defeated a Muslim army at Ascalon in August, securing the immediate independence of Jerusalem.

MM Video: Caroline

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monarchist Profile: Andreas Hofer

One of the greatest though somewhat lesser-known figures to come out of the Napoleonic Wars was the Austrian innkeeper Andreas Hofer. He set such an example of religious devotion and monarchist loyalty that his memory was still being invoked in the Hapsburg Empire during World War I. Born in 1767 in the Tyrol region he seemed quite ordinary for much of his life. He ran and inn, worked as a merchant and served in government on the local level. When the War of the Third Coalition broke out with Napoleonic France he joined the Austrain militia, first as a sharpshooter but later rising to the rank of captain. When the Tyrol was handed over to the French ally Bavaria in 1805 as a spoil of war he joined the anti-Bavarian underground. Four years later he led a delegation to Vienna to ask the Emperor Francis II for his support. The devout mountain man was not impressed by the morals of the great city and famously said that, "my Anne Gertrude would not approve of this". However, he met with the Emperor and Francis assured his loyal subject of his support.

Hofer went back to the Tyrol and raised a rebellion against the French and Bavarians, fighting for "God, Emperor and Fatherland". He and his troops quickly overran the local Bavarian garrisons and defeated a number of French troops in the area. Things seemed to be going well until the great Austrian Archduke Charles was defeated by Napoleon and Austrian forces retreated from the area. Napoleon was then able to help the Bavarians regain control. However, Hofer was nothing if not persistent and as soon as the French left he renewed his attacks. In time the loyal peasants, Austrian soldiers and even some clerics under Hofer's command numbered nearly 20,000. A respectable army for an innkeeper. Again his forces drove the Bavarians out of the Tyrol and captured Innsbruck. Only the day before his forces entered the city he had been given a letter from Emperor Francis II vowing not to sign any treaty that would renounce the Tyrol.

Andreas Hofer, thinking his work was at an end, returned home to his wife and family but the fortunes of war would soon turn again. By mid-summer another armistice had been signed that gave the Tyrol to Bavaria and French troops marched back into Innsbruck. Reluctantly but with the determination of a true monarchist patriot Andreas Hofer rallied his forces yet again and led a fearsome charge against the French forces of Marshal Lefebvre. After 12 hours of vicious fighting the French were defeated and Andreas Hofer again marched triumphantly into Innsbruck. This time Hofer took charge of the administration himself in the name of Emperor Francis II. He saw to the government and even some diplomacy when he sent emissaries to Great Britain for help. The Emperor decorated him for his victory and again promised not to abandon the Tyrol.

It is to the credit of Andreas Hofer that he forever kept faith with a monarch who could not always keep faith with him. By October the Tyrol had again been handed over to the Franco-Bavarians in another peace treaty and Hofer was forced to retreat into the mountains. The French put a huge price on his head and in January 1810 he was betrayed by a neighbor and captured by a troop of French-allied Italians. Andreas Hofer was taken to Mantua and executed by firing squad, some said on orders from Napoleon though the French Emperor later claimed that he had never ordered it. In any event he died a hero for the Austrian Empire and the Hapsburg Emperor raised his family to the nobility. His brave death only increased his fame and across Austria and southern Germany the memory of Andreas Hofer became a rallying cry for the forces that united in the final defeat of the French. A large monument topped by a statue of Andreas Hofer stands near Innsbruck bearing the words, "For God, Emperor and Fatherland".

Belgian National Day

It was on this day in 1831 that Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was inaugurated as King Leopold I of the Belgians. It has been the national holiday, a marker for the independence of the modern Kingdom of Belgium, ever since. The Mad Monarchist wishes all Belgians everywhere a happy national day (especially our readers Matterhorn and BelgieRoyalist) and long life to the Belgian Royal Family!

Monday, July 20, 2009

MM Video: Brazilian Empire

Royal Guardians Profile: The Canadian Grenadier Guards

One of the most famous regiments in the Canadian Forces is the Canadian Grenadier Guards. Although it traces its origins back to the earliest days of Canada it was officially born as the "First Regiment Canadian Grenadier Guards" in 1914 and was given the status of a household regiment; which is to say a royal guard which has the duty and honor to guard the monarch of Canada. The regiment contributed fighting men to many battalions during the First World War and by the end of the war King George V granted them the honor of being addressed as Guardsmen. They were officially allied with the Grenadier Guards of Britain and this special relationship has been maintained ever since. They were mobilized for action in World War II and earned battle honors across France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Members of the Guard also served in the Korean War and more recently units have served in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

An elite and famous fighting force the Canadian Grenadier Guards are most known for their ceremonial duties such as guarding the residence of the Governor-General of Canada at Rideau Hall and Parliament Hill. The changing of the guard is always a must-see for visitors to Ottawa and, as a guard regiment of household troops the Canadian Grenadier Guards also travel to London when their turn comes to stand guard at Buckingham Palace; the primary residence of the Queen of Canada.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

MM Video: Stephanie

Monarch Profile: Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

H.I.M. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi has the unhappy distinction of being the last royal ruler of Iran, the last in an ancient line of great Persian monarchs before the rise of the current Islamic Republic. Born in 1919 he grew up in the tumultuous world of Iranian politics. In 1925 his father overthrew the last Shah of Qajar dynasty and made himself Emperor with Mohammad proclaimed as "Crown Prince of Persia" (his father would later request all nations refer to the country as Iran). He studied in Switzerland before returning home to begin his military training. Within a few years he was thrust on to the world stage when British and Soviet forces invaded Iran and deposed his father in order to secure supply lines through the country and stop Iranian trade with Germany. On September 26, 1941 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was formally declared "King of Kings, Light of the Aryans and Supreme Warlord". His reign would be one of great social and technical progress for Iran but also one of great trouble and unrest.

Early on the Shah had growing problems with the Shiite clerics who objected to his modernization efforts and the incease in social freedoms; especially for women. An alliance began to emerge between these fundamentalists and the nationalists who opposed the Shah's friendship with the West and his recognition of the State of Israel. They also resented Western meddling in Iran which was happening. The Soviets were supporting the communists in Iran but the US and UK took a more active role in bringing down the Prime Minister who nationalized Iran's oil reserves in 1951. The PM, Mohammad Mossadegh, had believed that the West was supportive of his nationalist movement but the CIA and SIS funded a coup against him. When it failed the Shah was forced to leave the country for Rome. Later he was able to return, remove Mossadegh and restore himself. The communist elements in the country had supported Mossadegh and attempted a coup which forced the Shah to leave the country again though the effort failed and the Reds turned against the former PM. Their success in street violence frightened the Islamic leadership into switching back to the Shah's camp. The Shah also survived several assassination attempts, some of which originated in the Soviet Union.

One of the best things about the late Shah was that he was a monarchists' monarch. He supported the royalists against the republicans in the civil war in Yemen, helped the Sultan of Qaboos stop communist rebels in his country, maintained good relations with the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco and the Gulf emirates while fighting the socialist and Baath party republican regimes in Iraq. However, radical elements still plotted against him because of the social progress he pushed and his continued good relations with the US and United Kingdom. During his reign education was massively expanded, healthcare was expanded, women were given the right to an education and the right to vote and the national economy improved greatly. This brought new outside trends to Iran like modern fashion, Hollywood movies and dance clubs all of which the radical clerics vehemently opposed. It had taken some time but the Shah's rule seemed secure, the regime stable and Iran was quickly becoming a modern, prosperous and well educated country. It was then quite a surprise when demonstrations flared up against the monarchy in 1977 orchestrated by the Ayatollah Khomeini.

The US government under President Jimmy Carter pressured the Shah not to take action against the radical elements, promising support but never delivering on it and indeed denying the Shah vital material assistance. By 1978 strikes were gripping the country and the Prime Minister prevailed upon the Shah to leave Iran for a short time until things stabilized. After he left his security forces were dissolved and the Ayatollah organized his own government, refused to deal with the Prime Minister and announced the Islamic Revolution. On February 11, 1979 the ancient Iranian monarchy formally came to an end and the Shah would never see his homeland again. The Shah spent the rest of his life in exile, living in various countries around the world as the revolutionary regime continued to demand his return and that of his family to face execution. His health grew worse and though he lived to see many of the governments who had failed to support him regret their previous policies he always insisted that it gave him no satisfaction. He only wished things could have been different. He died in Egypt in 1980.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Queen Fabiola Death Threat

The Royal Forums has reported on the second death threat directed at the Dowager Queen Fabiola of the Belgians. Read all about it here. It seems to be from the same source as the last death threat and one gets the distinct impression that this guy is sitting at home with a tin-foil helmet on waiting for the "mothership" to beam him up. Coming from someone who is so obviously a candidate for the laughing academy it would be tempting to dismiss the danger. However, even if the guy is Chief Loon at the Cracker College he could still be very dangerous and every precaution is wisely being taken for Her Majesty's protection. God protect the Queen of the Belgians!

MM Video: Carlota of Mexico

Consort Profile: Queen Lovisa of Denmark

Queen Lovisa of Denmark was born on Halloween, 1851, to King Charles XV and Queen Lovisa of Sweden and Norway. The King and Queen of Sweden and Norway had only one other child besides Lovisa; their son Carl Oscar. However, when he died young the distraught monarch began to raise his daughter in the rough manner of a boy. She was a happy child, good natured, treated with the crude affection of a son by her father who once said, "She's an ugly devil but she's funny!" There was some talk about her being able to succeed to the Swedish throne but it would have required a change in the succession laws of both Sweden and Norway and when the King's brother had a son the issue was dropped.

In 1869 Princess Lovisa married Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark amid great celebrations. Although Sweden was suffering an economic slump at the time the people all contributed to give her a suitable dowry. Early on there were rumors that that dowry was the only reason Frederick married her. In any event, there was to be little wedded happiness for Lovisa who became Queen consort in 1906 when her husband succeeded to the throne as King Frederick VIII of Denmark. The once cheerful and outgoing woman became withdrawn, embarassed and hurt by her husband's infidelities. She also became very devoutly religious and insisted on the highest moral standards as she raised her own children, being highly protective of them. Even her elevation to Queen was somewhat marred by the fact that only the year before Sweden had been forced to agree to the independence of Norway. Denmark had supported Norwegian independence and the uncomfortable feelings this produced between Sweden and Denmark meant that Queen Lovisa was unable to visit her homeland for some time which had been about her only periods of real happiness after her marriage.
Only six years after becoming Queen she also became a widow with the death of King Frederick in 1912. She never truly felt as though she fit in with the Danish Royal Family and they tended to view the Queen as rather cold and distant, though this was certainly the result of her husband's behavior as she had earlier been known for being quite the opposite. Nonetheless, she did her duty like a true royal, suffering in silence and devoting herself to her children, her position and her Christian faith. She died on March 20, 1926 in the Amalienborg Palace.

Friday, July 17, 2009

MM Video: The Last Czar and His Family

For the non-Russian speaking viewers let me assure you that the music is NOT the Soviet national anthem. The tune is the same but the version sung is the modern Russian national anthem. Today many symbols of Russia's imperial past have returned; hopefully paving the way for the restoration of the Romanovs and a return to the greatness of Imperial Russia that will finally put the ghosts of the USSR to rest.

In Memory of the Romanovs

Today is the official memorial for the martyred family of the last Czar of Russia in the Russian Orthodox Church. It was on this day that Czar Nicholas II, Czarina Alexandra, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and the Czarevich Alexi were massacred on orders from Vladimir Lenin by the Communist Red Guards. It was, however, more than the brutal, mass-murder of a beautiful family; it was the attempted murder of an idea. It had to be so because, by 1918 especially, the Imperial Family was no threat to anyone. The demonic forces of the revolution had prevailed. Like a nest of termites they had been eating away at the autocracy for years and had finally overcome it thanks to the added stress of World War I. The Imperial Family was guilty of nothing, were not cruel or malicious but on the contrary were the ideal family. There was never a better example of true soul mates than Nicholas and Alexandra and there were never two parents more devoted to their children. It was truthfully said that there was no one the Czar would prefer to spend time with more than his own wife and children.

By 1918 Nicholas II had abdicated, the Romanov monarchy was gone and the Imperial Family were helpless prisoners. As such, there was no reason for their brutal massacre other than the fanatical communist determination to erase all remnants and all reminders of the once proud Russian Empire. They wanted to destroy the very foundations of all that had been Russian greatness and all memory of what had been the basis of the Romanov monarchy; authority "by the grace of God". Had not the world already been punch-drunk from the horrendous suffering of World War I the massacre of the Romanovs would have undoubtedly caused a greater uproar. However, the loss would be felt across the globe in the years to come with the rise of the Soviet Union, the spread of revolutionary communism, the start of the Cold War and brutal, murderous, Bolshevik client-regimes around the world from Cuba to North Korea. The deaths of the Romanovs meant misery for Russia and misery for countless others across the globe and the massacre of tens of millions to an extent even the most barbaric eras in history could not match for cruelty. The Romanovs were the first victims but by no means the last.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Thanks

My thanks and appreciation to all blog followers, subscribers, readers and linkers for their support. I am humbled, I am grateful and I am ... The Mad Monarchist

The Abdication of Leopold III

It was on this day in 1951 that His Majesty Leopold III, King of the Belgians, abdicated his throne in favor of his son Crown Prince Baudouin. I have always had slightly mixed feelings about this as I am biased by the fact that I consider King Baudouin to have been one of the greatest monarchs to have reigned since the Second World War. I see him as a monarch who behaved with the greatest regal dignity, showed great foresight and good judgment and who displayed immense moral courage. I am thus thrilled that he became King and that the world had him for as long as it did. That being said, I have also always felt that King Leopold III has been one of the most unjustly maligned monarchs of his time; and continues to be so without the slightest justification. First, however, a little background.

Leopold was born in 1901, son and heir of the great “Soldier King” Albert I who gained fame for his gallant leadership of the Belgian Army during World War I. As crown prince, the teenage Leopold won considerable admiration as well for joining the army and serving in the trenches as a regular soldier. He completed his higher education after the war and in 1926 married Princess Astrid of Sweden. They were young, handsome, devoutly religion and very devoted to each other and soon had three children. Everything must have seemed perfect. Then, in 1934 Leopold was thrust into kingship by the sudden death of Albert I in a climbing accident. Only a year later his beloved Queen and fourth (unborn) child were killed in a car accident in Switzerland. However, the greatest test and most controversial period of his life came with the onset of World War II and the German invasion of Belgium in 1940.

After the hard lessons of World War I King Leopold III had not neglected military defense and the Belgian army performed heroically in the practically hopeless fight against Nazi Germany. Luxembourg was occupied in a day, the Dutch surrendered in four days but Belgium held out for 18 days. Yet, others at the time and since have feigned outrage when King Leopold III announced the surrender of Belgium and that he would not go into exile but would stay in Belgium and endure the occupation along with his people. Some then and since viewed this as a sell-out of the Allied war effort, however, Belgium itself had been sold out with many of her compatriots already looking to their own escape while the Belgians sacrificed themselves buying time for them. Yet, simply by staying behind many have tried to portray the King as some sort of collaborator when nothing could be farther from the truth. He was kept as a virtual prisoner by the Germans, refused all of their efforts to deal with him and Belgium was placed under military rule. There were, in fact, strong factions in the Nazi camp, especially the Dutch and Flemish Nazi collaborators who wanted a "Greater Netherlands" who wanted to destroy Belgium completely as a country. Toward the end of the war SS Chief Henry Himmler had the King arrested and taken to Germany where he was not freed until the arrival of American troops.
Leopold III went into what was thought to be a temporary exile in Switzerland while his return to Belgium was discussed. The divisions came out and it was eventually decided to put the issue to a vote after the King had been legally cleared of all charges of collaboration (another fact that is often ignored). The result was a majority of Belgians voted for their King to return and yet the losing side loosed a series of strikes, riots and clashes with the authorities. It was only then that Leopold III, despite winning the vote, decided that if his return would cause divisions among his people that he would abdicate. Yet again he put his people and country ahead of himself and pass the throne to his son Baudouin. He continued his intellectual pursuits until his death in 1983.
*Edit: To read some text from King Leopold's abdication and a video of the event check out this post at The Cross of Laeken where plenty of other info on Leopold III can be found.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monarchist Profile: Baron Alfred Van der Smissen

One of the most zealous defenders of the Mexican Empire was the Belgian soldier Alfred Baron Van der Smissen. He was born in Brussels on February 1, 1823 and began his military career in 1843 when he was 20 years old. Rising to the officer corps of the Belgian army, he saw combat for the first time in 1851 fighting with French troops in North Africa after the Algerian tribes rose up in rebellion against France. In a campaign spanning 26 battles in 80 days Van der Smissen gained valuable experience at how to fight a war against guerilla forces and the suppression of irregular, revolutionary forces. This experience was undoubtedly a consideration when he was given command of the Belgian troops sent to Mexico.

When Emperor Maximilian and his Belgian wife Empress Carlota went to Mexico in 1864, King Leopold I of the Belgians was naturally concerned about the safety of his daughter and so he authorized the formation of the Belgian Foreign Legion consisting of a Grenadier and a Rifle Battalion and Lieutenant Colonel Van der Smissen was given command. The Austrians did the same, but unlike the Austrian Volunteer Corps, which consisted of many veterans of battles in Europe, the Belgian Legion was made up of new units filled with very young men, the vast majority less than 25 years old, who had never served in the army before. The troops were inexperienced volunteers, only Colonel Van der Smissen and his deputy Major Tigdal had ever been under hostile fire before, but they were tough and determined and soon had their trial by fire.

Not long after arriving in Mexico, the Belgian Legion barely survived a horrific battle against vastly superior republican forces on April 11, 1865 at Tacambaro in the state of Michoachan. It was their first test of combat and their lack of experience was to cost them dearly. Out of the 300 Belgian soldiers under Major Tigdal participating in the battle with the Mexican Imperial forces, 110 were killed, including Major Tigdal, a vital commander, as well as two captains, Chazal and Delaunay, and three lieutenants. The 190 men, including three officers, who survived were forced to surrender. The news spread fast, especially since one of the dead officers, Captain Chazal, was the son of the Belgian Minister of War. It was a brutal experience, but lessons were learned and the Belgians immediately became battle hardened veterans.

Later, on July 11, 1865 the Belgians returned to the scene of their earlier defeat at Tacambaro and this time soundly defeated the Mexican republican forces, regaining for the honor of their country what had been lost three months earlier. Taking the name of their beloved Empress Carlota, the Belgian Legion was given the honor of bearing the title of the Empress' Guard and Colonel Van der Smissen was a favorite of the Empress, who perhaps was more trusting of a fellow Belgian in a country where so many had deceived and betrayed her. Van der Smissen, however, did not have the compassionate soul of his Empress. The stunning losses in the first battle of the Belgian Legion made him cautious for a time, but Van der Smissen was an aggressive and bold soldier, always advocating the offensive and force to the utmost.

The early initial losses also spelled the doom of any small hope of an independent command for Colonel Van der Smissen and, like Carlota, he was not on very good terms with the top French commander Marshal Bazaine. That was no fault of the Colonel's, Bazaine simply didn't like Belgians in general. Bazaine was also looking to withdraw from Mexico longer than anyone in Mexico City knew and so was more cautious and conservative with his forces as time went on. Van der Smissen was as aggressive as ever. When word came that a massive republican column under Escobedo was marching down from the north the bold Belgian proposed a dramatic move. He urged the Emperor to lead a division against them composed of a Mexican brigade to be led by Colonel Miguel Lopez, 2 battalions of the French Foreign Legion, General Tomas Mejia as chief-of-staff and himself in command of the Austro-Belgian brigade that would be in the vanguard. He begged to lead the attack against the enemy and vowed that a great victory would be won, no less than 3,000 prisoners taken and thousands more would rally to the Empire. Maximilian was taken with the idea, but nothing ever came of it. It does, however, reveal alot about the style and temperment of the Belgian commander.

The situation changed, to the doom of the Imperial couple, in 1866 when the United States pressured Napoleon III into withdrawing his forces from Mexico, in spite of the promises he had made to Maximilian to remain until Mexico was united and stable. On December 6, 1866 the Belgian Foreign Legion was officially disbanded and the majority returned home, Colonel Van der Smissen along with them. By the end of his service he had been promoted to full Colonel and had earned the honors of being a Knight Officer of the Order of the Mexican Eagle and Knight Commander of the Imperial Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe as well as the Golden Medal for Military Merit. Later, In 1868 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Leopold by the Emperor of Austria in recognition of his service in Mexico to Maximilian.

Once back, he became the commander of the Belgian Royal Guards and in 1882 was given command of the Brussels military district. It was in this capacity that he suppressed a rebellion by disgruntled workers at Charleroi in 1886. He wrote about his adventures in Mexico in his book, "Souvenirs of Mexico" and died in Brussels on June 16, 1895 at the age of 72, a victim of suicide, as a lieutenant general and one of the most respected officers in the Belgian army.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

14 July: A Sad Day for All Monarchists

Today is a dark day for monarchists, royalists, traditionalists, anyone who is religious, anyone with an ounce of decency, dignity and a respect for the sacred. It is the national holiday of the French Republic; Bastille Day. It was on this day in 1789 that Parisian mobs stormed the prison-fortress, the Bastille, freed the prisoners, killed guards, beat the governor half to death, cut his head off and put it on a pike. It came to be seen as the first violent strike of the horrific French Revolution. First, however, there are, as with many things involving the French Revolution, some myths that need to be constantly opposed. Despite what is widely believed the Bastille was not some horrible chamber of tortures. It looked rough and imposing from the outside, but it was not that bad. Furthermore, it was hardly being used. All the revolutionary mob did in storming the Bastille was to kill some innocent men such as the guards and governor and liberate a mere handful of petty criminals and some lunatics. Such was the "glorious" start of the Revolution.

Ever since Bastille Day has been used to celebrate the French Revolution and the first step on the road to the destruction of the Ancien Regime. It is no overstatement to say that this was a calamity for all of Europe and even for the entire world. The French were the first to suffer but they were certainly not the last. First of course there was the revolution itself, the regicide of the King and Queen, the horrible, slow death of the poor, little Dauphin and the Reign of Terror in which tens of thousands of people had their heads cut off. Also remember that this was not directed only at the aristocrats, it was the common people who suffered the most. It began with the persecution of the nobility but many of them fled or even joined the Revolution and the majority who were killed were ordinary people swept up in the bloodlust. In the wars that followed the Old Order of Europe was shaken to its very foundations, the Holy Roman Empire fell and Christendom would never be the same again.

The roots of the French Revolution ran deep but the effects have been greater than probably any other revolution anywhere in the world. It can be seen even in the 20th Century with the Bolshevik Revolution and the formation of the Soviet Union. They used many of the same names as the French Revolutionaries used and even adopted the Marseilles as an official song alongside the Internationale. The French Revolution model of massacring royals, killing off all resistance, declaring war on religion and trying to remake all of society along some artificial, ideological pattern was one that would be followed across Europe, Africa, the Americas and even East Asia. It is very safe to say that had the French Revolution never happened, or had it failed, the world we live in today would be very different and, without a doubt in my mind, very much for the better. As just one example of how far-reaching the French Revolution was, in 1945 when the Communist-led August Revolution was sweeping across French Indochina, the last Emperor of Vietnam was urged to escape to the Imperial Tombs and try to maintain himself there, but the
Emperor pointed out the fate of the tragic King Louis XVI and asserted that it would be the death of them all if he stood opposed to the revolution.

On the 14 of July every monarchist should be French, and if you have a flag pole, let the lillies of France fly and let everyone know why. The French Revolution is bigger than France alone and all monarchists of every background should not rest until it is known and rejected for the utter horror that it was. Vive l'Roi!

Happy Birthday to Future Queen

Today, HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden turns 32 years old. After a change in the succession law doing away with male premoginature in 1979, Victoria became Crown Princess on the first day of 1980. The Mad Monarchist wishes Her Royal Highness a very happy birthday and many, many more to come!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mad Rant: Supreme Revolutionary Sotomayor

Judge Sonia Sotomayor's first appearance before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has been a perfect example of the radical, revolutionary nature of the B. Hussein Obama administration. The ruling party has been cheering endlessly about the historic nature of Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court as she will be (when confirmed, which is all but assured given the Democrats' absolute control of the government) the first "Latina woman" on the U.S. Supreme Court. She will also be the most openly racist person to sit on the high court since the end of segregation. However, she is a perfect example of what we have come to expect from the B. Hussein Obama administration. Whereas Obama has spoken proudly of his father and grandfather from the British colony of Kenya who fought their colonial "oppressors" he has also praised Sotomayor whose parents were from the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico and has spent most of her life fighting (in legal ways) against the country she views as an oppressor.

It is only now, with an administration in power bent on the absolute destruction of the U.S.A. that the Democrat Party feels able to crow again about American greatness. And, as usual at times such as this, the British monarchy must suffer insult. This time it was at the hands of the vile Senator Chuck Schumer of New York in his introduction of Judge Sotomayor who spoke with such pride at how Americans had thrown off the shackles of monarchy, rejected gentry and aristocracy and started from scratch to build a society that was truly equal. Nowhere else in the world, Schumer asserted, would the rise to power of someone like Sotomayor be possible. I guess no one told him that Canada (a monarchy) has a minority woman as Governor-General (which is higher than an assistant Supreme Court justice I assure you) and she is not even the first one. Of course, I see that as nothing to boast about in and of itself but that is what is at the heart of Obama policy across the board and Sotomayor's nomination; that it doesn't matter who you are as much as "what" you are -so long as you are a liberal revolutionary mind you.

The Democrats have long loved to play the game of racial politics and we had to know it was coming with the Obama administration though some clung to the hope that he would be past that as a mixed-race individual. However, whether he is or is not does not ultimately matter because he can, has and will be used as a symbol for further upheaval elsewhere. Monarchies have not been immune. I have already seen stories of Obama fans in monarchies such as Canada, Britain and even Sweden pointing to their lack of an "Obama" as a good reason for scrapping the monarchy. That way they can have a president and then they can elect someone like, oh let's say a mixed-race, trans-gender lesbian just to show how "progressive" they are. Think I'm being an alarmist? Check out this full-page republican advertisement from Sweden:

Let no liberal revolutionaries lead you astray by thinking that Obama and his agenda is inconsequential to monarchists. He is inherently disruptive toward monarchies even without his policies which, by the way, have been to snub monarchial allies like Britain (who he's never forgiven for ruling Kenya) and try our best to 'make nice' with revolutionary, republican regimes like Cuba, Venezuela and Iran. Racial politics as illustrated with the Sotomayor nomination, spread discord and disunity which are poison for monarchial stability. It happened to the Hapsburgs. I know this is a touchy subject and I know if I had good sense I would just ignore it. It makes people 'uncomfortable'. But how much good sense could I have? I am ... The Mad Monarchist.

Royal Guardians Profile: Guardia Real

The Guardia Real or Royal Guard is the elite forces of the Spanish Royal Army charged with the protection of the Royal Family and His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain. Spanish forces from all three armed branches train and serve with the Royal Guard and though most think of them in terms of parades, ceremonies and mounting palace guards they are a highly trained, front-line combat unit as well. The Spanish Royal Guard is currently about 1,500 strong and has had units on active duty in Afghanistan. Probably the most colorful section of the Royal Guard is the cavalry which cannot be missed in their long white robes and white-plumed helmets. Since the 8th Century they have been providing security for the Spanish kings. As well as continuing this tradition of service they also protect foreign visitors on official visits and provide security on state occasions. Their motto is "For Spain, All for Spain!" One of their more notable commanders was General Juan Prim, famous for his battles against the Carlists but most known on this side of the Atlantic for leading the initial Spanish forces into Mexico prior to the arrival of the French and British. Some feared that the famous liberal general might try to imitate the conquest of Cortes. Of course it did not happen and after causing a great deal of fuss and fear he left Mexico to the French.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

MM Video: Kings & Queens of Italy

Monarch Profile: Empress Zewditu of Ethiopia

Born in 1876 Zewditu (originally Askala Maryam) was the eldest daughter of Negus Menelik of Shewa who later became Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. In 1882, when she was only 6 years old, she was married to Ras Araya Selassie Yohannes, son of Emperor Yohannes IV, the rival of her father. The marriage was supposed to cement an alliance between the two families but in time Menelik rebelled against Yohannes IV anyway. When Araya Selassie died Zewditu returned to her father in Shewa in 1888 and tried to stay friendly with her own family and her former in-laws. She had two other brief marriages before finally finding some domestic happiness that lasted a while with her last husband Gugsa Welle. In 1889 Yohannes IV was killed at the battle of Gallabat fighting the Sudanese forces of the self-proclaimed Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad. Her father quickly seized power and was hailed as Emperor Menelik II.

As the eldest daughter of Menelik II (who had only daughters) Zewditu would be the last direct, male-line descendant of the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia which based its power on their legendary descent from King Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba. However, when Menelik II died in 1913 she did not immediately come to the throne as her nephew, Lij Iyasu had been chosen by Menelik as his successor. Fearing Zewditu, Iyasu had her and her husband exiled as soon as he took power. However, Emperor Iyasu V was widely unpopular among the traditional elites of the country both because of his odd behavior and his alleged Muslim sympathies. In quick order Iyasu was declared an apostate, overthrown and Zewditu was recalled to Addis Ababa and proclaimed Empress though she would have to have her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen, as regent and heir to the throne.

As Empress of Ethiopia Zewditu was the first female monarch of a modern African country though her reign was far from untroubled. Her largest base of support came from the conservative nobles and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. They also tried to seperate her from members of her family they considered bad influences. Empress Zewditu was a very traditional, religious and unambitious woman who was torn about becoming Empress at all. She felt it was essential to remove Iyasu from power but it pained her deeply to have replaced the man her beloved father had chosen to succeed him. She devoted most of her time to prayer and fasting while Ras Tafari became the major power at court. Early on however, the country was torn by still more civil war when Iyasu escaped from prison and allied with Negus Michael of Wollo in an effort to retake the Ethiopian Imperial throne. When his forces were defeated and Iyasu captured Empress Zewditu tried to have him placed under her care where she could see that he was well treated and provide him with some religious education. The court absolutely refused but Zewditu did what she could to make Iyasu's confinement as comfortable as possible.

Empress Zewditu withdrew more and more from public life as Ras Tafari Makonnen became more and more the leader of the country. She was distressed by the many reforms and innovations her successor was pushing to modernize the country. Zewditu was a devout Coptic Christian and a fervent defender of traditional Ethiopian life. She continued to devote most of her time to prayer, religious studies and building churches. When a conservative coup against Ras Tafari failed she was obliged to make him a Negus to further cement his position as heir to the throne. When word came that her husband had died in battle in an attempted rebellion against Ras Tafari she died not long after on April 2, 1930, whether as a result of ailments she had long been suffering from or heartbreak over her husband's death, remains debated. Upon her death Negus Tafari became Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia.


9 out of 10 spooky Asian aunts prefer The Mad Monarchist

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Death of Hamilton

It was on this day in 1804 that U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr shot first U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Oddly enough both men have some of the most monarchist connections of all the prominent Americans in the early history of the United States. This blog has remarked on the strange life of Aaron Burr who dreamed of making himself "King of Texas" or some such notion in this post. Alexander Hamilton was accused of being a closet-monarchist almost from the very begining. He earned few friends for defending the persecuted Tories (American loyalists) of the Revolutionary War and he often spoke admiringly of the British system of government. Some of his monarchism can be attributed to the efforts of his enemies to smear his reputation as he called for a more elitist republic, greater centralization of power and often condemned the radical revolutionary elements as being little better than anarchists. He also earned the wrath of some quarters by supporting renewed friendship with Britain and for his strident opposition to revolutionary France to the point of even becoming the defacto military leader of U.S. forces during the "Quasi-War" between the USA and the French revolutionary government. Hamilton himself, reportedly, did say that he considered some form of limited monarchy, with power shared among those worthy in his eyes to rule wisely, to be the ideal form of government. He was also unimpressed by the likes of Bacon, Newton and Locke who Thomas Jefferson adored and told Jefferson plainly that he considered Julius Caesar to be the greatest man who ever lived. Jefferson respected his abilities (once calling him a host unto himself) but was nonetheless Hamilton's greatest ideological enemy. He viewed Hamilton as the most prominent anti-republican among the Founding Fathers. However, keeping in mind that the Constitution that was finally produced and adopted was a compromise by all parties, it has often been said that while most U.S. citizens admire Jefferson's America we live in Hamilton's America; whether that is a good thing or not is still a matter of debate.

Friday, July 10, 2009

MM Video: Queen Mary I of England

President Obama Meets the Pope

President Obama, the guy the fawning U.S. media has said is "like God", has met with the Vicar of Christ, H.H. Pope Benedict XVI (last Christian absolute monarch in the world). In order to satisfy Obama the audience was held in the afternoon rather than in the morning as is traditional so that Obama could continue on quickly to Africa. Of course, no one knows exactly what was said between the President and the Pontiff but we have been told that the economic crisis, global warming, abortion and embryonic stem-cell research are on the agenda. I can't see the economic crisis causing much of a dust up, I'm sure there will be agreement on environmentalism (sigh, I guess you have to have something to agree on and the Prince of Wales has been beating the Al Gore drum again) but when it comes to the life issues the Pontifex Maximus might have done a little finger-wagging at the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of the Apostolic Palace for that exchange. I'm sure Obama assured the Pope he's in favor of making abortions less common (and that's what we all want to do with things like theft, rape, murder etc, just make them less common rather than stopping them -and that's sarcasm if you couldn't tell). The one good thing is the gift-giving formality of this meeting. Evidently Obama went to the experts this time and presented to Benedict XVI a 2nd class relic, the stole of St John Neumann donated from St Peter's Church at the saint's shrine. Say what you will, it is at least an improvement over DVD's, an Ipod of his speeches or junk from the White House gift shop. The Pope also reportedly gave Obama a letter to deliver to Catholic Senator Ted Kennedy, perhaps a warning from the Pontiff that the Senator needs to repent and confess -for the Kingdom of God may be soon at hand for Teddy.

Consort Profile: The Pearl Concubine

One of the most tragic (and sadly there are many) stories out of late Qing Imperial China is the story of the Imperial Consort Zhen, better known as the "Pearl Concubine". Born in 1876 to the Tatala clan, Zhen was the younger sister of Jin who was already a consort to Emperor GuangXu when Zhen herself was taken into the Forbidden City as a concubine. During this time the most powerful person in China was the Grand Empress Dowager Tsu-hsi or Cixi who at first welcomed the Pearl Concubine, impressed with her attitude and her many talents. She saw to it that the Pearl Concubine was indulged in her interests and brought in the best artists and musicians in the Chinese Empire to teach her. However, she quickly came to detest the young consort when she began to urge Emperor GuangXu to more or less be his own man and act independently of the powerful Dowager. Zhen also encouraged traditional anger against her by her interest in photography to the extent of even allowing foreign photographers inside the walls of the "Great Within" to take pictures.

The Pearl Concubine soon became known for her independence and non-traditional habits such as dressing in men's clothes and adopting certain western habits. All of this greatly angered Cixi as did her influence over Emperor GuangXu who seemed to be truly in love with her. When she supported the Emperor in attempting a military coup against the Empress-Dowager with reformist elements in the Qing army Cixi had the Pearl Concubine imprisoned. It was also during this time that the Boxer Rebellion broke out in China and the Empress-Dowager finally decided to support the Boxers in an effort to drive out the foreign elements in China in the hopes of solidifying Qing rule. However, this resulted in the "8 Nation Alliance" of 1900 and the invasion of China by a multi-national army. The troops marched to the relief of Peking where the foreign legation had been besieged by Boxer and Imperial Chinese forces for 55 days.

The Boxers were defeated and the Imperial Court was forced to flee the Forbidden City. Legend has it that Cixi took this opportunity to get rid of the troublesome Pearl Concubine and ordered her to kill herself. However, when she refused and even had the audacity to call for the Emperor to stay in Peking and deal with the foreign army himself the Empress-Dowager had her loyal eunuchs murder the Pearl Concubine by throwing her into a well behind the Ningxia Palace. Some have disputed the veracity of this story, but however it happened, the Pearl Concubine was killed and Cixi seemed to be the obvious guilty party. She was only 24 years old. Her older sister, whom the Emperor had never really favored, survived them all and even took the Empress-Dowager as her role model and remained a force to be reckoned with after the Qing abdication when the last Emperor of China still lived in the Forbidden City.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...