Royal News Roundup
Starting with the embattled King of Spain, HM Juan Carlos I underwent a second hip surgery on Thursday after twisting the joint following his initial injury two weeks ago while on a hunting trip in Botswana. The trip, as we all know, has earned the King widespread condemnation and even prompted calls for his abdication with anti-monarchy agitators using the very freedoms King Juan Carlos gave the Spanish to criticize him. Republicans have been making full use of this dust up to call for an end to the Spanish monarchy, restored after the death of long-time strongman Generalissimo Francisco Franco. It seems so incredible that the discontent being caused by economic hardships, which are themselves the result of the socialist policies of the parties the Spanish people voted into office, is now being directed at the King who gave and defended the rights of the people to vote in multi-party elections and have freedom of speech, freedom of the press and so on. All because of a hunting trip. I will never understand it. This has, however, highlighted how the attitudes in modern Europe have changed so drastically and why monarchists cannot ever be content or feel secure just because a monarch is on the throne. The attitudes of the public at large must be adjusted and, sadly, in very few countries is this being done. A monarch is responsible FOR his people. He should not be responsible TO his people. Today we see the eventual result of this attitude on the part of the fickle mob. As Spain slips deeper into economic crisis we see that no lessons have been learned as so many call for an end to the monarchy (which had nothing to do with it) while demanding more of the poison that caused the crisis in the first place.
Alas, it does sometimes seem that royals try their best to put me off being a royalist (but it won’t work!). Across the border on the French Republic the French monarchist group La Nouvelle Action royaliste jumped into the presidential elections by calling on its members to vote for Francois Holland of the Socialist Party. What?! Is this some kind of joke? Not to be outdone, the Orleanist claimant to the French throne, HRH Prince Henri, Count of Paris, responded by endorsing President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying that he had the proven experience to lead France forward in the difficult times ahead (via his Twitter account). I am flabbergasted and wondering if there is something going on here that I am missing. I’ve never understood how any royalist could support a socialist candidate and as far President Sarkozy, while there may have been worse alternatives, has it not been (at least in part) his leadership that brought France to this sad condition? In the absence of a viable monarchist candidate, I don’t know who a loyal French man or woman could support. It may not be popular to say so, but I have never been more tempted to cheer for Marine Le Pen and the National Front. I still have big reservations about her foreign policy ideas but she seems to be the only major candidate talking sense on issues like immigration and the European Union. She is certainly nowhere close to being a monarchist but neither is Holland or Sarkozy and I cannot see any possible benefit for royalists or royal claimants in backing either of those candidates. Who knows, perhaps if things get really bad in France (really, really bad) and the traditional monarchists remain divided, we will have the Bonaparte clan make another bid for power. Given the current state of affairs, a Third Empire could only be an improvement.
Across the Channel in Britain, TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated their first anniversary on Sunday in a private, low-key little celebration. The papers are already buzzing with baby anticipation but, please, there is still plenty of time for that (maybe not a huge amount, but still plenty of time) and I’m sure the couple need no pressure from the press on that subject. Later in the week the Duke and Duchess met with soldiers and the families of those who participated in the Scott-Amundsen expedition to the north pole, of which Prince William was patron. The enterprise raised some £
30 million for the Royal British Legion to care for sick and wounded British soldiers. Later the Cambridge couple went to the Imperial War Museum for the opening of a new exhibit on the First World War, looking over new displays getting ready for the centenary of the start of World War I in 2014. The Duke of Cambridge is patron of the effort and he gave a speech at the event saying, “Every exhibit, every display, every tank, aircraft and medal in its case, speaks to us of sacrifice, of the facing down of evil, of freedom bought and preserved -for us- at unimaginable cost in human lives and suffering”. The Prince also spoke about the pride it represented for the accomplishments of the people of Britain and those from across the Commonwealth who came together in a common cause to safeguard, as he put it, “the freedom of the world”. I could quibble with that assertion but, being an outsider, I will exercise my right to remain silent.
Moving over to the Low Countries, in The Kingdom of The Netherlands it was Queen’s Day on Monday, a cheerful national celebration honoring the day that HM Queen Beatrix came to the Dutch throne. This year, however, things were not quite so jubilant as usual since the absence of Prince Friso was so sadly evident. The Queen said, “It is a pity and sad that our family isn’t complete today. But I’m very grateful for all the warmth and wishes we have seen and heard here today and I will pass it on”. The Queen, Crown Prince and Princess still carried on and joined in the festivities. Over the years, in the face of some very painful hardships, the devoted Dutch people have time again rallied to their monarchy in times of trouble and always come together to help each other out. The House of Orange remains very widely popular in The Netherlands with a recent poll giving the Queen an 80% approval rating. The Crown Prince also received high marks but it was his lovely Latina bride, Crown Princess Maxima, who is the most popular member of the Royal Family amongst the populace. Meanwhile, on Thursday, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg the Palace has announced the wedding date for Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Stephanie de Lannoy. The marriage will take place on Saturday, October 20th. It should be a day to remember for Luxembourg and all fans of the Royal Family around the world.
There has been some major political rumblings in the usually pacific Principality of Liechtenstein. As readers will recall, there is currently a campaign afoot to revoke the right of the Prince to veto legislation. This was undertaken by a small but radical pro-abortion lobby which campaigned previously for a referendum to legalize abortion in the officially Catholic micro-monarchy. However, the Prince threatened to use his veto if the referendum came back in favor of changing the law. The pro-abortion crowd blamed this threat for the failure of the referendum and so are now campaigning to take away that power from the monarch. However, Hereditary Prince Alois, who is currently ruling as regent on behalf of his semi-retired father Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II, is fighting back. In a speech to Parliament the Hereditary Prince said, “The royal family is not willing to undertake its political responsibilities unless the prince…has the necessary tools at his disposal,” adding, “But if the people are no longer open to that, then the royal family will not want to undertake its political responsibilities and…will completely withdraw from political life”. HSH Prince Hans-Adam II previously threatened to abdicate if the current constitution, which granted the monarchy greater powers, was not approved, which it was, overwhelmingly. The pro-abortion crowd immediately insisted that they have no intention of abolishing the monarchy but only to remove the veto power. However, the Hereditary Prince has taken the attitude that if the monarch will not have the power to act as he thinks best, they will wash their hands of the political process, which would likely mean the end of Liechtenstein altogether. I am hopefully optimistic that this latest effort to subvert Princely authority will end in failure. Höch der Fürst von Liechtenstein!
Finally, in the far north, in the Kingdom of Sweden on Monday the people were given their first public look at their future Queen when baby Princess Estelle joined the Royal Family on the balcony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm during the celebrations of the 66th birthday of HM King Carl XVI Gustaf. Crown Princess Victoria was rightly beaming with pride, as was proud papa Prince Daniel who helped his little daughter wave to the adoring crowd below. It was a great day for the monarchy in Sweden and a public assurance of the future of the House of Bernadotte. To the west, in the Kingdom of Norway, the Royal Palace in Oslo confirmed that Norway’s controversial Princess Martha Louise, with her husband and three daughters of course, will be leaving the country and moving to London. There is no word as to why or when this move will be taken place only that their children will be attending an English school and that the Princess will not be opening any of the so-called “angel schools” that have attracted some derision and criticism in her own country. The Princess will represent the Kingdom of Norway when needed but her royal duties have been very light for a long time as the Royal Family rather put some distance between Princess Martha Louise and the rest of the family due to her books and schools dealing with people talking to their guardian angels. As I’ve said before, I certainly don’t agree with the Princess on all spiritual matters, but I have a soft spot for her and I think she has been treated unfairly. Talking to angels is hardly what I would consider the most outrageous royal behavior ever exhibited. I hope she thrives in London, I think she’s a nice lady with a good heart and a credit to the King and Queen who raised her.
Orleanism is the most ideologically divergent strain of monarchism, as it encompasses everything from social democrats to integrist Catholics, much like monarchists in existing monarchies are. The Legitimist cause supporting Louis XX seems to be getting a boost, there appears to be more youthful-oriented campaigns from Democratie Royale and SAR-LXX. I think monarchism has a bright future because of its appeal to youth, we are seeing a new generation of people who are refuting the horrible mistakes of recent times.ReplyDelete
Only partly related to this, but Catholic activist Katie Walker is engaged to Archduke Imre of Austria, and she's a remarkably well-spoken advocate for Catholic causes and the pro-life cause. It's ironic now that the pro-choice groups' memberships are ageing while the pro-life movement is being rejuvenated.
But back to France. In the first round, some Orleanist and Bonapartist groups endorsed Nicolas Dupont-Aignan who broke with Sarkozy's party a few years back. The sad thing is that Dupont-Aignan did poorly, rather like De Villiers and Chevenement previously, yet he was the one presidential candidate who actually made sense to me because of his strongly anti-EU line. That's something monarchists can support!
But let this election mark the beginning of the end for the Fifth Republic!
About Dupont-Aignan -Delete
The thing is, his positions are very nearly indistinguishable from Le Pen's, and from the mainstream Right even twenty years ago (I was watching a video, where in a rightist conference in 1990, they were saying they wanted to bring immigration down to 0 - what ever happened to that?). The monarchists could no doubt get a huge boost if they endorsed Le Pen, if not for her ideological subtleties, then for her courage to stand up for France when the rest of the political class has betrayed it. I know there are more than a few royalists and bonapartists (it annoys me that this is not a recognized word, and that the suggestion is "abortionist") that vote for the National Front.
You are right about the youth though, there is a solide block of young legitimists, some of whom may be orleanists as well.
It does seem odd (and counter productive) that both claimants to the French Throne should compromise their political impartiality, in this manner. It would be near suicidal for a reigning Monarch to be identified as being partial to a political party or individual ministry, surely the same stricture equally applies to claimants? This gives an impression of flippancy, that neither man is particularly serious about his claim, or in the overall objective of re-establishing the French Monarchy, or am i being a little too cynical?ReplyDelete
It depends on what kind of monarchy you're in. I happen to be partial to a system where the monarch is active in politics, and must be seen to favour a particular party because he appoints his own ministers at his own judgment.ReplyDelete
My greatest problem with the Orleanists has always been their strange approach to the political system - they've never really had supporters on the ground in the same manner as Legitimists have their solid base of traditionalist Catholics and the Bonapartists have the on/off support of the popular classes. Without such support, they've relied on winning over the elites, as they did with the Vichy regime and with De Gaulle. It's why the Orleanists have always been my least favorite of the pretenders, it's difficult to see them as having an essence of their own, they exist solely as a compromise between the Bourbon traditionalist monarchy and the Republic, while Bonapartism wants to go in a different direction entirely - ah, the annoyance of monarchist factionalism.ReplyDelete
It is understandable to have reservations about Le Pen - she is after all a staunch republican and secularist (though not without proper respect towards France's main and historic faith). I could go on about the current elections, but suffice to say Hollande will no doubt win, and the silver lining is that Le Pen will come out stronger for it. But then it falls on her to do it properly.
Orleanism can be seen as espousing the liberal constitutional monarchism that prevails in today's monarchies, and had been the case in Britain since 1690 and more or less in Spain since 1812. Orleanists and Bonapartists accepted the French Revolution *to a degree* albeit rejecting much of what made it so evil to begin with (and one can argue that Napoleon effectively stopped the Revolution himself although still dragging Europe into war). Even the Bourbon Restoration of 1815 didn't completely undo what was changed in terms of administrative boundaries, metric system, decimal currency and Napoleonic Code.Delete
@samstarrett. In my heart, i would love to live under such a Monarchy. I thoroughly despise the British political class and my loyalties are irrevocably with the Crown(s) But my head tells me that 300+ years of parliamentary "democracy" is`nt going to be rolled back any time soon....ReplyDelete
As far as Britain is concerned, you may be right, although there is hope that the Prince of Wales may push the boundaries a little bit when he is King. But there are still monarchies with active monarchs, like Liechtenstein and Monaco, and if the French monarchy were restored, it might join them. That's why I don't think it's necessarily too bad that the Orleans claimant has voiced his political views (although I myself am a Legitimist.Delete
A bit off topic-ReplyDelete
I know you don't do requests, MM, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the recent South American nationalizations of Spanish property.
I'm never fond of government taking over private property, confiscating for themselves what others worked to built. I've also never been fond of Morales (a pinko of the first order) and it's pretty low to be kicking Spain at a time like this. However, it's not the first time. It's happened over and over again. Latin America wants jobs for their people, money for their economies, Spain invests (usually Spain is the largest foreign investor) but once these companies become successful the locals start to cry colonialism and scream that Spain has an undue influence on their affairs, the companies are taken over and then they cry when no one else wants to risk investment, the companies get run into the ground and people lose their jobs.Delete