Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Danish Succession Referendum

As most of you probably know the Kingdom of Denmark recently held a referendum on their succession which resulted in a large majority (80%+) in favor of changes to do away with male premogeniture as has been done in other liberal European monarchies (such as Sweden) in recent years. Let me begin by saying that I have nothing against women royals or female monarchs. In fact, it often seems to me that there are more women monarchs and consorts among my list of favorites than men. In Denmark, Queen Margrethe II herself is a fine example as she does and always has done an admirable job as Queen and has always been among my favorites amongst monarchs of the 'living minority'. However, all that being said, were I a voter in Denmark this past week I would most definitely have had to vote "no".

Upon looking into the issue further I found that there were some elements (conservative youth - God bless them) who opposed the bill with the same line of reasoning I would: it is absurd to try to make a monarchy, based on hereditary succession, "fair". The claim that male premogeniture was "unfair" to females never made sense to me. Is not equal premogeniture "unfair" to younger children? Isn't the Danish monarchy "unfair" to absolutely every Dane that isn't of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg? Furthermore, even in monarchies that have scrapped the traditional system of succession I still see no gender equality. When a woman marries a King she becomes Queen but when a man married a Queen he does not become King. Likewise when a girl marries a prince she becomes a princess but when a guy marries a princess he does not automatically become a prince. How "fair" is that?

It was also interesting for me to learn that those on the opposite extreme in Denmark also wanted to end the requirement that royal marriages obtain government approval (which I wouldn't have much of a problem with) and allow for illegitimate children to have succession rights (which I would have a big problem with). Thankfully there is enough common sense in Denmark for that to happen and the country is monarchist enough that no serious debate yet exists on the monarchy itself, yet I see efforts to make the system "fair" as chipping away at the institution and setting a rather dangerous precedent. Monarchy is unfair, life is unfair -get used to it. Here's an astounding fact experience can speak to as well: republicanism is unfair too. Granting power based on a popularity contest seems even more absurd to me than granting it based on tradition. "Fairness" these days, is all too often a code word used by revolutionary republicans and it should send up a red flag for all loyalists around the world.

Long live the Queen of Denmark and God save Europe's oldest monarchy!

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