Monday, November 30, 2009

Papal Profile: Pope Urban II

This last week saw the anniversary of the closing of the Council of Clermont, presided over by His Holiness Pope Urban II. The person and reputation of Pope Urban II will always be tied to the Crusades, which he initiated by calling for the first at the Council of Clermont in 1095. For this, many remember Urban II as the first defender of Christendom, who took it upon himself to unite the Christian nations to liberate the Holy Land from Muslim control. Others however, view him much more harshly, as the man who launched an aggressive invasion and opened a series of wars against the Islamic religion. An unbiased look at history will show the former as being much closer to the truth than the latter.

Pope Urban II was a man of exceptional a bility, who faced exceptional challenges from the very start of his reign. A Frenchman, from Chatillon-sur-Marne known only as Odo (or Otto), he was born around 1035 to an aristocratic family. Prior to his election he served as Prior of Cluny, cardinal and Bishop of Ostia. He was elected on March 12, 1088 when the Eternal City was still ruled by the anti-pope Clement III, who had been elected by German bishops under the control of Kaiser Heinrich IV. Urban II tried to make peace with the Emperor, having no argument with his secular authority, but Heinrich would not give an inch and the struggle continued until 1093 when Urban II was able to return to the See of Rome. Two years later, he called for the First Crusade against the Muslims.

The Crusades are often misunderstood and misrepresented as an aggressive Christian war of conquest against the otherwise peaceful Muslims. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that the Crusades were an act of self-defense on the part of the Christian community in order to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. Before this time, through no persuasion other than the sword, Islam had spread by leaps and bounds across the Middle East and North Africa, both of which were Christian areas before this time, since the last days of the Roman Empire. The Muslims had conquered Christian areas and the Christian power in most danger, the Eastern or Byzantine Empire, called on western Christendom to come to their aid.

Pope Urban II preached peace and common cause among the brotherhood of Christian nations in response to the Muslims that threatened to overrun them all. Already, attacks were being made against Constantinople, the Mediterranean was becoming the 'Saracen Sea" and Spain was in dire danger. It is a remarkable peace of evidence for the prestige of the Church and the Papacy, that when Urban II stood before the knights at Clermont and said "God wills it", all of Christendom responded. From Scandinavia across France and Germany Christians took up the cross to liberate the Holy Land. The two great accomplishments of the reign of Urban II was the reforms he brought to the Church and the liberation of Jerusalem, which came only two weeks before his death on July 29, 1099 after reigning 11 years.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Passing of Prince Alexandre

The Belgian Royal Palace has confirmed that HRH Prince Alexandre died this morning at the age of 67 from a pulmonary embolism. Alexandre was the son of HM King Leopold III of the Belgians and his second wife HRH Princess Lilian. See more coverage at the Cross of Laeken.

Monarchist Profile: Lord Cornwallis

Charles Cornwallis, First Marquis of Cornwallis was born in 1738 in London. His family fought for King Charles I in the English Civil War and were ennobled by King Charles II in exile. They were well connected at court and with the Church of England. He went to Eton as a boy and in 1757 became an ensign in the Grenadier Guards. He was elected to the House of Commons from a village in Kent, where his family was from, and when his father died he entered the House of Lords in 1762 as the Second Earl of Cornwallis. During the French and Indian War he saw extensive service in Germany, distinguishing himself and advancing in rank.

After the war he returned to London, became Colonel of the Thirty-third Regiment of Foot and associated with the Whig political faction. As such, he had great sympathy for the grievances of the American colonists and voted against the Stamp Act, showing considerable solidarity with the colonials during the build-up to the War for Independence. However, when that war came, Cornwallis could not agree with outright rebellion and obeyed the summons of King George III to take part in the effort to restore Crown authority in North America. He arrived in America as a major general and deputy to General Sir Henry Clinton. He saw action in the disastrous attack on Charleston, South Carolina but then served with great ability at the British victories across Long Island, New York. With his own command he captured Fort Lee and pushed George Washington and his forces into New Jersey.

Cornwallis commanded the pursuit of Washington after his attacks on the Hessian garrison at Trenton and the raids of the two armies during the winter months. During the British campaign to take Philadelphia Cornwallis was instrumental in the victories at Brandywine, Germantown and then in the battle of Monmouth. After a visit home he came back to take command of the campaign in the southern colonies. Already by this time Lord Cornwallis had earned a great reputation as one of the most aggressive and capable British commanders, with one observer even comparing him to the Carthaginian general Hannibal. Along with his commander Clinton he presided over one of the greatest British victories of the war at the capture of Charleston.

Cornwallis made extensive use of loyalist units such as the British Legion and the Queen’s Rangers. He also recruited many slaves who were overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Crown for the promise of freedom in return for their service. Cornwallis routed a larger Continental army under Horatio Gates at the battle of Camden and then won another hard fought and bloody victory at Guilford Court House. Still, his forces were increasingly outnumbered and suffered from numerous attacks on their line of supply by rebel guerillas. Nonetheless, he continued to advance and marched into Virginia where, after devastating rebel forces in the region, he established a base on the coast from which he could be reinforced and re-supplied by sea.

Unfortunately, the French navy was able to block the British and a combined Franco-American army arrived to besiege Cornwallis at Yorktown. The Crown forces put up a brave fight but vastly outnumbered and surrounded Cornwallis would not sacrifice his men needlessly and so on October 19, 1781 surrendered his army. The war went on for two more years but the loss at Yorktown had broken the British will to continue the fight and the war ended in King George recognizing the independence of the United States of America.

In 1786 Cornwallis was made a knight of the Garter and Governor-General of India. He enacted reforms, re-organized the military forces there and won a victory in the Third Anglo-Mysore War which secured British domination of southern India. In 1792 he was made First Marquis of Cornwallis and the next year was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland after the start of the 1798 uprising. He oversaw the suppression of the Irish rebels and the execution of many nationalists but also angered the Protestant elites of the country by arguing in favor of Catholic emancipation. Afterwards he was returned to his post as Governor-General of India but died shortly after his arrival in 1805. Although buried in India there is a statue of him in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Royal News Around the World

Some good news for monarchists! In an evening vote on the 25th the Caribbean island nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines decided to retain HM Queen Elizabeth II as their sovereign. Regular readers will know how I feel about the fate of any monarchy being left up to a popular vote, but nonetheless it is good news the way it turned out. After the string of republican victories following the break-up of the British Empire it is good to add another country to the list of those who have voted to keep their monarchy. So, enjoy the monarchist victory when it comes and long live Queen Elizabeth II of St Vincent and the Grenadines!

Unfortunate news from the Spanish Borbon dynasty. It has been officially announced that HRH Infanta Elena will be getting a divorce from her husband, Jaime de Marichalar who has lost his noble status as a result. It is sad but not really surprising as the two have been apart for about the last two years. Both have said they remain on good terms and wish to remain so to do what is best for their children. The Infanta and Don Jaime were married in Seville in 1995 and have two children.

HM King Abdullah II of Jordan did one of the greatest things any reigning monarch can do: dissolve parliament. The country had been in an uproar since the last elections which many declared to be unfair, giving too much a voice to the less populated rural regions at the expense of urban areas. King Abdullah dissolved parliament, called for new elections and new electoral regulations charging them to make it all as fair and transparent as possible.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Soldiers of Monarchies: The Canadian Expeditionary Force

The Dominion of Canada is not often thought of as a major military power, but such is more the result of quintessential Canadian politeness rather than a lack of battlefield prowess. In fact, Canadian troops have fought gallantly and with exceptional ability on battlefields all over the world. It is a little known fact, for instance, that the first Canadian troops to organize for combat overseas were the volunteers to the Papal Zouaves who went to Italy to defend the monarchial position of Blessed Pope Pius IX (I'm sure the liberal republicans in Quebec are horrified about that). However, even in light of much distinguished service since, probably no other group of Canadians are as celebrated for their military accomplishments as the troops of the Canadian Expeditionary Force that served in World War I.

When the British Empire went to war against Germany in 1914 patriotic Canadians rushed to fight for King and Country. The CEF was an almost entirely volunteer force and the Canadians were to win many laurels on the western front and even above it as the highest scoring “ace” fighter pilot of all the English-speaking countries was the Canadian aviator Billy Bishop. The CEF primarily consisted of four infantry divisions, later organized as the Canadian Corps within British Imperial forces, though there was also a Canadian Cavalry brigade and a number of support units. Originally commanded by British generals, in 1917 the corps finally had a Canadian commander, the famous General Arthur W. Currie.

The Canadian forces fought with exceptional courage and tenacity as soon as they arrived. Coming from a country still largely considered a frontier nation the Canadians were tough, self-sufficient and born fighters and marksmen who knew how to adapt to difficult situations. Also, having grown up with the harsh ferocity of Canadian winters they also were better able than many others to tolerate the cold climate of the winter months in the mud of Flanders. They saw their first major action at the battle of Neuve Chapelle but it was at the second battle of Ypres that they first proved what great warriors they were. It was at second Ypres that the Germans made their first chemical warfare attack on the western front, releasing a cloud of poison chlorine gas against the Allied line. The Canadians proved their discipline and tenacity by standing firm while all the other Allies units around them broke and fled in the face of the new, terrifying weapon. They also displayed their ingenuity by coming up, on the spot, with the discovery that the gas could be neutralized by urinating on a handkerchief and placing it over the mouth and nose to breath through. Even when another attack was directed solely at them, the Canadians held their ground and fought off the Germans in spite of losing a third of their men.

The Canadians fought with great courage again in the Somme offensive, taking very heavy losses but followed it up with probably their finest hour at the attack on Vimy Ridge where, for the first time, all of the Canadian divisions fought together as a whole. Four Canadians earned the Victoria Cross during the assault, mauling the German 6th Army and securing the ridge for the duration of the war; the Germans never even attempting to take it back. The Germans themselves were so impressed that they categorized the Canadians as shock troops, the name they gave to their most elite assault units. Later on the Canadians won further glory at the Second Battle of Passchendaele and numerous other actions in the final stages of the war. Their commander, General Currie, who emphasized the need for training, battle-specific training and keeping soldiers informed as to their goals, was, by the end of the war, so widely respected for his ability that the British Prime Minister later said that if the war had continued into 1919 he would have made the Canadian general the top commander of all British Imperial forces.

With the anniversary of the end of World War I recently behind us, it is worth remembering the exceptional abilities and the patriotic spirit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force whose members fought so hard, so faithfully and so well in the service of their monarch, King George V.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Monarch Profile: King Leopold I of the Belgians

The Kingdom of Belgium is a unique country to say the least, and over the years it has been the Belgian monarchy more than almost anything else which has held the country together with Dutch-speaking Flemings in the north, French-speaking Walloons in the south and a small number of Germans in the east. Originally part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Belgians revolted in 1830. The reasons for this were numerous, but ultimately came down to the differences the large French speaking population had with the Dutch, their industrial interests versus the trading and commercial interests of the Dutch as well as the fact that the Netherlands was an officially Protestant country while Belgium remained strongly Catholic.

Before the Napoleonic Wars, Belgium had been known as the "Austrian Netherlands" but was given to the Dutch as part of a compensation agreement made with the British who had seized several Dutch overseas territories while Holland was under French rule. Obviously, the agreement worked better on paper than in real life. Most of the European powers first supported the Dutch, but support for the Belgians by the Kingdom of France was vital in the opening days of the conflict and on October 4, 1830 the provisional government of Belgium was established. Actual recognition did not come until much later, though most countries recognized Belgium as a de facto sovereign nation. The issue then arose of who to choose to be King of the new nation. It had been decided early on that Belgium would be a constitutional monarchy, but the choice of monarch proved somewhat difficult. When their first candidate refused the crown, they turned to Duke Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.

Leopold was born George Christian Frederick, in Coburg, Bavaria to Duke Francis Frederick and Duchess Augusta of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield on December 16, 1790. When French troops invaded his homeland he was sent to Paris where he turned down an offer from Napoleon Bonaparte to be his adjutant. Instead, he succeeded his brother as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and became a Field Marshal in the forces opposing Napoleon. Leopold might have become Prince-Consort of Great Britain as in 1816 he married Princess Charlotte of Great Britain, the only legitimate child of King George IV, however she died the following year a day after a failed pregnancy. His ties with the British Royal Family continued to be very close though. Leopold was a key advisor to his niece, Queen Victoria, and it was the British who suggested him as a suitable candidate for the Belgian throne. In fact, Belgium was not the first offer of a throne Leopold had been presented with. In 1830 the Greeks made a similar offer, which given the subsequent history of that country, he was wise to turn down.

The formal offer from the Belgian National Congress came on October 4, 1830. The Duke accepted on June 26, 1831 and he was "inaugurated" on July 21, subsequently a Belgian holiday. However, the new Kingdom of Belgium was from the start to be a so-called "popular monarchy" meaning that King Leopold I was not "the King of Belgium" but rather was "King of the Belgians". However, his reign was faced with crisis from the start when the Dutch invaded on August 2 to crush the bid for Belgian independence. Charles Rogier became the prime minister, and with help from the French and mismanagement by the Dutch, the Belgians eventually succeeded in winning their independence, which was agreed by treaty in 1839.

On August 9, 1832 King Leopold married the daughter of the King of French, Princess Louise-Marie Therese Charlotte Isabelle d'Orleans. The couple eventually had four children: Louis-Philippe who died only a year after his birth, Leopold Louis-Philippe who eventually succeeded his father, Philippe Eugene whose son was the third King of Belgians and reigned during World War I and Marie-Charlotte who married Archduke Maximilian of Austria and eventually became the Empress of Mexico. As King of the Belgians, Leopold I was faced with quite a challenge for any national leader. His country was not very developed, had an uneasy relationship with the Dutch and was divided between the Dutch and French speaking halves of the country. King Leopold was their one major common bond and he worked to encourage national unity and a Belgian national identity as well as encouraging further industrial development. In 1835 this brought about the accomplishment of one of his major goals, the construction of the first railroad on the European continent, which first connected Brussels and Mechelen and was completed on May 5, 1835. He also helped Belgium to establish an efficient and well working government, taking into account the unique conditions of the country.

Because of the ethnic division of Belgium, many observers believed the new kingdom would not last long, yet it has managed to outlive the governments of many neighbors, such as the regime of the "Citizen King" of France, and the rise and fall of the German Empire. King Leopold also used his connections to make Belgium an involved nation in European affairs. In 1840 it was King Leopold who arranged the marriage of his niece Queen Victoria of England and his nephew Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha which of course became one of the most important royal matches in European history. The King was, like most of his generation, a fairly conservative monarch, yet one who was also interested in social reform. In 1842 he attempted to reform labor laws for women and children but proved to be too far ahead of his time for Belgian political leaders. King Leopold also held things together during the Revolutions of 1848 that swept Europe following the overthrow of the French King Louis Philippe, managing to keep Belgium neutral and escaping the turmoil unscathed. On October 11, 1850 Queen Louise-Marie died, the King himself died on December 10, 1865 at Laeken and was buried in the Church of Our Lady in Brussels.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Max Mex Movies Post II: Two Mules for Sister Sara

“Two Mules for Sister Sara” was released in 1970, directed by Don Siegel and starred Shirley MacLaine and Clint Eastwood. The movie was filmed in Mexico and was one of those cases of an original story changed almost beyond recognition from the final film that appeared on screen. Budd Boetticher wrote the original screenplay and was extremely displeased with the result after Albert Maltz got done with it. I would say why, but would spoil it for those who have not seen the movie and might like to. It is the story of an American gun for hire who falls in with a nun during the French intervention in Mexico.

Clint Eastwood is Hogan, a Civil War veteran with an agreement with a Juarista colonel to help destroy a French fort at Chihuahua in return for a share of the gold in the strongbox there. Along the way he meets Sister Sara (Shirley MacLaine) who he saves from being gang raped by four drunken outlaws (Americans oddly enough). Once that escapade was dealt with Sister Sara appeals for Hogan’s help again when the French cavalry show up, telling him that she is wanted by the French for raising money for the Juarista army. Even after that threat is avoided, Hogan cannot seem to shake the persistent sister who insists on going along with him, for reasons which will become clear in the end.

As it turns out Sister Sara used to live in Chihuahua and has detailed knowledge of the French garrison, which she predicts will be uselessly drunk celebrating Bastille Day which is coming up. The two make an unlikely pair and there are numerous humorous moments between them. It is a good, simple action western with plenty of scrapes as the two repeatedly save each other from encounters with the French. As usual, the Juaristas are the good guys and the French are the bad guys and there is the obligatory scene of a French firing squad executing someone. In fact, of all the movies I’ve seen about the 2nd Empire period all of them have scenes of firing squad executions, only one of which was a republican firing squad executing a batch of Frenchmen (don’t worry, we are assured in that film that they deserved it whereas the Juaristas never do of course). Given the portrayal of the two sides it is probably fortunate that Emperor Maximilian, best as I recall, is never even mentioned. The war is portrayed simply as one of Mexicans fighting the French who want to "make Mexico one of their colonies".

Some might be put off by certain things, and as usual I will choose to ignore the historical inaccuracies and, as usual, giving the French troops a Gatling gun. One of the things I liked best about it was the musical score, much of which consists of Mexican guitars and Catholic chant. The acting is good, Eastwood, as usual is in his element as the rough, western loner and the scenic shots are great. There is a surprise ending you might not see coming and then of course is the final climactic battle between the Juaristas and the French garrison. On the whole it is, in my view, a good little western, not spectacular but as I’ve said I’m drawn to the time and place of the setting so I take the good and the bad as they come. I will not give away the ending but, naturally, what chance does the French Foreign Legion have against Clint Eastwood? One of the taglines of the movie (obviously drawing on Eastwood’s earlier fame in westerns) was: The “Man with no name” returns to take on an entire army with two guns and a fistful of dynamite.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anniversary of Attempted Monarchist Coup

It was on this day in 1970 that the noted Japanese author Yukio Mishima ceremoniously killed himself in traditional Japanese fashion after a failed attempt at a coup to take over the Japanese Self-Defense Force and restore the Emperor of Japan to actual power. He founded the group Tatenokai in 1968, a sort of private militia made up of young, traditionally-minded Japanese students sworn to defend the Emperor. It is highly doubtful whether he actually expected his attempted coup to work. Many believe that this was simply a way for Yukio to die for his principles in the traditional Japanese fashion. In many ways he was a man out of his time and had known for quite a while that his opinions were out of date in modern Japan.

Consort Profile: Amélie of Orléans

Amélie of Orléans was the last Queen consort of Portugal. She was born on September 28, 1865 to Philippe, Comte de Paris (nominally King Louis-Philippe II to his supporters) and Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans. On May 22, 1886 she married HRH Prince Carlos of Portugal who had earlier intended to marry a Prussian princess but could not because of their refusal to convert to Catholicism. As for Princess Amélie, her parents had tried to marry her to a member of the Spanish royal family or the imperial family of Austria. However, Amélie and Carlos settled down to a happy marriage together, in spite of the match being more or less arranged, they were a compatible couple. When later on many rumors of affairs spread about her husband Amélie bore it with great dignity. One year after their marriage Amélie gave birth to Prince Luis Felipe, Duke of Braganza. In December of that year she had a daughter, Infanta Maria Anna, but she did not survive. In 1889 she gave birth to her last child, who would also be the last King of Portugal, Prince Manuel.

That same year Amélie became Queen consort as her husband ascended the Portuguese throne as King Carlos I. On the whole, Queen Amélie was a great success and very popular with the public. At a time when the enemies of the monarchy were doing their best to drum up sentiment against the Royal Family, Queen Amélie was a charming, elegant figure to win over the hard pressed Portuguese people. The reign of King Carlos I saw extreme economic disasters for Portugal and this was the source of the only criticism of the Queen with some accusing her of spending lavishly while the people were impoverished, rather in the style of Marie Antoinette. However, as with the doomed Queen of France, the criticism was just as unjustified and would probably have been leveled at her no matter how little she actually spent.

Those who knew her all described her as a very friendly, subdued and caring woman with an open and friendly style who cared deeply for the unfortunate. Medical causes dominated much of her extensive charity work. She worked to spread awareness for the prevention of tuberculosis, sponsored sanatoriums and more available pharmacies. The Queen was also artistically minded and enjoyed literature, the opera and theatre and occupied her time writing in her diary and painting. However, she was also a competent woman and acted as regent of Portugal while the King was away on foreign trips. For all of her charity work and support for the Church she was given the Golden Rose in 1892 by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII.

Nonetheless, republican attacks were persistent and they used the economic crisis to direct discontent toward the Royal Family. Many revolutionary groups were active at the time, republican and Masonic and conspiracies were everywhere. In response, King Carlos dissolved Parliament in 1907 and granted his prime minister dictatorial power to address the crisis. Numerous republican plotters were arrested and sent into exile in the African colonies but the plots persisted and the major parties proved unable to come to an agreement to save the country.

The fateful moment came a year later in 1908 when the Royal Family was crossing the main plaza in Lisbon in their carriage when a number of republican traitors opened fire on them. King Carlos was killed instantly, Dom Luis was mortally wounded and Prince Manuel was hit in the arm but escaped death thanks to the great heroism shown by Queen Amélie who shielded her son while waving the flower she carried at their attackers. Royal guards shot two of the murderers and others were rounded up later and found to be Masonic members of the Republican Party. Prince Dom Luis died within minutes of the attack and the following day the remaining, wounded, prince was proclaimed King Manuel II. Within two years he was deposed, a republic was declared and Dowager Queen Amélie accompanied her son into exile. She spent most of the rest of her life living in France, declining an offer from the Salazar regime to return to Portugal during the dangerous days of World War II, though she did visit one last time in 1945. Queen Amélie, the last royal consort of Portugal, died at Le Chesnay in 1951 at the age of 86.

Mad Rant: Socialism; Killing with Kindness

Recently "the One" Barack Obama decorated Joe Medicine Crow, a Native American historian and author, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Unfortunately it coincided with the mass murder at Fort Hood so my outrage on that occasion was side-tracked to the more immediate and serious issue. However, outraged -dare I say mad- I certainly was! To be clear, I am not upset that Joe Medicine Crow got the Medal of Freedom; he probably deserved it more than many others who have been given it for blatantly political reasons. What outraged me was simply the image presented: the most adamantly socialist president in U.S. history decorating an American Indian. Friends, Romans and countrymen, there is no better group to look to than the Native Americans to see how socialism "kills with kindness". To sum it up, there is no group in the United States that is given more benefits and social welfare than the Native Americans and it is no coincidence that there is also no group in this country more worse off than they are.

Of course, many years ago, the U.S. government openly fought the Indians, conquered them, killed them and displaced them. That would be shameful enough but the crimes of the old U.S. Cavalry pale in comparison to the crimes visited on the Native Americans by the bleeding heart liberal socialists who claim to be so concerned about them. They have showered them with social welfare to the point that a great many of them are now totally dependent on the U.S. government. The army killed them but the socialists have enslaved them to the very system that brought about their downfall. Today unemployment is commonly rampant on the Indian reservations (they live off their pensions from the government) as is alcoholism. Many waste their whole lives in such a fashion while others move away, intermarry with non-Indians and over time who they are is completely lost. It is a tragedy greater than any they have ever suffered from outright violence.

I see it this way. Place the blame wherever you like but the fact is there was a succession of Indian Wars in North America, the Army and the Indians fought and the Indians were defeated. However, at least then, despite all of their suffering, they fought well, they kept their dignity and they died in honorable battle for their traditional way of life. They lost their land but they kept their pride knowing that there is no shame in falling before a superior enemy. Then, however, the socialists came along and tried to sympathize with them and make everything better with government hand-outs. Already robbed of their nomadic way of life they soon were robbed of much of the rest of their culture as well through the "gift" of modern education. The tribes became democracies with the once proud role of chief being reduced to the level of a sleazy politician with a ceremonial headdress. Government payments robbed them of their independence and over time made them dependent on the government and so all of the other social problems mentioned have been the result. Nor are they the only such example.

In a recent post I touched on the history of the Mongols, another proud people of nomadic warriors who once very nearly conquered the world. That, of course, was before socialism and their takeover by a communist government. Since that time they have been robbed of their culture in much the same way, only more quickly and blatantly so. The communists destroyed their religion, destroyed their nomadic way of life turning the bulk of the population into urban dwellers. Socialism robbed them of their pride and independence to the point that most of the big businesses in Mongolia import Chinese workers because too many Mongols will quit after getting their first pay check to feed their alcoholism. What is all the more sad and outrageous is that in the case of both the American Indians and the Mongols they have been the victims of a totally foreign ideology imposed on them by outside forces.

I have the greatest respect for these cultures and it absolutely kills me to see the state they have been reduced to by "caring", "compassionate" liberals preaching "social justice". Others might not have the interest or concern for these people as I have, but everyone should pay attention because no one is inferior or superior to anyone else and if socialism and communism prevail everyone will end up in exactly the same condition; hopeless, struggling people totally dependent on big-government and the small ruling elite to see that we continue, not to live, but simply exist from the crumbs they distribute from the table they are feasting at. Obama can give an Indian elder a medal but he cannot and will not give them back their pride, their independence and their traditional way of life and that makes me a very, very ...... Mad Monarchist.

*Additional Note: This is not rocket science folks. Even Angelina Jolie (who, let's be honest, did not get where she is because of her brains) has recently criticized Obama for being all smoke & mirrors, more about welfare handouts than actually helping people better their lot in life. If she can figure it out - anyone can (not to worry libs, Brad's still an Obama man).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monarchist Profile: Baron Adolf von Harnier

One of the unsung heroes of World War II Germany was the Bavarian nobleman Adolf Freiherr von Harnier. He was born on April 14, 1903 and grew up to become a jurist in Munich. A serious and traditionally minded man he converted to Catholicism in 1934 and annoyed the National Socialist party early on in with his legal defense of priests and Jews until 1939. He opposed the Nazis but was not active in his opposition early on because he was convinced that it was such a muddled and absurd ideology that it would soon die through its own ineptitude. The lawyer in him made him loyal to the idea of constitutional government but he was also a monarchist and he believed that once National Socialism brought about its own demise some sort of a return to the monarchial order would be the next natural step.

At the end of 1936 and start of 1937 he became more active and emerged as the intellectual and political leader of a circle of like-minded individuals who opposed the Nazi regime and wished to bring about a restoration of the Bavarian monarchy of the House of Wittelsbach. As such, he made contact with many enemies of the "Third Reich" even if they had nothing in common with his own monarchial goals for Germany. These included everyone from moderate-minded middle-class republicans to leftist Bavarian labor organizations (banned by the Nazi Party). However, because of his time defending priests and especially Jews in court the Gestapo considered him a person of interest and potential threat. They watched his every move and even managed to infiltrate his Munich circle with their own informants.

Finally, the Gestapo discovered proof of ties between the baron's circle and the illegal German Communist Party (KPD) in Zurich. So, in 1939 Baron von Harnier was arrested and spent five years in a Nazi prison before he was even brought in for a show trial. He was quickly sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1944 at Straubing Penitentiary in deplorable conditions. At the end of the war Baron von Harnier was liberated by soldiers of the United States Army on May 12, 1945 but he died a short time later that very same day from his years of neglect and mistreatment at the hands of his Nazi captors. Few probably remember Adolf Baron von Harnier but monarchists should remember him, especially for his words at his trial when the monarchist lawyer gave this defiant statement to his Nazi captors:

“I am a true servant of my King and country, not only as a dutiful subject but
because I am a convinced monarchist, politically and intellectually. I mean by
that, quite apart from myself and my relationship to my Bavarian and German
fatherland, I believe monarchy to be the most successful form of government that
the history of mankind has known.”

- Adolf Freiherr von Harnier, R.I.P.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christ the King Day

Today Roman Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. All Christians should take special note- it is Christ the King not "Christ the President" and it is the Kingdom of Heaven and not the "Republic of Heaven". If to be 'Christian' is to be 'Christ-like' surely we could not do better than organizing our own societies in the same style as the Almighty does. Anyway, an important day, one of the most important in my own view. It was instituted by His Holiness Pope Pius XI in 1925 in the encyclical Quas Primas. I would encourage everyone interested to look into it and, even if you are not, you might be glad you did anyway. A happy Christ the King day to everyone and I would hope that regardless of background one and all could join in a salute to at least one king who can never be overthrown.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Battlefield Royal: Prince Louis II of Monaco

Although often overlooked, the Monegasque Princely Family has a long history of military service and none of the recent sovereigns of Monaco have had such an illustrious military career as HSH Prince Louis II. As Hereditary Prince of Monaco during World War I he was among the other heirs-to-the-throne such as HRH Edward Prince of Wales and HRH Leopold Duke of Brabant who served in the Allied armies on the western front. Louis II took an interest in all things military early in life and following the proud tradition of his ancestors enrolled at Saint-Cyr College for French army cadets as a foreigner. After graduation he served with the 2nd Africa Light Cavalry after a training session at the Saumur Cavalry College. He then rejoined his regiment in Constantine. He served for 10 years and was awarded the cross of the Legion of Honor before leaving the army to prepare for his future role as Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

However, when World War I erupted Louis did not hesitate to rush to re-enlist in the French army and his father could hardly protest. With the rank of captain of cavalry he was first posted to the 5th Army commanded by General Louis Francet d'Esperey. Only a week after his arrival he was sent to the Marne, seeing some of the most fierce and bloody fights of the war. Later he served as a liason officer and with the artillery and saw action against the Germans in the exposed sectors of La Pompelle, Sillery and Berry au Bac. He fought in numerous battles and his superiors had nothing but praise for Prince Louis who displayed great courage and a tremendous devotion to duty. During a fierce German attack he rescued several comrades while under heavy enemy fire and was awarded the War Cross with Palm Branch for his bravery. In uniform, facing the enemy he was in his element and won numerous decorations and promotions. He was elevated to brigadier-general and later major-general and awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. He was also later awarded the highest distinction given to officers in the field; the Military Medal.

One of his most emotional (at least by his standards) letters home was telling his father Albert I of inspecting the damage done by the Germans to the family estate at Marchais, much of which was destroyed in the fighting or looted or burned deliberately. Louis had many childhood memories of the place and the destruction there was particularly painful to him but only added to his determination to see the war through to a successful conclusion. Once that day came in 1918 Louis chose to stay on with the French army as a liason officer at Metz. In fact, were he free to choose he probably would have rather remained a general than become Sovereign Prince of Monaco but that could never be. Nonetheless, Louis II was justly proud of his distinguished service and kept a portrait of himself in his uniform and medals in each of his offices. He also began the impression collection of Napoleonic memrobilia, enlarged by his grandson and successor, now on display at the Princely Palace Museum.

Louis II became Sovereign Prince of Monaco in 1922 and reigned until 1949 when he was succeeded by his grandson HSH Prince Rainier III.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Archduke Otto!

His Imperial Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria turns 97-years-old today. Born in 1912 to the Blessed Emperor Charles and Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary he became head of the venerable House of Hapsburg-Lorraine in 1922. He held that post and was the legitimate if unrecognized Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary from that time until 2007 when he abdicated (so to speak) his position to his son. During certain periods he had some hopes that he might see a Hapsburg restoration. Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss was said to be discussing such a move but he was soon murdered by the Nazis. Archduke Otto was an open and avowed enemy of the National Socialist regime and Hitler wanted him dead. When the Nazi regime collapsed the Archduke hoped again that perhaps the time for a restoration had come but the dominance of the Soviet Union prevented this. In the decades since he became known as a European politician, standing out for his defense of traditional values, even arguments for monarchy at times and also his calls for European unity. I tend to get a chill up my spine whenever that subject is mentioned these days but I'm sure European unity would look entirely different if done according to the Archduke's principles rather than the Eurocrats at the EU. Perhaps his most famous media moment came when the slight, wiry Austrian royal punched out the Northern Ireland politician Ian Paisley when he began shouting insults at Pope John Paul II when His Holiness was addressing the European Parliament. Whether crowned or not the head of the House of Hapsburg seemed to take seriously his duty to protect the Church! His Imperial Royal Highness has been, over the years, a very admirable figure and standard bearer for the House of Hapsburg. He retains a great reputation and commands the respect of many who would not call themselves his ideological allies. The Mad Monarchist send best wishes and congratulations to His Imperial Royal Highness on his 97th birthday and hopes that God grants him many more years to come. Gott Erhalte Unser Kaiser!

The IX Bogd Gegen and Monarchism in Mongolia

I have seen recently a lack of information on the subject of monarchism in Mongolia with some being totally unaware of the situation in regards to monarchy in that country and others being confused as to whether the 'heir to the throne' so to speak is even well known there. To address this, I thought it appropriate to address the subject of monarchism in Mongolia and the current would-be monarch the IX Bogd Gegen. Information is not as forthcoming as I would like, but I will share what I know for the benefit of the curious concerning the spiritual heir of the imperial mantle in the modern Republic of Mongolia. To do that, it is probably necessary to back up a little and give some background information.

The history of Outer Mongolia, like the country itself, can be a little complicated. At the dawn of the 20th Century it was a vassal state of the Manchu Qing Empire. In 1911 the Manchu dynasty was overthrown and independence was declared with the position of monarch and head-of-state going to the leading Buddhist cleric the VIII Jebtsundamba Khutuktu (Holy Venerable Lord), also called the Bogd Gegen or Holy Shining One. His position is based on spiritual heredity; that is reincarnation and the Bogd Gegen is the third ranking leader of the Buddhist faith as practiced in the Himalayas and Mongolia; only the Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama outrank him. Well, when the VIII Bogd Gegen was made temporal as well as spiritual ruler of Mongolia (which at the time was an extremely devout Buddhist country) he was given the title of Bogd Khan or Holy Emperor, which is how most know him and how he is most often referred to in history books.

The Bogd Khan set up a parliament, prime minister and all of the normal trappings of a constitutional monarchy though at heart it remained a very theocratic monarchy. However, his reign was not a peaceful one. The Republic of China occupied Mongolia, put him under house arrest only to be chased out by the colorful Baron von Ungern who was himself in turn defeated by the Soviets who then placed a pliant Mongolian communist in power as the dictator and founding father of the Mongolian People’s Republic. The former Bogd Khan was allowed to remain on the throne as a powerless figurehead until his death in 1924 after which the communist regime declared there would be no more reincarnations and then set about an aggressive program to annihilate religion in Mongolia.

In fact, probably no other modern regime was so obsessive or successful in wiping out religion from the country than that in Mongolia. However, as usual in any country, faith does not follow political dictates and in 1936, in Tibet, Jampal Namdol Chokyi Gyaltsen was recognized as the reincarnation of the VIII Jebtsundamba Khutuktu by the Tibetan regent Reting Rinpoche after passing the traditional tests. However, because of the nature of the communist regime in Mongolia this was kept secret for many years. Jampal Namdol had been born on November 10, 1932 in Lhasa, Tibet near the Jokhang Temple. When he was only six months old his parents separated and left him in the care of his uncle who was a palace guard in the employ of the XIII Dalai Lama. He was four years old when he passed the three tests verifying his identity as the reincarnation of the former Bogd Khan but as this was a guarded secret he entered the Drepung Monastery at the age of seven as an ordinary monk to keep his identity safe.

When he was 25 Jampal Namdol renounced his monastic vows, married and had children. This was in keeping with the tradition of his position. The late Bogd Khan had also been married, his queen becoming a very popular and revered person in her own right. When the XIV Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet and go into exile in India in 1959 the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu did as well for fear that his identity would be discovered and he would be killed by the communists or taken prisoner as a propaganda trophy. Over the years he worked at various jobs in India including at the Tibet House in New Delhi and the Tibetan language section of All India Radio. He also closely followed events in the Soviet Union and Mongolia, waiting for the time when it would be possible to make himself and his true identity publicly known.

Over the years his first wife died and he remarried and then in 1975 moved with his family, and by then seven children, to Karnataka. In 1984 Jampal Namdol was able to visit Lhasa for the first time since the start of his exile and in 1990, with the Soviet bloc crumbling, the Dalai Lama issued a public statement revealing Jampal Namdol as the ninth Khutuktu. The following year he was formally installed in Madhya Pradesh and in 1992 he was formally enthroned as the ninth Jebtsundamba Khutuktu in Dharmsala. Of course, talk immediately began to stir about if or when he would return to Mongolia. Shortly thereafter the deputy abbot of the primary monastery in Mongolia said that they had asked the Mongolian government (still dominated by the communist party though the country had officially opened up and democratized) for permission to invite their spiritual leader home but received no reply. The request was made several times in 1990 but with the same result.

Mongol religious officials said that the government was afraid that Jampal Namdol would claim the political mantle of the Bogd Khan and attempt to restore the theocratic monarchy. Evidently they were afraid that their campaign to eradicate religious might not have been as successful as they thought. There was, however, a tourist visa given to Jampal Namdol in July of 1999 by which he traveled to Ulaanbaatar and was formally enthroned at the Gandentegchinlen Khiid Monastery by the XIV Dalai Lama. According to tradition it is only after his formal enthronement in Mongolia that he is addressed by the title of Bogd Gegen or ‘Holy Shining One’. However, he continues to live in exile in India which never ceases to raise questions about why he does not live in Mongolia permanently or when he will next return. The fact is, the government continues to view the aging Tibetan with distrust.

In July 2000 he was refused a visa to visit Russia but was later allowed to do so in August of 2003. While in Moscow the Bogd Gegen said that the authorities in Mongolia were afraid that he would try to claim political power and restore the monarchy though he insisted that he has no interest in politics. He did, however, stress that most Mongolians were his followers (probably slightly wishful thinking there) and that he had received numerous messages from Buddhist leaders throughout the country recognizing him as their spiritual leader (which is certainly true). One Buddhist affairs official with the Mongolian government said that his spiritual leadership is recognized only because of the loyalty the people have for the authority of the Dalai Lama and that there is no real tie to the Bogd Gegen who, he claimed, does not speak Mongolian, does not know or understand the people or their culture. Protesting too much perhaps?

Another official, a member of the Mongolian parliament, said that while the Bogd Gegen could be considered a religious instructor he would never be considered for the job of monarch nor, he argued, would most even accept him as the leader of Buddhism in Mongolia. However, a colonel in the Mongolian army, who said that he was not religious, was of the opinion that if the Bogd Gegen returned to Mongolia, "He could come back as president, but not with political power… Like the British queen." Which shows that even for those who are not devout Buddhists, his position as spiritual heir to the Bogd Khan has encouraged some to view him as a potential constitutional monarch.

When questioned on the subject of the Bogd Gegen Mongolian government officials have cited the laws enacted by the Mongolian People’s Republic stripping the Bogd Khan of his political power as precedent for any restoration of the theocratic monarchy as out of the question; even though the government that did so no longer exists. They have also said that his position as a religious leader is up to the Buddhists to decide to accept or reject him. They have also cited their constitutional separation of church and state as a permanent bloc to Jampal Namdol becoming Bogd Khan like his predecessor. There is also the difficult situation with Communist China, a government Mongolia has always viewed with caution.

When the Bogd came to Mongolia on his tourist visa in 1999 it was on the eve of a visit by Chinese communist leader Jiang Zemin (the guy who dismissed a top general for not being harsh enough with the Tiananmen Square protestors). Buddhist sources say people came from villages all across Mongolia when they heard that the heir of their last Holy Emperor was visiting. The Chinese thought the crowds were for them and when they heard who, in fact, they had come to see they were outraged and demanded that the Bogd be thrown out of the country within 24 hours as they took the whole thing as a personal insult (the Chinese were never fond of the late Bogd Khan either for obvious reasons). However, the Mongolian authorities refused saying he had come as a simple tourist and so was entitled to stay for 30 days if he wished. They were rather surprised that wherever the Bogd went he was given the place of honor and monks presented him with a seal in recognition of his authority as spiritual leader. Furthermore, from that time on, message came in to the government requesting that he be allowed to live in Mongolia permanently as supreme spiritual leader. To date no permission has been given and the whole event seemed only to solidify in the minds of the still mostly communist leadership in Mongolia that the Bogd Gegen retains a great deal of popular support which has only made them more wary of ever allowing him to return.

Recently the XIV Dalai Lama has appointed the Bogd Gegen to the post of representative of the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism but in regards to Mongolia the stalemate still stands and does not look likely to be resolved in the lifetime of the current incarnation. Many Mongolians travel to India to see him and hear his teaching and many also wish for him to return to Mongolia but the authorities do not seem likely to allow it. To date the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (communist) remains the dominant and most powerful political force in the country. There are other, slightly more conservative parties, but so far no major party exists to champion religious or monarchist issues and so the situation remains. I've gone on longer than I like to but I hope this sheds some light on a little known but still important front of the pan-monarchist effort.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MM Video: Monaco National Day 2009

See also the latest posts at Mad for Monaco on National Day 2009.

Monarch Profile: King Stanislas II August of Poland

The last King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was Stanislas II August. He was born Count Stanisław Antoni Poniatowski in 1732 in Belarus. Politics came naturally to him with his family connections and powerful oratory and he was a famous member of the Chamber of Deputies by the time he was 20. In 1755 he went to work for the British ambassador in St Petersburg. The future Empress Catherine the Great was hopelessly smitten by him and he made enough of an impression on the Empress Elizabeth that she made him the Russian ambassador to the King of Saxony. When King Augustus III died in 1763 Poland fell into the usual squabbles over who would succeed him and following a coup and the intervention of Russia the young Count Poniatowski was elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, taking the name Stanislaw II Augustus. He was crowned in Warsaw on November 25, 1764.

As King of Poland he instituted several reforms but when rebel forces rose up against him and even took him prisoner for a time. They declared him deposed but Russian imperial troops came to the rescue and restored Stanislas to his throne. However, the Kingdom of Poland had effectively become a Russian protectorate. When the first partition of Poland was enacted in 1772 there was nothing he could do about it and his position only became further dependent on Russia as the radical revolutionary ideas breaking out in France began to spread across the nations of Europe, infecting Poland as well. In 1783 he married his longtime mistress by whom he already had a son. He attempted to strengthen his position as monarch by embracing the call for reform and encouraging a healthy sort of Polish nationalism. This culminated in the enactment of the Constitution of 1791.

However, although the people were deeply moved by the King's embrace of the new constitution a great many nobles were against it and declared against the monarch in their effort to see it abolished. Warfare erupted between the confederation of nobles backed up by the Russians on one side and the King and those Poles loyal to the constitution on the other. The King's troops performed bravely with some excellent hard-fighting generals (including Tadeusz Kosciuszko who had fought in the Continental Army in the American War for Independence) but in the end King Stanislas, on the advice of all of his ministers, finally gave in to the nobles and surrendered himself to the Russians. The result was the second partition of Poland between Russia and Prussia in 1793. Only two years later Austria joined in the last partition of Poland which finally divided up the last of the country between the three powers. Stanislas II August was forced to abdicate on November 25, 1795. He was then taken to St Petersburg where he lived out the rest of his life on a pension granted by the Empress. He died lonely and deeply in debt in 1798 and was buried in St Catherine's Catholic Church in St Petersburg.

Some look with sympathy on the last King of Poland and point to the many undeniably great contributions he made to Polish society throughout his reign in the arts and education and so on. Yet others see him as a monarch who danced too close to dangerous forces, who did little to encourage the support of traditional supporters like the Church and who was too weak to set a course and stick to it. Some view his final capitulation to the confederation of nobles as downright treasonous and yet given all that came after it, many could also not help to look back on the Poland he represented as a better time when the country was at least nominally independent and at least existed. In 1938 his remains were moved to his birthplace in Belarus and in 1995 finally to Warsaw where he now rests in St John's Cathedral.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ex-President Carter has "No Regrets"

Proving that there is no fool like an old fool former Democrat President Jimmy Carter has recently stated that he has "no regrets" about his handling of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, which he blindly considers the only real downside to his four years in office. I guess he is overlooking such trivial things as the fuel crisis, the economic recession and the "malaise" as it was termed, but that might not be surprising considering that the former peanut farmer went on television and basically blamed all problems on the American people. And he wasn't reelected -what a surprise! The truth is that if Jimmy Carter had any sense in that peanut-sized brain of his, he would have a great many regrets, not only for doing almost nothing to secure the release of the hostages but for allowing the situation in Iran to deteriorate to such a point that the Ayatollah and his gang of terrorists were able to take power in the first place.

Few other presidencies in recent American history have been such monumental examples of stupidity as that of Jimmy Carter and the way he handled or rather mis-handled Iran tops the list. It was Carter who appointed George Ball to the Trilateral Commission in 1978 who did all he could to suppress support for the Shah and the Iranian monarchy. His head of the National Security Council also supported a halt to all support going to the Shah and worked with elements in the CIA to shift support to the Ayatollah who was preparing his bid to take power. Carter then did nothing as revolution erupted and brought down the ancient Iranian monarchy, allowing for the first time in modern history for terrorists to take control of an entire nation which they then used as their base to support their compatriots abroad. Even when it came to providing basic humanitarian medical treatment for the ailing exiled Shah President Carter had to be cajoled and brow-beaten into allowing the monarch to be taken to the Mayo Clinic for treatment.

The man who was to succeed Carter as President, Republican Party leader Ronald Reagan, said later that “I did criticize the President because of his undermining of our stalwart ally, the Shah, I do not believe that he was that far out of line with his people.” There would have been no hostage crisis to bungle if Carter had supported the Shah rather than undermining and abandoning him. There would have been no terrorist takeover, no Iranian support for terrorists in the near east and no nuclear arms crisis such as we are now facing if President Carter had not completely sold out the monarchy of the Shah who was a man of peace, a friend and ally to the west and a man who recognized the State of Israel and worked for peace in the Middle East. President Carter, you have plenty that you should regret and plenty for which you will ultimately have to answer for.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anniversary of the Dalai Lama of Tibet

It was on this day in 1950 that Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama was enthroned as the temporal as well as spiritual ruler of the Himalayan Kingdom of Tibet. He was 15-years-old at the time, having been recognized as the reincarnation of the XIII Dalai Lama since 1939. Under normal circumstances his regent would have held power for a longer period of time but due to the increasing pressure and aggression from China the people of Tibet petitioned for the Dalai Lama to be declared of age sooner and assume his powers as temporal monarch. They had faith that his spiritual leadership would save them from the crisis they faced. Ultimately, however, Tibetan religion fell prey to the Chinese "People's Liberation Army" and in 1959 the Dalai Lama left Tibet to go into exile in India in the aftermath of a popular uprising that was bloodily suppressed by the communists. He has remained in exile ever since, however, the last "god-king" of Tibet officially ascended his throne 59 years ago today. The Mad Monarchist sends the Dalai Lama best wishes on this occasion and best wishes for all the Tibetans loyal to his government-in-exile and hopes that Tibet's legitimate monarch will one day be restored to his proper place in the Potala Palace.

Consort Profile: Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso

Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho was born Anna Karabo Mots'oeneng on June 2, 1976, the eldest of five children. In 1990 she started college in the Lesotho capital of Maseru where she studied until 1996, the same year she first met her future royal spouse. From there she went on to study at the National University of Lesotho in 1997 to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree but romance was to interrupt her academic plans. King Letsie III of Lesotho at 36 had become rather known for being a bachelor. He once said that his mother was losing patience with him and being a rather quiet and shy man rather envied other world leaders who seemed to have no problem finding a bride. However, he finally thought he had found the right one with Anna Karabo. The King had a first-class education and he admired her for her own learning, sharing the same religion and probably a few other attributes.

In October of 1999 the couple were officially engaged and on February 18, 2000 the two were married in Maseru by Archbishop Bernard Mohlalefi (Catholic) amidst three days of celebration by the people of Lesotho with some 40,000 packed into the national stadium to watch while many others had to be turned away for lack of room. Some were critical of the $1.5 million cost but it seemed worth it to bring the country together in such a strong way after years of trouble and the celebration seemed much needed. Political divisions had been running deep at the time but the marriage brought everyone together in happiness for their king. It was also a rather unprecedented event as the new consort was the first commoner to ever become Queen consort in Lesotho history and the King had also made it clear that, unlike some of his past predecessors, she would be his one and only wife.

In October of 2001 the Queen gave birth to a daughter, Princess Senate Mohato Seeiso, then in 2004 came another daughter, Princess 'Maseeiso, and finally a son in 2007 named Prince Lerotholi. The Queen has devoted herself to a number of charities, particularly those assisting the disabled and handicaped. She serves as patron of the Lesotho Red Cross Society, SOS Children's Village, People with Disabilities and the Machabeng International College among others. The deaf and blind have been an emphasis for the Queen and she has also worked hard in fighting the AIDS epidemic, breaking the silence as she puts it, surrounding the disease and encouraging everyone to work together to help those suffering with it. She has been given a number of awards for her humanitarian work in these areas and is also, according to Lesotho law, regent of the kingdom whenever her husband travels outside their mountainous country.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Blog Mileston Passed

With 64 members and 137 subscribers across 4 continents over 200 internet monarchists have "embraced the mad". The Mad Monarchist thanks all members, subscribers and readers for their interest and pan-monarchist support. Not too bad for one blogger with a dream ... and voices in his head. I am very appreciative, I am grateful to you all and I am ... The Mad Monarchist.

Papal Profile: Pope Pius IX

He was born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti in 1792 and took holy orders in 1819 and over the years gained a reputation as being more in-line or sympathetic to the liberal, nationalist trend across Italy. In 1846 he was elected to the See of Peter taking the name of Pius IX. Liberals cheered and conservatives groaned as the new pontiff spoke of "Italy" (which did not then exist), eased up the laws of his predecessors and opened the jails of Rome to free the liberals Gregory XVI had locked up. However, many were looking at him with rose-colored glasses and mistook his recognition of legitimate problems in the Italian states for revolutionary liberalism. They were to soon find out how wrong they were. When many Italians were clamoring for war against Austria Pius IX refused to endorse such an action on the grounds that he could never bless two groups of his own Catholic flock killing each other.

The liberals were quick to turn on the Pope and turn deadly in 1848. The following year Pius IX was forced to flee Rome where a republican government was declared and, from Gaeta, the Pontiff excommunicated the lot of them. The republic was an unpopular, dismal failure with most people refusing to vote in the elections and many of those who did wrote in the Pope's name! Pius IX was restored to his throne by French troops sent at the urging of Empress Eugenie. Once back the Pope moved his primary residence to the Vatican Palace and it made clear to the liberals that there would be no more 'mister nice guy'. He refused all concessions and in a display that his spiritual power remained regardless of his political position as the local monarch at the end of 1854 he proclaimed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, on his own authority. In 1864 he issued the famous to some, infamous to others "Syllabus of Errors" which refuted the collective errors of revolutionary liberalism. In 1869 he called the First Vatican Council which is most known for its full definition of papal infallibility.

It should also be remembered, along with all of this, Pius IX, the same man who once famously thundered, "The tradition? I AM the tradition!" was also a very friendly, forgiving and humorous man. When writing a paper about his role in the Risorgimento at university the one thing that surprised me most about Pius IX in reading all about his was how very funny he could be, often at his own expense. He was also always quick to forgive his enemies even if he had just previously condemned them in the strongest terms. The efforts of the liberals to usurp his monarchial position did not end. Campaigns had reduced his realm to the city of Rome itself, protected by the French and when war with Prussia broke out in 1870 these forces were withdrawn and the Italian nationalists were quick to pounce. Pius IX ordered only a symbolic fight be put up and as soon as the walls were breached he ordered his small army of international volunteers to surrender. Rome was occupied and Pius IX isolated himself, refusing to recognize the new government and was known thereafter as the "Prisoner of the Vatican".

However, while he had lost his temporal power (and many thought this would be the death of the Church) his reputation only increased around the world and the prestige of the Pope reached new heights it had never known before. There was something of a Catholic revival around the world during his reign despite the attacks the Church came under at almost every turn. Even in Italy he was widely respected by many who had opposed him and when King Victor Emanuel II was on his deathbed the Pope quickly lifted his excommunication of the monarch that had conquered his state, allowing him the last rites and a Catholic burial. The Pope himself died only about a month later in 1878 while saying his prayers. It is noteworthy that the man who came to the Throne of St Peter cheered by liberals went to his death, and is still to this day, considered one of the greatest enemies of the revolutionary cause and a great champion to conservative Catholic monarchists and many other monarchists in general.

*Addition: H.H. Pope John Paul II began the process for the canonization of Pope Pius IX and he was beaitified in 2000.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

MM Video: Kings of Tonga

Royal World reports on the Kingdom of Tonga going constitutional. Not a disaster, but not a step in the right direction from my point of view but an occasion anyway to take a look at the Pacific island monarchy. The kings of the Pacific island nation of Tonga since the start of the modern constitutional monarchy in 1875. It is the only Pacific Ocean monarchy that is not a British Commonwealth realm. The Kings of Tonga previously held considerable political power but in 2008, just prior to his coronation, King George Tupou V announced he would be delegating most of these powers to his prime ministers. Since 1875 the kings of Tonga have been: George Tupou I, George Tupou II, Queen Salote Tupou III, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and today's King George Tupou V.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Before They Even Start......

Alright, they really have already started but I thought I would make clear my thoughts on President Obama bowing to the Emperor of Japan. As some might remember when I addressed the controversy regarding Obama bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia I have no problem with this sort of thing and really fail to understand why anyone else would. My position remains unchanged. Obama is a common man, HIM Akihito in an Emperor and as such I see no reason why he shouldn't bow to him. Regardless of which, bowing to someone is a common form of greeting in Japan (one reason they've been less troubled with plague than the western world) and he is on the Emperor's turf here after all. I am certainly not a member of the Obama fan club but I think there are plenty of bigger issues and reasons to condemn him than for bowing to the Emperor of Japan. As far as I'm concerned it was the correct, polite and respectful thing to do and probably set a good example for the local Obama-fanatics that he shows all due respect to His Majesty the Emperor. He's done other things on this same visit that I have a problem with but bowing to the Emperor certainly does not make the list. On this issue, let Obama be I say.

Max Mex Movies Post I: Adios Sabata

The so-called "spaghetti westerns" are not everyone's cup of tea, but I like them and the film "Adios Sabata" of 1971 stands out in many ways. The film was directed by Gianfranco Parolini, produced by Alberto Grimaldi and stars Yul Brynner as "Sabata". It was not made to be a sequal to the previous "Sabata" movie starring Lee Van Cleef but was so popular in Europe and so similar that it was re-packaged as one with the Brynner's character (originally named Indio Black) being renamed "Sabata". Filmed in Spain it is set in the Second Mexican Empire with a focus on the Austrian Corps. In fact, so little of the French is seen in this movie one would be tempted to think it was the Austrians who had conquered Mexico. Like most, if not all, of these movies, the imperialistas are definitely portrayed as the 'bad guys' and the Juaristas as the heroes. Like most Maximilian is not seen (other than his portrait) and like most the uniforms are all wrong, the weapons totally wrong and so on, but things like that (like Maximilian's army having gatling guns!) have to be put aside because almost every movie of this period have these same mistakes each and every time.

Yul Brynner is Sabata, a soldier of fortune who his hired by the Juaristas to steal a treasure in gold from the Austrian Colonel Skimmel (played by Gerard Herter) who is the drippingly evil villain of the movie. He has a colorful gang of Mexican revolutionaries to assist him as well as a 'wild card' American named Ballantine (played by Dean Reed). The gold is then supposed to be taken to Kingsville, Texas to buy guns for the revolutionary cause -though that sort of gets lost in the shuffle at times. Colonel Skimmel is no easy prey however, being a very shifty fellow himself, who may have his own designs on the treasure purportedly for the cause of Maximilian. There is a lot of action in the movie, a lot of intrigue and a little humor, mostly from the character of Escudo, played very well by Ignazio Spalla.

There are alot of twists and turns, many of them unnecessary in all honesty, but it does keep you guessing, keep you paying attention and it's all in good fun anyway. Some aspects do get pretty close to crossing the line of absurdity though. Sabata's costume makes him look like some sort of 70's frontier version of Elvis, "Septiembre" (Sal Borgese) killing people by flinging balls off the toe of his boot was a bit absurd and I thought the 'Flaminco dance of death' which happens two or three times was a bit on the silly side. I'm sorry but I cannot conjure up feelings of dread when someone is dancing the Flaminco -maybe it's just me. The Austrian spies should probably not be shamed too much for constantly failing considering that they all have blonde hair and wear black frock coats and black bowler hats walking around northern Mexico -sort of stick out like sore thumbs. Just to make sure you know who the bad guy is and that he is an Austrian they put them all in white tunics and give the colonel a Franz Josef-style set of whiskers and a monacle for good measure. The feel of the movie is very spaghetti western in the sound, the score, the setting and so on; if you don't like the genre be forewarned!

There is not a whole lot of character development, but if there were it would take away from the constant surprises or near surprises -you never know who you can trust in this movie. Again, given that these movies always portray the side I prefer as the 'bad guys' I still like it and find it a fun, entertaining movie -though I am a sucker for spaghetti westerns and any film set in Maximilian's Mexico. Others might be inclined to be less kind and though I wish I could try to unravel the plot, it would be impossible to do so without giving alot a way. As far as I know this is the only "Max Mex" western to feature the Austrians. This was good at least for a change (they get nothing at all 'right' about them) but given that and the number of films that feature the French as the bad guys I am still watching and waiting for a movie to show the little Belgian Legion in a prominent role. Anyway, that's "Adios Sabata" in a nutshell and there will be more reviews to come in this series on the movies dealing with Maximilian's Mexico. Adios!

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