Thursday, March 31, 2011

Royal Prophecy

Could the Prince of the Asturias be the restorer of Christendom? It sounds incredible but the idea has been put forward by some, based on a compilation of historical prophecies which draw enough parallels to modern times to tantalize the imagination. Some of these prophets have been monarchs, some saints and some, well, (let’s get this over with) one is Nostradamus, who I’ve never had much use for with so many of his “predictions” being so vague as to present a multitude of possible interpretations. However, to get him out of the way he will be addressed first. Nostradamus, IV 5, *seems* to predict a reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and clearly predicts that France and Spain will be united together after which will be a period of terrible struggle and warfare. The Orthodox prophet, St Methodius of Olympia, in a similar vein, predicts that ‘the west’ and Rome will be overrun by Islam but will be rescued by another power (which many presume to be Russia) after which time the Catholic Church will merge with the Orthodox. There will be a horrific war in which a King Philippe VI, with divine assistance, will drive the Muslims out of Europe, retake Constantinople and reign from there in a revived Roman (or more Byzantine) Empire.

The Russian St Seraphim of Sarov (whose canonization was pressed for by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra) also prophesied that the throne of France would be restored and that the Hapsburgs would be restored to Austria (though in the lifetime of the saint the Hapsburgs had yet to be removed) after a terrible war. St Bridget of Sweden also prophesied about a great western monarch who will rise up to deliver the Christian world. So, how is it that the Prince of the Asturias is singled out as this potential monarch who will lead a war against Islam in Europe and be crowned Emperor in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople? The prophecy of St Bridget spoke of the great king being of Spanish origin and the prophecy of St Methodius speaks of him ‘leaning against two pillars’ which is taken by some to be a reference to the pillars of Hercules. He also speaks of him having a white beard which I find particularly amusing considering that the only two Catholic royals named Philip today (Felipe of Spain and Philippe of Belgium) recently started wearing beards. Hmmm… Some have also pointed to the reputation of Prince Felipe of conservative religious devotion (which is not something you hear often about the prince, but it has been said) though of course this would be Catholic devotion and might not easily lend itself to someone expected to embrace Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

However, similar prophecies have also long existed in the Roman half of the Church as well. St Augustine of Hippo predicted the rise of a great Catholic monarch toward the end of the “sixth age” of the world. St Remigius, who baptized the first Christian King of the Franks (Clovis I) also predicted that the royal house of France would one day produce a great monarch who would restore the Roman Empire before the end of the world. As I am sure everyone knows the current Spanish Royal Family is the House of Bourbon, imported from France and descended from King Louis XIV. A number of other Catholic saints also made similar prophecies, involving the restoration of the Kingdom of France, a great struggle, religious reunification (though in western versions the Orthodox join with the Catholics rather than the other way around of course) and a revival of the Christian Roman Empire with a period of peace and plenty to follow.

Adherents of the theory that Prince Felipe will be the prophesied “King Philippe VI” also point to the prophecy of Brother John of the Cleft Rock (XIV Century) that the great monarch, with the aid of St Michael the Archangel, will drive the Muslims out of Europe (most of these prophecies assume a Europe dominated by Islam) who will then rule from Constantinople. The XVII Century figure David Poreaus claimed that, “The Great Monarch will be of French descent, large forehead, large dark eyes, light brown wavy hair, and an eagle nose. He will crush the enemies of the Pope and will conquer the East”. To back up the idea that “King Philippe VI” should be looked for now there are also a number of sources. St Augustine, again, placed this as happening in the “sixth age” which, according to some interpretations, is what we are living in now. Also, Emperor Leo VI of the East Roman (or Byzantine) Empire predicted that Byzantium would be liberated and restored to her former glory in twenty years less than six centuries, which, if we date from 1453 (the fall of Constantinople) would be about the year 2033. It is not 2012 but still not a very distant future. Some also figure into this the (more widely held) belief that the XX Century was the period foretold by many prophets as the time when the Devil would have free reign to do his worst. Figuring that into the equation would put this war for the restoration of Christendom at around 2034 to 2037.

Of course, by that time, Prince Felipe would be 66, a little beyond the realm of what we consider middle age, so if he is going to save Christendom and restore the Roman Empire, he had better get cracking! St Remy foretold that the great and pious king, from the Frankish line, would occupy Jerusalem as well as restoring the Roman Empire. St Isidore of Seville also predicted that in the last days a very pious king would rule over ‘greater Spain’ and that he will reign through a woman whose name begins with the letter “Y” and ends with the letter “L” which some have taken to be Ysabel or Queen Isabella II by whose line the current Spanish Royal Family came to the throne. However, his prophecy also holds problems for the adherents of Felipe as he says the king will come from the east, will reign from his youth (which the Prince is pretty well beyond) and that he will purify Spain. Obviously there would have to be some major and immediate changes in the laws and popular will of Spain for the prince to even be in the position to do that.

Such is one reason why with every passing year the handful who put their faith in Prince Felipe as the one foretold by these prophets becomes fewer and fewer. Most prophecies also included a royal son and heir which Felipe is conspicuously lacking (and like most of Europe Spain has come to consider male-preference succession terribly unfair these days) and so, in the end, most such talk is laughed off. I have heard plenty of such predictions even more far out than that (such as the Prince of Wales being the anti-Christ or Prince Harry being the Great Monarch because some Irish prophets said he would have red hair). Many of these prophecies (from Catholic sources) also involve the rise of an especially blessed and pious pope who will spread Christianity throughout the world and, especially lately, such prophecies concerning the popes have proven to be rather inaccurate. So, as with any such thing, it will be up to each individual to decide how much weight these prophecies hold and when or to who they may apply. I admit, for myself, it seems too fantastic to believe. There is the great change in public opinion that would have to take place and even if the French public decided to restore their monarchy I would, sadly, find it even harder to believe that the feuding monarchist camps could come together in support of one candidate. Nonetheless, it is something to think about and there are elements of many of these prophecies that have already come true and while I might not take them to the bank, I admit that they do have a way of sticking with you.

This is not the first time, of course, that these prophecies have tantalized the mind. Previously we mentioned the legend concerning the last Eastern Roman Emperor, Constantine XI, that he would return to lead his people to glory in a time of crisis. This was on the minds of many when King George I of the Hellenes named his son and heir Constantine. When he became king in 1913 some Greeks hailed him as “Constantine XII”. His leadership in the many conflicts in the Balkans at that time caused some to hope that it would be King Constantine who would restore Constantinople to Greek rule and fulfill the prophecy, however, these hopes were dashed by the failure of the 1922 Greek invasion of Turkey. The King was obliged to abdicate a short time later. In the west, Prince Harry appears again, as a story circulated that the Dauphin, King Louis XVII of France, escaped the revolutionaries and was hidden away by the Oldenburg family and that the current British royals descend from him. Some prophecies (in the Catholic tradition) give the name of the Great Monarch as Henry or Charles and so, again, some have pointed to Prince Henry as the one who will lead the Christian-monarchist restoration. Again, and we love Prince Harry, he would seemingly have to go through quite a personal and religious conversion for that to happen.

Not to be left out, some (using non-religious sources like {ugh} Nostradamus) have speculated that Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark will be the one while others, I am not kidding, have asserted it will be former French President Jacques Chirac (wish I was making that one up). Nor are such predictions limited to the Christian world. In recent years there has been at least some serious talk given to the revival of the Davidic monarchy of ancient Israel. There is a group in Israel today studying and planning for the rebuilding of the Temple, the reinstatement of sacrificial worship and in general a revival of the ancient United Kingdom of Israel. I am sure I do not have to tell most here that the restoration of the Temple also has an extremely significant place in Christian prophecy -involving the end of the world. Also, I cannot help but mention that, in the Far East, certain Buddhists of Tibet and Mongolia have long had a similar prophecy about the appearance of the “White King” of Shambhala who will lead a massive holy war against the enemies of dharma, restoring divine balance and putting the world back in order according to Buddhist beliefs. A number of people have been speculated as possibly being this expected savior including lamas and even Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and the mascot of this blog the Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg.

I also find it interesting that some such prophecies from such divergent groups as ancient pagans, Greek Christians and Tibetan Buddhists overlap. For instance, one prophecy that was melded in with the stories of the Great Monarch or the Marble Emperor has some similarities with the Shambhala prophecy. In this story Alexander the Great took his most fearsome enemies, subdued them, and sealed them in some lost northern mountains behind a mystical gate. At the appropriate time, in some prophecies when the Islamic forces had overrun Europe (again, this is an Eastern Christian prophecy) this gate would be opened and these northern super-warriors would then be the vanguard in the struggle that would destroy the enemies of Christendom and restore the Roman Empire. In any event, make of these predictions what you will, I present them simply as matters of interest with just one last word: when it comes to such prophecies, as they say, sooner or later one of them will one day be proven correct. Are the various lines coming together? Are we building toward something even now? I leave it to the individual to decide.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Favorite Royal Images: A Little German

Princess Maria von Hohenlohe-Langenburg

Later Duchess consort of Schleswig-Holstein

Monarchist Profile: John B. Magruder

John Bankhead Magruder, most remembered as a major general in the Confederate army during the American War Between the States, was known in his own time as “Prince John” though there was nothing royal about it. However, the last nation at war he served was a monarchy, the Mexican Empire of Emperor Maximilian. He was born in Port Royal, Virginia on May 1, 1807 and as a young man attended the University of Virginia where he met former President Thomas Jefferson. He gained an appointment to West Point and graduated in 1830 as a second lieutenant and served with the infantry and later the artillery. He served in the Second Seminole War in Florida and with great distinction in the Mexican-American War. He was promoted to brevet major for his “gallant and meritorious conduct” at the battle of Cerro Gordo and later to brevet lieutenant colonel for his heroism at the storming of Chapultapec castle. He later served on the frontier and was known for his love of theatrics and his talent as a singer. He spoke with a lisp and was known as something of a dandy and was nicknamed “Prince John” because of his flamboyant dress uniforms.

When the Commonwealth of Virginia seceded from the Union he resigned his commission and was quickly appointed brigadier general in the army of the new Confederate States of America. He led Confederate troops to victory in the first land battle of the war at Big Bethel, Virginia and later served with great distinction on the peninsula. Putting his love for theatrics to work he managed to stop the entire massive Union Army of the Potomac under the cautious General George B. McClellan with only one small division of Confederate troops. He constructed dummy cannons, marched men in circles in front of clearings to exaggerate their numbers, had officers shout orders to troops that didn’t exist, had bands play at odd hours as if welcoming more soldiers, fired artillery in scattered directions and stuck hats on ram-rods in trenches to give the illusion of being filled with men. His ruse was so successful that the Union commander thought he had the whole Confederate army in front of him and even then grossly over-estimated its size. However, Magruder later fell out of favor somewhat during the Seven Days battle, though his tardiness was not really his fault, and he was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi department.

Once out west Major General Magruder was put in command of the Confederate forces in Texas where he soon showed his worth yet again. On January 1, 1863 he led his small Confederate army to victory in a combined land and naval counter-attack against the Union forces on Galveston island. This victory at Galveston was recorded as the most humiliating defeat in the history of the U.S. Navy and “Prince John” Magruder was the man responsible. No Union effort to invade Texas was ever successful and Magruder was forced to spend most of his time in administrative duties though he was the deputy to the department commander General Edmund Kirby-Smith. For a time he was transferred to command Confederate forces in Arkansas but was soon back in Texas where he saw out the end of the war and signed the official surrender of the Trans-Mississippi department in New Orleans (the last region of the Confederacy to call it quits).

However, Magruder found the idea of living under Yankee rule rather distasteful and, refusing a parole, like many Confederates, journeyed south to Mexico. As a matter of fact, many Confederates went abroad after the war, some to Britain or France, some to Canada and many more to Mexico or the Empire of Brazil. Magruder made quite a splash in Mexico City and was warmly welcomed to the court of Emperor Maximilian at Chapultepec -the same castle he once invaded. Quite at home in the grand style and courtly ceremony of the place he offered his services to Emperor Maximilian who gladly accepted. In fact, Magruder became something of a trend-setter as many men in Mexican society began to imitate his style of dress. Maximilian made him a general in his army and Magruder encouraged other southerners to follow his example and come to Mexico where they would find the monarchy of Maximilian very much to their taste. The Emperor hoped to benefit from the cream of southern society moving south of the border and Empress Carlota hoped that the Confederates might become a sizeable force to compensate for the loss of the French who were clearly on the way out.

Magruder brought his family over (they had spent the war in Florence, Italy) and was so enthusiastic about urging his fellow Confederates to come to Mexico that Emperor Maximilian appointed him to head the Land Office of Colonization to oversee the immigration of Confederates to Mexico and the establishment of colonies for them to continue their plantation lifestyle along the road from Veracruz. This was land which Juarez had originally taken from the Church and, to the extreme annoyance of the local hierarchy, neither the French nor Maximilian thought it prudent to return it. Religious Mexicans refused to use the land and so giving it to the Confederates seemed a perfect fit. However, as we know, before the Carlota Colony (named in honor of the Empress whom the Confederates adored) really became firmly established the French army pulled out of Mexico (under pressure from the U.S.) and most Confederates could see that Maximilian was doomed and made their way home. Magruder returned to Texas and settled in Houston where he died on February 19, 1871.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Royals at Eternal Rest

A Note on Libya

As we seem to now be in something the President will not dare call a "war" with Libya, I thought I might, perhaps, comment on the recent turn of events. Frankly, I am not optimistic. These days any royal restoration will be a long-shot but, while I may have been slightly optimistic at the outset I am much less so now. The rebellion did start in the area with the strongest Senussi support, the royal flag did reappear and rebels were holding pictures of King Idris -all very good signs. They were advancing constantly and seemed on the brink of taking Tripoli and toppling the illegitimate Qaddahfi regime. However, they were then beaten back, almost to where they started from, before the international community could stir itself to get involved -and then only in half-measures.

Had the rebels been able to rush to success quickly and on their own I think there might have been at least a fair chance of a restoration. However, as that did not happen, various disreputable groups have now attached themselves to the rebel cause and the UN and NATO have gotten involved. There is always hope, and even if there is only the slightest chance of a restoration under the rebels that will still be more of a chance than existed under Qaddafhi -a man who betrayed his monarch and who cannot meet a sorry end fast enough for me. However, whenever the UN, the USA, France & sadly the UK get involved what hope I had for a royal restoration mostly evaporated. It does not help my opinion that the leading 'hawk' on this issue for the USA is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whose husband's administration famously said on the issue of Eastern Europe, "We don't do kings".

Some UN-lovers out there (why they would be reading this blog I don't know) might point to the case of Cambodia but that was a totally different kettle of fish from Libya. In that case you had a former monarch still alive and engaged in the process and one who had clearly shown a talent for survival few politicians could ever match. You also had a country where the monarchy had been long established before the communist takeover whereas in Libya the monarchy barely had a chance to firmly establish itself between the time that the Allies ripped Libya away from the Italians and when the treasonous Colonel Qaddafhi overthrew his lawful king. To reiterate, I continue to hope for the Colonel to meet an ugly demise, however, I am much less optimistic than I ever was for the succeeding regime to be much better. Some would surely cry "imperialism" if ground troops are deployed but, frankly, I have never considered that a bad word and Libya would probably be better off if that were actually the case -but it is not. Unfortunately, with Obama and the European ruling clique in charge of things I cannot realistically see much improvement on the horizon for Libya other than the possibility of being rid of the bizarre, butcherous presence of Qaddafhi.

At least Switzerland will finally be able to sleep soundly once again...

Riots Rock United Kingdom

The spoiled brat brigade have been at it again in London. Teachers, students and union members carried out a "protest" against the cost-cutting measures of the Tory-LibDem coalition government that brought out an estimated 500,000 entitlement junkies in what has been described as the largest union-led riot in London's post-war history on Sunday. 201 people were arrested and 84 people were injuried including 31 police officers. Banks were smashed up, fire bombs thrown, property was destroyed or defaced and so on, as we have seen before, and of course the loyal leftist media was quick to assure everyone that such violence and destruction was only the work of about 300 deranged anarchists amongst the mob. Yes, it is always those crazy no-government anarchists who sometimes seem to turn up constantly amongst mobs of people demanding more and bigger government -odd that. In truth, this was all planned and those doing the planning counted on such violence as their ultimate goal is chaos and destruction. I cannot help but think back to the blot on the otherwise solid reign of HM King George V; the refusal of asylum to the Russian Imperial Family after the 1917 Revolution. The make-up of this latest act of mob violence should be lost on no one. Students have long been the "useful idiots" of the revolutionary elite and, just as it was in Russia, the unions are the nursery of Bolshevism. Also, like the demonic forces that plagued Tsarist Russia these British cry baby battalions are also anti-country, anti-religion, anti-capitalist and anti-monarchy. We all remember how the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were assaulted by a similar crowd in the past and the riot-ring leaders have made no secret of their plan to do their best to disrupt the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. This all should, perhaps, give people a little better perspective of the often-maligned Tsar Nicholas II who is often portrayed as so cold and uncompromising. After all, the British monarchs allowed constitutional government, allowed democracy, allowed people to do or say whatever they wished even if it was treasonous, they have taken the monarchy effectively out of politics completely and yet still they are targeted. There should be no confusion here, the ringleaders have been completely open and honest about their aims: this is not ultimately about the cost-cutting done by "Call me Dave" Cameron. That is only the pretext for launching something that these leftist pinkos have been planning and hoping for over a long period of time: total revolution. The cost-cutting is simply useful in getting the government welfare babies off their hinders and providing the massive crowds to add muscle to the movement. The United Kingdom might be going down the tubes completely and no one will hardly stir but raise the notion that the tax-payer funded gravy train might be cut off and there is bloodshed in the streets. Their goal, like the Bolsheviks in Russia who used others to clear the way for them, is for wealth-redistribution, an end to social inequalities, the overthrow of the monarchy, basically a communist Great Britain. If anyone doubts this, I challenge you to go into to the den of the beast and see what they are saying about the Royal Family. "Parasites" living off the poor, over-burdened public, "unelected elitists", "disgrace to the goal of equality" etc, etc like we have all heard before. In some cases it is much the same language they use against bankers and big-business people but, the pinkos have always been a 'one trick pony' in that way. Everyone is living off the poor -you know, except for the teachers, students, nurses and union members who are totally entitled to live off the taxpayers! Oh, where are the redcoats with a copy of the Riot Act when you need them?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Royal News Roundup

The still suffering people of Japan received some personal aid from the royals of another Asian monarchy this week. HM Queen Sirikit and Princess Soamsavali (former wife of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn) of Thailand donated a large number of relief packages which included rice, dried food, blankets, flashlights, medical supplies and similar items under the aegis of the Princess Pa Foundation. Also on the East Asian front, it should be mentioned that the Tibetan government-in-exile effectively rejected the letter of resignation from HH the XIV Dalai Lama. Concerned that a split could occur within the exile community and unwilling to end the four century tradition of rule by the Dalai Lama the government asked the Tibetan monk-monarch to “reconsider” his decision.

In the Middle East and North Africa, while conflict continues to rage and simmer, trouble may be brewing in sub-Saharan Africa. Economic strife has worsened the mood of the already impoverished populace in the controversial Kingdom of Swaziland, discontent which was not alleviated by the absolute monarch, King Mswati III, telling people that protests will solve nothing and that everyone needed to work harder and make more sacrificing to improve their situation. It is most unfortunate that some have compared their situation to that in Tunisia and Egypt, referring to those states as “monarchies” too. Sadly some seem to be equating monarchy with tyranny in Swaziland.

In southern Europe, HM King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Queen Sofia and the Prince and Princess of the Asturias met with the President and First Gentleman (?) of Ireland at the Zarzuela Palace on Monday. The visit was intended to strengthen ties between Spain and Ireland, which are already heavy trading partners. Spain and Ireland actually have quite a long history with Spain often aiding Catholic uprisings there against the English and with many Irish moving to Spain and the Spanish Empire after being driven from their own homeland. On Thursday, in the Principality of Monaco, the funeral mass for HSH Princess Antoinette was held at the St Nicholas Cathedral. Her granddaughter Melanie de Massy delivered the eulogy, remarking on the late Princess’s courage, zest for life and devotion to the Catholic Church. The family was noticeably grief-stricken but, sadly, dealing with tragedy is something the House of Grimaldi is all too familiar with.

In the Low Countries, HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and other Dutch royals rolled up their sleeves to participate in NL DOET 2011, a day to encourage volunteer work in the Netherlands. The Queen helped painting at a ‘Big Brother’ arts center in Nijmegen. Also this week the Prince of Orange was in South Africa to attend “World Water Day”, a cause he has long taken an interest in. Across the border in Belgium HM King Albert II visited the army barracks of Beverlo in Leopoldsburg on Tuesday to see new training techniques being used by the Belgian military. Naturally the military mission in Libya came up during the inspections and reviews. Belgium had contributed eight F-16 fighter jets to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. Crossing the border again the Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg was not to be found at home as he is currently on a trade mission to Turkey trying to encourage economic opportunities for his country there.

Moving north, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Joachim and Prince Marie of Denmark, with their two eldest sons, have been on a tour of the Danish possession of Greenland, wearing seal-skin outer garments and traveling by dogsled just like the natives. On Thursday information was released that HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark recently made a trip to Afghanistan to visit the Danish troops on duty in that war-torn country. The Queen looked fit for the field but still sufficiently regal in olive-drab. The Queen praised the troops for their service and said seeing the situation for herself was very rewarding.

HRH Prince William was in the ‘Land Down Under’ this week, meeting with many people including the victims of the recent massive flooding that devastated Queensland. The professional complainers of the republican crowd had little to say as the response was overwhelmingly positive. Virtually everyone interviewed was deeply touched that the Prince would take time to come and visit them and many stressed that they could see the concern and compassion on the face of their Prince for all they had endured. The Prince will visit Victoria next and some other areas before finally returning to Great Britain.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Royal Profile: Basil the Embroidered

In hindsight most historians would agree that World War I was the conflict which determined whether monarchy or republicanism would dominate the 20th Century; whether the old dynastic empires would continue or if political ideologies would become the chief method of dividing the world. Had things gone differently then our world would certainly be considerably different, and one way we can glimpse this is by looking at the actions of the Central Powers on the Eastern Front, where Germany and Austria-Hungary were ultimately successful in defeating Imperial Russia and set about re-working the map of Eastern Europe. However, unlike that done by the Allies at Versailles, the remodeling done by Germany and Austria was to be very monarchist in nature, planning for a Kingdom of Finland, a "United Baltic Duchy" of Latvia and Estonia and a Kingdom of Lithuania all reigned over by minor German royals. There was also a short-lived Kingdom of Poland established which would likely have gone to Archduke Karl Stephan von Hapsburg. There was also talk about the possibility of establishing a Kingdom of Ukraine with the crown perhaps going to the Hapsburg Archduke Wilhelm von Austria-Toskana.

Many in the Ukraine had long been dissatisfied with Russian rule and a republican government was quickly declared after the Germans drove out the Russian armies. This was soon replaced by a new government under the rule of a pro-German "Hetman" who ruled as a sort of Cossack military dictator with a cabinet made up of mostly Russian monarchists. The Hetman therefore faced constant accusations of being both too greatly pro-German and pro-Russian. The attention of the Ukrainian monarchists focused mostly on the Archduke Wilhelm who was the third son of the possible Hapsburg King of Poland Archduke Karl Stefan. A graduate of the Maria Theresa Military Academy, he commanded the Ukrainian Legion in World War I, later given the more historical title, "the Ukrainian Sich Rifles". He was fluent in Ukrainian and very familiar with the culture, even taking the name Vasily Vyshyvaniy. His friends began calling him "Basil the Embroidered".

He gained a fairly considerable following and rumors began to abound that he would become the King of the Ukraine in 1918. However, he failed to gain the necessary support of the Germans who were, for the time being, sticking with the Hetman, Pavel Skoropadsky. Certainly, with his undeniable knowledge and love of the country there could have been no better candidate for Ukrainian king among all the royals of the German and Austrian Empires. In fact, talk of his elevation to the throne became so widespread that the Hetman began to worry about his political future, complaining to the German Ambassador and even German Kaiser Wilhelm II himself, demanding that the Hapsburg Archduke be removed from his country. The Kaiser looked into the matter, but the German Ambassador advised that it be best for "Basil the Embroidered" to stay where he was as a way to make sure the Hetman realized he could be replaced if his pro-Russian sentiments became too strong.

It is proof of his character that Archduke Wilhelm remained in the Ukraine even after the retreat of the Germans and continued to serve as a colonel in the Sich Rifles in the hopeless fight against the invading Russian Red Army. Later, a Polish-controlled directory took power but was itself soon overthrown by the Red Army forcing Basil and his men to retreat through Poland back to Germany. He based himself in Munich, setting up a headquarters for Ukrainians who wished to work to drive out the Russians and restore Ukrainian independence. By the early 1920's Basil had gained some financial backing as well as a diverse collection of Ukrainians, Baltic Germans, Cossacks, Poles and even a Romanov claimant to the throne of Russia, Prince Cyril Romanov. There was finally enough resources for Basil to order the formation of a Free Ukrainian army under a Polish-Russian general named Biskupski, even the famous General Erich Ludendorff associated with them on occasion in his on-going denunciations of Bolshevism and the Versailles Treaty.

Unfortunately, Basil came to discover that his supporters were not the sort he had hoped for. Most had their own agendas for advancement and impossibly grandiose dreams of an invasion of the Soviet Union and every other variety of ridiculous schemes. Time and resources were squandered on fantastic schemes rather than on more immediate, and most importantly, reasonably possible goals. It became clear that the causes of the Baltic, Ukraine and Russian monarchists were too diverse to form a well-working, coordinated group. Finally, the German government disbanded his force and after a Russo-German treaty was signed all enemies of the Soviet regime operating in Germany were to be suppressed. Basil lost his funding with General Ludendorff managing to have most of the funds diverted to the growing German Nazi Party.

After living for a time in Spain, Basil moved back to Austria where he kept in constant contact with the Ukrainian exiles and never ceased to work on their behalf, especially when the Red Army began a campaign of persecution in the country. Basil served on an international committee, formed at the request of the Greek-Catholic Episcopate for the Ukraine led by Andrei Sheptytsky. Prior and during World War II Basil was placed under tight surveillance by the Gestapo. When the Red Army re-conquered Eastern Europe Basil was taken and died sometime in the 1950's though the details remain a mystery. Some say he died in Kiev while Austrian POW's assert he was tortured and killed by the Communists. In any event, the last hope for an independent Ukrainian kingdom had died with him. Given all of the oppression, starvation and horrific murder the people of the Ukraine were subjected to after their initial liberation in World War I, we can only imagine how much more happy and peaceful the country could have been as a free monarchy with Allied support.

Sorry Folks...

We are currently experiencing technical difficulties - as in no internet! I am quite literally "phoning" this one in, my cell being the only internet access I have at the moment. If it gets back up I will put up the planned post later, until then, I appreciate your patience.

Update: The problem has at least been identified. Evidently the men digging for the latest pipeline severed the phone cable. One would think they would have all of those marked but alas not. Anyway the phone co-op knows about it and we will just have to see how long it takes to correct. -MM

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Consort Profile: Empress Eugenie of France

For a long time the Second French Empire has been viewed by historians in a negative light. Recently, however, that image, and particularly that of the Emperor Louis Napoleon III has been somewhat rehabilitated. Yet, one person who has been largely ignored through all of this was the great woman who stood beside Napoleon III throughout his reign and that was his wife, the Empress Eugenie. She was a devout Catholic woman from Spain, a woman who came to model herself somewhat after Marie Antoinette, and yet she was vastly different in many ways. This Spanish beauty was born Maria Eugenia Ignacia Agustina de Palafox y Kirkpatrick, Countess de Teba, on May 5, 1826 in Granada, Spain. Her parents were Don Cipriano de Palafox y Portocarrero, the Count of Teba and of Montijo, the Marquis of Algava and the Duke of Pearanda; and his half-Scottish, half-Spanish wife, María Manuela Kirkpatrick.

Eugenie de Montijo came to Paris, France to be educated at the elite Convent of the Sacre Coeur. Already raised as a practicing Catholic, at Sacre Coeur she was even further grounded in the faith and became a very devout and zealous daughter of the Church. She first met Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte when he was serving as the President of the French Second Republic. Eugenie accompanied her mother to numerous balls held by the Bonaparte prince turned president at the Elysee Palace. Louis was immediately taken with the young Spanish beauty and already had a reputation as a womanizer. Eugenie became the object of his desire, but she made it adamantly clear that no man but her husband would ever have her. This should, perhaps, have told Louis that Eugenie might not be the right woman for him, but instead it only made her all the more desirable to him as the "forbidden fruit".

The President, however, was a man rather free with his affection and seemed to forget Eugenie for a time while he pursued Princess Adelaide von Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a teenage niece of Britain's Queen Victoria. However, when the Princess rejected his proposal of marriage, Louis turned again to the Spanish countess and began inviting her to parties, sending her gifts and pursuing her in every way. Eventually, the two were engaged and finally married on January 30, 1853. It was only the year before, at the end of his presidential term, that Louis declared himself Emperor Napoleon III and restored the French Empire, which was later confirmed by a plebiscite. The French people, who often seemed just as suspicious of foreign women as consorts to their monarchs as they had at the time of Marie Antoinette, expressed some opposition to the marriage. This prompted Napoleon III to make a speech from the throne saying, "I have preferred a woman whom I love and respect to a woman unknown to me, with whom an alliance would have had advantages mixed with sacrifices."

Nonetheless, many opposed the match, some out of simple xenophobia, and others who seemed to manifest a great deal of snobbery very quickly after the elevation of France to imperial status, saying that a 26-year-old Spanish countess was not an equal match for an Emperor. Traditional enemies of France, especially the Bonaparte family, such as Great Britain were extremely amused by this attitude, noting that the Bonaparte family, which put on such grand, imperial pretensions was only two generations away from unknown Corsican commoners. In their eyes, if anything it was the new Empress Eugenie who was, in fact, marrying below her station.

A major reason why Napoleon III had rushed to marry after becoming Emperor was to have a legitimate son and heir. Empress Eugenie gave him the son he wanted on March 16, 1856 when the Prince Imperial Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte was born. He was to be their only child. This did a lot to give the new French Empire an appearance of stability and Empress Eugenie herself did a lot of what would be called today "public-relations" work for the new government in France. She was beautiful, pleasant, impeccably polite and proper and simply glamorous in the way that royal consorts are supposed to be. She charmed many people around the world simply by her example into relenting in the prejudice held against having a Bonaparte ruling France once again. She was also, like Marie Antoinette, a fashion trend-setter such as when she wore the cage crinolines for the first time in 1855, all of Europe emulated her and likewise when she abandoned the large bell-like skirts that had been in style for quite some time, the western world followed her example. Empress Eugenie's fascination with Marie Antoinette also sparked a revival of the styles of dress, buildings and furnishings from the time of King Louis XVI.

However, her life was not all glamorous social events but included danger and important political work as well. On January 14, 1858, she and Napoleon survived an assassination attempt and although Napoleon III was never a faithful husband, he did depend on the support and advice of Eugenie who possessed great intelligence and education as well as a devout adherence to her Catholic principles. Napoleon III rarely acted without her advice and she acted as ruler of France on her own on occasions in 1859, 1865 and 1870 when she was Regent of France in the absence of her husband, during which times she proved herself more than equal to the task. She also took it upon herself to act as the defender of the Catholic Church around the world when other countries would not. It is no exaggeration to say that virtually every decision made by Napoleon III that benefited the Church and Catholic society was done on her advice.

In 1858, after hearing of the intense persecution of Catholic missionaries and local converts in Vietnam, Empress Eugenie supported the French naval expedition to come to their rescue. These operations eventually led to the establishment of the colony of French Indochina, which included all of modern day Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Likewise, in the 1860's the plight of the Catholics in Mexico came to her attention when Mexican conservatives who had been driven into exile by the anti-clerical regime of Benito Juarez came to France to plead for help and Empress Eugenie supported French intervention in Mexico to help them. In 1864 this led to the enthronement of the Austrian Archduke Maximilian and his Belgian wife Princess Charlotte as the Emperor and Empress of Mexico. She also pressed for French intervention in the Ottoman Empire when the Christians in Lebanon came under attack. French pressure eventually forced the Turks to give the Lebanese their own government under Christian control with increased rights for Lebanese Catholics of the Maronite-rite. It is true that in most or all of these foreign interventions, Napoleon III had some ulterior motive he wished to serve as well, but for Empress Eugenie it was a simple matter; wherever the Church was persecuted she had to do all in her power to come to her aid.

Probably the best and most crucial example of this great work by Empress Eugenie to influence French policy in a good way came when the Papal States came under attack by the very same Italian revolutionaries of whom Napoleon III himself was once a member. Empress Eugenie was a ceaseless defender of the Pope and his rights. She put a French warship at his disposal when Blessed Pope Pius IX was briefly overthrown and offered him refuge in France in the old papal city of Avignon (which for obvious political reasons of course the Pope declined) and French troops later restored the Pope to Rome as well as defending the Eternal City when the rest of the Papal States were conquered by the Italian nationalists. Empress Eugenie was also a powerful ally of St Bernadette, the visionary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Anti-Catholic officials in the area had closed the grotto, but Eugenie was a believer and when the Prince Imperial was cured by water from Lourdes which Eugenie had sent for, the Empress used her influence to have the grotto reopened and protected.

Empress Eugenie was a strong woman who faced problems and would not bend to unjust pressure, and sometimes this strength of principle had dire consequences. When the militant Prussians began trying to maneuver France into war, Empress Eugenie urged her husband to take a firm stand. Unfortunately, by this time, Prussia had grown too strong and the antagonism Napoleon III showed the Austrians and Russians now came back to haunt him as he had to face the Prussians and their south German allies alone. In 1870 this led to the disastrous Franco-Prussian War which saw the defeat of Napoleon III and the capture of the Emperor himself at the battle of Sedan. The French Empire soon collapsed when faced by the Prussians without and early communist revolutionaries within. In 1871 the united German Empire was proclaimed in Versailles and the Germans had replaced the French as the dominant European power.

Empress Eugenie was forced to go into exile with her family in Chislehurst, Kent, England. Emperor Napoleon III died in 1873 and their son, Napoleon IV, died in 1879 in South Africa while serving with the British army against the Zulus. Empress Eugenie moved to Farnborough, Hampshire and later to her villa at Cap-Martin near Biarritz, but as part of the agreement allowing for her return to France she avoided all political issues. Empress Eugenie enjoyed good relations with the British and in 1887 she was honored with the position of godmother to Princess Beatrice's daughter Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, who later married King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the last Spanish monarch before the era of the republic and civil war. Empress Eugenie died while visiting her native Spain in 1920 at the age of 94 and was buried in the Imperial Crypt at Saint Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, which already held the remains of her husband and son.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Defending the Belgian Monarchy

I had almost forgotten to post the final part of Defending the Saxe-Coburgs at The Cross of Laeken (thanks to BR for the reminder). This last part deals with a monarch who I regard as one of the greatest of my lifetime, King Baudouin, refuting some of the attacks made against even that saintly man. So, if you have not; I urge you to check out all four posts on Defending the Saxe-Coburgs Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four. The Belgians seem to be a much put upon people and their monarchy is in possibly the most difficult position of any in Europe. Yet, this is what monarchists must do, when faced with republican attacks, defend our monarchies (even if just the principle) and answer falsehoods with facts.

Monarchist Profile: Draža Mihailović

Dragoljub Mihailovic, better known as “Draza” Mihailovic, was one of the great monarchists of the Second World War yet also one of the most maligned and ill-treated by history. As leader of the Chetniks in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia he courageously led a hard and bitter fight for his King and country against overwhelming odds and ultimately betrayal by those who should have been his allies. This great patriot, loyal defender of his King and as proud a Serbian warrior as any could be was fated to end his life labeled as a “collaborator” and shot by his own countrymen on the preposterous charge of “treason”. For loyal Serbians he is a legendary hero but “Draza” Mihailovic is not much known outside of Eastern Europe and that certainly needs to change, both because of the inspirational nature of his life as well as the betrayal that brought him down on the part of the western democracies. It may not be pleasant to hear but the story should be told.

Dragoljub Mihailovic was born on April 27, 1893 in Serbia but as his parents died when he was still young he was raised by his uncle, Major Vladimir Mihailovic, in Belgrade after 1901. He later attended military academy and as a young cadet fought in the First Balkan War against the Turks and later in the Second Balkan War against Bulgaria. With this service under his belt he graduated fourth in his class and joined the ranks of the Serbian officer corps. In World War I he showed great courage in numerous battles against the Austrians, demonstrating great tenacity even in the midst of disastrous defeats. For his service he earned the Gold Medal for Bravery. Throughout the war his skill was continuously displayed, earning him the Order of the White Eagle, the British Military Cross and numerous other awards. At the end of the war Serbia was triumphant, becoming in time the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and Mihailovic was posted to the Royal Guards. However, his involvement in a fight in 1920 saw him posted to the Albanian frontier. However, he also married that same year and started a family and was later promoted to captain. He showed so much promise that he was among a select group of Serbian officers sent to France for special training in Paris.

In 1930 came promotion to lieutenant colonel. After a posting to Bulgaria he was promoted to colonel in 1935. He served again in the Royal Guard and later as an instructor at the military academy. In 1941 he fought against impossible odds when Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis forces of Germany, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria. As Yugoslavia was overrun and divided by the Axis forces Mihailovic organized his troops into an effective royalist irregular army to continue the fight in the name of their King. These were the Chetniks, though that name is often applied to a wide array of irregular forces, not all of whom were under the command of Mihailovic though he was certainly the most famous and preeminent Chetnik leader of all. The situation was made even more difficult and complicated by the emergence of Soviet-backed communist partisans who were just as intent as anyone on destroying the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as it had been. Wishing to dominate post-war Serbia and appear as the only opposition force the communists took special aim at Mihailovic and his “Yugoslav Army of the Fatherland”. As a result Draza and his Chetniks were forced to spend most of their time fighting the partisans, fighting for the very soul of Serbia while a larger war raged around them.

Mihailovic and his Chetniks were, of course, on the side of the Allies against the Axis invaders. He fully cooperated with the Allies in a planned invasion of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav government-in-exile promoted him to General of the Army. However, the Soviet dictator Stalin vetoed this plan, pushing instead for an invasion of Western Europe so that his communists would have a free hand in dominating the east. Churchill and Roosevelt agreed and totally sold out the royalist Chetniks and all of Eastern Europe so Soviet domination. It was then, and only then, that some elements of the Chetniks began cooperating with the Germans as the only ally left to them in their war against the communist partisans. It is still fiercely debated whether or not Draza himself ever cooperated with the Germans at all but no doubt some did. However, the Germans also continued to target both the Chetniks and the partisans when either stood in their way and the Chetniks continued to rescue Allied pilots shot down over their area of operations.

It is worth keeping in mind as well, though it is not “politically correct” to do so, that the communist partisans were a direct threat, not only to the existence of “Greater Serbia” but the very soul of Serbia and Yugoslavia. The Germans, on the other hand, had originally had no interest in the region at all and became involved only in order to aid the Italians who were fighting the Greeks. Yugoslavia had, very briefly, been a member of the Axis under Prince-Regent Paul. The Italians were slightly different as they had long regarded Yugoslavia as an enemy and had sponsored the creation of an independent kingdom for the Croatians under an Italian monarch. However, even then, Serbia itself would still have something left. The communists, on the other hand, were the avowed enemies of the very existence of Serbia in every way that mattered in their anti-royalist and anti-Christian platform. However, choosing between the Axis and the communists would never have been necessary had not the western allies sold out Eastern Europe to Stalin and Yugoslavia to the communist partisans under “Tito” who Stalin (at that time) supported.

This confused situation prevailed throughout the final years of the Second World War with bloody and bitter fighting by all involved as the Soviet Red Army marched ever closer. Finally, in the most bitter betrayal of all, Churchill prevailed upon the young King Peter II of Yugoslavia to announce from London that the Chetniks were to put themselves under the command of the communist partisans of “Tito” according to the agreement made between the Western allies and Stalin. Draza Mihailovic was relieved of command and the top position given to “Tito”. However, the old warrior refused to give up, knowing far more about the reality of the situation on the ground than anyone in far away London and refusing to abandon his country to the godless Bolsheviks. He fought on as Soviet forces invaded Yugoslavia, refusing an American offer to smuggle him out of the country before he was captured by the communists. The old general said, “I prefer to lose my life in his country, than to live as an outcast in a strange land. I’ll stay with my soldiers and people to the end, in order to fulfill the duty to the King that he left me. For King and Fatherland - Freedom or Death!”

The Chetniks were soon all but wiped out the Red Army, many being massacred. Draza and some remnants tried to fight their way north but were finally captured. “Tito” telephoned Stalin personally to tell him the good news. The communists subjected Mihailovic to a show trial for “treason” from June 10 to July 15, 1946. Only two days after the inevitable guilty verdict he was taken out and shot by a communist firing squad on July 17, 1946 and buried in an unknown grave. Against impossible odds, in the most difficult situation imaginable, Draza Mihailovic had fought for his king and country regardless of the circumstances. Betrayed by his allies and handed over to the most bitter enemies of his country he faced his death with great nobility, willing to give his life for the Crown and cause he had so long served and fought for.

Monday, March 21, 2011

MM Video: British Royal Family

Royals at Eternal Rest

a.k.a. The Duke of Reichstadt

This was Princess Maria Teresa of the Two-Sicilies, married the Prince of Hohenzollern and who was the mother of Queen Augusta Victoria of Portugal.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Royal News Roundup

In the Far East, Japan continues to endure horrific suffering in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami as well as growing fears about a potential meltdown at one of their nuclear power plants. As readers saw, on Wednesday His Majesty the Emperor addressed the nation by a special video message recorded by the Imperial Household Agency. This was the first time the Emperor ever addressed the entire nation personally. The only other time Japan heard such an address from the Emperor was in 1945, following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which the Showa Emperor announced the decision to surrender to the Allies. Far to the south in the oil-rich monarchy of Brunei the Sultan attended a meeting of the Brunei Islamic Religious Council on Tuesday at which time he said that the country needed to establish its own Islamic Criminal law code. He stressed the history of Brunei as an Islamic monarchy and questioned what more could be done to make Brunei a more purely Islamic nation.

In the Middle East, on Tuesday, HM the King of Bahrain declared a 3-month state of emergency in response to the protests that have been rocking the tiny gulf state for several weeks. Tensions were heightened when 1,000 soldiers from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates moved into Bahrain to control the protestors and suppress any anti-government activity. The Islamic Republic of Iran protested this and withdrew its ambassador from Bahrain. Across the region in Jordan things seem to be returning to normal as Queen Rania toured a number of schools established by special programs instituted by the Jordanian monarchy and met with teachers trained by her own program called the Queen Rania Teacher Academy.

In southern Europe, on Thursday Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Italy, Princess Marina Doria, Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Venice and Princess Clotilde of Venice were in Rome for the ceremonies commemorating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy in 1861. They visited the tomb of the first King of Italy (Vittorio Emanuele II) at the ancient Roman Pantheon, also known as Santa Maria Rotonda. Leading Italian politicians were present for the pomp and ceremony and (we might think grudgingly) paid their respects to the official father of modern Italy after which all took in a performance of Verdi’s “Nabucco” which was a piece that is often credited with inspiring the drive for unification. Across the Mediterranean in Spain the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found in favor of a Basque leftist terrorist who had been jailed for insulting the King of Spain after he accused the King of presiding over torture by the Spanish police. The ECHR said that the separatist’s freedom of expression had been violated and order the Spanish government to pay the terrorist 23,000 euros in compensation. With all of the laws against “hate speech” and anything politically incorrect it seems freedom of speech in Europe still applies to libel and slander so long as it is aimed at a king.

In happier news, in Monaco the Princely Palace has released a new website devoted to the upcoming marriage of the Sovereign Prince and on Thursday future Princess Charlene Wittstock met with the Monte Carlo’s Ladies Lunch (set up by Baroness de Massy in 2004) and presented a check for $39,000 to the Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance. However, the House of Grimaldi and the Principality of Monaco were plunged into mourning on Friday when it was announced that Princess Antoinette had passed away in the early hours at the Princess Grace Hospital. The older sister of Prince Rainier III, colorful figure and noted animal lover Antoinette de Massy had celebrated her 90th birthday in December and was the senior member of the Grimaldi clan. More on all of these stories can be found at Mad for Monaco.

Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium were in Antwerp on Monday for the opening of the Erasmian European Youth Parliament, a place for young people to express their concerns on issues affecting their lives. It was also recently announced that last year Belgian King Albert II personally assisted 450 people who wrote to him for financial help, averaging about 200 euros to get individuals through a tight spot. Would politicians do this? If so you can be sure they would only lend a hand to those of their own community. Crown Princess Mathilde is also set to attend a special ten day course on leadership next week at the University of Harvard. The future Belgian queen was invited by the Forum of Young Global Leaders. In the neighboring Netherlands Princess of Orange Maxima opened a new old folks home in Zutphen on Tuesday and there was a four-day action, fit for a king as they say, as the House of Orange sold items belonging to the late Queen Juliana. Royalists bid on 1,725 lots from various palaces chosen by the children of the late monarch for the special sale.

On the British front, HRH Prince William of Wales has been visiting New Zealand where the city of Christchurch suffered a devastating 6.3 earthquake that took the lives of 166 people. The local people gave him a warm welcome and the local mayor expressed his gratitude at the concern the Prince showed by coming in their time of need. The Prince toured the damaged areas, met with rescue personnel and also met with the families of the victims of an explosion in a coal mine last November. He will also attend a memorial service before traveling on to Australia to visit the areas there that recently suffered catastrophic flooding (so many tragedies). On a similar humanitarian note, Prince William and his bride-to-be announced this week that, in place of gifts, well wishers are asked to donate to one of 26 charities the couple have chosen so that the occasion of the royal wedding can be used to help those in need at a time when so many are suffering great hardships.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Princess Antoinette Has Died

Prince Albert II, Charlene and Princess Caroline will not be attending the Rose Ball tomorrow due to the 15-days of mourning in honor of Princess Antoinette. The Casiraghi trio will represent the family in their place. A sad day for the Grimaldis and the end of an era.

Papal Profile: Pope Leo XIII

Considered by many to be the last of the 'princely pontiffs', Pope Leo XIII is still remembered as a great pope, despite the fact that he is the victim of many misconceptions. Most often, this centers around one of the all too frequent, and always absurd, efforts to brand particular popes as being 'liberal' or 'conservative'. In fact, every pontiff is both and every pontiff is neither. What Pope Leo XIII was, was a man of great compassion, who urged the Church to defend those who were oppressed and persecuted, a man who defended endlessly the rights of the Church, who upheld the exalted nature of his position, not on the basis of any self-importance but in keeping with the principle that his position was the position of St Peter, and who faced the immoral world head-on with a message of life and dignity as well as a refusal to compromise on matters of principle.

Leo XIII was born Gioacchino Vincenzo Pecci in Carpentino on March 2, 1810. Prior to his election to the Holy See he served as Papal nuncio to Belgium and was the camerlengo following the death of Blessed Pope Pius IX. No time in the history of the world can hardly ever be seen as unimportant, and indeed, the years of Leo's reign seemed to have been a particularly crucial period in the history of the Church. Rome was an occupied city, the old Papal States had been conquered, the Pope was a prisoner in the Vatican and many nations were adopting anti-Catholic attitudes, particularly so in the new united Germany where the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck launched the kulturkampf against the Church.

The international situation was, perhaps, the Pope's biggest problem. He tried tirelessly to reach agreements with Belgium, Germany and Russia, but European politics were particularly unstable during this period of nationalist competition and making lasting accommodations proved extremely difficult. However, if there was one role which Pope Leo XIII excelled at, it was in the role of a teacher for the Church and Christianity. He showed the faithful how to oppose the evils of the modern world without turning their back on society and progress. He urged the Catholics monarchists of France to stop holding aloof and work with the republic. However, as he was himself a devoted monarchist, he advised this in order that a royalist majority could be properly elected and the kingdom restored.

Misunderstanding of this, as well as his most famous encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which accepted the use of trade unions and the need for workers' rights advocates, caused some to label Leo XIII as a "liberal" pope. In fact, he was simply a man of fairness and compassion who did just as much good that could be called "conservative" as "liberal". He was deeply concerned by the exploitation carried out during the height of industrialization and his beliefs on human dignity demanded that he stand up for the workers who were being taken advantage of. He also urged all countries to finally end the shameful use of African slavery and condemned such dangerous organizations as the Freemasons, socialists and the rising Communist Party. In 1899 he solemnly dedicated the whole of humanity to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and taught that there should be no conflict between Christianity and science. Even on the subject of trade unions it is often forgotten that Leo XIII was adamant that Catholics join only specifically Catholic trade unions and that they should stay away from secular or inter-religious ones.

Pope Leo XIII also called for a return to Christian unity and offered friendship to the East Orthodox and Protestant communities, he being the first to call Protestants, "our separated brethren". However, everyone recognized that there was only so far this outstretched hand would reach as he was just as adamant in his defense of the rights and authority of the Catholic Church. He would tolerate no dissent once he had adopted a policy, often with the friendly reminder that, "ergo sum Petrus". He conducted the Papal court with all of the custom and ceremony that the Throne of Peter deserved. People knelt when presented and kissed his foot, and no one was to sit down in his presence uninvited. The strictest standards of respect were to be maintained at all times. None of this was anything new, but after Leo XIII most of this protocol would be reduced to a minimum or eliminated entirely.

Leo XIII, who wrote more than any other pope, lived to the age of 93 having a reign of 25 years, 4 months and 29 days. Although increasingly frail, his mental abilities never wavered in the least. Until the last he was an example of a firm but compassionate, wise yet realistic and spiritual man. As pontiff he established a working normalcy for the Vatican to function during the continued stand-off with the Italian government and he never wavered in maintaining the position held by his predecessor Pius IX. He encouraged the use of sacramentals such as the rosary and scapulars and established good relations with Tsars Alexander II and Alexander III in Russia. When the Armenian Church joined with the Catholic Church Pope Leo XIII surprised some by refusing any suggestion that they adopt Latin customs in place of their Byzantine traditions. Today, his endorsement of trade unions is often all that is remembered (and then not correctly) but Leo was no liberal revolutionary. In fact he disturbed many such individuals in remarking that it was, “quite unlawful to demand, defend or to grant unconditional freedom of thought or speech, of writing or worship as if these were so many rights given by nature to man”. Pope Leo XIII, a giant figure simply by the length of his reign alone, died on July 20, 1903 and was buried in the Basilica of St John Lateran.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day

A happy St Patrick's Day to one and all. In the United States it is, of course, the St Patrick's Day parade in New York which has been the biggest, best known and at times most controversial. What very few know (other than monarchists, I'm sure you all know this already) is that the first ever parade in New York City honoring St Patrick was actually held by Irish troops wearing the red coat of King George in 1766. Ireland can be a curious place for monarchists. Go up north and you will find what seems to be (and often is) the most staunchly monarchist people in the world. Their only problem is the presence in their midst of those so wrapped up in their own past rivalries that they hate their "enemies" more than they love their monarch. On the other side of the border, quite to the contrary, you will find one of the most staunchly republican populations in the world; zealous enough in their devotion to "the republic" as to rival even France and the United States. However, I've never met an Irishman who wasn't a republican yet who was not also very proud to tell me which Irish king he is descended from. Surely there was never a country so heavily populated by republicans of royal blood.

Anyway, I shall pass this day listening to some good, old, sad Irish songs, watch people on TV act like idiots in the name of a very holy saint (and a very orthodox saint too -he was not just some nature-loving proto-green party supporter). Then, perhaps we should all say a little prayer that with all the attention given to Ireland and St Patrick today, more people might just take a little concern at the fact that the country is going down the tubes. Here's an idea: the republic has not done well by you, you're not having the British back, that is perfectly clear, so why not give your own monarchy a try? An Irish High King could hardly do worse than the current republican lot and you could have someone to meet the Queen on an equal footing when she comes to visit. Yes, yes, I know, crazy talk, but what else would you expect from ... The Mad Monarchist?

A Happy St Patrick's Day to all (and my apologies if the above flag looks a little crude but I really prefer the Irish-American flag to the republican tricolor, just a matter of taste).

Those interested can view some past posts and comments concerning Ireland here.
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