Saturday, July 30, 2011

Royal News Roundup

In Scandinavia the memorials, and sadly the death toll, continue to go up in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Oslo. On Wednesday at Copenhagen Cathedral HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, the Crown Prince and Princess attended a memorial service for the victims of the attacks in neighboring Norway. Also, if the perpetrator intended to spark a war against the Islamic presence in Europe, his effort, to say the least, was a dismal failure. On Tuesday HRH Crown Prince Haakon visited the World Islamic Mission Mosque in Oslo along with the government Foreign Minister, the Mayor of Oslo and a Church of Norway bishop. The Crown Prince did not speak but added moral support to the words of the others present. The Foreign Minister said that the changes underway in Norway could not be stopped and the policies of democracy and tolerance were unalterable. The Imam of the mosque also spoke of how harmonious Norwegians have been toward the growth of Islam in their country and that Norwegian society will be better for its continuance.

On the Mediterranean front, Italian royalty could be coming to America and a small screen (who still has a “small” screen these days?) near you. HRH Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Venice is in talks about the possibility of his own reality show on the American airwaves. What sort of show it may be the Prince will not say and may not even yet be decided however he is adamant that it will not include having cameras in his home as he has always kept his children out of the spotlight. The Princess of Venice, French actress Clotilde Courau, is not a big “reality TV” fan but, if it comes to pass, she is anxious to live in Los Angeles and try her hand in Hollywood. Both also stated that they find the LA area a great place for their daughters and have had some of their best times visiting southern California. The Prince of Venice, you might remember, made a splash appearing on the Italian version of “Dancing with the Stars” which he said he had done in order to clear up some misinformation regarding his personality that had crept in during the long years of the Savoy exile.

The Prince said his name and his family history is very important to him and something he respects but is totally apart from his career and that he has no interest in being the King of Italy. Rather, he said he wants to see what he can do to help Italy today, as he is (hasn’t this become an all-too-common attitude). On the subject of the controversy surrounding Italian PM Berlusconi, Princess Clotilde called his actions “unacceptable” but the Prince was more measured, saying that no one should be judged before the trial is over. It would be terrible if it were true, but he is holding final opinion for the verdict. However, Prince Emanuele Filiberto, you will be glad to know, is at least supportive of the idea of monarchy and the unifying role royals have. To quote the Prince, “Royal families are on top of political parties. So they’re not interested in right, left, up, down, black, white. They’re really interested in the good of their people and their country. It’s important to have someone who’s on top of the parties who really loves the country and doesn’t need to be elected by the people so he doesn’t need to compromise between right and left.” Which is very well put; are you sure there’s no interest in being King there? Stay tuned.

Also in southern Europe, some unexpectedly good news out of the often over-looked country of Montenegro. I admit when I first heard rumblings about this story I discounted them as being exaggerated -too good to be true, but, it seems it is not. The former Montenegrin Royal Family has been officially “rehabilitated” by the parliament and HRH Crown Prince Nicholas II has been recognized by the government as an official, national but not political figure. The Crown Prince will promote national unity, the history, culture and heritage of Montenegro but remain outside of all political issues. The Crown Prince will be paid by the government, several properties have been restored and the royal succession has been recognized by law. All in all, this is probably the closest I have ever seen a country come to restoring a monarchy without actually doing so. Montenegro became independent (as a principality) from the Ottoman Empire in 1878 and in 1910 became a kingdom. After World War I the Allied powers gave the country to Serbia as part of the new Yugoslavia after which the King went into exile. Montenegro has had no native monarchy since that time. Perhaps, with this recognition, a full, formal restoration will not be far off. Montenegro became independent of Serbia in 2006.

In Southeast Asia there is great sadness as the Kingdom of Thailand mourns the passing, at the age of 85, of HRH Princess Bejaratana. Her cousin the King has ordered 100 days of mourning at the palace and the Thai government has also ordered an official 15-day period of mourning. The Princess was the only daughter of HM King Vajiravudh, the sixth king and the niece of HM King Prajadhipok, the seventh king. She was born only two hours before her father died in 1925. A woman very popular throughout the country for her extensive charitable work, she was also very gifted at mathematics and music -some would say an unusual combination. She was not married and has no children to leave behind. The Mad Monarchist sends heartfelt condolences to the people of Thailand and the Chakri dynasty on the occasion of the loss of this great lady.


  1. This “official position / rehabilitation” along with such other titles like friend of the republic, or father of the nation are just another example of republican hand-out; blood money; mimaikin; diyya — all are designed no doubt to muffle monarchist and to prove to the world that they (republican) are not sore winners.
    In my opinion there is only one way to prove their contrition: a royal restoration.

  2. I have strong Duosiciliano leanings against the Kingdom of Italy, which are only strengthened by the recent activity of the Prince of Naples. Una stella ballando come il nostro Re? Mamma mia.

  3. My bad. Not the Prince of Naples, but rather his son.

  4. I can sympathize with being rather disgruntled about the loss of the Two-Sicilies which was, obviously, much more to my taste that Piedmont-Sardinia. However, I don't care to carry on an argument on behalf of someone else who is no longer arguing and, as I recall, the Bourbon Two-Sicilies long ago recognized the Kingdom of Italy as the legitimate successor state to their own country. I would still like to see them get back what is justly their own but I don't want the Savoias to lose what is justly their own either, nor have I ever been against unification -it was *how* it was done I have a problem with.

    The Prince of Naples does have "baggage" that puts people off to say the least and even many Savoy loyalists do not care for him but support the family in spite of his individual case. As for the Prince of Venice, he's done nothing to really put me off. I know some don't like the TV appearances but, to be fair, that is probably the only reason most average Italians know who he is whereas, on the other side, outside the monarchist community many have never even heard of the Duke of Aosta.

  5. Given the strength of the Montenegrin monarchist movement and the strong polling in favor of restoration in neighboring Serbia, I have no problem being cautiously optimistic.

    However, as ignatius masayuki pointed out above, giving royals titles and status within a republican framework is typically a cop-out on the part of the ruling politicians intended to placate moderate monarchists and forever prevent an actual restoration. Look at Afghanistan naming Zahir Shah "Father of the Nation", the former South Vietnam naming Bao Dai "Head of State", and to an extent, the Fijian Great Council of Chiefs declaring Elizabeth II "Paramount Chief". Its a way of saying that while the former monarch or claimant is widely respected in society and of use to the government, the powers that be have no interest in sharing the limelight with a permanent constitutional figure.

  6. MM,

    I was not aware of any such recognition on the part of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. That might change things. For myself, I think that it might have made sense to have some kind of loose confederation, like the Holy Roman Empire or something, in overall control of Italy, but I don't support Italian nationalism; I don't think the Italians are sufficiently united as a nation for that. In fact, I think it's better to think of the Italians as several nations.

    As for denying Casa Savoia what is its own, I would never dream of it. But the thought of King Vittorio Emanuele of Piedmont-Sardinia is much less odious than that of King Vittorio Emanuele of Italy to me personally, simply because my great-grandparents were born in what was once the Two Sicilies. So he'd be a king, but not over a country I identified with.

    You raise a valid point in regards to the TV appearances; still, it seems to me beneath the royal dignity(actually, we all ought to think it beneath our dignity) to appear on the majority of reality shows.

  7. Oh I have a hard time believing you are not aware of the recognition of the Kingdom of Italy. Have you been to the Royal Family's website? (there's a link to both claimants right over on the sidebar) In 1934 the Duke of Calabria gave up his "active" claim to the throne of the Two-Sicilies when his daughter married the Duke of Ancona, he met with King Vittorio Emanuele III and pretty much everyone agreed to kiss and make up.

    Have you perhaps read my own post on the unification? I would have been pretty much in agreement with Pope Pius IX who did often speak of an "Italian nation" and who favored unification but one that would not displace the existing ruling houses. He was also able to forgive King VE2, which I thought was nice. Such kindness toward the likes of Garibaldi, Mazzini or Cavour was not shown and I would certainly not have encouraged that.

    As for the reality shows -I fully agree (I think I wrote a rant on it once if you want to look it up) but as far as most go a dancing competition is pretty tame and in any event, the Prince of Venice has not exactly had the most 'dignified' example to look up to either. The Duke of Aosta has done better but, again, most people even in Italy have never heard of him (unfortunately).

  8. A late response, but:

    To the first paragraph: I knew there had been some kind of reconciliation between the two royal houses when they married together. I knew also that the Bourbons had ceased to press their claim too hard at that point. However, I'm not educated enough in international law to know whether that constitutes a binding renunciation and recognition of the K of I or not.

    To the second paragraph: Yes, I read and enjoyed your post. I'm not sure I can agree to the existence of an Italian nation, but as long as you wouldn't have wanted to displace the Bourbons, it's not a hill to die on for me.

    To the third paragraph: True, though I'm nervous about the new reality show he wants to star in.

  9. It is academic at this point as the Kingdom of Italy no longer exists. Same goes for the Italian nation. It is an accomplished fact and if you want to see it broken up you'll have to take that up with the Italians. Heck at this point they might be willing to sell the south to the Bourbons if the price is right.


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