Wednesday, December 6, 2017

RIP King Michael of Romania

As most of you have probably heard, His Majesty Michael I, the last King of Romania, died yesterday in Switzerland at the age of 96. A sad day, to be sure, for the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, for all loyal Romanians and for monarchists everywhere. He was a good man and those interested can find out more at the links below about his life and the part he played in Romanian national life at a critical time for the world. When it comes to monarchs in general, what they represent is always far greater than the individual and their own virtues or flaws; so it is with the death of kings as well. King Michael I represented a great hope for a return to traditional authority in Romania or, at least, a hope for the future by providing a 'foot in the door'. Perhaps it is the emotion of the occasion but I cannot be as optimistic as I was before about a royal restoration of some sort in Romania now that the last king has gone to join his ancestors. There were brief occasions when it seemed a very real possibility, all of them missed opportunities but as long as he lived I thought there was a better chance than their could ever be without him.

King Michael I had lived long enough to see the collapse of the communist regime that forced him from his throne and into exile. He was able to return home, gain some official recognition from the existing (usurper) government and even undertook efforts on their behalf as a sort of unofficial ambassador-at-large for his country. Because of his actions in World War II, he was highly respected even among many who are not and would never think of themselves as monarchists. For that reason, I had long hoped that he might be able to be restored, at least as a ceremonial, constitutional monarch, as a sort of symbolic tribute to an elderly man who had lost everything for standing up to the communist oppressors. I could have seen a republican government doing that, seeing it, as they would, as a rather empty gesture of no real importance but one which would, nonetheless, restore the monarchy on an official basis and provide a place from which to advance farther toward a state of affairs more acceptable to Romanian monarchists. As the King entered extreme old age, I thought it unlikely but not beyond the realm of possibility that something might be negotiated to correct the past wrong and restore him to his throne before his death. Alas, it was not to be and I fear things will be much more difficult for Romanian monarchists going forward.

It must also be said that King Michael himself, the Royal Family and monarchists (not unusually unfortunately) also sometimes got in their own way. Changes to the succession, involvement in politics and other issues were not helpful. I am not as critical as I might be as changing the rules of succession for non-reigning dynasties has always been a difficult issue and the political situation is an impossibly fine line to walk. Stay aloof and you have nothing concrete to offer, get involved and you are seen as partisan and a source of division rather than unity. It is certainly a difficult situation. Hopefully, the next generation will carry on and will achieve success but without King Michael and his remarkable life story I think it will be much harder for them.

For more about the life of the late King:

Monarch Profile: King Michael I of Romania

The Story of the Kingdom of Romania

Romanian Royal Struggles in World War II

May the last King of the Romanians be welcomed by choirs of angels into the Kingdom of Heaven and May he Rest in Peace in the light of the Holy Face.

May his cause be vindicated by the successful restoration of the monarchy, a return to traditional authority, grounded in faith and family and may Romania be lifted to her full potential as a people and as a country.

This is my sincere wish. -MM

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Castling Prince Harry

As some of you may have heard, Prince Harry is getting married and, apparently, many people have a lot to say about that. Many people also have a lot to say about what other people are saying. As is not unusual for me in such cases, both sides shouting at each other are people I find annoying. One side is mad because other people have opinions on the subject and they are wrong; this is, in fact, rather out of the ordinary as a royal marriage and that can be legitimately talked about. On the other hand, the people who are complaining the most are complaining about the least important “issue” with this marriage. Prince Harry is marrying Meghan Markle next May at Windsor Castle. This is legitimately a cause for comment due to a number of reasons. Meghan Markle is a commoner (not very unusual at all anymore but still an innovation in historical terms), she is an American, she is several years older than the Prince, she is divorced, she is an actress (not a line of work traditionally considered socially acceptable) and she is of mixed-race background with a White father and a Black mother which seems to matter more to both sides than any of the other issues.

Another issue which seems to have been given no attention at all is that it was announced that Miss Markle will be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England the day before the wedding which, I assume, means she has never been a member of any Christian church before. Ordinarily, that would also be rather a big deal but it doesn’t seem to be to most, not even to the Church of England, nor does the fact that she is divorced. No, the biggest, most talked about issue is the racial issue which I have a hard time getting a grasp on simply because it only seems to be an issue because people say that it is an issue and point it out. I doubt most people would even know about it if someone else had not told them about her parentage. I think most people, knowing nothing else but what they see, would just take for a White girl with a tan. Yet, today, everyone is hyper-sensitive on this issue and so it might as well be dealt with right at the outset. Does it matter to me? Yes and no. Sorry to be ambiguous but it really does come down to being no big deal in one way and rather “problematic” in another, neither of which, it is important to add, have anything to do with Prince Harry or Miss Markle but rather with reaction to their coupling.

The reason is doesn’t matter is because interracial marriage is not anything new nor does it have anything to do with anyone other than the two people involved. It is not very common, most people choosing to marry people like themselves, nor is it “groundbreaking” even for royals. It isn’t even much of an interracial marriage given that one of them is White and the other is half White. Regular royal watchers will know that this has happened before and I don’t remember anyone making a big deal about it, perhaps because previous examples were from non-English-speaking monarchies. HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark married a woman of mixed European and Chinese ancestry in 1995, Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, (the two divorced in 2005) and HSH Prince Alois of Liechtenstein married an African-American woman in 2000, Princess Angela of Liechtenstein. It is also not completely unknown outside of Europe. The late King Hussein of Jordan married Queen Noor, an American of Syrian and Swedish ancestry, Princess Ubol Ratana of Thailand gave up her royal status to marry a White American man, Peter Ladd Jensen, in 1972. However, the princess did have to give up her status for this, her husband was given no titles or court recognition and the two divorced in 1998. The last King of Sikkim married a White woman from the United States as did the son of the last Crown Prince of Korea though he had no official status at the time and both of these marriages ended in divorce. The last Emperor of Vietnam married a French woman while in exile and I believe I recall a member of the Cambodian Royal Family marrying an American from New Jersey in 2002 (possibly not the first but don’t quote me on that). The most prolific were the Ottoman Sultans whose harems were almost completely full of women from the Balkans and southern Russia but, of course, those were not exactly voluntary marriages.

Obviously, interracial royal marriages, while not the norm, are certainly not unprecedented. In and of itself, it is not a major issue. Most, as you can see, have been second sons or granddaughters and thus not in direct line for the throne and the same could be said about Prince Harry. Were this not the case, there would probably be more uproar over it. Even for non-reigning royals, such as the heir to the Korean throne, many in the Royal Family were not pleased and pushed for ending the marriage, which was finally done on the pretext of it producing no children. It is not that out of the ordinary but neither is it terribly common and thus should not be seen as anything “threatening” to the royal line in and of itself. People should be able to marry whomever they wish and, as mentioned, most prefer to marry people who are like themselves. On the other hand, neither are most people royalty and if marriage was about romance and nothing else there would not be so many laws concerning royal marriages. For example, if Miss Markle had been a Catholic rather than non-religious, Prince Harry would not have been able to marry her or at least not without forfeiting his place in the Royal Family. Like it or not, the marriages of royals have been and in most places still are matters of state as well as the heart. However, suppose, just for a moment, that Prince Harry had proposed to an alternate version of Meghan Markle, one that was not divorced, not an American, one that was born and raised Church of England and even of aristocratic background but still the daughter of a White father and Black mother. Would there still be an issue? Yes, even though there shouldn’t be.

The problem is a societal one. The problem is that all the people saying you *have* to be ecstatic about this marriage because the bride-to-be is mixed-race are just as fanatical as those saying you *have* to be upset about it for the same reason. The problem is not these two individuals, the problem is the context in which studies have shown that the media, in Britain, have been pushing a false representation on this issue, presumably in order to foster the more rapid transition of the British Isles from one population to another. Interracial couples, while obviously more numerous in the past as the population becomes more mixed, are still quite rare and yet the media in Britain, studies have shown, portray a disproportional amount of interracial couples in order to influence people into thinking this is more common than it actually is. This puts pressure on people to conform with trend of population replacement as well as inflaming the racists who then provide just the sort of bogey man the people in power want to see (because they have always defeated them due to the fact that your average Brit is not a hateful, violent, bigot). As a result, the problem is not the couple in question but the hyped up level of virtue-signaling that is bound to go along with this as well as enabling people to call anyone who does not jump with joy over this event a racist.

Keeping in mind that Prince Harry is now quite a ways down on the line of succession (and more so since the abandonment of male primogeniture) and this really should not be such a big deal, the bottom line is that the fact that the bride to be is partly of another race than the husband to be is only a side effect of the far more central problem this is product of and why, no, I was not overjoyed with Prince Harry’s choice. First of all, in no particular order, she is an American and I have long said that it would be better for the monarchy if Prince Harry would marry a girl from one of the Commonwealth Realms as it would help strengthen ties with the monarchy in those countries. She is divorced which, in my old fashioned views, would make her unacceptable just as it once did for Mrs. Wallis Simpson. She is also common and before anyone brings up the Duchess of Cambridge, I was not exactly thrilled about her nouveau riche background either, though she had none of the other problems Miss Markle does. It is not unprecedented, in fact it is the rule rather than the exception these days, that still doesn’t make me have to like it. However, there is more to it than being common alone. This is someone who has been an actress and I don’t doubt she will probably be the first member of the Royal Family to have been seen half naked in sex scenes on television. This was another one of the things that not so very long ago would have been considered an immediate disqualifier to say the least of it. There is also the religious issue but, frankly, that doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should simply because the clergy doesn’t seem to either and that would have to be the bigger priority.

I am certainly not against interracial marriage as an individual choice and certainly not the slightly interracial marriage that this would be, it is when people start pushing it as part of an agenda that I have a big problem. I am against royals being “unequally yoked” to borrow a phrase from Scripture. As far as I am concerned, the biggest problem with this marriage is not the marriage itself, even with all of the “issues” it comes with but rather it is the more fundamental problem underlying it. That problem is the on-going leveling of the remaining monarchies of the world which has resulted in modern royals being seen as simply celebrities and thus having no problem viewing an actress as suitable material to be accepted as one of their own. I believe royals are different and can never be the same as ordinary people, that they should be set apart, exclusive, lofty and even a dramatic and overt reminder of the truth of inequality as a fact of life. That is my biggest problem with this and just as the mixed-race aspect is played up to feed a narrative that encourages something negative, it also coincides with things like royals going to school with the commoners, associating with the wealthy, liberal elite almost exclusively, with the abandonment of male primogeniture, traditional court protocols and the idea that imaginary things like “fairness” and “equality” have any part other than a destructive one in any sort of monarchy.
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