Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Mexicans demanded that the French surrender, pointing out the impossible odds against them but Captain Danjou refused and the republicans charged the hacienda in wave after wave as the troops of the Foreign Legion cut them down. The fighting was hot and intense and by mid-day Captain Danjou was killed; shot through the chest, but his men stood firm and fought on, throwing back charge after charge by the republican horde. Toward the end of day 60 officers and men of the Legion were dead or wounded; only 5 remained and they had all but depleted their ammunition. Naturally, they decided to fix their bayonets and charge. Two were shot down as they dashed out and another fell as the republicans overwhelmed them. Only 2 lived to be captured and they demanded honorable terms for their surrender which the Mexican commander granted being so overcome by their courage and determination. Despite their tactical defeat they had accomplished their mission and had taken a hundred of the enemy with them. From that day on no one looked on the men of the Foreign Legion without awe-inspired respect in their eyes and the day of the battle of Camaron became the official holiday of the French Foreign Legion and the wooden hand of Captain Danjou their own sort of holy relic.
In the period following the battle the city of Puebla fell to General Forey, Mexico City was occupied and the monarchy was restored in the Second Mexican Empire to be led by Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota. In France Emperor Napoleon III ordered the name of Camaron to be emblazoned on the standard of the Legion and so a legend was born and a reputation earned in the wilds of Mexico 146 years ago today.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The siege of Orleans was the first great victory in the military career of St Joan of Arc. After her arrival she aided in the attack on Fort St Loup and immediately urged an all-out assault on Les Tourelles, a fortified bastion on the opposite bank of the Loire River. The French commanders were reluctant to take the risk but Joan led the attack anyway and in the process was badly wounded. The English thought they had killed her but Joan pulled the arrow out herself and returned to the fight and Les Tourelles was taken and the English commander drowned in the river. The next day the English forces turned out to attack and the French formed up to meet them though Joan was against doing battle on a Sunday. She prayed that they would be spared more bloodshed and to the surprise of everyone the entire English army abandoned Orleans and retreated. The city was saved, Joan was the hero of France and after clearing the Loire valley of English troops Charles VII was taken to Rheims and crowned King of France alongside the slight teenage girl who was his champion.
The Yeoman of the Guard take part in many ceremonial functions involving the British monarch such as the Royal Maundy Service, the Royal Garden Parties and they have also searched the cellars of Parliament before each state opening ever since the famous "Gunpowder Plot" of November 5, 1605. In the past, when the Guard was an actual military unit they saw action in many of the most famous battles in British history such as the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland and the battle of Dettingen in 1743 in which King George II became the last reigning British monarch to lead troops on the battlefield. Today the Yeoman of the Guard is made up of former British non-commissioned officers from the rank of sergeant and up between the ages of 42 and 55. They serve at about 30 events per year. The Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Lords is always their commander and new Yeoman are chosen by the monarch on the recommendation of the Lord Chamberlain. They are compensated for expenses but do not draw a salary.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The last Bogd Khan was probably born around 1869 and he was identified as the reincarnation at the age of four and taken to the capital then called Urga or the "Great Monastery" where in the 1890's he built his famous (but quite modest really) Winter Palace in the main temple complex. Although of the Tibetan nobility as was traditional he was a champion of Mongolian independence and led a rather "colorful" life though many of the lurid tales told about him can be chalked up to Soviet propaganda to discredit his memory. Unlike his other spiritual/secular rulers in Tibet the Bogd Khan lived more like a regular monarch and even had a wife, the Ekh Dagina, who was held to be the reincarnation of the goddess Tara. When Mongolian independence was declared they were hailed as the new political rulers. It was probably not a bad choice since one of the feudal lords (who all claimed descent from Genghis Khan) would have likely spelled civil war and the Bogd Khan was a shrewd political operator.
When the Chinese republic restored its rule over Outer Mongolia in 1919 they insisted that the Bogd Khan was their vassal, even forcing him to kowtow to a portrait of the President of the Republic in the absence of the Great Qing Emperor. There are numerous odd and funny stories about the Bogd Khan but perhaps those will wait for another post. In 1921 the Bogd Khan was liberated and restored to his throne by the White Russian general and pan-monarchist Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg. The Bogd Khan lavished praise on the Baron but also sent messages to the USSR and the Republic of China to try to gain the good graces of both powerful neighbors. It did no good and once the Baron's army was wiped out by the Red Army the Soviets worked through local Mongolian communist Damdin Sukhbaatar who became the new dictator. The Bogd Khan was allowed to remain on the throne, powerless but respected, until his death in 1924 (outliving his wife by one year) at which point the communists declared the reincarnations to be at an end and announced the birth of the Mongolian People's Republic.
*Note, evidently the gods of Buddhism are no respectors of communist declarations and a reincarnation was found though the successor Jebtsundamba Khutuktu was not enthroned in Mongolia until 1999 when the XIV Dalai Lama made the trip to perform the ceremony.
Captain Bligh was the king and the ship was his country while the mutineers played the part of Jacobin revolutionaries overthrowing lawful authority. The lesson comes in observing how differently both sides fared after the mutiny. Bligh and his loyal sailors were cast adrift slap in the middle of the south Pacific with no maps, 3,600 miles from the nearest port with only enough food and water for one week in their overloaded row-boat. It seemed to everyone they were certainly doomed. On the other hand the mutineers had a fully loaded ship, charts, navigational tools and the means to go anywhere and start over however they liked. Yet, Bligh and his tiny boat had discipline whereas the mutineers did not. It was Bligh who navigated from memory to bring his tiny craft 3,600 miles to Coupang on Timor Island, Indonesia without losing a single man to the sea of privation. He lived to return to England and went on to a distinguished career as a Vice Admiral in the Royal Navy and the Governor of New South Wales, Australia.
What was the fate of the mutineers? Well, after picking up women and slaves in Tahiti they settled on Pitcairn Island where before long they began fighting amongst themselves and eventually killed each other until only one man remained alive with the women and children who was later found by an American whaler. The lesson is that once true, legitimate, lawful authority is gone that unity and discipline can never be regained and in the long run can only lead to destruction.
Monday, April 27, 2009
The marriage had a somewhat rough start but Charles found his Queen to be a tower of strength for him after the death of the Duke of Buckingham (whom the Queen disliked) and the two had probably the most happy marriage of any couple of the Stuart dynasty. Charles and Henrietta Maria were devoted to each other, faithful to each other and respected each other and saw the succession secured with seven children. She detested the Puritanical streak of the Protestant elites in Parliament and worked to secure the support of the Catholic powers on the continent for the King, not only from France but Spain and the Holy See as well. Even with civil war engulfing Britain Queen Henrietta Maria showed herself more than up to the challenge. After raising money for the royalist cause in Europe she landed in northern England and based herself at York surrounded by her own troops before joining the King at Oxford.
After the regicide of Charles I she went into exile in France where she never relented in pushing for the restoration of the British monarchy and urging her children to convert to Catholicism. When the monarchy was restored she lived in England again for a while but finally returned to her native France where she founded a convent and spent her final years. She adamantly believed that her husband Charles I had become a Catholic before his death though this is hotly debated and usually dismissed. What is not disputed is that her sons King Charles II and King James II both converted to Catholicism and maintained the style of monarchism that their mother (and father for that matter) had approved of. In the United States Queen Henrietta Maria is commemorated by the state of Maryland which was named in her honor when established as a colony for English Catholics. The Queen died in 1669.
Because his troops would not accept the republic and continued to wear the traditional Manchu queue as a sign of their loyalty to the Great Qing Empire they were often called the "Pigtail Army". When it became clear that the republican government could not maintain control over the feuding warlords of China many in the government seemed open to the idea of a restoration of the monarchy. The German Empire, with World War I raging, was also desperate to keep China neutral and the German legation provided Chang with money and weapons to support his restoration efforts. Chang also made a temporary alliance with the veteran monarchist Kang Youwei. After securing the support of key republican officials Chang Hsun and his Pigtail Army marched on Peking and occupied the city in 1917 at which point PuYi was restored to the throne once again as Xuantong (or Hsuan-tung). Qing robes were worn again and there was a rush on costume shops to provide horse-hair queues so that one could appear to have been 'always faithful'. However, things began to come apart almost immediately. Kang Youwei dropped out after becoming convinced that Chang Hsun was most determined to be the power-behind-the-throne and the promised endorsement of the republic did not materialize. Republican troops from the south marched on Peking and after only a few days and some scattered clashes the Pigtail Army was dispersed and Chang Hsun was forced to flee to the Dutch legation. He stayed out of politics from then on and died in 1923.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Immortals were a stylish symbol of what would prove to be the last bow of Persian royal glory before the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution. In that most crucial period the Iranian Imperial Guard proved staunchly loyal to the Shah. There were some clashes with militant revolutionaries but everything happened too quickly for a major battle to ensue. The Shah left the country on the promise that he could return after the situation had been calmed, but of course that never happened. The Ayatollah took power, abolished the monarchy and declared the country a theocracy as the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian Imperial Guard was returned to its barracks and disbanded, some later being absorbed into regular military units to participate in the Iraq-Iran War.
Like all good German princes he joined the army and served capably as general of the 26th Infantry division in World War I, taking part in the invasions of France and Belgium where his sister-in-law, Elizabeth of Bavaria, was Queen. He retired in 1917 and following the string of victories on the eastern front against Russia came to be considered for the throne of recently liberated Lithuania. He was considered well prepared for a throne, shared the Catholic religion of the country and had a good war record behind him. He was also a recent widower and might marry a prominent Lithuanian lady. The Baltic states long had a strong German aristocratic presence and so in the summer of 1918 he was formally invited by the Crown Council of Lithuania to become king. He accepted the invitation and was duly elected the following month, against the wishes of the socialists who boycotted the proceedings, as King Mindaugas II.
This meant he got farther than most other potential monarchs of the Great War but he still never had a chance to establish himself. It should also not be taken for granted that this was simply to be a German puppet state. The Lithuanians were sincerely wanting independence and they knew that the only way they could survive Russian re-conquest was by keeping close to Germany and they also insisted that their King reside in Lithuania and speak Lithuanian. If the Germans had simply been calling the shots as they wished the country would have been absorbed into the German Reich and, in fact, Germany never recognized Wilhelm (or Mindaugas II as he was) as King of Lithuania. In light of this opposition he was forced to remain in Liechtenstein while the political kinks were worked out though he did get the spiritual comfort of a letter of congratulations from Pope Benedict XV on becoming King of Lithuania.
Of course, by the autumn the whole dream fell apart with the defeat of Germany on the western front, the armistice and the recently liberated countries in the east abandoning the Germans and rushing to the Allies for support. It would not ultimately do them any good as all of the Baltic states were re-conquered by the Soviets just prior to World War II and would remain subject to the USSR until the collapse of the Iron Curtain. As for Duke Wilhelm he married the daughter of King Ludwig III of Bavaria but had no children and was passed over for the throne of the former Kingdom of Wurttemberg. He died in 1928 in Italy.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
While visiting Virginia she met the 48-year-old widower Francis Pickens, a wealthy planter from South Carolina. He was smitten immediately and begged Lucy to marry him, promising her the world. Wanting to see some of that she said she would accept if he could get appointed ambassador to some glamorous court. Properly motivated Pickens called in his political favors and was appointed ambassador to the court of the Czar of Russia. As promised, Lucy married Pickens in 1858 just before they left for St Petersburg.
The intelligent, lovely and vivacious Texan was an instant hit at the Russian imperial court and when the Pickens first child was born at the Winter Palace the Czar and Czarina were godparents and the girl was named Olga Neva Francesca Eugenia Dorothea Pickens. The adoring Czar and Czarina named the child "Douschka" or "darling". In 1860 the family returned to South Carolina where Francis Pickens was elected Governor on a platform of defending state sovereignty. That same year, after the national election, South Carolina became the first state to secede and the War Between the States broke out soon after. The Pickens had an honored position in the new Confederacy as the leaders of the first state to secede and Lucy was pretty famous in southern society to begin with and she was soon hailed as "Queen of the Confederacy".
Lucy did great work during the war. She donated her own silver and jewels to raise and equip a regiment of volunteers known as the Holcombe Legion in her honor. Their flag also displayed the Lone Star of Texas in honor of the home state of their patroness. Lucy also had the disntiction of being the only woman featured on Confederate currency and Confederate treasury bonds. After the war she continued to champion the southern cause by helping veterans organizations and honoring the memory of the fallen southern soldiers. She died in 1899, beloved by all as the most celebrated lady in the land of Dixie.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Just as in France many Dutch liberals wanted to follow the example of the Americans and began calling themselves "Patriots" while making trouble for the House of Orange. They accused the Stadtholder of having aspirations to become king, which he did, and Dutch society divided into the liberal republican camp and the Orange monarchist camp. Unfortunately it was the republicans who seemed to have the upper hand in certain areas. Willem's wife, Princess Wilhelmina, was held captive for a short time by a group of these rebels while on her way to The Hague and thus earned the ire of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II; her brother. He sent Prussian troops in to drive the "Patriots" out who quickly fled to France and the protection of Louis XVI. Following the French revolution these rebels quickly returned with French republican troops to back them in 1795. They seized power, abolished the Dutch republic as it had been and Willem V was forced to flee to England. He led the Dutch government in exile in opposition to the pro-French regimes established in Holland. He later went to Germany where he died in 1806. In a way, he still had the last laugh though as after the Napoleonic Wars it was his son, Willem I, who became the first King of the Netherlands of the House of Orange.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
However, their moment of immortality came on August 10, 1792 when they fought to the death defending the Tuileries Palace from the revolutionary mob for King Louis XVI. The guard fought heroically against impossible odds, losing some 600 men in the clash or from being massacred after surrender for the handful that tried. The only survivors were about a hundred men who were taken in by sympathetic Parisians and a corps of 300 that was serving in Normandy. Many of those who did live were later killed in the September Massacres anyway. It was a moment of heroic sacrifice that would never be forgotten by the royalists of France and, over a great deal of time, even the revolutionaries came to appreciate the courage and determination of the Swiss Guards. In 1821 a monument to their sacrifice and heroism was erected in Lucerne (known as the "Lion of Lucerne") which is a truly moving sight to see. After being banned for a time the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte brought back the Swiss Regiments and the Swiss Guards returned to service when the monarchy was restored. They were dissolved during the July Revolution of 1830 and never saw service again though some of the veterans did go on to form the original core of the French Foreign Legion.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Our messianic President also says that the US will prosper on a new wave of "green jobs" and that we will export "green energy" to the world in the future if his plans are put into effect. Exactly what could these be? Windmills and solar farms are not exactly labor-intensive the way that oil wells are. Nor are hydroelectric dams. And how does one export "green energy"? Are we going to send our sunshine and wind overseas? How does that work? Perhaps he is referring to carbon credits -the environmentalist equivalent of selling indulgences? However, the bottom line is that these politicians are pushing this only to increase their own power and to take away your independence. The whole thing is built on a lie anyway that only the supremely arrogant modern masses could fall victim to. According to these same scientists who push this stuff, the earth has existed for about 4 billion years. These same scientists say that human life has existed for only about 1 or 200,000 years of that time. Of that period we humans have only been engaged in heavy industry for the last 2oo years. Do you have any idea how insignificant 200 is compared to 4 billion? Only people as infinitely arrogant as people today are could think that 200 years of humanity could destroy a planet that is 4 billion years old.
The earth will be fine -if anyone destroys the earth it is going to have to be God -not us. Common sense methods are fine to preserve and improve the quality of our own lives but so far I don't see much of that happening. What I do see is alot of scare-mongering, exaggeration and doom & gloom meant to put everyone into a panic over "global warming" so that politicians can clamp down control over international trade, industry, taxation and, yes, our own private lives. The earth does not win, the politicians do and be it the socialist Obama, the socialist Gordon Brown or the socialist Hu Jintao their basic, underlying ideology is all the same. They are the hunters and we are the prey and they'll pick away at our rights while saying 'Happy Earth Day'.
Empress Eugenie had many qualities to recommend her. She was a passionate monarchist, a devoutly religious Catholic and she was afraid of nothing. It was she who pressed her husband to rush to the defense of the Church in every corner of the globe from Mexico to Vietnam. She was also an ultramontane; an adamant defender of the temporal and spiritual authority of the Pope who was finally kept on the Petrine throne by French Imperial troops. She also had a deep fascination for the tragic Queen Marie Antoinette and by her fashionable trend-setting brought about a Louis XVI chic revival but she was also a very intelligent woman who ruled the French Empire as regent during the absences of her husband. As much as the xenophobic sections of society might criticize her for being a foreign Spaniard she was actually a very adamantly French Empress as long as she was on the throne and when Bismarck of Prussia began provoking France she was at the forefront of those calling for war to break the proud Prussians and restore la gloire of France that had suffered a bit by the inglorious pull-out from Mexico.
Of course the 1870 war against the Germans did not go well, the Second Empire fell and Empress Eugenie went into exile in England with her family, staying out of French affairs ever after. She was deeply crushed by the death of her son, the Prince Imperiale Napoleon IV, in South Africa and she died at the age of 94 while visiting her native Spain in 1920.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Almonte was ambassador to the US in the follow-up to the Mexican-American War. Afterwards he went to Europe again where he continued to support the conservative Catholic faction in the "Reform War" in Mexico. He also joined the other Mexican exiles in advocating for a restoration of the Mexican monarchy. When the French Emperor Napoleon III decided to intervene he accompanied the French forces back to Mexico and was installed as temporary head-of-state in the provisional government that offered the throne to Archduke Maximilian of Austria. His time in power was marked by the repeal of the anti-clerical policies of the liberal President Benito Juarez and the restoration of the full rights of the Church. After the arrival of Emperor Maximilian Juan Almonte was made a major general in the Imperial Mexican Army and awarded the Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Emperor Maximilian entrusted him with the vital post of ambassador to France. He died in Paris in 1869 only three years after the fall of the monarchy he had struggled so long to see restored.
Monday, April 20, 2009
King Alexander's death in 1920 brought his father Constantine back to the throne, but republican opposition; which blamed a loss of territory in the war with the Turks just after World War I on the King, unfair as it may be, meant that he abdicated again in favor of King George II in 1922. Liberal revolutionaries continued to plague the country and in 1924 they succeeded in overthrowing George II and establishing a very unstable and often dictatorial republican government. Poverty gripped the country and as usual this was used as an opening for the communists who began to infiltrate. The monarchists continued to struggle against them and for the return of the King which was finally achieved after a coup and referendum in 1935 which restored George II to the throne. Unfortunately World War II soon forced him to leave the country again and not only were Greeks forced to fight the Germans and Italians but also each other and with Soviet aid pouring in it was the communists who gained the upper hand in the on-going guerilla war.
Even before the war ended Great Britain and the United States were sending help to the Greek royalists for fear of Soviet expansion into Greece. Following the end of World War II open civil war erupted between the Greek communists and royalists with the USA backing the royalists and the USSR backing the communists. By 1949, thankfully, the royal government had managed to take control of most of the country. By this time George II was long gone as was the short reign of his brother Paul and in 1964 King Constantine II came to the throne. He inherited the problem of a country which failed to recognize the inherent dangers of liberal revolutionary thought even if not being preached by open and avowed communists. Thus, the Greek monarchy continued to be undermined particularly under the socialist regime of George Papandreou.
Despite his difficulties with Papandreou, King Constantine II did not favor the coup against him by the military and his efforts to restore some normalcy to the situation in Greece earned him nothing but his overthrow by the clique of colonels in 1973. After the fact they did hold a vote on the subject of the monarchy but it was highly suspect and, even if it had not been tampered with, it could hardly have been considered fair given the amount of totally unjustified blame that had been heaped on the monarchy by almost every previous administration. King Constantine II has been harshly criticized in many quarters since but it is hard for any reasonable, thinking person to understand why. He was not always successful, obviously, but he clearly was consistent in always trying to do the right thing for his people and his country. He was blamed for the military coup and yet this flies in the face of the fact that the military deposed him because he was planning a coup to end their dictatorship. The result was exile and hostility against the King ever since.
King Constantine II has lived in exile ever since, correctly still treated as a reigning monarch by Queen Elizabeth II and his other royal relatives and he has had to endure a continued stand-off with one of the most anti-monarchy regimes in Europe. Unfortunately, in my opinion at least, while he still calls himself "King Constantine" he leaves it at that and has recognized the republic and has made no effort to organize Greek monarchists to push for a restoration. It is, perhaps, understandable, but certainly a far cry from the grit and determination shown by Greek monarchists in previous generations.
Pictured at left is one of the more forgotten royal pretenders in the world, Prince Quentin of Hawaii, head of the Kawanakoa royal family and a politician of the Republican Party in the state of Hawaii. He does not actively campaign for the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy though he does advocate native rights and the preservation of Hawaiian culture. The Kingdom of Hawaii was destroyed in 1893 following a coup by European and American immigrants with the backing of the United States Navy which had an eye already on Pearl Harbor as an ideal naval base in the south Pacific. The last monarch of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, had angered the foreign presence in Hawaii, by then the majority and which held almost all of the land and all political power, because she had tried to restore the traditional rights of the native Hawaiian people and because she tried to restore her royal authority to refuse royal assent. The result was a "Committee of Public Safety" taking a note right from the pages of the French Revolution and so many others since. Because of the presence of U.S. troops the Queen dared not take action against the immigrants and so was quickly deposed and the unrecognized republican government that was proclaimed afterward was immediately annexed by the United States. Queen Liliuoakalani hoped that once the U.S. government learned what had occurred they would restore her to her throne but her faith proved misplaced.
Today not many think about Hawaii and even the most zealous monarchist would feel somewhat depressed about the chances of success there, even though there are many native Hawaiians who would like to see independence and the monarchy restored. However, there are many more who are more afraid of endangering the many benefits of social welfare they recieve from the United States and the Hawaiian natives altogether are today a tiny minority of the population of Hawaii. The vast majority are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants from the mainland, from Europe and especially from Asia. Among these groups there is practically zero support for independence or for the restoration of the monarchy. It is unfortunate but understandable as they have no real connection with the people of Hawaii, their monarchy, their history and their national identity which was quite different prior to the arrival of floods of outsiders.
Keeping that situation of the former Kingdom of Hawaii in mind, I remember that today is the anniversary of that infamous speech by British Tory MP Enoch Powell which warned of the danger of having massive numbers of foreign immigrants coming into his own country and being given special considerations and rights that the locals do not have. Of course Enoch Powell is so widely despised today that his name has almost become an insult itself. However, I would simply ask the thinking person to consider the demographic changes in Britain (and other countries for that matter), the London bombings, the riots and the demonstrations demanding Sharia law etc in the UK and then ask the question whether the United Kingdom could ever go the way of the Kingdom of Hawaii. No group of people being inherently superior to another it would be the height of arrogance to think that a virus which killed one monarchy could not infect another.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
German Kaiser Wilhelm II: It must be stated that the Kaiser did not think that his chances of restoration were very good but he never gave up on the idea. He refused to return to Germany unless it was as Emperor and he threatened to disown any of his children who swore allegiance to the republic. He also showed great monarchial solidarity by insisting that he would never be restored alone but that his own restoration must also include the restoration of all the German monarchies (Saxony, Bavaria, Wurttemberg etc) and he maintained many contacts in German society with the hope of an eventual restoration.
Emperor Charles I of Austria-Hungary: Although deposed and exiled in 1918 the last Hapsburg Emperor never abdicated, in fact he probably did not think it would be possible for him to do so. The devoutly Catholic Charles considered the monarchy (correctly) to be a sacred trust between him and God and not something he could ever give up on. Austria was a lost cause but Charles attempted to restore himself as King of Hungary twice in 1921. Unfortunately he was thwarted by the very man who claimed to be holding power temporarily on his behalf, Admiral Miklos Horthy.
King George II of Greece: Although not as actively involved in restoration efforts as some others, George II of Greece did have more than one restoration. In 1923 he was deposed by revolutionaries but did not abdicate. He went into exile but was restored in 1935 in a referendum following a coup by the shifty General George Kondylis. World War II forced him from his throne yet again with communists taking over in the interim. Another referendum in 1946 saw him restored to the throne yet again though a civil war ensued between the communists and Greek royalists.
Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia: Few other current royal pretenders have been as open in advocating restoration as the heir of the Serbian royal family. Born in London he was not able to go to Yugoslavia until 1991 but once at home he openly stated his belief that constitutional monarchy was the ideal form of government and has campaigned for restoration ever since. Although not yet successful his hard work has won him the support of numerous political elites as well as the Serbian Orthodox Church which openly supports restoration.
Emperor Henry PuYi of China: The last Emperor of China once swore to his ancestors that he would struggle always for restoration and if he failed to do so he was no Aisin-Gioro. Reigning only from 1908-1911 he was first restored in 1917 for a short time following a monarchist coup by Marshal Zhang Xun. He was always looking for allies among the powerful warlords and foreign powers to push for restoration. In 1932 he went along with the Japanese creation of a seperate state in Manchuria and in 1934 was restored there as Manchu Emperor where he reigned until 1945 and the defeat of Japan in World War II. Over a decade in communist prison succeeded in brain-washing him into despising his imperial heritage.
King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia: A hard case to deal with, I personally find the actions of the last Emperor of China and his alliance with Japan far easier to understand than the actions of Sihanouk. After making secret deals with North Vietnam and Red China he was deposed in a coup by pro-US General Lon Nol after which Sihanouk endorsed the murderous Khmer Rouge regime which assured their success. However, as communists are apt to do, they removed him from power as soon as they won the war. Following UN intervention Sihanouk was able to restore himself as King again in 1993 but still maintains close ties with Red China and North Korea.
Friday, April 17, 2009
She was born Princess Charlotte of Belgium but became famous the world over as Carlota, Empress of Mexico. From her earliest childhood she displayed the characteristics she would be known for throughout most of her life. She was extremely hardworking, despised idleness, very driven, very intelligent, very courageous and very independent while also being very devoted to those she loved. On July 27, 1857 she married Archduke Maximilian von Hapsburg, younger brother of Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria. For a time they were the viceregal couple of the Austrian territory in Italy but found their hands tied there and unable to have much of an impact. When the French Empire and leading Mexican Catholics offered Maximilian the Crown of Mexico she urged her husband to accept. They were both young and idealistic and convinced they could make Mexico great and usher in a new era of monarchial glory in the New World.
Going by the Spanish version of her name, Empress Carlota quickly showed her hardworking nature and zeal to be a good empress. She held parties to raise money for the poor of Mexico, hand sewed nightshirts for people in the hospital and had orphanages and poor houses built. She also proved a more able administrator than her husband and often acted quite capably as regent while he was touring the country. She was also extremely brave and afraid of nothing. When republican revolutionaries became a problem she assured her husband that there was no situation she could not handle. She told him that if a threat arose, as long as she had a few hundred zouaves on hand she could deal with it herself. Although she was a proud relative of the old French Royal Family she, like many others, became infuriated by French actions and when it was announced they would remove their troops from Mexico, in violation of the Treaty of Miramar, she went to Europe to confront Napoleon III herself.
Sadly she did not see Mexico or her beloved husband again. She soon fell into a worsening state of insanity and as her husband marched to his death at Queretaro she had a complete breakdown in Rome while visiting Pope Pius IX. She spent the rest of her long life in seclusion in Belgium. She lived through the First World War and German troops were posted to guard her estate warning potential troublemakers that it was the property of the Empress of Mexico, the sister-in-law of their ally the Austrian Kaiser. She died in January of 1927 and her coffin was escorted by the few elderly survivors of the Belgian Legion, the Empress Carlota Guards, who had fought for her in Mexico.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Born in 1858 Kang Youwei was one of the most prominent and committed monarchists of the late Qing dynasty period in China. A noted caligrapher, student of political theory and mandarin he held the opinion that the Great Qing Empire would have to change and adapt or die. Kang Youwei, like many others across East Asia in his time, was greatly impressed by the Empire of Japan following the Meiji Restoration. Their rapid modernization and rise to power while still maintaining their traditional culture and monarchy inspired many and Kang Youwei believed that the imperial system in China could only be saved by acting along similar lines.
Kang Youwei won the support of the young Emperor GuangXu who also favored a sort of authoritarian constitutional monarchy that would allow the country to modernize while maintaining the key elements of imperial rule. The Emperor appointed Kang Youwei to be one of his chief advisors and he was the driving force behind the "100 Days of Reform" which was a period of frenzied imperial activity designed to modernize the country, establish a constitutional monarchy with popular representation while still stressing dynastic loyalty. However, while Emperor GuangXu favored Kang Youwei the Grand Empress Dowager Cixi, long the most powerful figure in the Chinese Empire, despised him and opposed any effort to change the traditional imperial system. In a palace coup the Empress Dowager effectively removed Emperor GuangXu from power and Kang Youwei was forced to flee to Japan or face execution.
In exile Kang Youwei remained loyal to Emperor GuangXu and formed the "Protect the Emperor Society" in Japan and preached his message throughout the overseas Chinese communities. He was adamantly opposed to the republican revolution of 1911 led by Sun Yat-Sen and when he returned to China following the abdication of the Qing dynasty he worked tirelessly for the restoration of the last Qing Emperor Xuantong, aka Henry PuYi. He was a leading figure in the 1917 coup of Marshal Zhang Xun which restored the last Emperor for a few days. However, the leaders fought over leadership and republican leaders failed to deliver promised support and turned against the Qing loyalists. Kang Youwei was disillusioned by the behavior of the Marshal of the "pigtail army" and as the republican forces crushed the loyalists he fled to the American legation.
Kang Youwei was a devout Buddhist and sincere believer in the Confucian moral code and so-called "neo-Confucianism" played a major part in his political philosophy of constitutional monarchy. He died of poisoning in 1927 in the old German port city of Qingdao, then under Japanese control still loyal to his deposed Emperor to the very end. Wansui Kang Youwei!
Today Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark celebrates her 69th birthday. Sovereign of the oldest monarchy in Europe the Kingdom of Denmark is certainly something special and Queen Margrethe II has always been one of my favorite monarchs. She has maintained the highest standards of dignity and royal duty while always remaining down-to-earth and approachable. She is known for her talents as an artist but I must admit that I like her most when she is standing up against pressure from those who love to feign outrage. She is her own woman and will not be bullied into anything as is evidenced by her refusing to bow to media pressure to quit smoking or her retort to an anti-fur protestor that, "people can wear what they like". It seems the Queen of Denmark might have a libertarian streak in her. She has also impressed me with her frank openness about dealing with immigration and radical Islam. Her positions have never been outrageous nor have they gone too far in any direction but it says alot when she is criticized in some quarters simply for addressing the issue honestly and pointing out that (gasp) problems do exist.
Queen Margrethe II is a very intelligent, highly educated woman, a dame of the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece and a lady of the Order of the Garter and the colonel-in-chief of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment in the British army. Her Royal Family is also very significant in European monarchy as a whole for the number and extent of their relations across the thrones of Europe. She is a great lady, a great monarch and I join all others in wishing Her Majesty a happy birthday.
Today marks the anniversary of the last battle fought on British soil; the battle of Culloden moor in the north of Scotland in 1746. It was the last battle in the fight to restore the Stuarts to the British throne and is generally remembered as the last charge of the highland clans. It is often forgotten that the 45 Uprising was a fight for the whole of the British Isles and the Jacobite army included men from England, Scotland and Ireland while the Hanoverian army included many foreign mercenaries from Europe. However, the battle does hold a special significance for Scotland, especially given the atrocities that happened afterward and the suppression of Scottish culture that followed. It was the end of the old, traditional system of organization and loyalties of the highland clans. It many ways it was the end of an era, the last of the old and the first of the new when it came to both tactics and politics. Men fought for the Stuarts for personal reasons, men fought for the Hanoverians for political reasons. It was a victory for modernity, for the current form of the parliamentary monarchy and in a way a victory of reason over romance. It was also the end of the Jacobites as a viable group of opposition. When revolution came to North America many former Jacobites fought for King George III against the republican revolutionaries.
I would hope that enough good grace is left in Great Britain to show tolerance and kindness to the vanquished in that last British civil war. With the battle of Culloden the Jacobites were finished and everyone, deep down, knew it. Henry Cardinal York seemingly endorsed the house of Hanover in the person of King George III and so, given all of that, I would ask the modern-day Hanoverians not to be too hard on the modern-day Jacobites and let them keep their vision and their ideals as it is all they have left. Every Jacobite I have ever met supports the British monarchy, they know that the Duke of Bavaria is never going to press his claim and they would rather have any monarchy rather than the nightmarish lie that a British republic would be. They simply want their history and traditions treated with the dignity they deserve for it was very noble ideals and principles that those men who charged across the moor at Culloden were fighting for; legitimate royal authority, loyalty to their rightful king, their ancient traditions and rights and de-centralized over centralized government.
Who can say what would have happened if they had won? I would like to think that the monarchy would be stronger, the succession out of political hands, parliament would understand that they answer to the Crown and the Crown does not answer to them and maybe the Sovereign would veto something once and a while (like the EU agreements that threaten UK independence). Maybe things would have not reached the point of no return with Ireland but of course no one can know that for sure. Just in case it is though, and just out of respect for what those wild highlanders at Culloden were fighting for their memory should be honored.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The Kingdom of Thailand is coming dangerously close to chaos in recent days and the Associated Press has reported today that the government has revoked the passport of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin came to power on a wave of populist peasant support but was ousted in a coup and later fled the country before being convicted of corruption. In recent days the "red shirts" supporting Thaksin have taken to the streets and have clashed with the more royalist "yellow shirts" who oppose him. The sitting Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has stated that the leaders of the latest protest will be prosecuted but that he is willing to sit down and talk with Thaksin's supporters. Given the claims of dishonesty made about Thaksin's electoral rise to power I have my doubts that any new elections would be accepted as valid by either side in the red-yellow dispute. Thaksin himself has become more strident, at one point even calling for revolution. In short, Thailand could use some royal intervention.
But where is the monarch? His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, the "Lord of Life" is as revered by his people as ever and this is just the sort of occasion in the past that would have prompted him to step in, lecture the opposing parties and by immense depths of loyalty which their semi-divine monarch commands among the people bring the crisis to an end. However, the aging king has not been out in public much lately and when he has, even some time back, it was widely noticed that his age is catching up to him. In all probability he simply cannot act in the same manner as in years past and it does not bode well for the future of the Thai monarchy or the peace and order of his kingdom. Because he has been such an outstanding and beloved king the bar has been set impossibly high and many doubt the ability of his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, to be as successful as his father has been.
It would be hoped that Thailand and Cambodia would be examples of the benefits of monarchy to other dictatorial regimes of Southeast Asia. However, they all suffer from the same illness: revolutionary liberalism and/or communism. There are many hints of it in the political movement of Thaksin, Laos is a communist state (directed from Hanoi and with a Vietnamese garrison), Vietnam is a communist state and Cambodia has had the same pro-Viet communist Prime Minister since the current regime was born. Burma is in a class by itself. What is needed in all of these countries (and many others around the world) is a strident campaign to wipe out the revolutionary elements and, in society and education in particular, emphasize a national campaign to encourage loyalty to the monarchist principle and a religious revival to strengthen the bonds between the two institutions. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn needs to display some leadership and, in the meantime, everyone needs to support and hope for long life for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The Obama administration has instructed the Department of Homeland Security to keep a close eye on the protests even though they are completely peaceful. However, in my home state anyway I have heard more than a few sane, normal people who have said that it might come to that for the ruling elites to pay attention and finally change their ways. At the same time, my home state of Texas is passing a resolution to reassert our sovereignty and to emphasize the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution which states that any power not specifically assigned to the federal government by the Constitution is reserved to the states -something the federal government seems to constantly forget. Every election the party out of power promises to remedy the mistakes of the previous administration only to do the same or worse as soon as they get into power. In the last election it was the Democrats who were crying about the rampant spending and power accumulation of the Bush administration. Now that Obama is in office he is spending even more than any administration in American history and keeping all of the powers Bush claimed for the executive branch.
To put the tax issue in terms monarchists might be able to identify with I will say that the current situation here is the opposite of what happened in the English Civil War. Then it was the Roundheads who were opposing taxation, however, the money King Charles I wanted was to fund the operation of the government and to pay for the military (due to the war in Scotland mostly). I can assure everyone that no one involved in these tea parties would protest paying taxes to support our military. In fact, the military budget is one thing that Obama has cut funding for. What these protests are about are the tax dollars going to bail out private companies and then expand government control over them or any of the myriad pork projects that tax dollars have been allocated for such as studying why pigs stink, paying for tattoo removal and looking into the uses of wood (I only wish I were joking). If things keep on as they are going, if the Obama administration continues to refer to its domestic opponants as "terrorists" while refusing to use that term to refer to the fanatics who have attacked us and killed thousands of people things are going to get worse and I would say that civil violence and even challenges to the Union itself would not be impossible. If things get worse I would say, in my own state, it would not be impossible for the state to hold a referendum on leaving the union and resuming our independence as the Republic of Texas.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
It was on this day, April 14, in 1931 that His Catholic Majesty King Alfonso XIII of Spain was deposed by the liberal dominated Cortes. He did not abdicate his throne. Because of the traumatic events that followed it is easy to forget the King himself and what a difficult reign he had. At the start of his reign, when he was still a child, Spain lost the last vestiges of her once mighty empire due to an aggressive war by the United States. Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines were lost. Spain also had increasing political turmoil that Alfonso had to deal with as he got older. During World War I he was an invaluable intercessor for countless prisoners of war and he was a great promoter of industry, sports and tourism in Spain. Few monarchs have had to deal with so many troubles throughout their entire lives as Alfonso XIII. Even the happy occasion of his marriage to Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenburg was marred by an assassination attempt.
King Alfonso, even after being deposed, maintained his claim to the throne throughout his life. In the absence of the monarchy Spain became a nightmare of increasingly radical liberal revolutionary outrages. More innocent people, traditionalists, conservatives, clergy and so on were massacred in the first few months than were killed in hundreds of years of the supposedly "infamous" Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish republic became a communist satellite state and from his exile King Alfonso endorsed the nationalist rebels in the Civil War. Because of the large presence of Carlists in his ranks (Viva los Carlistos!) Franco would not have Alfonso back as king, none the less, Alfonso sent his son, Prince Juan Conde de Barcelona, to fight on the rebel side. In the end, it was his descendant, King Juan Carlos, who became sovereign of Spain when the monarchy was restored at the death of Generalissimo Franco. It is sad that so many today seem to have forgotten the absolute horror that was the Spanish Republic and it all started 78 years ago today with the overthrow of King Alfonso XIII.
Viva Juan Carlos! Viva el Rey! y Arriba Espana!