Friday, 31 December 2010

Queen's First Great-Grandchild has Canadian Roots -- article

My broadcast to CTV News has been incorporated into this article: News Staff
Date: Thu. Dec. 30 2010 5:37 PM ET
Queen Elizabeth II is now a great-grandmother after the Montreal-born wife of her eldest grandson gave birth to a baby girl.

The first child of Autumn and Peter Phillips was born Wednesday at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday. The girl weighed eight pounds and eight ounces, according to the palace.
While the name of the child is not being released at the moment, the Queen, her husband Prince Philip, and the rest of Autumn and Peter Phillips' families are delighted with the news, the palace said in a statement.

By holding British and Canadian citizenship, the day-old girl is the first Canadian to be in line to the throne, said Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry, a guide that keeps a genealogical history of the Royal Family.
The girl is 12th in line to the throne.

Heydel-Mankoo said the birth adds more Canadian flavour to the Royal Family, as Prince Charles' wife Camilla is a descendent of Allan Napier MacNab, who was a Prime Minister of Upper Canada in the 1800s.
As well, one of Prince Edward's two daughters-in-law, Sylvana Windsor, hails from Newfoundland, he said.
"The Royal Family has never been more Canadian and I think that's quite important in strengthening the connections between the Canadian people and the Crown," Heydel-Mankoo told CTV News Channel from London, England.
Peter Phillips married his wife, the former Autumn Kelly, in May 2008 at Windsor Castle. They live in Hong Kong, where Peter Phillips works for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The couple met when Peter Phillips was attending the Montreal Grand Prix in Autumn Phillips' hometown in 2003.
As a child, Autumn Phillips attended various Catholic schools in Montreal and later attended McGill University. She converted to Anglicanism when she married her husband to preserve his succession rights to the throne.
The couple's child arrives at a time when there is a lot of buzz surrounding the Royal Family, largely due to the engagement of Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, and Kate Middleton. Their wedding is one of the most-anticipated events of 2011.

With files from The Canadian Press

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Monarch as Moral Leader and Champion of Civic Duty and Civil Society

The Monarchy has deliberately resisted attempts to steer it down a show-business path. In so doing it stands as an important counter-weight to the excesses of contemporary culture. Actively engaged in charity and philanthropy, and patron to thousands of organisations, the Monarchy is the supreme champion of civic duty and the voluntary ethic. Many of the causes it espouses and the values it sustains are unglamorous and unfashionable; but this is Monarchy at is best – honouring the many individuals engaged in voluntary work (be it in soup kitchens, delivering meals on wheels, or volunteering in a local museum) and recognising the work of institutions such as the Girl Guides and St. John’s Ambulance.  These are the unsung heroes of Britain. Their work appeals closely to The Queen’s own system of values and beliefs.

Through royal visits, the conferral of royal patronage and the bestowal of honours, the Monarchy is able to draw attention to institutions, causes, social needs, visible minorities and deprived groups which would otherwise be neglected by the media and the government. It encourages citizenship engagement in local communities, promotes local initiatives, highlights issues of social, cultural, environmental and spiritual concern.  Importantly, the Monarchy is able to achieve this whilst remaining politically neutral. In the modern era, nothing has done more to strengthen the monarchy and make it more visible than its commitment to charitable and voluntary work. 

As a champion of civic duty the Monarchy has an important role to play in the Big SocietyThe notion of national ideals, shared values and a common purpose have fallen out of vogue, with the responsibilities of citizenship overwhelmingly subordinate to its entitlements. The Monarchy leads by example; its charitable work and the causes it supports are vital to the promotion of civil society, social cohesion and national identity.

The Monarchy has never been more relevant to society and more finely in-tune with its needs. The Prince of Wales has a particular appreciation for, and understanding of, many of the issues facing contemporary society: environment, agriculture, education, inter-faith dialogue, architectural heritage, urban regeneration and the built environment, youth projects.

The Monarchy’s future requires it to continue to remain politically neutral whilst engaging even more with society. The Monarchy must be seen and be seen to do good.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Role of Monarchy

Speaking in Quebec in 1964 HM The Queen declared: “The role of a constitutional monarch is to personify the democratic state, to sanction legitimate authority, to assure the legality of its measures, and to guarantee the execution of the popular will. In accomplishing this task it protects the people against disorder.”

As the world changes ever more quickly, becoming, in the process, both increasingly chaotic and unfamiliar, the Monarchy stands as a steadfast symbol of stability and continuity. It is one of the few elements in modern life that grounds us and places us at a fixed point in the continuum of our history. This stability may explain in part why post-war Britain was able to transform from an imperial nation, through decolonization and economic decline, without the unrest and ideological battles that afflicted nations such as France -- the trappings of Monarchy made the transformation easier to bear.

Today, the Sovereign is not merely a legal entity or constitutional power; HM is the representative of the nation, the ultimate symbol of national identity and the supreme champion of the spirit of civic duty.

During her Coronation Service The Queen took a solemn oath dedicating herself to a life of selfless service and duty, reaffirming the covenant between Sovereign and People. The oath and the consecration/annointing are of profound significance to our religiously devout Sovereign. In The Queen’s 2000 Christmas Broadcast HM said: “For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”

The modern British monarchy continues the tradition of Christian Monarchy, upholding three fundamental pillars of civil society: 

  • 1.      ceremonial and ritual (symbolising the state and providing a source of national unity)
  • 2.      civic duty (expressed principally through philanthropy and charitable work)
  • 3.      moral leadership (demonstrated through sacrifice and duty)

No other form of government, and no other type of head of state, is better equipped to handle these essential elements of civil and civilised society. 

Friday, 17 December 2010

Watch my CBC TV interview on the Royal Wedding

To watch a short (2 min) clip of my 5 minute CBC News interview about the wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton (discussing such weighty topics as royal commemorative tea towels) please CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Restoration of "Royal Canadian Navy" one step closer

Yesterday evening the Canadian Senate's national security and defence committee recommended that the Senate pass a motion supporting the change of the name of Maritime Command to include the word "Navy". The Senate is expected to adopt the motion today or tomorrow. It will then be up to National Defence Minister Peter MacKay to decide whether to restore the naval force's traditional name: "Royal Canadian Navy" before the end of the year (the navy's centennial year) or, failing that, in time for Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.

A national grassroots campaign to restore the Royal Canadian Navy has united patriotic Canadians. The campaign has a regularly updated BLOG (CLICK HERE) through which supporters can sign the ON-LINE PETITION (CLICK HERE)

The campaigners have also produced the above video

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Order of Merit finally ranked in Canada -- symbolic of the renaissance of Canadian institutions

Following HM The Queen's decision to appoint former Prime Minister Jean Chretien to the Order of Merit in 2009, there was some discussion regarding the precedence of the Order within the Canadian Honours System. 

In a post on The Monarchist web-site one author (posting under the pseudonym "Beaverbrook") wrote as follows:

"Having pretty much completely abolished titular honours from the Canadian landscape (apart from the odd anomoly), it was surely the intent of the Government of Canada to ensure that the highest honour bestowed upon Canadians (save those rewarded for the most conspicuous acts of bravery) be the Order of Canada, whatever the rank. By refusing to resurrect the old knighthoods, the Order of Canada would never have to compete with the likes of the Garter, the Thistle or the Bath.

This is clear from the Governor General's website regarding the modern orders of precedence. All three ranks of the Order of Canada take precedence in the orders of wear after the Victoria Cross (V.C.) and the Cross of Valour (C.V.). 

The problem is they forgot about the non-titular orders that are in the personal gift of the Sovereign, such as the highly prestigious Companions of Honour (1917) and the even more exclusive Order of Merit (1902), both of which rank ahead of the Order of Canada (1967) if bestowed prior to June 1, 1972. Presumably these honours are so rare, no room was ever made for them in the new Canadian honours system, though the Royal Victorian Order was, probably because it conveniently ranked after the Order of Canada."

"The issue you raise has required formal consideration for some time. Unfortunately, as LB Pearson was the last Canadian to hold the OM and the powers-that-be at Rideau Hall no doubt thought it unlikely that another Canadian would be appointed, the OM was not included in the modern/revised Order of Precedence. I suspect, however, that the official position of the Government would be that, post 1972, the CC outranks the OM. 

Such a position, if it is ever formally expressed, will have been based upon wholly political and pseudo-nationalist considerations and would be as unconvincing and nonsensical as the decision to group all the grades of the Order of Canada together, ranking a lowly Member of the Order of Canada above Companions of the Order of Military Merit, the Order of Merit of the Police Forces and of the Royal Victorian Order.

It is my view that the OM, as an exclusive award in the personal gift of Her Majesty, clearly outranks the far less exclusive CC. The Government's agenda notwithstanding, I do not see how one can arrive at any other conclusion. The New Zealand Royal Honours System (which, after that of the UK, is the most finely crafted honours system in the Commonwealth) has ranked the OM correctly."

In light of this, I am delighted to announce that the Order of Merit has now received official ranking in the current Canadian Order of Precedence, where it has been correctly positioned in third place, below the Victoria Cross and the Cross of Valour.   This is highly-encouraging and Government House and the Prime Minister's Office are to be congratulated. This excellent decision is merely the latest in an impressive line of initiatives by the current Government to restore the visibility of the Canadian Crown and reassert pride in Canada's traditional institutions and symbols.  Across the Commonwealth the Canadian situation should warm the cockles of traditionalist hearts and give inspiration and indeed motivation for citizens to call on their Governments to act likewise.

SI/2010-88 December 8, 2010

Order of Merit (O.M.) Order

P.C. 2010-1499 November 26, 2010
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, hereby directs that the Order of Merit (O.M.) follow the Cross of Valour (C.V.) in the order of precedence in the Canadian Honours System. 

(Hat tip to  Gavin Guthrie for Gazette link)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Reforming the Lords - Part Two

The second part of my blog post dealing with Reform of the House of Lords has been published on the "Disraeli Room" of the ResPublica website. It may be read by clicking HERE

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lords Reform - A Century in the Making

ResPublica, Britain's most dynamic and exciting new think tank, has published my article on Reform of the House of Lords in its "Disraeli Room".  Part One today and Part Two tomorrow.  It may be read by clicking HERE

Monday, 6 December 2010

Hereditary Succession 101

Hereditary succession is the element common to all monarchies, save for rare historic examples of election such as in Poland and the Holy Roman Empire, and in the modern example of the Papacy.  

As an aside: It is also interesting to note the Anglo-Saxon tradition of the “election” of a new king by the Witenagemot from amongst the deceased King’s family.  Although tempting to draw a comparison with Parliament’s invitation to William and Mary in the seventeenth century and the installation of George I in the eighteenth, the power of the Witenagemot was never so great and, in practice, amounted to little more than formal recognition of the king’s established (primarily primogenital) heir.  Nevertheless, I regard this Anglo-Saxon recognition as an early form of the concept of covenant/consent which was to be settled in England after 1689.  As evidence I can cite two occasions where it is believed that the Witan deposed a king (Sigeberht, King of Wessex in 757 and Alchred, King of Northumberland in 774) and one where the Witan offered to restore a king on the condition that he improve the quality of his kingship (Elthelred the Unready had fled the country in 1013).

Various different forms of hereditary succession have been employed in different countries: 

1. Absolute or lineal promogeniture, also known as full cognatic priomogeniture: inheritance by the oldest child, irrespective of gender. The first monarchy to introduce this was Sweden in 1980 (displacing Prince Carl Philip as Heir Apparent in favour of Crown Princess Victoria).

2. Agnatic or patrilineal primogeniture: inheritance by the eldest son, and then his male issue inheriting before brothers and their male issue. (this is also Salic law)  

3. Agnatic-cognatic primogeniture allows female agnates (or their descendants) to inherit once there are no surviving male agnates.

4. Male preference primogeniture (also known as "mixed-female succession" and as "cognatic" primogeniture) allows a female to succeed if she has no living brothers and no deceased brothers who left surviving legitimate descendants. 

5. Matrilineal primogeniture is a form of succession where the eldest female child inherits the throne to the total exclusion of males. 

6.Uterine or ovarian primogeniture a right of succession may also be inherited by a male through a female ancestor or spouse, to the exclusion of any female heir who might be older or of nearer proximity of blood;

Succession provides the continuity that is essential to the stability of Monarchy. According to the common law Doctrine of Perpetuity, the Sovereign never dies but is immediately succeeded by his or her successor. Hence the expression: “The King is Dead! Long Live the King!” The individual Monarch may die but the Crown continues, for it is the source of all authority and without it the state would cease to be. 

The continuity afforded by Monarchy through hereditary succession enables the public to understand and tangibly connect with the stability of the political system. The Monarchy provides the nation with all-important reassurance in a world which is changing ever more rapidly. The Monarchy grounds us; it promotes order, symbolises essential values and provides us with a sense of national identity and unity.