Saturday, October 1, 2011

Royal News Roundup

Taking our usual ‘east-to-west’ route the week got off to a controversial start on Sunday when HM King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia announced that henceforth women will be allowed to vote in his very traditional Muslim kingdom as well as to stand for election and sit on the Shura Council, the highest body of advisors to the King. However, these changes will not take effect until the next elections in 2015. Needless to say, this has caused a great deal of controversy with the more fundamentalist Muslims opposing any involvement for women in politics and with liberals bemoaning the fact that women cannot participate right away. Yet, one thing none of the liberals can deny is that if Saudi Arabia were not an absolute monarchy these changes would almost certainly not be happening at all. The King has long been known as a reformer, by Saudi standards anyway, and the influence of the hard-line clericals has been decreasing during his reign. However, some think that may change as the King is old and has been ailing for some time and those coming after him appear at least to be more in line with the Wahhabi clerics. There is also the danger that if these fundamentalists see themselves becoming more marginalized it may only increase their extremism. Time will tell.

Northward to the Caucasus there is happy news to announce. TRH Prince David and Princess Anna welcomed their first child, a boy, into the world on Tuesday. Named Prince Giorgi Bagration Bagrationi it is hoped that his tiny person will heal the long-standing family feud between rival royal branches that has kept Georgian monarchists divided up to this point. I particularly want to mention this to salute Prince David and Princess Anna for accomplishing this. While not wanting to believe gossip, it was widely reported that the couple did not get along well from the start of their marriage and even separated for a time. However, it was a marriage arranged for the purpose of ending this feud which has hampered the monarchist cause in a country where it otherwise has at least a fair chance of gaining traction. Georgia is very Orthodox, nostalgia for royal history is fairly widespread and the current political system is still new enough to not be considered hopelessly entrenched. So kudos to this royal couple for sucking it up, putting their differences aside and ‘doing their duty’ to bring unity to the monarchist movement in Georgia. I wish some other non-reigning royals in the world would follow their example in that regard and, of course, The Mad Monarchist sends congratulations on the birth of the new prince.

Moving over to southern Europe there is some hopeful news to report in Italy (with a tip of the hat to Monarchist Alliance - Star and Crown) where a conference was held in Rome of all the politically active Italian monarchist groups including the Italian Monarchist Movement, Italian Monarchist Alliance and others to lay the foundation for unified action and cooperation by all parties supporting the end of the republic and the restoration of the Kingdom of Italy. The Mad Monarchist salutes the loyal souls of Italy on this occasion, for remaining active, maintaining a presence on the political scene (amidst ups and downs in terms of popular support) and for putting aside their minor differences in this effort to unite on the overall, primary, ultimate goal they all agree on: restoring the monarchy. Participant (and MM blog member) Alberto Conterio recognized that the road ahead was a long and difficult one but that the beginning represented by this conference was a necessary one for the long-term success of their campaign. There are reasons for hope, one being the aforementioned years of dedication shown by the monarchist groups who have refused to fade away into the background. Public respect for the political class that currently rules is at an all time low amongst the Italian population and with the current economic crisis the evidence is mounting of what a complete failure the republican experiment has been. The coalition of monarchists is planning other events, the next on Saturday the fifteenth and, of course, we wish them every success and offer our full support for their efforts.

Also in Rome, there was a special distinction to the celebration of the Feast of St Michael the Archangel, patron saint of the Papal police force on Thursday. Italian Prince Sforza Ruspoli handed over to the Vatican the 144-year old papal flag which flew at the Porta Pia city gate when Rome was taken by Italian national forces on September 20, 1870. The flag, tattered, faded and scarred by bullet holes, was saved by the Ruspoli family (part of the ‘Black Nobility’ of Rome) at that time and has been in their possession until the flag was handed over on the feast of St Michael. The Papal police forces paraded, showing off some new elements, motorcycles, eco-friendly mini-cars and their lone fire truck and ambulance. On video coverage I caught a glimpse of at least some figures wearing the old traditional uniform of the Papal gendarme, tall bearskin and all, but I have not found anything else to do with that. Of course, I would be thrilled to pieces if they would revert back to their old, elaborate uniform style and give the Swiss Guards a run for their money in the ‘best dressed’ department. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be happening. The Pope did not attend the event but a message from the Pontiff was read out on the occasion. The Cardinal Secretary of State accepted the flag on his behalf.

Moving from the extreme south to the extreme north, on Thursday one of the royals I have a soft spot for celebrated her fortieth birthday. That would be HRH Princess Martha Louise of Norway, that independent gal who gets so much criticism for talking to angels. A special party was held at the palace attended by about 225 well-wishers, including, of course, the King and Queen, the Crown Prince (sans Mette-Marit) as well as Prince Constantijn and Prince Laurentien of the Netherlands, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and others. Husband of the birthday girl Ari Behn (who will hit the big 4-0 next year) and his parents were also there, of course. I will not go into all the issues again but, I have always liked Princess Martha Louise and probably always will. I would not agree with all of her ‘spiritual’ beliefs but I think she is often treated quite unfairly, often by people who don’t really believe in anything and think anyone that does is off their rocker. So, The Mad Monarchist joins all Norwegians and all her fans in wishing her a happy birthday with many more to come and congratulations on looking so good at 40!

On the Commonwealth front, the ever-popular Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were winning more hearts at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey, England where they opened a new children’s cancer center. The hospital was very important to the late Lady Diana and Prince William was determined to attend this event even though he was rescuing a couple of people in distress just before and had not slept in nearly twenty-four hours. Still, the Duke was his usual impressive but informal self and Duchess Catherine, as always, turned plenty of heads (because she’s *gorgeous*!) and asked a lot of questions. She is reportedly gathering information to help her decide which charitable causes she will particularly devote herself to as part of the “job” of the Royal Family; being good-deed doers. Also, let there be joy and elation in the “land down under” for the Queen of Australia is coming home next month. This will be the first time HM Queen Elizabeth II of Australia has returned since 2006, though of course the land of Oz has not been neglected all that time as there have been other royal visitors but, it is always something special when it is the Queen who is coming. Given what I know of the weather in London I am sure the Queen must be tempted at times to have a “winter” palace in Australia so as to enjoy the local summers and avoid the cold and damp of southeast England. In any event, we all hope she has a great trip. God Save the Queen of Australia!


  1. People of Australia, I here present unto you Elizabeth, your undoubted Queen!

    And the people did come, and the Queen did come down to meet with Her people, and all were joyous and all were merry, and the republicans and gainsayers were forever annihilated and destroyed.

    1. I seem to recall one Australian republican once commented: "I *do* wish she'd stop coming here. Every time she does, she sets the cause back 20 years!"

      Which probably says it all, I think. The monarchy is *so* *successful* at doing what it does, and the Queen herself is *so* *brilliant* at doing her job, that the republicans can't even criticise her!

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