Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Latest from Mother Russia

The office of the Romanov Imperial Family have stated, through an interview with a family spokesman, the requirements they have for returning to Russia, which are essentially granting a legal residence and the rehabilitation of the Romanov family name. Interestingly enough HIH the Grand Duchess is not pressing for the restoration of the Romanov family properties confiscated by the state. The statement indicated they may accept compensation for the extensive properities but would not take the actual properties back even if offered. This would include extensive tracts of land, numerous houses and palaces of historical and cultural importance. However, on the second score, HIH has filed a legal claim with the Russian authorities calling on them to rehabilitate in law the name of the Romanovs, particularly of course, HIM Tsar Nicholas II, saint and martyr. The Grand Duchess has stated that this is a matter of principle and of justice and she attaches the greatest importance to it. Also, yesterday Grand Duke George Mikhailovich arrived in Moscow for an official visit which include a number of activities but mostly centered around the enthronement of the Patriarch Kiril.

Happy Birthday Queen Beatrix

Today HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands celebrates her 72nd birthday. She was born HRH Princess Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, Orange-Nassau and of Lippe-Biesterfeld at Soestdijk Palace in 1938 to then Crown Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Among her five godparents were Duke Adolf Friedrick of Mecklenburg and HM King Leopold III of the Belgians. She became Queen of the Netherlands in 1980 when her mother abdicated and since that time has provided steady, calm and courageous royal leadership to her country. She can truly be called courageous as she has had to deal with a number of volatile issues throughout her life from her marriage, problems involving Royal Family members and most recently an attack on her life and the lives of her family just last year. Ranked as one of the wealthiest royals in the world she would truly say that her real wealth is the loyalty and affection of her people which is widespread and heartfelt. The Mad Monarchist joins all loyal Nederlanders and all supporters of the House of Orange in wishing Her Majesty a happy birthday with many more to come!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

King Charles the Martyr

It was on this day in 1649 that HM King Charles I of Great Britain suffered martyrdom for the cause of religion and monarchy at the hands of that archtraitor of the English-speaking world Oliver Cromwell. The regicide of Charles I had far-reaching consequences not often considered. Of course it brought about the era of the Cromwellian Puritan dictatorship which remains to this day the most oppressive government in English history but it also meant great suffering for Scotland and a near genocidal campaign in Ireland. However, it also represented the start of an era of republican triumphalism that was to last for much, much longer. In fact, with some periods of exception it has continued to this day. It was the victory of the Parliamentary forces, illustrated by the regicide of Charles I, that gave them the strength of will to continue to resist all efforts at a true royal restoration ever after.

Of course we know that the people of Britain soon had enough of Cromwell and his oppression and happily welcomed the martyred King's son back on the throne as Charles II, but the fact that these traitors had never been openly and finally defeated on the battlefield meant that they still felt empowered to resist monarchs thereafter. This is seen in the efforts to subvert the natural succession under Charles II who finally was obliged to dissolve Parliament and forbid any talk of him divorcing his wife or disinheriting the Duke of York. It was seen the coup against King James II when he failed to please the Parliamentary elites and in the restrictions placed on his successors starting with King William III and Queen Mary II. It also set a dangerous precedent in the minds of the English-speaking-peoples that the monarchy was something which could be toppled. Something of that monarchial sacredness had already been lost with the judicial execution of Mary Queen of Scots but with Charles I it was even more emphasized as he was no foreign prince and the execution was done, not by a rival monarch, but by a rump of Parliament. It seared into the minds of traitors for generations that it was Parliament rather than the Crown that was the ultimate power in the land.

At his trial the heroic King Charles I did not really deny that. He was within the power of Parliament and he knew it. He also knew that while Parliament, by virtue of Cromwell's New Model Army, had the power they did not have legitimate authority which rested with him alone. At his trial he compared it to the power of a roadside bandit, who can take your money or your life, but whose power is based on material force and not true, spiritual authority. The words of King Charles I at his trial are something every monarchist should read, especially those who consider the reign of Charles I as some kind of totalitarian tyranny. Charles I fought, not simply for his own Crown, but for his right, and by extension the right of every person in his kingdoms, to that which was lawfully his own. As the King said, if they can treat the sovereign of Britain so, what man, high born or common, could ever be sure of that which is his own? Charles I was fighting for the traditional, natural government of Britain and fighting against what we would now call the "big government" of political elites.

It is, in fact, even something of a lie to say that the Parliamentary forces actually represented parliamentary government in any way. The Parliament had been stripped, purged and violated in every way in order to produce the results that the Cromwellian elite wanted. Even then, Cromwell was fairly quick to dissolve Parliament when it failed to please him after the great King had gone on to his eternal reward. The Parliamentary system also died alongside Charles I and was only ever restored because the treasonous clique recognized that it could be manipulated to serve their own purposes. All of this makes the memory of King Charles I a very useful one for monarchists today and we should all speak up on his behalf when he is slandered. King Charles is a symbol of true royal authority and legitimate government fighting against powerful political elites. He is also a symbol of religious unity for he was declared a saint and martyr of the Church of England but was married to a Catholic and supported by the vast majority of Catholics in his own time. This is contrasted with the religious intolerance of the Puritans and especially the horrific massacre of Irish Catholics by Cromwell and his troops. He is also a symbol, sadly not the only one, of how republican governments almost invariably come to power only through blood, brute force and the murder of the innocent.

May King Charles rest forever with the angels.
A Litany of Charles, King and Martyr (CofE)

MM Video: Korean Monarchy

Shameless Plug

Friday, January 29, 2010

Consort Profile: Empress Theresa of Brazil

Empress Theresa Christina of Brazil was the consort of the last Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II. She was born in Naples on March 14, 1822, the youngest daughter of the future King Francesco I of the Two-Sicilies and his second wife Maria Isabella of Spain. She had a fairly traditional education for royal girls of her day studying the fine arts, music, singing, embroidery, French and instructions in the Catholic faith. Described as a sensitive and creative young lady she had a strong artistic bent.

After looking for a suitable bride in Austria, Spain and Russia the Emperor of Brazil turned his eyes toward the Two Sicilies. In 1842 a treaty was negotiated pledging the hand of Theresa Christina in marriage to HIM Emperor Pedro II of Brazil. They were married by proxy the following year with the Brazilian ambassador and Secretary of Foreign Affairs standing in for their monarch. A Brazilian naval squadron was sent to bring the new consort to her new country where she would live for the next 46 years.

The Emperor was reportedly repelled at the first sight of his new wife when he came on board with his ministers to greet her. He found her lacking in beauty, walking with a slight limp because of a birth defect and older than he expected. Theresa noticed this and after both managed a friendly greeting, withdrew into an adjoining room to cry. However, duty prevailed and the two would go on to have a mostly successful marriage. Pedro II was not always the ideal husband, but the new Empress Theresa was determined to be the ideal wife and she treated her husband with love and respect and quickly won over the populace who called her “the Mother of Brazilians”.

The marriage was blessed again by the Church and between the industrial and scientific interests of the Emperor and the artistic interests of the Empress the Brazilian Imperial court became quite a center of culture and learning. Aside from art, Empress Theresa was also interested in archaeology and she herself financed archaeological expeditions, the fruits of which can still be seen in Brazilian museums today. She also shared much the same taste in art and music with her husband.

In 1845 she gave birth to Prince Alfonso, their firstborn, but he died only two years later. In 1846 she gave birth to the Princess Isabel and in 1847 Princess Leopoldina came into the world. In 1848 Prince Pedro was born but he too lived for only a couple of years. She was very devoted to her daughters and to her husband and country, even helping to produce some pamphlets to encourage immigration to Brazil. She also took an active role in supporting the Church and religious orders in Brazil. Several cities in Brazil were named after her, a testament to her popularity and activity.

In 1889 she cried when news came that her husband had been deposed as Emperor of Brazil. Although plans were made to go to Paris the trauma of the coup and flight into exile was so stressful for the Empress Theresa that she died shortly after landing in Portugal on December 28, 1889.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sad News out of Iran

The treasonous Islamic Republic of Iran has put two monarchists to death. Get the details and full story from the Radical Royalist.

Royalty by Andy Warhol

(thanks to blog member Salvatore for putting me on to this series of work)

Monarchist Profile: Bishop Jean-Olivier Briand

His Excellency Jean-Olivier Briand served as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec from 1766 to 1784. Briand was born on January 23, 1715 and was ordained a priest in 1739. Two years later he accompanied Abbé René-Jean Allenou de Lavillangevin and the newly appointed bishop of Quebec, Henri-Marie Dubreil de Pontbriand to Canada. He served there, in the massive diocese of Quebec for the next nineteen years that Pontbriand was bishop. He was, in turn, consecrated as the seventh bishop of Quebec on March 16, 1766 in Paris, France.

Briand had the unenviable task of serving during both the French and Indian War and the American War for Independence, sadly the bishop was on the losing side on both occasions. As vicar-general during the French and Indian War he had to take over many of the responsibilities of the absent bishop and he ministered to the French soldiers on the battlefield but also realized that the odds were against them and that if Britain were victorious some accomodation would have to be reached for the peace and stability of Canada. When the Treaty of Paris was signed he had a Te Deum sung in thanks for the peace and he praised British General Murray for his fairness and humanity. It was partly thanks to his appeals to London that the rights of Catholics in Canada were respected by the British Crown.

When Britain recognized the rights of the French Canadians and allowed religious freedom it encouraged the Catholic leadership in Quebec and reassured them that making peace with the Crown had been correct. When rebellion broke out in the 13 colonies there was immediately talk of spreading the war to Canada and encouraging the French Canadians to take up arms again against the British. However, Bishop Briand saw this as extremely dangerous. The Protestant leaders in the 13 colonies (whose forefathers had left Britain because the Church of England was *too Catholic*) had a reputation for being very intolerant of Catholicism whereas the British had recognized their rights to maintain their religion and their civil laws. Embracing the revolution was the last thing Bishop Briand wanted.

Bishop Briand worked in cooperation with Sir Guy Carleton, Governor-General of Canada, to discourage rebellion and encourage loyalty amongst the French Canadian population. The good Bishop made it clear that rebellion against the Crown of Britain would be the same as rebellion against God. He warned all French Canadians to stay away from the troublemakers and further warned that any who took up arms against King George would be forbidden access to the sacraments, even last rites. He also addressed these issues to the tiny Catholic population in the 13 colonies south of Canada. Today many American Catholics celebrate the memory of the pro-revolutionary priest Father John Carroll of Baltimore. What many do not know is that when Father Carroll tried to encourage French Canadians to join the rebellion Bishop Briand formally excommunicated him.

Of course, Britain eventually lost the American war but the effort to take Canada was an utter failure and the French Canadians did not join the rebellion so Bishop Briand was at least successful in preventing that. Already looking ahead to retirement before the war Bishop Briand resigned in 1784 to hand over duties to a younger man but he retained his powers as bishop, at least on paper, for the final few years of his life. He died on June 25, 1794. Today he is remembered by Catholics as the "second founder" of the Church in Canada.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Royal Profile: HRH Anne, Princess Royal

HRH Anne, the Princess Royal, is the only daughter of HM Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She was born Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise on August 15, 1950 and is currently tenth in the line of succession to the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms. She is the seventh member of the British Royal Family to hold the title of Princess Royal and although she has escaped the intense media glare of other members of the family she has proven tireless in her duties to her country.

Princess Royal Anne was first educated in the palace by private tutors and was a member of the Girl Guides before going to boarding school. In 1973 she was married in a grand ceremony to Lieutenant Mark Phillips of the First Queen’s Dragoon Guards at Westminster Abbey. Only the next year Princess Anne was the target of a bizarre kidnapping plot. Her car was forced to stop, shots were fired and the gunman demanded the Princess Royal get out of the car. Showing no fear she snapped that such a thing was, “not bloody likely”. A passing pedestrian hit the gunman in the back of the head and helped Princess Anne get away while other police officers responded. Her security guard, who was shot by the criminal, was given the George Cross and five others were given the Queen’s Cross for Gallantry.

On her own time we see that the Princess Royal certainly inherited the Queen’s love of horses. Equestrian sports have been a lifelong passion of Princess Anne and this also gave her the distinction of being the only member of the British Royal Family to compete in the Olympics. In 1977 Princess Anne became a mother, giving birth to her son Peter, followed in 1981 by his sister Zara. However, domestic bliss was not to last and in 1989 Princess Anne and Mark Phillips separated after years of increased marital tension. The couple divorced in 1992 and at the end of the year the Princess Royal married Royal Navy commander (now Vice-Admiral) Timothy Laurence, a former equerry to the Queen. Because of her divorced status the couple were married by the Church of Scotland near Balmoral.

Over the years Princess Anne has made herself beloved through her charity work, focusing on areas often overlooked such as programs for the deaf, blind and those afflicted with autism. She also has an enthusiastic interest in the preservation of lighthouses and has visited and studied many of them all across Britain. She also carries out numerous official duties on behalf of the Queen, visiting Commonwealth realms, serving as colonel-in-chief of various regiments and was appointed to succeed her grandmother as Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order. She also serves on the Olympic committee, works with a number of charities all over the world and is commandant-in-chief of the St John Ambulance Cadets. The Princess Royal undertakes more engagements than any other member of the Royal Family easily making her one of the busiest and most hard working royals in the world today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cost Report on European Monarchies

Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have the costliest monarchies while Luxembourg has the cheapest based on a report out of Belgium. This story comes via Lëtzebuerg who thinks the Luxembourg monarchy is also the best value for the money. Forgive the slight digs at other monarchies; Luxembourgers have every right to be proud of their Grand Ducal Family. These reports can be annoying (see the rant below) but are also useful at pointing out to republicans who see every monarchy as on the same level as Louis XIV at Versailles. I would also point out that the little Principality of Liechtenstein is often left out (Monaco often is as well, but still commands more attention for, say what you will about the Grimaldis -they are certainly not boring). The Prince of Liechtenstein actually receives no money from his subjects and annually gives money from his own fortune to support the running of the Liechtensteiner government. They also keep a low profile and have remained scandal-free. It is clear that even those countries that spend more on their royals like the British and Dutch still spend far less than most republics and Luxembourg has certainly has much to be proud of with a monarchy that is cost-effective, good at their job, widely loved at home and respected abroad.

Mad Rant: Australia, Agendas and Polls

Today is Australia Day in the Commonwealth Down Under and this comes on the heels of what looks to have been a very successful informal visit by HRH Prince William of Wales, God-willing the future King of Australia. One way the success of the visit can be gauged is by the amount of whining coming from the republican traitors. You would think that I, your humble blogger, would be all smiles about this right? Of course not! Certainly I am glad the visit went off without a hitch and seems to be successful, but as to the overall situation I am still mad enough to chew pig iron and spit ten penny nails. Hence, we move into the realm of a monarchist ‘agenda’.

I was asked about this recently by a subscriber; what sort of general agenda should monarchists have; the one asking me being one of those rarest of breeds: an American monarchist. I replied that as monarchy is a non-issue in the US I think the immediate focus should be simply on getting Americans to understand that monarchy is nothing to be afraid of and at least not opposing monarchy. That would make it easier for individuals to support monarchist causes elsewhere as, let us be honest, the US, the “Great Republic” is never going to do that.

For those countries that are or were monarchies (the vast majority of the world) I reiterated my belief that no monarchist anywhere can afford to be complacent. Priority one should be shoring up support for those monarchies that survive and then pushing for the restoration of those that have fallen. Now, here is where I start to boil over. I am often infuriated by those faithless complacent ones of little vision who think that *their* monarchy is safe and therefore they can rest easy. Do NOT believe it! Now, I’m sure someone out there is thinking the madness of this monarchist is boiling over again since there are a number of monarchies, even in very liberal countries like Denmark, Holland or Sweden, where the monarch is approved of by very large majorities and no widespread republican movement exists. Do not be fooled by the pretty pictures my friends.

I will not rest easy until we get to a point where there are no longer ANY opinion polls on the monarchy at all. I want to get back to that place where the monarchy is considered such a solid, permanent and unmovable part of society that no one would even consider asking the people whether they think they should keep it or not! There should be no place for an opinion poll on the monarchy itself; it is the foundation of the country. Now, here is where the earlier mention of America comes into play. I would say 99.9% of Americans agree that republicanism is best, the US Constitution is the best and would never dream of changing it. No one could even imagine the USA becoming a monarchy. I want to see monarchies that are that safe and secure. Think about it; have you ever seen an opinion poll taken among Americans asking whether or not the US Constitution should be scrapped for a new model? No, it would be unthinkable because the Constitution is the foundation of the entire American government and way of life. The same should be true in the kingdoms and principalities of the world wherein the monarchy is that same foundation.

I don't mean to say that we cannot try to judge the mood of the public on any subject, but it is the mentality that I have a problem with. As stated before, I don't think any monarchy should be subject to an opinion poll; it is as absurd as asking people if they would favor taking away the divinity of God. Some things are or at least should be beyond the reach of popular opinion. That is why I have the agenda, so to speak that I do, and that is why I remain ... The Mad Monarchist.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reburial of Vietnamese Monarch

King Le Du Tong has been reburied in a formal ceremony by the Vietnamese communist government two days ago though with a minimal of fanfare (the story was buried in the society & culture section of most periodicals) after his remains (seen above) were unearthed 52 years ago by farmers in the province of Thanh Hoa in central Vietnam. Le Du Tong was the 22nd king of the Le dynasty and reigned from 1705 to 1728, a period of general prosperity for the country. Since 1964 the monarch's remains were kept at the Vietnam History Museum before the reburial on the 23rd with the ceremony presided over by Buddhist clerics and surviving descendants of the Le Dynasty.

From what I was able to see the reburial was rather less than I would have liked, looking like a combination of royal traditions and the burial of a communist party official. Still, some attention to detail was given with the traditional styles being used for the creation of the correct coffin but on the whole it seemed inferior to me to the last royal reburial in Vietnam, held in the 80's when the remains of the former Emperor Duy Tan of the Nguyen Dynasty were moved home from Africa and placed in the tomb of his grandfather Emperor Nguyen Duc Duc (who lacks an era name having reigned only nominally for 3 days). Much of the imperial-era monuments suffered from a severe lack of preservation under communist rule who despise their entire pre-communist history as a time of backward feudalism.

When Le Du Tong was discovered, the first time such a discovery was made, a number of royal artifacts were found with him, even some of his clothes surviving. The original coffin was damaged in the recovery, hence the need for a new one, and replicas of his royal attire was made for the reburial with the originals being kept in the national museum. The new royal robes were made by artisans brought in from Hue, the imperial city of the last Nguyen dynasty, who are experts at recreating regal fashions. More information can be found in an article from the Viet Nam News Agency.

Monarch Profile: Tamerlane

What does discussion of Central Asia bring to mind today? For most it probably conjures up images of war-torn Afghanistan, rugged mountains, bleak, rocky landscapes, crumbling cities and impoverished people. However, like every corner of the world Central Asia once had its golden age, its own era of power and prosperity and that time was the reign of one of the great conquering kings of history, known to the west as Tamerlane. Under his aggressive rule the Timurid Empire stretched from modern-day Turkey to India with visions of going even further.

Tamerlane was born on April 8, 1336 in the city of Kesh in what is now Uzbekistan. Throughout his life he was haunted by the memory of Genghis Khan and he was obsessed with claiming the mantle of the old Mongol Empire and surpassing the deeds of his hero. He could not claim descent from the Great Khan but tried to cement family ties by marrying granddaughters of the Mongol conqueror and so ensuring that his descendants would have the blood of Genghis Khan in their veins. Early on he was wounded in battle in the upper leg or hip which caused him to walk with a slight limp thereafter. This led foreigners to call him Timur the Lame or Tamerlane.

He rose to prominence as a general in the campaigns in Transoxania under Chagatai Khan, another descendant of Genghis. He never claimed the title of khan for himself, preferring instead the title Emir (Tamerlane was a staunch Muslim). Striking out from Transoxania he conquered the areas around the Volga River and Caspian Sea, much of it still populated by the descendents of earlier Mongol conquerors. He conquered Azerbaijan, parts of southern Russia and then turned southeast conquering virtually all of Persia by 1387 including the western areas of northern Iraq such as Baghdad and Karbala. He waged a harsh but successful war against the Golden Horde of southern Russia, effectively ruining their economy based on trade along the Silk Road.

When the Muslim ruler of Delhi, India was deemed to friendly toward his Hindu subjects Tamerlane used this as a pretext to invade in 1398. The campaign was waged with cunning and cruelty. To counter the formidable Indian war elephants Tamerlane panicked them by sending forward a charge of burning camels. He massacred roughly 100,000 Hindu captives in front of Delhi and after taking the city pillaged and destroyed it. He brought back immense quantities of spoils from India to his immense capital of Samarkand. He also took back all of the most skilled craftsmen and artisans he could find to embellish his own city. Setting up strong working governments in conquered areas was never a priority for him.

Unintentionally Tamerlane provided a great service to European Christendom. Just as the Ottoman Turks were on the verge of great victories against the Christians under Sultan Bayezid I Tamerlane struck from the east, devastating Iraq, Syria (taking Damascus from the Mamluks of Egypt), Armenia, Georgia and much of Anatolia. Even this displayed his obsession with Genghis Khan. According to Tamerlane his intention in the campaign was to restore the Seljuk Turks to power as it was their rule which had been first recognized by the Mongol Empire. The Ottomans declared him an enemy of Islam but in the end Sultan Bayezid was defeated, captured and died in captivity. This gave the west some much-needed breathing room though Tamerlane clashed with some Crusader knights in his path and detested the forces of the Italian city states who were hired to transport the Ottoman army.

Having smashed the best of the states of India, Persia and Turkey the Timurid Empire dominated Central Asia, earning Tamerlane a place of significance for that part of the world that has been compared to that of Alexander the Great for Greece. However, the shadow of Genghis Khan still haunted him and as respected and feared as he was by all around him, he still was not spoken of with quite the same reverence and awe as the legendary Mongol emperor. Therefore, he decided to do what Genghis Khan himself had never finished. Tamerlane determined to march east and conquer China.

By this time the Mongol Yuan Dynasty founded by Kublai Khan had been driven out of China and replaced by the Ming Dynasty under Emperor Hongwu. Tamerlane sent emissaries to the remnant of the Yuan in Mongolia and arranged an alliance. Together they would crush the Ming between them and restore China to the descendants of the Great Khan -even though he actually had neither background, ancestry nor religion in common with them. It was certainly an audacious plan but was not to be finally played out as the fearsome Tamerlane died on his way east on February 18, 1405 at the age of 68.

Tamerlane was buried in a magnificent tomb, protected by a curse. He said that if his resting place were ever violated a punishment even worse than himself would be visited on the trespassers. Eventually the place lost through time and shifting fortunes as the empire he founded did not long survive after him. However, the curse was remembered when a group of Soviet archaeologists found the tomb in 1941 and exhumed the body of Tamerlane. Two days later Adolf Hitler launched his massive invasion of the Soviet Union -certainly a worse fate if ever there was one.

Today, Tamerlane is remembered in different ways by different people. His impact on the world can certainly not be denied. The Golden Horde would never recover, much of the Middle East was devastated and one of his descendants would go on to found the Mughal Empire of India. For those within the heart of his empire he did well for but he was merciless to his enemies and conquered peoples were used to enrich the home front and no attempt was made to really win them over. Yet, for many countries in Central Asia the era of Tamerlane is a source of pride they can look back to as a period when they dominated the region and when Samarkand was a wonder of the world. Uzbekistan has claimed him as something of a national hero and placed a massive statue of the man where once stood a Soviet-imposed statue of Karl Marx.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Consort Profile: Empress Menen Asfaw of Ethiopia

Empress Menen Asfaw, the last Empress consort of Ethiopia was born on March 25, 1889 and was herself of distant imperial lineage. She likely met her future husband at the home of her uncle Lij Iyasu and they immediately made a connection. Her family had earlier arranged for her marriage to another, but seeing the opportunity to establish closer ties with the man who would soon be the next Emperor Lij Iyasu made the arrangements for Menen Asfaw to marry Haile Selassie. The two were wed in early August of 1911. She was 20-years-old and the future Emperor was very impressed by her character and friendly disposition.

In time Empress Menen Asfaw would give Emperor Haile Selassie six children; Princess Tenagnework, Prince Asfaw Wossen, Princess Tsehai, Princess Zenebework, Prince Makonnen and Prince Sahle Selassie. When Haile Selassie became Emperor of Ethiopia his wife was crowned Empress alongside him. As consort, Empress Menen was very active and undertook a number of charitable duties focused on women, children and religious issues. She served as patroness of the Ethiopian Red Cross and the Ethiopian Women’s Charitable Organization. She also served as patroness of the Jerusalem Society which organized pilgrimages for Ethiopians to the Holy Land.

One of the primary areas of importance for Empress Menen was education and she worked tirelessly on that front. She founded the Empress Menen school for Girls in Addis Ababa which was the first all girls school in the country and accepted day students and boarding students. Young girls from all across Ethiopia came to the school for their education which was closely supported by the Empress who took an active interest in all that went on, frequently visiting the school, looking in on classes and presiding at awards and graduation ceremonies. The Empress also supported numerous charitable causes for the poor, the infirm and the handicapped.

Religion played a central role in the life of Empress Menen, a devout member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. She gave very generously of her time and personal wealth to build, restore and renovate numerous churches in both Ethiopia and the Holy Land. Among her many projects was the Holy Trinity Monastery on the Jordan River and the support she gave to the building of the Cathedral of St Mary of Zion in Axum though, unfortunately, she did not live to see that particular house of worship completed. During World War II she was exiled from Ethiopia due to the Italian occupation and she occupied her time going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to pray for the deliverance of her country and pledging her crown to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem if Ethiopia would be liberated. When Ethiopia was finally liberated from the Allies Empress Menen was as good as her word, having a replica crown made for future imperial use and sending the original crown to the Church as she promised.

HIM Empress Menen Asfaw died on February 15, 1962 and was buried in the imperial crypt at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. She had been an exemplary consort throughout her life with the last Ethiopian Emperor. She was supportive, standing back in public but a trusted advisor in private; she was generous, compassionate toward he people and dutiful in the spiritual aspects of her life and her vocation. It was, perhaps, merciful that she did not live to see her country and her beloved husband ruined by the communist revolution that was only a few years away.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Back in Black

After a great many headaches the computer problems seem (knock wood) to be solved. Had to pick up a new machine; not really crazy about it but I suppose that's what I get for sending someone else to pick it up. All the important info (such as the blog related materials) were able to be saved and transferred over to this new contraption, so that was a big relief. In any event, I don't know if my being extremely unsettled with the situation showed through, but I shall at least be glad to have things back to their usual, abnormal state around here and get back to 'regularly scheduled posts'. Thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding -hopefully things will get better than they have been in the last couple of weeks of 'winging it'.

Happy Birthday Princess Caroline!

Today, HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, Hereditary Princess of Monaco, celebrates her 53rd birthday. The eldest child of Their Late Serene Highnesses Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco, the birth of Princess Caroline was a joyous event in the tiny principality. It was pouring rain on that day in 1957 when Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi came into the world, welcomed by a 21-gun salute from the canon of Ft Antoine. Her proud father announced her birth to his subjects, closing with the words, "With us thank God and be joyful". And so they did. After the tragic death of Princess Grace, Princess Caroline had the daunting task of stepping up to become the first lady of Monaco, but she has carried on from that time never showing the strain of the burden she has had to bear. Today is also the wedding anniversary of Princess Caroline and HRH Prince Ernst August V of Hanover, but, as readers of the sister blog will already know, that is surely not much of a cause for celebration these days. Despite not starting in the most auspicious of ways, many hoped for the best in that marriage of Wettin and Grimaldi, once so hoped for by an earlier Princess Caroline of Monaco, consort to Florestan I, who had tried to arrange a match between her grandson, the future Prince Albert I, and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. However, Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst have lived apart since last year, the Monegasque being glad to have their daughter home but sorry for the circumstances, and with the Prince of Hanover now publically flaunting his paramour it seems the marriage is over for all intents and purposes though whether or not there will be a divorce remains to be seen. In any event, for the sake of their daughter, HRH Princess Alexandra, we can hope that some sort of amicable understanding is reached. If there is a divorce Caroline may lose her status as a "Royal Highness" and Princess of Hanover, but in the absence of any legitimate issue by her brother she will always remain Hereditary Princess of Monaco, for which she has always been best known and best loved in Monaco and around the world. The Mad Monarchist wishes Princess Caroline a very happy birthday and best hopes that she comes through her present difficulties as well as she has endured the many she has suffered in the past.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Was the Baron so Bad?

It was on this day in 1886 that the Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg was born in Austria (though he was of the Baltic nobility and grew up on the ancestral estate in Estonia). Given the reputation of this man, often referred to as the “Mad Baron” or the “Bloody Baron” I thought this anniversary of his birth might be a good time to display some of the often overlooked positive aspects of this man so widely dismissed as being such a quintessential villain (an image intentionally hyped by the Bolsheviks for whom he was the ultimate bogey man).

First of all, it should be kept in mind that very little is known concretely about the details of the Baron’s life. Most of what little we have to go on is from second or third-hand accounts and rumors, often spread by his enemies. However, much of the more lurid stories of cruelty that have been attributed to the Baron were actually the work of the military governor of Urga; Colonel Sepailov. This was a man even the Baron found distasteful but who he never acted against for what could be called religious reasons. Sepailov, who likely suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, had been victimized horribly (as did many others) by the Bolsheviks who tortured him and massacred his family after he escaped them and that should be kept in mind as well.

The Russian Civil War was a brutal affair, no doubt about it, and in the distant wilds of northeast Asia things were no different at best and sometimes worse. However, the Baron does not often get recognized for the good things he did while occupying Mongolia. After taking Urga he administered harsh punishments to any troops who pillaged, any found drunk or hung-over on duty and took numerous measures to protect the population. He set up a wireless station, a telephone system and disinfected the city thoroughly. He set his troops to work cleaning up the city and established a sewage system to prevent people from going in groups in the streets as was customary.

The Baron also set up a public transportation system within Urga, built bridges, printed a newspaper, established veterinary clinics and hospitals, re-opened schools and reestablished commerce, harshly punishing anyone who harassed or looted the merchants who were mostly Chinese. Accusations that the Baron was a virulent anti-Semite are also contradicted by accounts that he had Jewish officers, whom he called his friends, one being among his most senior commanders and that all his agents abroad were Jewish. Efforts have also been made to portray him as some sort of precursor of Adolf Hitler; which is possibly the most absurd accusation of all as there was no one less of a racist than the Baron whose troops included Russians, Mongols, Tibetans, Chinese, Japanese and others. He also never fought for his own power but for the restoration of the legitimate authorities that had been removed.

Was the Baron a warm, fuzzy, politically correct guy? Certainly not, but the worst tales told of him can, in most cases, be attributed to Soviet propaganda, false reports given by others to ingratiate themselves to the winning side and divert from their own crimes and simple fantastic story telling by people often extremely hostile to the causes of monarchy, religion and/or traditional authority for which the Baron fought. Of course, taken altogether, the popular image of the Baron is still useful for those of us who find fun in shocking, outraging and annoying republicans.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Tragic Anniversary

It was on this day in 1793 that His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XVI of France and Navarre was executed by guillotine by a mob of revolutionary traitors. The horror and far-reaching effects of this monstrous crime cannot be overstated. King Louis XVI, almost every serious historian now admits, was no tyrant and no villain. He was a good, upright, compassionate, God-fearing man devoted to his wife, his children and his beloved France. He was also a hard working monarch doing everything he could to set France again on firm financial ground and repair the slow decay the kingdom had been experiencing for some time.

The vision that Louis XVI had for France was a great one. He saw France restoring herself as the dominant power in Europe, recovering at least somewhat the influence lost to Great Britain in North America, pushing the British out of India to be the primary European power in the subcontinent and establishing new ties with the Far East in Indochina. His vision was also for a more religious France, a vision shared by his dear wife Queen Marie Antoinette –though few today would know it. They were a devoutly religious couple and if anything pained him more than the pressure to give up the powers of the monarchy that were his birthright it was being forced to accept legislation that attacked the Church in France.

In King Louis XVI the French people had a monarch who was at the same time benevolent, pious and committed to their national greatness. Why then was this man, who had harmed no one and done nothing but that which he thought would better his kingdom, so cruelly deposed, humiliated and put to death? Some still maintain that this was an unfortunate but necessary step to forever put away the era of the Kingdom of France and usher in the era of the revolutionary French republic. If that is so, one must truly ask what that says about a political system which can only come to fruition through the vicious shedding of innocent blood; the taking of an innocent man’s life. What is the fruit that will be brought forth by a tree that required chopping off the head of a monarch, husband and father to grow?

The fruit, as the world soon saw, was terror and death on a scale never before imagined in Europe. The revolutionary rats were driven into a frenzy by their execution of the king, drunk on their own power, and they let loose a wave of chaos, mass murder, persecution and vile criminality of all sorts that defies description. Multitudes went to their deaths and all of Europe was eventually plunged into long succession of wars in a bloodletting and political upheaval unmatched until World War I.
However, the loss was deeper than that. There were restorations, times when things got better and worse over and over again in the future, but to a large extent it was not just Louis XVI who died on this day in 1793; it was France. When Louis XVI, or Citizen Louis Capet as the traitors mockingly called him, went up to the guillotine the Kingdom of France went with him. The France of St Joan of Arc with her blessed banners, the France of St Louis whose benevolent leadership set a standard for the world, the France of King Clovis, Charlemagne and Charles Martel, the France that was the 'Eldest Daughter of the Church'. The loss of Louis XVI, and all that he stood for, the idea of France that he represented, was a loss not only to his own family and his own country but a loss for Europe, the west and a loss for the world.
His Holiness Pope Pius VI spoke of Louis XVI as a martyr and Louis' daughter campaigned for the Church to recognize him as a saint. This issue was finally dropped as the Church could not determine to what extent he was killed for his faith or for political reasons. However, there is no doubt that Louis XVI was a martyr of a kind; he was a martyr for the Ancien Regime, a martyr for Christendom and a martyr for sacred monarchy. May His Most Christian Majesty rest in peace, may the crime of his regicide never be forgotten and may his house be one day restored to France and the wrongs of the past set right again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prince William Down Under

HRH Prince William of Wales is currently on an unofficial visit to the great Commonwealth of Australia, of which, God willing, he will one day be King. For full coverage of the visit of the Prince and heir to the Australian throne check out the Radical Royalist.

U.S. Presidents and Monarchy

How did U.S. Presidents Impact the Institution of Monarchy? Here is a look at a few:

George Washington: Obviously not good for monarchy as he was the leader of the rebel forces who broke away from their King and country. He also famously refused an offer to become King of the United States. However, he was not a revolutionary radical. He was a man of very aristocratic tastes and styles who viewed the presidency as something of an electoral monarchy. He would not shake hands, for instance, because he felt it was beneath the dignity of the President to do so. He also denounced the societies set up in America by revolutionary France in an effort to spread radicalism and encourage a renewal of the war with Great Britain. Washington rejected this absolutely and worked with Alexander Hamilton to normalize relations with Britain.

James Madison: One of the revered early presidents of the USA, one would be hard pressed to determine why if looked at objectively. His administration took a bad economy and made it worse, led the US into an unnecessary conflict with Great Britain in the War of 1812. His administration saw the invasion of Canada defeated, Washington DC occupied by the British and the White House and Congress burned to the ground. He also created the second national bank of the United States and started the policy of maintaining a standing army, considered necessary after the country came so close to ruin in the War of 1812. Although not involved in events in Europe, by taking the US into war against Britain in 1812 Madison was effectively aiding the cause of Napoleon and the revolutionary movement.

James Monroe: The successor of Madison, he was probably worse for the cause of monarchy in the long-run. The most important legacy of his regarding monarchy was the Monroe Doctrine which reserved the Americas as the effective domain of the United States and a republics only club. This was especially critical as it greatly aided the revolutionaries of Latin America break away from the Crown of Spain and discouraged any other European powers to come to the aid of the Spanish. It was deliberate US policy, started by Monroe, to discourage monarchy in the New World and support what would become known as ‘banana republics’ that would be reliant on the protection and direction of the United States. However, it should also be noted that Great Britain encouraged this and first recommended that the US declare itself opposed to the maintenance of the Spanish colonial empire. He also took Florida from Spain and blocked any further expansion of the Russian Empire in the Pacific west.

Zachary Taylor: A president who had little impact on monarchy though he did annoy the kingdoms of France and Portugal by pressing for reparations payments. His most ignorant foreign policy, though not actively harmful, was giving moral support to the German radicals in the Revolutions of 1848. This was true not only in that these rebellions were harmful for Europe but the rising importance of nationalism would also have ill-effects on the United States in the long-run.

Abraham Lincoln: Although he has achieved deified status in the victorious United States for his leadership during the War Between the States, Lincoln was an avowed enemy of monarchy. His administration came to the brink of war with Great Britain and the Second French Empire and he actively supported the spread of “Republican Clubs” in the US to raise money for the Mexican republican leader Benito Juarez and refused to recognize the government of Mexican Emperor Maximilian. The only monarchy the Lincoln administration was very friendly with was, oddly enough, the Russian Empire but this was only a friendship of convenience due to the antagonism between the Lincoln administration and Britain and France.

Andrew Johnson: The successor of Lincoln, Johnson continued the policies of his predecessor regarding the Mexican monarchy and was active in stopping Austria from sending help to their embattled son and in putting pressure on the French to abandon to Mexico. In the end this was not good for Mexico or the United States but Johnson was not a success on any level, hated by Americans in the south as a turncoat and hated by northern Americans for not being harsh enough in dealing with the south. He became the first president to ever be impeached.

Grover Cleveland: A mixed bag as a president regarding monarchy, Cleveland was against US intervention around the world but did not hesitate to involve himself in the affairs of others. Most significant was the recent uprising in Hawaii against the monarchy there. The US had extensive interests in the Kingdom of Hawaii and many wished to annex the islands. Cleveland, however, found that the populace did not approve of the overthrow of the Queen and he put a stop to all plans for annexation, which brought him much ridicule by those anti-monarchists who attacked him for taking the side of the Hawaiian Queen. Yet, though Cleveland opposed annexation he also opposed using US forces to restore the Queen to her throne. However, Cleveland also brought the US to the brink of war with Great Britain over something as trifling as a border dispute with Venezuela. In the end the matter was resolved by arbitration in favor of the British. This expanded the interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine to include the US not only in any intervention by a European power in the Americas but also any diplomatic disputes involving such parties.

William McKinley: Very different from his predecessor Cleveland, McKinley was an active expansionist who presided over a trumped up war with the Kingdom of Spain which saw the Spanish defeated and forced to give total independence to Cuba and to hand over to the United States Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. McKinley also presided over the formal annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States as a territory.

Woodrow Wilson: Monarchists in the British Empire, Belgium, and Italy etc might be inclined to look favorably on Wilson, but overall he pushed a very anti-monarchist foreign policy. A rather preachy hypocrite Wilson declared the US “to proud to fight” in World War I but did not hesitate to criticize both sides when they did something he didn’t like. He needlessly antagonized the Germans and finally took the US into war on the Allied side only after the Russian Empire had fallen (an event which was praised in Congress). He refused to deal with the monarchs of the Central Powers even when they embraced his own plan for peace. His naïve idealism resulted in a policy that angered almost everyone and the peace treaty he brought home was rejected by Congress. Although hailed as a peacemaker for his role after World War I, in truth his position was inconsistent; he was ignored by his fellow Allies and in the end looked even worse when his high sounding words did not match the disastrous situation left on the ground.

Herbert Hoover: Most known for presiding over the start of the Great Depression, Hoover did not have much to do actively with monarchy but some of his policies did so indirectly. Although very unpopular today, Hoover did prove popular in at least one monarchy when he led the effort to bring food and medical supplies to the war-torn population of Belgium during the Great War. However, as President he backed the Hoover-Stimson doctrine which refused to recognize any states formed by military force. This was done in reaction to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria but was a rather hypocritical position for the US government to take.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: It might surprise some people to know that probably no president has ever been the enemy of more monarchies than FDR. This self-proclaimed champion of liberalism was effectively president-for-life and held office as long as Hitler did in Nazi Germany. He took the US forces out of Haiti and ended Panama and Cuba being US protectorates. However, he also recognized the USSR, persistently aggravated Japan in particular. Despite US neutrality he found many ways to support the Allies against Germany and China against Japan before bring the US into the war officially after Germany invaded the Soviet Union. One might be tempted to compare FDR and Wilson, but as incompetent as Wilson was, FDR was actively worse. He was almost as obsessed with taking down the British Empire as he was the Axis. He set the US on the road that would lead to abandoning the monarchies of Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union. True, his intervention in World War II liberated and saved a number of monarchies, but many others were abandoned and he was far from being a loyal ally especially toward the British.

Harry S. Truman: President Truman did not have a huge impact as far as monarchy is concerned, most of the policies that most effected them having originated during the regime of his predecessor. Monarchy would not return to Germany and Austria, was lost in Italy and all across Eastern Europe. Monarchies such as Vietnam which had recently declared independence also were not recognized or supported because of their dealings with Japan, yet the return of French (or British as the case may be) colonial power was also not supported which left the communists as the only game in town. However, to be fair, Truman also presided over the sending of vital support to Europe in the aftermath of World War II and he did finally pledge to at least block the expansion of communism if not trying to actively destroy it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: President Eisenhower took the political establishment somewhat by surprise when he was elected to succeed Truman and pledged to end the Korean conflict. Ike, as he was called, is probably best known today for cutting the military budget drastically and putting security in the hands of an enlarged nuclear arsenal. The most significant foreign policy of Ike regarding monarchy was his failure to support the British in the Suez Canal affair. Ike later admitted that this was his biggest mistake. He then gave support to the French and Vietnamese monarchists fighting against communism in Indochina (a good thing) but failed to provide the critical help needed at Dien Bien Phu because the British would no go along with the idea (after Suez they were feeling none too cooperative toward Ike). The result was a red victory.

Gerald Ford: The successor of the disgraced Nixon, Ford did not have a huge impact in the area of monarchy but he did preside over the US pull-out from Vietnam which assured the final victory of communism in Indochina and the loss of the monarchies in Laos and Cambodia. To be fair, the Republican Ford was hamstrung by a Democrat-controlled Congress but overall his leadership left much to be desired and left office with few friends on the right or the left.

Jimmy Carter: President Carter did not have a huge direct impact on monarchy but he was indirectly extremely harmful to the institution and a monumental failure overall. The dominating foreign policy issue of his administration was the revolution in Iran. Upon assuming office Carter brought in a whole group of new people adamantly opposed to the continued rule of the Shah. While promising support on one hand he worked against the Shah on the other and ultimately withdrew even lip-service from the traditional US support for the monarchy in Iran. When the revolution erupted he refused to help the Shah and advised him to leave the country. The result was the loss of the Iranian monarchy and, even more significantly for long-term US interests, terrorist radicals were able to seize control of an entire country for the first time.

Ronald Reagan: President Reagan had little impact on monarchy but there was an interesting development regarding the British Commonwealth island of Grenada. The government of Grenada was seized by communist revolutionaries aligned with Cuba, the Governor-General was arrested and Reagan finally responded by invading Grenada when the lives of US students were threatened. US troops defeated the communist regime, Navy SEALS rescued the Governor-General and a new government was appointed by the GG. However, the official status of Grenada as a constitutional monarchy had never actually changed and many Commonwealth leaders were outraged at Reagan for invading Grenada and destroying the communist regime.

George H. W. Bush: Again, President Bush the elder (as he sometimes now known) did not have a huge impact on monarchy but he does get a share of the credit for launching Operation Desert Storm which liberated the Persian Gulf monarchy of Kuwait from the republican dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein. His popularity surged after the war but he still managed to anger enough of the American public after that time to be turned out of office after one term.

Bill Clinton: When thinking of President Clinton any sort of foreign policy is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, however, his administration worked behind the scenes to discourage a return to monarchy in Eastern Europe in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Clinton’s Secretary of State famously quipped that, “we don’t do kings” and crucial opportunities were lost for the restoration of monarchy in places such as Romania and Bulgaria.

George W. Bush: President "W" Bush has a mixed record when it comes to monarchy. The two dominating foreign policy issues of his two terms were the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, both ruled by regimes which had overthrown benevolent monarchies and known no prosperity since. In Iraq the chances for a restoration, even after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, were never good but in Afghanistan the former monarch, King Mohammed Zahir Shah, was widely respected. Despite the obvious advantages of a royal restoration, talked about in many quarters, the Bush administration worked behind the scenes to discourage a return to monarchy. That is a definite mark against him though the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan did at least give monarchist groups the chance to compete in national politics again alongside other parties; something strictly forbidden in the past.
Barack H. Obama: Too soon to tell after only a year in office, though his denial of any special relationship between the US and Great Britain is certainly not a good sign.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MM Video: Iran - The Time is Now

Will America Be at "The End"?

Being as I'm forced to go off from my 'regularly scheduled posts' I'm throwing a few more varied thoughts out there. Just tonight someone suggested that the United States might not be around at the time of the end of the world (and we're talking of the Christian tradition here) since the U.S. is not mentioned in Biblical prophecy. Now, this person did not think that the U.S. would have been destroyed by the time the end comes (though anything is possible) but rather this person (a Canadian oddly enough) theorized that current politics would build a backlash that would put someone of the Ron Paul stripe into office who would take the USA out of the United Nations and such globalist organizations and thus America would sort of 'sit out' the chaos involving the end of the world.

This was an interesting thought to me, which I had honestly never even thought of, for a couple of reasons. One is that, I had always thought America was in Biblical prophecy thanks to my original Bible teacher -my Dad (though we have pretty different views on the subject now). He has always held that the Biblical passage which refers to the "young lions" is speaking of the United States, and possibly nations like Canada and Australia, since these countries came from Britain and the British symbol (England and Scotland) is the lion. The other is that the U.S. is such a dominant power it would be hard for me to imagine America not being involved in some way. Of course this is dependent on just how close we are to the end as America will certainly not be such a big-shot forever as no power can be.

How close are we? I certainly cannot say -no one really can, but I do tend to think we are close. I think the only two real choices is that we are either very close or very, very far off because I definitely think we are building toward something that is going to happen very soon. People all over the world seem to just feel that, a subconscious cosmic alarm clock going off in the minds of people everywhere. We also have such signs as the birth of the State of Israel, unprecedented wild changes in weather, increasing internationalism and globalization and rising secularism and faith in government elites over traditional views of divinity. So, I think we are either getting close to the end (with no prediction on what "close" exactly means) which is what I tend to believe or we are approaching a middle point when everything falls apart and we start all over again with a civilizational collapse, another dark ages and so on.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this proposal? Will the U.S. be involved and if so in what way? Any thoughts are welcome. Now, lest someone think I have strayed from the focus on monarchy for this blog, the subjects are related. One thing that many religions have in common is a prophecy concerning a great, benevolent monarch who will rise up just as the world seems to be coming apart. There is a very old tradition in certain parts of Buddhism of the hidden king who will emerge to set things right and put the world in order after a near total collapse. Catholic Christians also have the prophecy of the "Great Monarch" to look to (the Church takes no position on this of course) who will rise up and lead a grand restoration of Christendom before or generally around the time of the end of the world; one reason why any talk of "the end" makes me look more closely on the efforts to restore the French monarchy. Are we approaching that point? Why or why not?

I will leave it there for now, fully aware that I am breaking one of my own rules in doing this; asking a question of readers, as I've seen it done before and it can be a quick trip to nowhere if no one replies. Hopefully you won't be shy and will chime in with your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MM Video: Kaisers of the German Empire

It was on this day in 1871 that the German states outside Austria came together under the leadership of the Kingdom of Prussia to form the 2nd German Empire. Lasting from 1871 until 1918 it knew only three monarchs; Kaiser Wilhelm I, the short-reigning Kaiser Friedrich III and the controversial Kaiser Wilhelm II. Despite being so short-lived it was actually a pretty well organized realm with the member states retaining a relatively high degree of autonomy. The Kaiserreich had, at the same time, some of the most liberal institutions in Europe as well as one of the most powerful (many would say autocratic) monarchies. For good or ill the unification of Germany was a pivotal event in world history and for all the flaws critics might point to; it can surely be said that the fall of the Kaiserreich was ultimately a disaster for Germany, Europe and the world at large.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Accession Anniversary of Harald V

Today is the anniversary of the day in 1991 that King Harald V of Norway succeeded his father, the late King Olav V, on the Norwegian throne. Like his father and grandfather Harald V took as his motto, "we give our all for Norway". After taking the throne King Harald and Queen Sonja where consecrated, in June of 91, in the historic Nidaros Cathedral by Bishop Finn Wagle. This tradition had a history going back a thousand years in Norway but was undone in 1908. King Olav V revived it out of a desire to have God's blessing on his reign and King Harald and Queen Sonja wanted to continue this tradition. King Harald V is the head of the state Church of Norway (Lutheran). He has had some health problems in recent years but has carried on quite well. The Mad Monarchist sends His Majesty the King of Norway and all loyal Norwegians best wishes on this 19th anniversary of His Majesty's accession and hopes that the King continues to reign for many more years to come!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Troubled History of Monarchist Haiti

Since winning independence from the French the country of Haiti has scarcely known any lengthy periods of stability and prosperity. It has had its own kings and emperors but none were ever able to solidify their rule or establish a lasting dynasty. It all began with the revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines. He played a major part in the winning of independence and then became the first national leader of an independent Haiti as Governor-General. The following year, in 1804, he proclaimed himself Emperor Jacques I and was crowned in October. However, only a couple of years later, in 1806, he was assassinated by disgruntled officials anxious to take power. At the time they criticized him as a tyrant but in the many years since, by virtue of being the first independent Haitian ruler, his reputation has improved as a national symbol.

Next came Henri Christophe, another revolutionary general who had known of the plot against Dessalines but did nothing to warn him. Once the Emperor was dead Christophe became a symbolic president but later proclaimed himself King Henri I of Haiti. He created a Haitian peerage but never had widespread popular support as the country was gripped by civil war throughout his reign. He ruled from 1811 to 1820 when he was faced with the threat of a coup against him and killed himself. A succession of presidents followed, all preaching the doctrine of democracy but failing to live up to the revolutionary rhetoric.

First there was Petion who dissolved the legislature and made himself president-for-life, his hand-picked successor was Boyer who was overthrown and died in Jamaica. Then came Riviere-Herard who took power in a military coup, was president for about a year and then driven from office and replaced by another general, Philippe Guerrier, who died after less than a year in office, Pierrot was next, another general, and lasted about a year before he was overthrown in a coup and replaced by another general, Riche, who died by poisoning. Then came the last monarchial ruler of Haiti, a general named Faustin-Elie Soulouque who became President in 1847. In 1849 he proclaimed himself Emperor Faustin I and seemed determined to have a better go at it than his predecessors. However, in 1859 another military coup forced him to abdicate and Haiti has had nothing but presidents ever since. Ironically, it was a presidential family rather than any of the Haitian monarchs that managed to have transfer of power based on heredity with the notorious Duvalier father and son presidents.

Blog Update

I've gotten an initial diagnosis from my tech sergeant on the main machine -and it doesn't look good. His opinion is that the thing is shot and a total write-off. For the sake of what little sanity I have left I *hope* it's not as bad as that, but he's way ahead of me in dealing with the infernal contraptions so I'm not counting on it. Still, there's a ton of stuff on there, much of it blog-related, that I would *really* hate to lose so as soon as I can get to a city I will be letting the experts take a look at it (keep in mind I'm at least 50 miles from the nearest thing that could be called a city) on the slim hope that I can at least salvage some of the info saved on the dang thing. Nonetheless, until such time as it is repaired or replaced I shall try to carry on, best I can, on this back-up piece of junk to keep the blog up and running. One of the things that has been most frustrating is that I am just now getting in alot of new materials I had hoped to use on future posts and blog projects -which is of course just after the machine crapped out on me. So, that's the situation and again, I appreciate everyone for their patience at this time when things are not exactly firing on all cylinders. I hope to be able to continue, I am determined to carry on and I remain ... The Mad Monarchist.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Max Mex Movies Post VI: Juarez

In looking at films about the period of the second empire in Mexico one stands out from the rest and that is, of course, the 1939 classic “Juarez” starring Paul Muni in the title role, Brian Aherne as Emperor Maximilian, Bette Davis as Empress Carlota and featuring Claude Rains at his villainous best as Emperor Napoleon III, John Garfield as Porfirio Diaz, Donald Crisp as Marshal Bazaine and Gale Sondergaard as Empress Eugenie. Although by no means perfect this is probably the best film of the period yet made. One of the biggest flaws is the format itself; a bio-pic of the republican leader Benito Juarez. It was shot as essentially two movies and then cut together into a single piece but the film is easily dominated by the story of the ill-fated Maximilian and Carlota who easily overshadow the part of Juarez.

One of the interesting things about this movie is just how comparatively fair it is toward the Mexican Imperial couple. The only real villains are the French and that starts in the opening scene in which Napoleon III hatches a plan to thwart the spread of American democracy by establishing an empire in Mexico; an idea suggested by Empress Eugenie. The French engineer a fraudulent referendum to trick Maximilian into coming to Mexico to become Emperor and all the while Juarez opposes them all while making grandiose speeches about the superiority of democratic republicanism. It would have been a much better movie had they focused entirely on Maximilian and Carlota and, indeed, Paul Muni became alarmed at how much screen time Davis and Aherne had compared to himself and insisted on inserting more scenes of his own.

The problem there is that the scenes with Paul Muni are plodding, preachy and downright boring. Muni plays a convincing Juarez certainly, but his dignified stoicism makes him appear wooden and no sooner than he appears on screen one instantly becomes drowsy. Also, obviously playing to American audiences, the film goes over the top in associating Juarez with the deified American president Lincoln. In fact Juarez is rarely seen on screen without a conspicuous portrait of Lincoln in the background to remind everyone that ‘Juarez is the good guy’ just in case the viewers are being too much won over by the romantic idealists Maximilian and Carlota. He also gives a number of speeches about the benefits of republicanism which will only sway those audience members who know nothing about the history of Mexico. One of these speeches is given to Porfirio Diaz who was almost won over by the sincerity of Maximilian only to have Juarez ‘set him straight’ about the superiority of democracy. This is ironic for those who know Mexican history considering that Diaz himself rose to power by means of his association with Juarez only to become a dictator himself later in life.

Bette Davis as Empress Carlota is at her best in this movie, effectively portraying the ambitious, well meaning, sincerely devoted wife and consort who is finally driven over the edge into insanity by French betrayal. Bette Davis plays the part as only she can and her final scenes confronting Napoleon III must rank among the greatest work of her career. It is, however, Brian Aherne as Maximilian who steals the show, playing the part to perfection as a noble, high-minded idealist, somewhat innocent but totally fair and sincere. The defense he gives for monarchy is flawless, especially in light of the larger history of Mexico. Neither Maximilian or Carlota are vilified in this movie, which is refreshing, though liberties are taken with the truth to improve the image of Juarez. The withdrawl of support by the conservative party (unfairly portrayed as rather too villainous in my view) and the reluctance of Maximilian to take stern measures against the republicans are simplified but in general accurate.
The movie is not filmed on a grand scale, but done with enough talent that it does not really show. The republican bias is there, but is delivered in so ham-fisted a fashion it is easily dismissed by informed viewers and this, combined with the sympathetic portrayal of Max and Carla, comparitively accurate (such as showing the loyalty of men like generals Miramon and Mejia) views of the characters involved make it a film that monarchists can and will enjoy. The truth of Mexican history rather puts the lie to the arguments of Juarez, whereas the arguments of Maximilian in favor of monarchy still stand the test of time. A film highly recommended.
(now, breath a sigh of relief, the Max of Mexico movie review series is done!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anniversary of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

Today in 1972 Margrethe Alexandrine Porhildur Ingrid of the Royal House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg became Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark; sovereign of the oldest monarchy in Europe and the first female Danish sovereign to come to the throne after changes were made to the Act of Succession. Today she is easily one of the most popular monarchs in the world, beloved by her own people and widely respected abroad. As a lover of all very old things I've always had a soft spot for Denmark and I have a great deal of admiration for Queen Margrethe II in particular. In an age when reigning constitutional monarchs are expected to be seen and not heard she has not hesitated to speak her mind, even on controversial subjects. In a Europe dominated by the tyranny of the "politically correct" the Queen of Denmark is a fur-wearing, chain smoking monarch who has even dared to raise some warnings about the embrace of multi-culturalism in Europe. She is also a humanitarian, a gifted artist and an attentive wife and mother. She is an example to others and the Danish people are fortunate to have her. The Mad Monarchist wishes Her Majesty all the best on the anniversary of her accession and hopes that she will continue to reign for many more years to come.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MM Video: Monarchs of Haiti

Thoughts and prayers to the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti, a disaster particularly hurtful because of the impoverished state of the country, brought on and exacerbated by a succession of revolutionary republican regimes that have produced nothing but dictators, self-serving politicians and bandits.

Possible American Monarchs

American monarchists are a rare breed to be sure. Most Americans are taught to idolize the republic and disdain all monarchies and it would be positively absurd to think of actually trying a monarchy for the United States. Yet, such people existed even at the very begining. We all know about the "Patriots" and the "Tories" but there was another minority who favored independence for the 13 colonies but still thought that a monarchy was the way to go; the tried and true method of government as it were. So, who exactly was it that might have become the first monarch of a 'United Kingdom of North America'? Here is a list of the possible candidates discussed, by some at least, at the time:
  • HRH Prince Charles Edward Stuart, aka "Bonnie Prince Charlie", aka King Charles III to loyal Jacobites. A four man delegation made up of 2 brothers from Pennsylvania, a lawyer from New York and a gentleman from Maryland made the trip across the water to offer the crown of America to the "Young Pretender" in Florence, Italy in 1782. The Prince reportedly turned down the invitation.
  • HRH Prince Heinrich of Prussia, the younger brother of the famous Prussian warrior-king Frederick the Great. In 1786 Nathaniel Gorham and Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben approached Alexander Hamilton (known to be favorably inclined toward monarchy) on the idea of Prince Heinrich becoming President, or even King, of the United States. Prussia had been one of the first European nations to recognize the USA and the countries were on friendly terms, nonetheless, the idea was dropped before Prince Heinrich knew about it.
  • HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of America's archenemy King George III was actually suggested by some of the colonials still somewhat attached to Great Britain. The Duke of Kent had the advantage of being still quite young and thus more adaptable to becoming an American monarch, yet this was an idea that went nowhere and it is impossible to imagine that if it had even been made George III would have ever allowed it. Nonetheless, it is curious to try to imagine his daughter, the great Queen Victoria, as an American.
  • General George Washington, Continental Army, America's first President and probably the only man in history who actually could have been King of the United States had he so desired. The idea was presented to the general in the famous Newburgh Letter by the Irish-born veteran of the British army Colonel Lewis Nicola, a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. He wrote to Washington on behalf of his fellow army officers, disgruntled at the mismanagement of the Continental Congress and proposed to make Washington King of the United States with the support of the army. Of course, Washington refused.

Looking at this list, even with the inherent anti-monarchism of the colonial rebellion aside, the prospects do not look very good. Prince Charles had the benefit of being a natural enemy of the Hanoverian King George and the reputation of a romantic figure from the '45 but his years in exile left that reputation somewhat tarnished. Probably most importantly he was also a Catholic and the colonial rebels considered even granting the basic civil rights and religious tolerance to Canadian Catholics one of the "Intolerable Acts". He also had no male heir other than his brother Prince Henry the Cardinal Duke of York -something America at that time would never have stood for. Prince Henry of Prussia's major drawback was that he was a Prussian -one of the most strict, absolutist monarchies in Europe and it would be hard to imagine, for all of their "Enlightenment" talk, a brother of Frederick the Great being a constitutional monarch. This would not have been a problem for the Duke of Kent, but he would have suffered from simply being a son of George III and the King, as stated, would surely never have allowed his son to reign over rebel colonies. George Washington thus would have stood the best chance, he was an aristocratic sort of fellow who thought shaking hands beneath the dignity of the President, but of course he was not royal, not terribly inclined toward monarchy and as he himself admitted later on, he had no male heir either and by his own admission would have been an unsuitable monarch.

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