Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The Roaring Lion stood still...THAT photograph

The world's most famous portrait photograph is arguably--nay, undeniably--that of Winston Churchill taken by Yosuf Karsh in the dark days of 1941. The photograph captured Churchill's defiant bulldog spirit and came to symbolise British defiance against Nazi tyranny.

The photograph was taken in Ottawa, Canada in December 1941. Churchill had just delivered his famous "Some chicken! Some neck!" speech on the floor of the Canadian House of Commons. Arm in arm with Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie-King, he left the chamber and strolled into the private rooms of the Speaker of the House of Commons, there to find a young photographer waiting with camera at the ready.

"Two minutes for one shot, and I mean two minutes for one shot," growled the British Prime Minister as he lit a cigar. However the photographer did not want to photograph the great man with his standard prop. He approached Mr. Churchill and with an apologetic "Forgive me, sir" he pulled the cigar from the bulldog lips.

"By the time I got back to my camera," Karsh later recalled, "he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me." Snapping the camera, Karsh captured Churchill's furious expression, an expression that would become one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. "You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed," said the Prime Minister. The portrait was splashed on magazines and newspapers around the world and since then has appeared on the stamps of several nations and has appeared in countless books.

The photograph established "Karsh of Ottawa" as one of the world's most gifted portrait photographers and his portfolio soon expanded to include persons such as Einstein, General Eisenhower, King George VI, Ronald Reagan and every Pope save John Paul I.

I had the honour to meet Karsh in the 1990s. I met him at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa, the historic hotel out of which he operated for many years. We had a short but pleasant exchange and he again recounted to me the details of his first meeting with Churchill.

Churchill plays an important role in my life. Since the age of 11 I have devoured almost every book written by or about the great man. I have served as a director of the International Churchill Society, Canada and continue to serve as a committe member of the International Churchill Society, United Kingdom. I have played Churchill on stage and I made him the the focus of my Master's thesis.

I therefore count amongst the memorable moments of my life, the privilege of receiving a seldom granted invitation to the private rooms of the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons so that I might stand in the exact spot occupied by Churchill on that historic occasion in 1941. This honour was granted to me by the current Speaker of the House of Commons, the Hon. Peter Milliken, whom I am now pleased to count as a friend.

I was first invited to the Speaker's Chamber on my birthday in 2001 (pictured above).

And here with Mr. Speaker (above).

Not happy with my original pose I returned from London in 2004 and tried to capture the pose a second time (above).

Here is Mr. Speaker with the then Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and Canada (Tony Blair and Jean Chretien) with their wives (above).

Here is Churchill.... Alone (above).

And this is the view that Churchill gazed at whilst waiting for Karsh to snap his photograph.

Karsh died in 2002 at the age of 93.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Colonel Strome Galloway - A true patriot

Colonel Strome Galloway and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo plant a tree on the occasion of the 100th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Ottawa, Canada, August 2000.

Fellow members watching the tree planting.

I was reminded today that this month marks the 3rd anniversary of the death of Colonel Strome Galloway: soldier, monarchist, heraldist, author, raconteur and all-round renaissance man. Strome was a good friend and mentor. Colonel of the Royal Canadian Regiment and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Governor General's Footguards, he had a fund of stories of encounters with various fascinating characters.

I did not have a blog three years ago and I was therefore unable to pay tribute to him at that time. I therefore choose to do so now.

The obituary below was printed in The Telegraph (London), November 2004:

Colonel Strome Galloway, who has died aged 88, was a battle-hardened infantry officer, a prolific if unsubtle writer and a co-founder of the Monarchist League of Canada; with his bristling moustache, he was one of the Canadian Army's "characters", noted for legendary coolness under fire as well as for the maintenance of social standards and the care of his men.

Galloway's battlefield initiation had occurred in 1943 when he was sent with other Canadian officers to gain experience with the British First Army in Tunisia. Attached to the 2nd London Irish Rifles, he was commanding a company when his CO saw paratroopers from the Hermann Goering Division advancing on a large farm, and ordered him to seize it.

Rising to his feet, Galloway yelled "Fix bayonets", then roared "Charge" as he led his men across an open field under tracer fire, by which only one man was hit. They found no Germans on reaching the stables and living quarters of "Stuka Farm". But minutes later the enemy was hurling stick grenades through the windows; and for several hours the London Irish occupied one room while the Germans battled with them from next door. When the Germans finally retired, Galloway discovered that, in the chaos of the battle, the Allied leadership was preparing to take the farm again; he judiciously withdrew several hundred yards to the safety of a slit trench containing

Andrew Strome Ayers Carmichael Galloway was born at Humboldt, Saskatchewan, on November 29 1915. His family later moved to St Thomas, Ontario, where in 1932 he joined the Elgin militia regiment on 50 cents a day. He was commissioned two years later.

In 1936, Galloway published himself his book, The Yew Tree Ballad and Other Poems. It contained, he admitted in later life, "rather rotten poetry". But after paying printing and postage costs he made a profit of $190, which he invested in a trip to Britain for the coronation of King George VI. After a 16-day voyage aboard a foul-smelling cattle boat, young Strome landed to buy a bowler hat and an umbrella. He filed a story to the St Thomas Times-Journal in Ontario about the shouts of "bloody Nazis" and booing in Trafalgar Square at the carriage containing a German field marshal; but soon he ran out of money, and had to work his passage back to Canada.

Galloway worked as a newspaper sub-editor, and enjoyed saluting the King with drawn sword during the Royal tour of the Dominion in 1939 shortly before being called up; he transferred to the RCR shortly before the outbreak of war. After being advised to take a pair of gumboots with him, he was dispatched to Britain in 1940. There he started the practice, which he maintained long after the war, of having his collars laundered in Britain.

On returning to the RCR following his two months with the London Irish, Galloway led his company on to the beaches of Sicily on July 10 1943. While escorting some German prisoners to the rear, he stopped for a moment to chat with another officer when enemy mortar bombs began exploding near the road. As his prisoners dived for cover Galloway laid into them with his stick shouting: "Get out of that ditch, you bastards - they're your mortars."

In December 1943 the Royal Canadian Regiment was engaged in the costly advance from the Moro River in Italy to the coastal town of Ortona. As they launched two companies in an attack a mile southwest of the port, the artillery barrage which preceded it began falling, due to faulty maps, on a flanking battalion. The guns then ceased firing, and the advancing RCR found themselves face to face with entrenched enemy paratroopers whom the barrage had left unscathed. Murderous cross-fire cost them all their officers. Galloway took over command.

Throughout the following night, with its strength reduced to 178 officers and men, the regiment held its position under mortar fire and sniping. Then, bringing forward every man who could be spared from his support platoons, Galloway formed three companies of 65 men each, who advanced the next day behind an intense barrage to find the opposing German 1st Parchute Regiment had withdrawn back into Ortona.

From his arrival in Italy until the end of the war, Galloway took part in 25 of the 27 actions in Italy and northwest Europe for which his regiment was awarded battle honours, commanding it for short periods at Ortona, in the Gothic Line battles and during the winter fighting west of Ravenna. Although wounded at Motta Montecorvino in September 1943, he was away from the battalion for only five weeks.

With the return of peace, he served in various staff and instructional appointments, being promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1951 to instruct at the staff college at Kingston, Ontario. He took command of the newly formed 4th Battalion, Canadian Guards; then, having attended the National Defence College, he commanded the winter warfare establishment at Fort Churchill, and became military attaché in Bonn.

After retiring, full of disgust at the ill-advised unification of the Armed Forces, Galloway was for 10 years the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Governor-General's Foot Guards; in 1989, he was appointed Colonel of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

When Pierre Trudeau barely disguised his republican inclinations in proposals for a new Canadian constitution in late 1969, Galloway became a founder member of the Monarchist League of Canada. He then played a leading part in helping to destroy the attempt to reduce the Queen's importance by transferring her powers to the Governor-General.

Galloway produced nine books, including an autobiography, The General Who Never Was, in which he drew on his diaries to recount his experiences in camp and battle. Although these were hardly classic tales, they contained a wealth of detail, recounting some of the less well-known aspects of soldiering, such as the punishment of officers found in the men's brothels in North Africa, the Arabs' preference for payment in tea rather than money, and the problems involved in writing citations for medals.

In the 1972 general election, he ran unsuccessfully against John Turner, the future Prime Minister, and was amusedly conscious of cutting an absurd figure in progressive eyes. Yet Galloway was an able speaker. Despite his romantic nature, he was also a realist in dealing with contemporary issues, even willing to use the language of public relations.

Strome Galloway died on August 11. He married, in 1950, Jean Love, a journalist, who predeceased him, and is survived by their two daughters."

The obituary fails to mention one of Strome's greatest interests: heraldry. Strome was a founder member and fellow of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. His revised edition of Beddoe's Canadian Heraldry is one of the most important works on the subject.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Loyal Toasts - the heart and stomach of a lord but not a duke

As a traditionalist Young Fogey is a firm believer in toasts -- dinners can never have too many. Loyal Toasting traditions are of particular interest. For example, the lawyers of Lincoln's Inn and the Officers of the Royal Navy famously remain seated during the Loyal Toast (although, as a sign of their distinction, officers of the Royal Yacht stand). Swan Uppers toast "The Queen, Seigneur of the Swans" whilst standing with skill in their boats on the river. I often hear mention of the regional loyal toasts of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, two of these enjoyable and romantic toasts, both of which ascribe masculine qualities to Our Sovereign Lady, have little basis in fact.

"The Queen, The Duke of Lancaster" is the traditional Loyal Toast of the ancient County of Lancaster and is still heard in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Unfortunately, as the title of "Duke of Lancaster" merged with the Crown in 1413, this charming toast is a little bit of nonsense. The Queen may hold and receive income from the physical Duchy of Lancaster but she is certainly not the Duke of Lancaster (a fact which has escaped the editors of Royal Insight); there has been no such person for six centuries.

It is impossible for the Sovereign to hold a peerage title. The absurdity arising from such a scenario would have included the right of the Sovereign to a seat in the Lords (before the recent removal of most of the hereditary peers); furthermore, at his/her coronation, the Sovereign if he/she were the senior peer of that degree, would be required to swear allegiance to his/herself and place his/her own hand between his/her own hands (!).

A peerage ceases to exist when it merges with the Crown. In 1936 the Duke of York became King George VI and his peerage merged with the Crown. Similarly, the title of Duke of Lancaster, which had been created in 1362, merged with the Crown in September 1399 upon Henry IV's accession. The fact that the dukedom merged with the Crown is substantiated by the fact that it was necessary to create a Charter in October 1399 to confer the title of "Duke of Lancaster" on  Henry IV's son. However this title similarly merged with the Crown upon Henry V's accession to the throne in 1413. The title was never recreated. Furthermore, were there a Dukedom and were The Queen able to hold a peerage title Her Majesty would be "Duchess" rather than "Duke" of Lancaster. Possession of a duchy does not automatically make one a duke.

The Queen is known as "Duke of Normandy" in Jersey, where the historic, and unofficial, Loyal Toast is to "La Reine, notre Duc" or "The Queen, Our Duke" (tradition dictates that this is only used when the gathering is composed entirely of Islanders). Again, as appealing as this tradition is, it also lacks any legal support as the Queen is not the Duke of Normandy (another fact that has been missed by Royal Insight). Henry III relinquished the title to Louis IX on 20 May 1259 as part of the the Treaty of Paris. The Channel Islanders (and other monarchists) may like the title but it has been extinct for 7.5 centuries.

Fortunately, for historical reasons, The Queen remains "Lord of Mann" and thus the Loyal Toast on the Isle of Mann "The Queen, Lord of Mann" is true, accurate and quite wonderful.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Scottish Feudal Baron vs Life Peer (Baron)

I am often asked to explain the difference between feudal baronies and peerage titles. The distinction is important as modern Peerage titles are granted by the Sovereign to an individual (and in years past to his descendants as specified in the Letters Patent) and may not be purchased, whereas Scottish Feudal Baronies, which were originally granted to an individual and his descendants, may be alienated legally and bought or sold at will. Scottish Feudal Baronies are the only true titles of nobility that one may purchase (English "Lordships of the Manor" are not titles of nobility and do not confer any status upon the purchaser/holder whatsoever).

The holder of a Scottish Feudal Barony is not a Peer and must not be styled "Baron X", or worse still "Lord X"; rather, he is to be styled "Baron of X" or, alternatively, "John Blogs of X, Baron of X". Scottish Feudal Barons are accorded precedence below Queen's Counsel and above Esquires and Gentlemen; they may also receive an armorial augmentation from The Lord Lyon in the form of a baronial chapeau. Feudal Barons are represented by the Convention of the Baronage of Scotland.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that Feudal Barons were traditionally permitted to appoint hereditary or lifetime officers of their household (including "Baron Serjeants"), many of whom were entitled to petition Lord Lyon for certain heraldic additaments. Feudal Barons also traditionally held certain judicial powers.

The few ancient privileges possessed by Scottish Feudal Barons were finally extinguished with the passage of the Abolition of Feudal Tenure (Scotland) Act 2000 (passed in order to ensure Scottish compliance with EU law). The Act forever separated the title from the land but, fortunately, had no impact upon the diginity of Baron and related privileges.

Subsection 63 of the act reads as follows;

63 Baronies and other dignities and offices
(1) Any jurisdiction of, and any conveyancing privilege incidental to, barony shall on the appointed day cease to exist; but nothing in this Act affects the dignity of baron or any other dignity or office (whether or not of feudal origin).
(2) When, by this Act, an estate held in barony ceases to exist as a feudal estate, the dignity of baron, though retained, shall not attach to the land; and on and after the appointed day any such dignity shall be, and shall be transferable only as, incorporeal heritable property (and shall not be an interest in land for the purposes of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979 (c.33) or a right as respects which a deed can be recorded in the Register of Sasines).
(3) Where there is registered, before the appointed day, a heritable security over an estate to which is attached the dignity of baron, the security shall on and after that day (until discharge) affect-
(a) in the case of an estate of dominium utile, both the dignity of baron and the land; and
(b) in any other case, the dignity of baron.

Queen of Canada in the United Kingdom

The following question has been posted in a monarchist newsgroup:

"On Remembrance Day 2003, HM The Queen of Australia opened a war memorial to the Australian dead of the two World Wars in London, UK. In attendance were her prime minister, John Howard, and the British prime minister, Tony Blair. As she was acting in her Australian capacity, I presume that she vetted her speech with the Australian - and not the British - government. I wonder if there are other examples of HM acting publicly in the UK as a "foreign" queen, or whether this was a unique event in that regard?"

This is an interesting question. I do not know how often the Queen of
Australia has visited London but the Queen of Canada has been present in London on a number of occasions.

The Canadian Queen opened a war memorial to the Canadian war dead in London in 1994. Located next to Buckingham Palace close to the Canada Gates in Green Park, the Canadian memorial inspired the later Australian, Indian & Caribbean and New Zealand memorials around Hyde Park Corner. The Canadian War Memorial consists of large stone slabs embedded with bronze maple leaves over which runs a steady stream of water. The memorial points to Halifax, Nova Scotia (the point of departure for most Canadian soliders).

At the unveiling The Queen of Canada was accompanied by her Prime Minister (Jean Chretien) and also by the British Prime Minister (John Major) as well as several members of the Royal Family who were Colonels-in-Chief of Canadian regiments - Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, the Princess of Wales, Princess Margaret, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. The two Colonels-in-Chief who did not attend were the Prince of Wales and Countess Mountbatten of Burman. The Duke of York was attired in his Canadian military service uniform.

HM Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada was also in London (and on Canadian territory) a few years ago when she visited the recently renovated Canada House in Trafalgar Square. The Queen of Canada has also received Canadian Governors General and the provincial Lieutenant Governors at Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and Windsor.

I do not know how often London has been visited by the Queens of New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, The Bahamas etc....

Saturday, 11 August 2007

The Act of Settlement and the Perils of Repeal

Life is seldom simple. Barely a week after the announcement, controversy now casts its shadow over the engagement of Peter Phillips to Canadian Autumn Kelly (see earlier post). Ms. Kelly, by all accounts an intelligent, upstanding young woman, is a Roman Catholic. In the 21st century there are surely very few advanced western democracies where one's religious affiliation, particularly if Christian, may be regarded as an "issue". Nevertheless, amongst the chattering pseudo-intellectuals of Islington and Westminster, Ms. Kelly's Roman Catholicism has now undeniably acquired that status.

The Act of Settlement 1701, which settled the succession to the throne upon the heirs of the Electress Sophia of Hanover (pictured), grand-daughter of King James I and VI, prevents accession to the throne by Roman Catholics and those who marry Roman Catholics. Whilst succession to the throne is restricted to Protestants, given the virtual impossibility of such an event occurring in 1701, no provision was made to prevent accession by those married to non-Christians.

As the son of HRH The Princess Royal, Peter Phillips will foreit his position in the line of succession (currently 10th) should his marriage to Autumn Kelly proceed. Whilst a "Top Ten" ranking is an enviable position in almost any field, one assumes that being struck off this most exclusive list will not cause the Queen's down-to-earth grandson much concern or thought. Certainly the dilemma he faces and the consequences of his decision are far less troubling than those faced by his great-great-uncle, Edward VIII, during his own marriage crisis. Surely no reasonable person would ever consider it even remotely likely that Peter Phillips might one day be King.

Peter Phillips is not venturing into new territory and he will not be the first to have faced relegation from this illustrious group. In 1978 HRH Prince Michael of Kent was ousted from the line of succession (15th at the time) as a result of his marriage to Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz. A decade later The Earl of St. Andrews (who would be 23rd in succession), son of HRH The Duke of Kent, found himself falling foul of the law by his marriage to Sylvana Tomaselli, another Canadian Roman Catholic. Rome has proved particularly attractive to the Kents for The Duchess of Kent crossed the Tiber in 1994 (however, as she was an Anglican at the time of her marriage, her husband, The Duke of Kent, retains his place in the succession) and Lord Downpatrick, the son of the Earl of St. Andrews, converted to Roman Catholicism in 2003 (which makes him the most senior descendant to have been removed from the line of succession by virtue of his own faith).

If the marriages and conversions of these royals took place without major upset why, then, has this latest engagement attracted such media interest? It is undoubtedly because, whilst he may not bear a royal title, Peter Phillips is not an obscure or minor member of The Queen's personal family and, thus far, is the most senior figure for whom the Act of Settlement has posed a problem.

Whether by coincidence or in anticipation of the royal engagement, on July 22nd Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, stated that the bar on Roman Catholics in the Act of Settlement was "outdated and discriminatory". "Confident that commonsense will prevail", it is his intention to make representations to the Government for repeal of the Act. His Eminence is not a voice in the wilderness. Numerous commentators writing in weekend publications have called for the repeal of this "discriminatory" provision.

In 2002 a Canadian former Toronto Councillor Tony O'Donohue brought a legal challenge to the Act of Settlement on the grounds that the ban on Roman Catholics violated the equality rights provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In its ruling the Court stated that the matter was non-justiciable as the Act of Settlement was part of the Canadian Constitution and one part of the Constitution cannot be subject to another.

Is the Act of Settlement unfair to Roman Catholics and their admirers? Undoubtedly. Should the bar on Roman Catholics be removed? Maybe. Maybe not. I write this as a Roman Catholic with a close family relationship to the Royal House of Stuart (the true "victims" of the Act of Settlement) and as one whose close second cousins, by virtue of their descent from King George II, would rank 4,011 - 4,017 (as of 1 Jan 2001) in the line of succession were they not also Roman Catholic. In light of this I might be expected to be in complete favour of the repeal of the Act of Settlement 1701, or at least of the provision that bars from the succession those who marry Roman Catholics.

However, as with any constitutional matter, one must always consider the implications and effect of any change.

Whilst many commentators have called for the Prime Minister to propose that Parliament change or repeal the Act of Settlement none, to my knowledge, seem to be aware of the difficulties that change, amendment or repeal would create.

The Act of Settlement, 1701 is no longer exclusive to the British constitution; for it also regulates the succession to the throne in all of The Queen's Commonwealth Realms and is equally a part of their constitutions. These realms each have their own separate and independent legislatures and, for those states that have patriated the law, any change made by the Westminster Parliament would be of no force or effect insofar as they are concerned.

Were the British Government to decide to unilaterally alter the Act of Settlement it might lead to a situation whereby the line of succession to the throne in Britain differed from other Commonwealth Realms, possibly resulting in a different Sovereign for Britain than for Canada or Australia. The seriousness and significance of this cannot be overstated. Indeed, to guard against this possibility a convention was established via the preamble to the 1931 Statute of Westminster, which clearly states:

And whereas it is meet and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that, inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom

In other words, for the sake of the unity of the Crown, any change to the Act of Settlement will require the unanimous consent of the Parliaments of all the Commonwealth Realms. As a preamble the above quoted passage cannot be cited as an enforceable piece of legislation, nevertheless it has been held to be a binding convention.

Britain cannot act unilaterally if it wishes to retain the unity of the Crown. If the Act of Settlement is ever amended or repealed it is imperative that any change be enacted, concurrently, on a multi-lateral basis by all of those Commonwealth Realms for which the Act of Settlement has become a patriated law.

The requirement for unanimity brings with it other perils. Requiring all Commonwealth Realms to consent will inevitably lead to a debate within each realm as to the continuing relevance of the Monarchy itself. Governments of nations with strong republican elements will no doubt face a question of this sort: As we are examining the succession to the position of head of state surely this is the time to embark upon whole-scale reform.

Those who call for change should realise that any attempt to alter the Act of Settlement will stir a hornet's nest in various Commonwealth Realms which may ultimately result in the transformation of many from constitutional monarchy to republic. Of course the counter argument is that it is better to deal with the issue now, during the stable era of The Queen's reign, rather than to wait until forced to deal with it in an uncertain future.

The final issues of great concern raised by the possibility of amendment to the Act of Settlement are of course the status of the Sovereign as Supreme Governor of the Church of England and the argument that a Roman Catholic sovereign's allegiance to the Pope would cause a diminution of British sovereignty. These are weighty subjects which require detailed analysis. Glancing at the considerable length of this post thus far, I fear trying the patience of my faithful readers. I shall therefore leave this particular aspect of the discussion for another day.

Ye'll Tak The High Road...

The Young Fogey has been exceedingly busy in recent days and has been unable to attend to his blog. Last week saw Young Fogey driving up the High Road to Scotland to visit friends and attend the annual Aboyne Highland Games. Although a London resident for many years, this was the first time that I had taken the wheel in the United Kingdom and the event was memorable. For a seasoned and experienced North American driver it is a strange affair to find oneself driving on the "wrong" side of the road. The mental switch requires some adjustment. Nevertheless, the experience was enjoyable and mildly enlivening, although one suspects it was more of a white-knuckle ride for my travelling companion.

On my first full day in Scotland I travelled to Edinburgh's New Club to meet 9 other friends for luncheon. Twas a very jolly affair and I was pleased to bump into another old acquaintance (a herald) in the bar. A very enjoyable luncheon was followed by al fresco post-prandials (Scotland being one of the first countries to have embraced the sinister smoking ban) after which we sauntered along to the Balmoral Hotel for a champagne tea. Exiting the Balmoral a few hours later we decided that we were enjoying ourselves far too much to end the festivities and so we hailed a couple of taxis and merried our way to the Indian Cavalry Club for dinner.....and so to bed.

The next day saw most of us travelling three hours into the remote Highlands to attend the Aboyne Highland Games. The Young Fogey, always keen to blend in with the locals, decided to go native and don appropriate apparel (pictured).

The Games were highly enjoyable and covered all the necessary competitions. Our host, a patron of the Games, entertained us generously in the private tent, from which position we were afforded prime viewing of the various heats.

Of the various persons who visited the tent during the course of the day, this Canadian Young Fogey was particularly pleased to meet Lady Tweedsmuir, daughter-in-law of the author of The 39 Steps, John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, GCMG, GCVO, CH, PC, Governor General of Canada. The Young Fogey also enjoyed conversing with the Marquis of Huntly, Chieftain of the Highland Games (pictured here in yellow socks).

The remainder of the Young Fogey's time in Scotland was spent visiting Falkland Palace and St. Mary's Haddington ("The Lamp of the Lothians") and enjoying a most memorable dinner party, complete with foot-stomping piano sing-a-long.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Peter Phillips to Marry a Canadian

I appeared on Canada's CTV News yesterday afternoon to discuss the engagement of The Queen's grandson, Peter Phillips (the son of HRH The Princess Royal), to Canadian Autumn Kelly.

Peter Phillips met his fiance at the Montreal Grand Prix in 2003. Ms. Kelly is an attractive and intelligent young woman who leads a successful career as a management consultant. She graduated from McGill University in 2002 and her skills caught the attention of CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service), who unsuccessfully asked her to work for them.

Autumn Kelly and Peter Phillips live together on a cottage at Gatcombe Park, the estate of HRH The Princess Royal. Ms. Kelly is warmly regarded by members of the Royal Family and was invited to join the Royal Family on a private cruise and also to attend The Queen's intimate 80th birthday dinner at The Ritz in London.

The date and location of the wedding have yet to be announced. This marriage is certain to delight Canadian monarchists and will serve to strengthen the bond between Her Majesty's largest realm and the Crown.

Young Fogey hopes that the happy couple might consider a Canadian honeymoon. Montreal has certainly played an important role in the lives of this branch of the Royal Family given that HRH The Princess Royal competed in the Montreal Olympics of 1976. Perhaps Peter Philips and his fiance might consider following in the footsteps of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who spent their honeymoon in Montreal's appropriately named Queen Elizabeth Hotel?

Ms. Kelly will be the second Canadian to marry into The Queen's family in recent times. The Earl of St. Andrews (son of HRH The Duke of Kent) married Canadian Roman Catholic divorcee Sylvana Palma Tomaselli in 1988. Lady St Andrews is currently Director of Studies in History Part I and Social & Political Sciences at St John's College, Cambridge University. She is also a College Lecturer in Social and Political Sciences, and her research focusses on topics relating to History, Social and Political Sciences, and particularly Enlightenment political theory and Conjectural History.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall can also boast strong Canadian connections as she is a direct descendant of Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Bt., Premier of the Province of Canada, as well as a descendant of various French Canadians.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

The Last King of Afghanistan and western democracy

The death earlier this week of Mohammed Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan, served to remind many of the era of relative stability that marked much of his reign. Born into the Barakzai dynasty in Kabul in 1914, Zahir Shah ascended the throne in 1933 at the age of nineteen. During his forty year reign he embarked upon a programme of modernisation which resulted in the establishment of a modern education system, the developemnt of cultural and economic relations with the West and the institution, in 1968, of a constitution that introduced free elections, an elected legislature, universal suffrage and female emancipation.

The King's reforms angered religious conservatives and he was subsequently deposed in 1973 whilst undergoing an eye operation in Italy. His kingdom descended into a spiral of violence and factionalism that culminated in the rise of the Taliban and the invasion of 2001. Although he did not advocate for the restoration of the Monarchy, he nevertheless received the honoured style of "Father of the Nation" and was widely regarded as a symbol of national unity.

Had Mohammed Zahir Shah continued to reign until his death he would have reigned for 74 years, easily surpassing the two longest-reigning living monarchs, King Bhumibol (Rama IX) of Thailand and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (and Her other realms).

Taking part in a discussion that touched upon the possibility of restoring the Monarchy in Serbia, Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State during the Clinton Administration, stated "We don't do kings." (The "we" referring to the U.S. Government). This lamentable statement, which so clearly demonstrated Albright's blinkered, and wholly ignorant, attitude to the subject--an ignorance rooted in the prejudice engendered by fanatical allegiance to a one-size fits all concept of goverment, reinforced through the zealous repetition of the hollow mantra of "freedom and democracy" so beloved of spokesmen for the United States Government--reveals a major problem with United States policy.

Monarchy is the natural form of government for many states around the world. Western democracy took centuries to evolve and is part of the historical and cultural fabric of western civilisation. Any attempt to transplant our uniquely tailored system to countries such as Afghanistan is doomed to fail and will merely add credence to fanatical accusations of western imperialism.

The most stable and tolerant Islamic regions are almost all Monarchies. In a region where separation of Mosque and State is far from complete, a benevolent, Islamic king holds a degree of religious authority and is able to moderate and counter fundamentalists and also to offer protection to minorities.

The aim of the Western democracies now present in Afghanistan must not be the establishment of a western-style democratic government but, rather, the destruction of radical fundamentalists and the restoration of the traditional Afghan way of life. Blind allegiance to the "Holy Grail" of western-style republican democratic government will doom the current Afghan adventure and will provide clear evidence of the flawed nature of Western policy.

Four Candles

Over the past few months I have posted on a variety of topics related to politics, heraldry, monarchy, culture etc. However, having recently discovered the joys of YouTube, I feel compelled to shared with my "public", my two favourite comedy sketches from my favourite comedy duo: The Two Ronnies and their legendary "Four Candles" sketch and "Mastermind" sketch, which may be viewed by clicking the videos below. I particularly hope that those who are outside the UK will appreciate the humour. Enjoy!

Four Candles:

Mastermind (as an Editor for Burke's Peerage this is particularly memorable for me)

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Monarchy vs Republic debate

One of my old televised debates with a Canadian republican has somehow found its way on to YouTube. Should you wish to view the Monarchy vs Republic debate you may do so by clicking on the video below. This short debate took place during The Queen's Canadian homecoming and followed pro-republican comments made by then Liberal Cabinet Minister (and one time Prime Ministerial hopeful) John Manley.

Should the above video not work you may view the video at THIS LINK

Friday, 20 July 2007

An Introduction to the U.K. Honours System

Photo Courtesy Guardian Images (LINK)

Following a 16 month police inquiry led by "Yates of the Yard", prosecutors today announced that they would not file charges in what has been dubbed as "the Cash for Honours" scandal. The so-called scandal was linked to the Labour Party's nomination for life peerages of several men who had loaned large sums to the Labour Party.

The story was first reported in March 2006 and was splashed onto the front pages of every national newspaper, guaranteeing the honours system the undivided attention of the nation’s media. In the sixteen months that followed, scarcely a fortnight passed without some coverage of the story on television, radio or in the newspapers.

Despite this unparalleled level of attention, I have yet to see the media provide the public with a clear explanation of the structure of the honours system and the manner in which it operates. The honours system is poorly understood by the majority of the public and the mystery that surrounds it inevitably arouses suspicion.

I therefore provide the following information as a public service.

The United Kingdom Honours System

There are about 3,000 honours awarded annually in the United Kingdom at New Year and on the Queen’s official birthday in June. This does not include appointments to the Orders of the Garter and the Thistle, which are made on St. George’s Day and St. Andrew’s Day respectively and are peculiar to the monarchy. Honours that are within the Queen’s personal gift: the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle, the Order of Merit, and the Royal Victorian Order and Chain, are beyond the influence of the Government and as such should not be regarded as national honours. Indeed, ardent monarchists might argue that there is no such thing as a UK honours system as the authority over all orders rests with The Queen and thereby transcend the UK nation state. Those advocating this view would point to the fact that 12 other commonwealth realms participate in the “United Kingdom” honours system with their heads of government making recommendations to The Queen in much the same way as the British Prime Minister.

The four remaining orders, the Order of the Bath, the Order of St. Michael & St. George, the Order of the British Empire and the Order of the Companions of Honour, are often referred to as the national honours, in a group with knights bachelor and life peerages. Of the four, only three are large multi-class state orders; the Order of the Companions of Honour is a single class honour restricted to 65. As mentioned, the Sovereign may also choose to honour an individual of noted accomplishment by creating him or her a life peer, which is always of the rank of Baron or Baroness. Life peerages were frequently announced in honours lists; however, this practice ended in the year 2000 and non-partisan peers are now created upon the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

In order to place the UK system in some perspective, it is also worth noting that Britain has far fewer orders than a great many comparable states. One could remove the Order of the Golden Fleece from Spain’s national list on the same basis as the Garter and the Thistle and still end up with nine orders for that country whilst Croatia, with 16 orders, has the largest number of orders per capita in Europe. Canada now has 13 orders: three national orders, excluding the Royal Victorian Order and the Order of St. John, and ten provincial orders. Romania has 16. Bosnia-Herzegovina has 19. Brazil has 22, and Malaysia has over 30. This far exceeds the number of UK orders. And although France rationalised 16 of its specialised merit orders into one national Order of Merit, it still found it necessary to retain five other merit orders: Academic Palms, Agricultural Merit, Maritime Merit, Cultural Merit, and Arts and Letters. The number of UK orders therefore compares very favourably with awards on the continent and elsewhere. Such a favourable comparison also applies to the number of awards made annually; for although some critics of the UK honours system have argued that 3,000 annual awards is excessive, a glance across the channel seems to suggest that the British Crown is rather parsimonious. In total France makes approximately four times as many awards as Great Britain in any one year. In 1951 in Italy a new system was established with the foundation of the Order of Merit of the Republic, which is now the principal award. The ability to award only one multi-class order, however, has proved injurious to the reputation of the Italian honours system. There are approximately 850,000 living members of the Order, with 7,700 Grand Crosses given since 1951, of which at least 4,000 are living. The number of annual awards exceeds 20,000!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Royal Hospital Chelsea Commemoration of the Bicententary of the death of Henry Benedict Stuart, July 2007

Left to Right: Philip Bonn, The Governor of the Royal Hospital (General the Lord Walker), Rafe Heydel-Mankoo

Left to Right: Philip Bonn, Viscount Maitland (Hereditary Bearer of the National Flag of Scotland, carrying the banner of the Royal Stuart Society), The Governor of the Royal Hospital (General The Lord Walker), Lord Aylmer, Lumsden of Cushnie, Rafe Heydel-Mankoo.

On Sunday members of the Royal Stuart Society and their guests gathered at the Royal Hospital Chelsea to commemorate the bicentenary of the death of Henry Benedict Stuart, the last member of the Royal House of Stuart (see earlier post "The Last Stuart", below, for an account of his life).

The day's events commenced at 10.40 am with a formal inspection of the Chelsea Pensioners, resplendent in their famous red tunics, by the Governor of the Royal Hospital, General The Lord Walker, GCB, CMG, CBE, equally resplendent in his uniform and plumed bicorn. David Lumsden of Cushnie, a council member of the Royal Stuart Society, accompanied the Governor during his inspection.

Following the inspection the Chelsea Pensioners marched into the Chapel for Matins, with the Royal Stuart Society following soon after. The banner of the Royal Stuart Society was processed into the Chapel and laid up at the altar by Viscount Maitland, the Hereditary Banner Bearer of the National Flag of Scotland (the office created for his ancestor by King Charles II). The 11 am service was conducted by the Rev. Richard Whittington MBE with a special sermon on the life of Henry (Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati, a Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church and Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals) provided by long-standing RSS member the Rev. Canon David Skeoch (pictured).

Rafe Heydel-Mankoo and David Lumsden of Cushnie process out of the Chapel.

Father Mark Turnham-Elvins leads the wreath-laying ceremony

At the conclusion of the service we processed out of the Chapel and to the Figure Court and the beautiful gold statue of Charles II (the Founder of the Royal Hospital) by Grinling Gibbons. Here Father Mark-Turnham Elvins led us in prayer following which four wreaths were laid at the statute in memory of Henry. The first was laid by Lord Aylmer (Chairman of the Council of the Royal Stuart Society), the second was laid by Philip Bonn and the third was laid by David Lumsden of Cushnie. As Henry is my ancestral 2nd cousin (through his Polish mother) I laid the fourth wreath, which was inscribed "Henry - A Polish Stuart".

(Above) Lord Aylmer lays a wreath on behalf of the Royal Stuart Society

(Above) Rafal Heydel-Mankoo lays a wreath to "Henry - A Polish Stuart"

At the conclusion of the wreath-laying ceremony a champagne reception was held around the statue. The forecast had threatened heavy showers however Henry clearly desired a clear view from above as the clouds were cleared away enabling the reception to take place under bright sunshine.

HSH Prince Raoul de Rohan with Christian Dewar-Durie

Peter Lole and Dr. Christopher Duffy deep in conversation whilst HSH Princess Raoul de Rohan engages a Chelsea Pensioner.

General The Lord Walker in conversation with David Lumsden of Cushnie and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo

At 12:45 the Pensioner Mace Bearer, acting as toastmaster, requested us to please proceed to the State Apartments for pre-prandials. We processed to the State Apartments led by Lord Maitland, again carrying the banner of the Royal Stuart Society.

The State Apartments consist of two main rooms, the Council Chamber and an Ante-Room. The Council Chamber is a magnificent oak-panelled room designed by Sir Christopher Wren and embellished by Robert Adam and still in its original stunning condition. There are a number of fine Stuart paintings by Van Dyke, Kneeler and Lely as well as important carvings and mouldings by William Emmett, John Grover and William Cleere.

At 1:15, following pre-prandials in the Ante Room, over 60 members and guests of the Royal Stuart Society proceeded to the Council Chamber for luncheon. The "Head Table" comprised: The Governor of the Royal Hospital and Lady Walker, Lord and Lady Aylmer, Lord and Lady Maitland, TSH Prince and Princess Raoul de Rohan, Anne Meinertzhagen (nee HSH Princess de Polignac), myself, Philip Bonn and Ludovic Marolles (most of whom are pictured here):

Lord Aylmer, General The Lord Walker, Lady Aylmer

Lord Maitland, HSH Princess Raoul de Rohan, Ludovic Marolles, Anne Meinertzhagen (nee Princess de Polignac)

The presence of the de Rohans provided a charming link to the last Stuarts (Charles and Henry in particular) particularly, as I noted in my brief speech, as Princess de Rohan is also related to Flora Macdonald.

Grace was offered by Father Mark Turnham-Elvins. Lord Aylmer proposed the toast to the Sovereign, Philip Bonn proposed the toast to "Henry and the Royal House of Stuart" and I proposed the toast to "The Royal Hospital". In his response, the Governor of the Royal Hospital, General The Lord Walker, provided us with a brief history of the Hosptial and the State Apartments before proposing a toast to "The Royal Stuart Society".

Dr. Paul Fox, David Lumsden of Cushnie, Father Mark Turnham-Elvins

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo and Dr. Paul Fox

Father Mark Turnham-Elvins, Gwyilym Ap Evans, Eoghain Murphy

David Lumsden of Cushnie and Dr. Martin Hogg

Christian Dewar-Durie and Major Michael Broadhurst

Council Members of the Royal Stuart Society: Left to Right: Peter Horrocks, Anthea Hickie, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Lord Aylmer, Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, David Lumsden of Cushnie, Dr. Eveline Cruickshanks.

Father Mark Turnham-Elvins with Lt. Col James Bogle

The day's events ended with coffee in the ante room at 3:30. Emerging from the State Apartments it was clear that, thankfully, the forecast torrential thundershowers had hit whilst we were dining. Leaving the Royal Hospital a group of us proceeded on to the Oxford and Cambridge Club for post-prandials and, eventually, dinner.

(My thanks to Prince Raoul de Rohan, Dr. Martin Hogg and Mr. Eoghain Murphy for kindly sending me their photographs and granting me permission to use them on my blog)

Friday, 13 July 2007

The Last Stuart

Today marks the bicentenary of the death of the last member of the Royal House of Stuart, Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati (and Ostia and Velletri), Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church and Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, styled by Jacobites as "King Henry IX and I of England, Scotland, France and Ireland" (and popularly as "the Cardinal Duke of York", the form in which he publicly referred to himself, the dukedom being part of the Jacobite Peerage).

Henry Benedict Maria Clement Thomas Francis Xavier Stuart was born on the 6th March 1725, in the Palazzo Muti (now Palazzo Balestra) in Rome. The grandson of King James II, his parents were James Francis Edward Stuart, known as "the Old Pretender" or, to Jacobites, as "King James III and VIII", and the Polish Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska (the Jacobite "Queen Maria Clementina"), grand-daughter of the great hero of Europe, King John III Sobieski, victor over the Turks at the 1683 Siege or Battle of Vienna.

Born in Rome and baptised by Pope Benedict XIII, Henry soon began a life of devotion to the Church. In June 1747 Henry had the tonsure conferred upon him by Pope Benedict XIV, who soon after created him Cardinal-Deacon of Santa-Maria in Portico. In August 1747 Henry was promoted to the four minor orders and a year later he received the subdiaconate and then the diaconate. In September 1748 Henry was ordained a priest and he was elevated to the rank of Cardinal-Priest of Santi XII Apostoli in 1752.

In 1758 Henry was named Cardinal Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. The Camerlengo is charged with administering the Church from the death of one pope to the election of the next; the position also brings with it use of the heraldic striped pavillion. As Camerlengo Henry had to deal with matters following the death of Pope Benedict XIV through to the election of Pope Clement XIII.

Henry was consecrated titular Archbishop of Corinth in 1758 and was made Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati in 1761. Two years later he was named Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, finally succeeding to the See of Ostia and Velletri on his appointment as Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals on 26 September 1803.

Henry spent his final years in the episcopal palace of Frascati, dying there 200 years ago today. He remains one of the longest serving cardinals in history. He was buried in the Vatican, in the crypt of St. Peter's where, thanks in part to the generosity of the Hanoverian Prince Regent, later George IV (with whom Henry was on amicable terms), the famous Stuart monument by Canova was later erected (pictured, photo: Noel McFerran). Below relief portraits of Henry, his father and brother the monument bears the following inscription:


[To James III,
son of James II, King of Great Britain,
to Charles Edward,
and to Henry, Dean of the Cardinal Fathers,
sons of James III,
the last of the Royal House of Stuart,

Henry's will, which was signed "Henry R", stated that his rights of succesion were to pass to the "prince on whom they devolve by right, by proximity of blood, and by rights of succession". His nearest blood relative was Charles Emmanuel IV of Savoy, Henry's second cousin twice removed, although Charles never advanced any claim to the Jacobite succession (nor did he renounce any claim).