Monday, December 30, 2013
MM Year in Review: 2013
March saw the papal conclave to elect a replacement for Benedict XVI and with the election of Pope Francis the Catholic Church had, for the first time, a Jesuit pope, and the first pope from the “New World”. Ever since his election, according to polls, both the Catholic Church and even non-Catholics and the non-religious have been in love with the ever-so-humble pontiff. However, it has also been a year of explanations on the part of many in the Church virtually every time the Pope opened his mouth. It was also in March that Sacha Grimaldi was born to Andrea Casiraghi (son of Princess Caroline of Hanover, nephew of Prince Albert II of Monaco) and his girlfriend Tatiana Santo Domingo. As his parents were not married at the time, little Sacha did not immediately gain a place in the Monegasque succession. However, plenty of news was made in the royal succession of Great Britain and the Commonwealth Realms in April when HM the Queen gave royal assent to the “Succession to the Crown Act 2013” which did away with male primogeniture as well as the previous rule that those marrying Roman Catholics would lose their rights to the throne. The monarch is, of course, still required to be a Protestant.
August saw little Sacha Grimaldi become the third in line for the Monegasque throne (at present) when Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo were married. In Britain, police launched a probe into the death of the late Princess of Wales over allegations of government involvement in her demise. Needless to say the investigation eventually found such rumors to be completely unfounded. In Thailand the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great was released from hospital after four years of treatment and observation. August also saw the passing of Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau in The Netherlands who had been in a coma since February of 2012 after being buried in an avalanche while skiing in Austria. The biggest news event for the world, however, was certainly the prospect of western intervention in the civil war in Syria with President Obama threatening to intervene but finally backing down after an agreement was brokered by Russia. The Syrian civil war caused a massive flood of refugees into the Kingdom of Jordan and caused tensions for many monarchies in the area. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was particularly interested in seeing the pro-Iranian and pro-Russian dictator of Syria removed. A proposal to intervene was voted down in the British House of Commons and in the United States it became clear that the public had no interest in getting involved in another Middle East conflict. Local monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have nonetheless continued to support the rebel forces.
There was a warm welcome for Prince Harry who visited Australia in October and in France there was a Romanov Celebration Gala to mark the 400th anniversary of the start of the reign of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. Throughout the year there were a number of events to highlight this year and the former Russian monarchy. In other news, the world was shocked when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia turned down a seat on the UN Security Council, the first time such a thing had ever happened. The Saudis explained their choice by saying that the UN Security Council was more or less worthless, pointing to the lack of action in Syria as an example and probably also having in mind the inability of the UN to stop the development of nuclear weapons in Iran (something Saudi Arabia opposes strongly) and for basically the same reason, that being that China and Russia stand ready to veto any UN action against the Syrian or Iranian dictators.
From the end of November throughout the month of December there was a great deal of turmoil in the “Land of Smiles” as protests broke out in the Kingdom of Thailand over efforts by the government to pardon a former prime minister who fled the country after being found guilty of corruption. There was happier news though as the revered King of Thailand celebrated his 86th birthday. On the world stage, the Obama administration announced an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran to lift sanctions on that country in return for stepping down their nuclear program. After the fact it was revealed that the talks came about thanks to the Sultan of Qaboos who acted as an intermediary. Britain’s Prince Harry trekked to the South Pole for the benefit of wounded veterans and in a rather odd turn of events, Pope Francis was voted “Person of the Year” by both TIME magazine and one of America’s leading homosexual periodicals. The Dutch celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, secularists advanced their cause of separating Church and State in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and to close it out Charlotte Casiraghi made her mother Princess Caroline of Hanover a grandmother for the second time in one year with the birth of her son Raphael.
Since 2013 saw the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the death of Nelson Mandela, it was a year of more than usual president-worship which your ‘old school’ monarchists find hard to tolerate. With governments all across the First World going ever deeper into debt, monarchies have been scrutinized for their cost. There also seems to be some cultural chauvinism at work as monarchies such as Japan and Thailand have been criticized by westerners for basically being too respectful toward their monarchs and not treating them with the casual flippancy seen in the west. Most troubling for me about 2013 was the further deterioration of tradition and traditional values. Royal children born out of wedlock, “inter-faith” coronations and so on. Belgium and Luxembourg both have openly homosexual prime ministers and in little Luxembourg bigger changes are planned with the current government such as legalizing gay marriage, gay adoption, removing religious classes from the public schools and doing away with Catholic services as part of National Day celebrations. The King of The Netherlands says he doesn’t want to be called “Your Majesty”, the Prince of Wales wants an “inter-faith” coronation and the Pope is talking about income inequality and driving a Ford. In all the good and bad we have seen in 2013, it is safe to say that those supporting tradition and monarchy, in Europe in particular, need to step their game up in a big way.
That was 2013, wishing everyone a happier 2014
The Mad Monarchist