Tuesday, 29 July 2008

1973: Greek Referendum on the Country's Monarchy
Hardly any country has had so many referenda on their form of state than Greece. Some resulted in favouring the Monarchy, some gave the politicians’ republic the preference. On this day 35 years ago, the then ruling military junta ordered the country to accept the colonels' republic. What's hardly a surprise in a dictatorship, they got what they had asked for: A republic.

According to the official results, in the referendum of 29th July 1973 3,870,124 (78.4%) agreed with the military rulers to abolish the Monarchy, 1,064,300 (21.6%) courageously expressed their disapproval with the republic and remained loyal to King Constantine II, who has been living in exile since 1967. Greece had a population of 10 million, the junta registered less than 6 million voters. According to the official figures 4,934,424 took part in the referendum. Considering these figures the achieved majority is put in a different spot light.

King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie on 14th December 1967 on their way into exile after the King's attempted coup to restore democracy in Greece had failed.

The Mutiny of the Velos
1973 was a crucial year in Greek history. In May 1973 a wide-ranging anti-junta movement among the ranks of the mostly Royalist Navy was discovered and suppressed, just before its outbreak. On 25 May 1973, the destroyer Velos, under the command of Nikolaos Pappas, while participating in a NATO exercise and in order to protest against the dictatorship in Greece, anchored at Fiumicino, Italy, refusing to return to Greece. The captain and the officers had learned by radio that royalist naval officers had been arrested and tortured in Greece. Commander Pappas was a member of a group of democratic officers, loyal to their oath to the King and planning to act against the junta. Pappas knew the arrested officers and realised there was no further hope for a coup at that point.
Headline in a German newspaper on 29th May 1973: "Mutiny for the King was a strike against the King."

Nikolaos Pappas and 31 officers and crew disembarked and asked for political asylum, creating a world-wide interest for the situation in Greece. The failed Navy revolt demonstrated that even after six years of junta "normality", the opposition had not died off, and that it existed even amongst large parts of the armed forces, which were the regime's main internal supporter.

The US magazine Time wrote in its edition of 11th June 1973: "In the wake of the coup, there were reports that the regime had rounded up hundreds of civilians and military men who were suspected of being royalist partisans. Last week, Papadopoulos sacked his chief of the navy after sitting down to dinner with him the night before. The air force was also grounded for fear that dissident pilots would fly their planes to Italy, in a show of support for the coup.

[the King] cooperated with all kinds of reactionaries, turned against the armed forces and behaved like a party leader of adventurists, fellow travelers, saboteurs and even murderers.' With those sharp words, Premier George Papadopoulos, in a ten-minute, nationwide broadcast, last week abolished the monarchy and appointed himself head of the new Greek Republic. He accused Constantine of supporting an abortive coup planned by royalist naval officers, which gave Papadopoulos an ideal excuse to extend the junta's heavyhanded rule and depose the King. Under the constitution that Papadopoulos promulgated in 1968, which provides that the King is titular head of state, last week's announcement that Greece had become a republic was patently illegal. But it did not come as much of a surprise. Originally, the colonels had used the throne as a way of giving their rule some illusion of legitimacy. King Constantine's refusal to return to Greece from exile in Rome until democracy was restored had long since made a mockery of that claim."
In June 1973 King Constantine declared in a press conference, that he would not accept Papadopoulos' act and would fight instead for the restoration of democracy in his home country.

A Decreed republic
The Navy’s royalist sympathies gave Georgios Papadopoulos the pretext he was looking for to assume total power in Greece. The Daily Telegraph wrote (1st June 1973): “Last week's abortive mutiny has apparently convinced Mr. Papadopoulos that the time was ripe to put paid to future plots in which the King is used as a rallying cry.”

On 1st June, Papadopoulos issued a decree declaring Greece a presidential republic, with himself as president. The act was widley criticised as illegal. To give his new putsch the air of legality, Papadopoulos ordered a referendum to be held on 29 July 1973. The defunct political parties and their leaders urged for a "No" as a sign of opposition to the regime, but the vote was tightly controlled by the junta, and the results were predictably favourable to the regime. (See results above).

Once again Time magazine: "Last month [it was actually April 1973], exiled former Premier Constantine Caramanlis, 66, issued a bitter broadside from Paris against the regime, calling for its resignation and the return of the King to oversee the restoration of democracy. … Many Greeks have mixed feelings about King Constantine, but the monarchy has traditionally been viewed as a symbolic support of democracy."

The referendum did not quieten the opposition, among which the royalists formed a large part: “The press [in Greece] has published anti-regime appeals, but has not been allowed to do so when these have come from influential sources. … The same applies to the appeals of the deposed King Constantine and retired military officers. One retired officer was recently jailed for sending a letter to a provincial paper in which he suggested that the monarchy should be restored.” (Weekly "To the Point", 8th September 1973).

Papadopoulos couldn’t enjoy his presidency for very a long time. In November 1973, the Athens Polytechnic uprising broke out. The student uprising is generally believed to have been spontaneous, started with purely student demands at first, and not orchestrated by any political groups in Greece. On 24th November 1973 he was toppled by Brigadier General Dimitrios Ioannides and arrested. Lieutnant General Phaedon Gizikis was declared president.

The Legacy of the 1973 Referendum

Observers from the very diversified Greek political spectrum may argue on many issues, but they agree on one point: The results of the 29th July 1973 referendum “were achieved by fraud and intimidation”(Panayotis Kanellopoulos, last royal Prime Minister in 1967), however, the legacy of dictator Georgios Papadopulos’ is still effecting Greek politics.

King Constantine II ascended to the Greek throne after the death of his father, King Pavlos I, on 6th March 1964.

"A king is a king unless he says he is no longer a king. Titles don't disappear but power and privelege can be taken away from them. Found in Wikipedia, posted by Charles, 4 October 2006

Monday, 21 July 2008

Leve België!

Vive la Belgique!

His Majesty, King Albert II, King of the Belgians, addressed the Nation
This Monday, Kingdom of Belgium is celebrating its national day. On 21st July 1831 King Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, was sworn in after the country had gained its independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1830.

With the unity of the Kingdom in danger, the traditional speech to the nation, which the King delivers on the eve of the national day, was eagerly awaited. It is available in Flemish and in French, however, I reproduce only the French version.

The audio recording of the speech can be listened to here.

This is what the King had to say:

Le discours da Sa Majesté le Roi

Dimanche 20 juillet 2008, 20:58

« Mesdames et Messieurs,

Il y a maintenant près de quinze ans que le Roi Baudouin nous a quittés, mais il reste très présent dans la mémoire de nos concitoyens.

Notre pays traverse, vous le savez bien, de sérieuses difficultés politiques, mais j’aimerais rappeler que les difficultés et les crises sont aussi des occasions de rebondir et de se ressaisir. La division dans les esprits n’est pas une fatalité. C’est l’union et la tolérance dans le respect de l’identité de chaque entité fédérée qui représentent la seule voie possible dans notre société démocratique. Nous devons inventer de nouvelles formes de vivre ensemble dans notre pays.

Néanmoins, je ne voudrais pas m’étendre davantage sur nos difficultés institutionnelles présentes, mais évoquer certains thèmes qui tenaient tellement à cœur au Roi Baudouin, et voir avec vous comment ils ont évolué ces 15 dernières années, et ce qu’il faut encore réaliser.

Mon frère était profondément attaché aux valeurs de base de notre société, en particulier à la justice, la solidarité avec les plus faibles, et le respect de chaque personne.

Il était notamment préoccupé par la pauvreté. Celle-ci a pris de nouvelles formes et touche davantage de jeunes et de familles monoparentales. Elle reste aussi répandue parmi les personnes âgées. Une étude du Service Fédéral économie montre qu’en Belgique une personne sur 7, soit 14, 7 % de la population, peut être considérée comme pauvre.

Concrètement cela signifie qu’environ un million cinq cent mille personnes vivent chez nous dans la pauvreté. Cela concerne des personnes seules avec un revenu de moins de 860 euros par mois, et des familles de 2 adultes et 2 enfants avec un revenu mensuel de moins de 1.805 euros. Ce pourcentage est plus élevé que dans nos pays voisins, et nos efforts pour le réduire significativement doivent se poursuivre avec ténacité. En effet, ne faisons-nous pas partie des pays les plus prospères de la planète ? Les causes de pauvreté sont multiples, mais l’enseignement, la formation professionnelle, l’emploi et le logement social sont des instruments privilégiés pour la combattre.

Par ailleurs, certains délits graves restent hélas d’actualité. Ainsi, la traite des êtres humains qui frappe durement les personnes les plus fragiles ne régresse pas, malgré nos dispositions légales.

Comme le montre une récente étude du Centre pour l’égalité des chances, les formes que prend cette traite changent, se diversifient, et les victimes sont, pour une part, originaires de pays différents. Si le phénomène est peut-être moins visible, le combattre devrait à nouveau devenir une priorité.

D’autres grandes souffrances, dont on parle trop peu, touchent des jeunes vulnérables. Il y a d’abord la violence contre eux-mêmes. Dans notre pays le nombre de suicides chez les jeunes demeure élevé. Une politique de prévention et d’écoute de jeunes en difficulté devrait être stimulée.

De récentes données de centres de prévention dans notre pays montrent qu’un « teenager » sur 10 s’est déjà mutilé ou a essayé de se suicider. En outre, la violence de jeunes à l’endroit d’autres personnes s’est également accrue et traduit un mal vivre dans une partie de notre société. Là aussi une politique de prévention, centrée sur le respect de l’autre, doit être renforcée. Mais il va de soi que les Autorités feront leur travail lorsque, malgré tout, la violence se manifeste effectivement, et un accompagnement adéquat de ces jeunes sera assuré.

Par ailleurs, le Roi Baudouin était un avocat vigoureux de l’unité et de la cohésion du pays, dans le respect de sa diversité. Il était convaincu que le caractère multiculturel de notre pays est une richesse et un atout.

Dans son dernier discours de juillet 1993, il préconisait, et je cite : « un esprit de conciliation, de bonne volonté, de tolérance et de civisme fédéral. » Il poursuivait en demandant, et je cite encore : « que nous puissions unir nos efforts pour faire face ensemble à d’autres défis auxquels nous sommes confrontés. Parmi eux, je pense surtout à l’emploi, à la sécurité, à l’enseignement et à la construction européenne. » Fin de citation.

Ces propos restent évidemment d’une grande actualité, et j’invite chacun à les méditer en cette année européenne du dialogue interculturel.

Enfin, mon frère était aussi très préoccupé de voir le fossé entre les pays riches et les pays pauvres s’accroître. Est-il besoin de rappeler qu’à ce jour encore, moins de 20 % de la population de notre terre bénéficie de plus de 80 % du revenu mondial. Le partage équitable est un devoir de solidarité que nous devons poursuivre et renforcer.

L’évolution climatique, dont l’hémisphère nord est en grande partie responsable, renforce encore ces inégalités, et la crise alimentaire mondiale accentue les difficultés de nombreux pays.

La situation en Afrique, et en particulier en Afrique centrale, doit continuer à nous mobiliser. Nous ne pouvons être indifférents aux drames humains qui s’y propagent, et spécialement aux tragédies innombrables dont les femmes et les jeunes filles sont les victimes.

Pour terminer, j’aimerais rendre hommage à la Reine Fabiola qui vient de fêter son quatre-vingtième anniversaire. Au nom de tous je la remercie pour ce qu’elle a été aux côtés du Roi Baudouin pendant plus de 30 ans, et pour tout ce qu’elle continue à faire.

En rappelant ces quelques sujets auxquels le Roi Baudouin était particulièrement sensible, il faut bien constater que les situations auxquelles il consacrait tant d’énergie se sont en partie modifiées, mais que les défis de base demeurent. Si je le souligne, c’est que chacun de nous peut contribuer à rendre notre société plus solidaire et plus juste.

C’est le souhait que la Reine et moi et toute notre famille formons à l’occasion de notre Fête Nationale. »

Monday, 14 July 2008

50 Years ago: A Massacre in Bagdad's Royal Palace puts an End to the Hashemite Monarchy and starts 50 Years of Bloodshed and Oppression
The world was shocked and horrified, with the news of the coup d’état against King Faisal II of Iraq. The 23 year old King was brutally murdered in a military putsch on 14th July 1958. The officers behind this bloody seizure of power called themselves "Free Officers" and were inspired by the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and his nationalistic rhetoric, but they were also encouraged by the Americans who disliked the British influence in the Middle East. Then as now oil was the driving factor behind the overthrow of the government of Iraq.

King Faisal II and Crown Prince Abdullah were executed in the gardens of the Royal Palace. Their bodies (and those of many others in the royal family) were displayed in public. Among the dead were: Princess Hiyam, Abdullah's wife; Princess Nafeesa, Abdullah’s mother, Princess Abadiya, the king’s aunt. However, some sources on the internet claim, that Princess Hiyam survived her injuries, caused during the massacre, and was able to escape the country.

The young King had been engaged to be married to H.H. Princess Sabiha Fazila Khanum Sultana, only daughter of Prince Damad Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim Bey Effendi of Egypt, by his wife, H.I.H. Princess Zahra Khanzadi Sultana, second daughter of Captain H.I.H. Prince Omar Faruk Effendi of Turkey. She was not in Bagdad, when the massacre took place and later married Dr Hayri Ürgüplü, eldest son of H.E. 'Ali Suat Hayri Ürgüplü, GCVO, sometime Senator and Prime Minister of Turkey, by his wife, Nigar. Princess Sabiha Fazila has two sons.

Between 1921 and 1958, Iraq had three kings descended from Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who initiated the Arab revolt against the region’s Ottoman rulers: Faisal I (1921-1933), Ghazi I (1933-1939) and Faisal II (1939-1958). King Faisal- born 2nd May 1935 - was not even four years old, when his father died in a car accident on 4th April 1939 and he succeeded him as King. Until he was 18 years old and officially crowned King of Iraq the following regents ruled as in his name:
· Crown Prince Abdul Ilahi bin Ali (1939-1941)
· Prime Minister Rashid Ali al-Kaylani (1941)
· Crown Prince Abdul Ilahi bin Ali (1941-1953)

Following King Faisal II’s assassination by blood thirsty officers in 1958, there were no elections for 27 years. Votes organised by Saddam Hussein were hardly democratic. And as Bernard Lewis wrote “Iraqis never chose to abandon their 1925 constitution--it was taken from them. The document is not ideal, and it is doubtless not the constitution under which a modern democratic Iraq will ultimately be governed.”

“The 1925 Iraqi constitution - which establishes that the nation's sovereignty 'resides in the people' — provides for an elected lower house of parliament, which has a major role in approving constitutional amendments. It also contains a section on 'The Rights of the People' that declares Islam as the official religion, but also provides for freedom of worship for all Islamic sects and indeed for all religions and for 'complete freedom of conscience'. It further guarantees 'freedom of expression of opinion, liberty of publication, of meeting together, and of forming and joining associations'. In different words, the essence of much of our own Bill of Rights is reflected therein.”

In his article Lewis goes even further by suggesting that Iraq should get back its Monarchy: “It is worth noting that monarchy and democracy coexist happily in a number of countries. Indeed, of the nations that have been democracies for a very long time and show every sign that they will remain so, a substantial majority are constitutional monarchies (the U.S. and Switzerland being the principal exceptions).”

Lewis went even further in recommending: “The king should be a Hashemite prince with political experience and no political obligations or commitments. In view of the nation's Shiite majority, the prime minister should be a modern Shiite with a record of opposition to tyranny and oppression. Such leaders would be well-suited to begin the process that would in time lead to genuinely free and fair elections, sound amendments to the 1925 Iraqi Constitution, and the election of a truly representative governing body. We would also strongly suggest that the choices of king and prime minister be made on the basis of character, ability and political experience - not on the basis of bias, self-interest, grudges or rivalries held or felt by some in the region and indeed by some in the U.S. government.

“The respect enjoyed by the Hashemites has been earned. They have had a generally deserved reputation for tolerance and coexistence with other faiths and other branches of Islam. Many Iraqis look back on the era of Hashemite rule from the 1920s to the 1950s as a golden age. And during the period of over 1,000 years when the Hashemites ruled the Hejaz, wherein the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located, they dealt tolerantly with all Muslims during the Haj, or annual pilgrimage. Disagreements and tension under Hashemite rule have never come close either to the bloody conflicts of many centuries' duration in Europe between Catholics and Protestants or to the massacres and hatred perpetrated by the Wahhabis and their allies in the House of Saud."
George Bush and his fellow warriors didn’t follow Bernard Lewis’ advice, although even some Republicans in Congress supported the idea of an Iraqi Monarchy. For example U.S. Rep. John Shimkus said in July 2007 that while he is “a democracy guy,” he’s not sure Iraq is ready for American-style government. Shimkus, R-Collinsville: “In some of these countries where they are having some Islamic presence, is it better to have a constitutional monarchy, with a very strong, powerful king”, Shimkus said during a discussion with the editorial board of The State Journal-Register. “When I taught government and history,” Shimkus added, “by definition, what is the best form of government, the most simple, is a compassionate monarchy - a monarchy that loves and respects its citizens and … is able to make easy decisions without the weight of a bureaucracy we’d have to fund.”

David Pryce-Jones a National Review senior editor wrote: "Restoration of a Hashemite to the throne of Iraq has its logic at a time when rulers and boundaries are in question."

Who should be Iraq's King?
The question, who should be Iraq’s King is not so easily decided as the fact that Iraq needs a King. There are at least two serious claimants:
Sharif Ali bin Hussein, whose mother was Faisal II's aunt. Just two years old at the time of the 1958 massacre of the Iraqi Royal Family, he has been a banker in London, and has the Constitutional Monarchy Movement backing him.
Prince Ali remained an opponent of the rule of Saddam Hussein. In 1991, he quit his job managing investment funds and became a member of the Iraqi National Congress which had the purpose of fomenting the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He has succeeded in establishing himself as claimant in the international press, however his party did not obtained a substantial percentage of the popular vote in the 2005 election.

Some critics assert that Sharif Ali is not even in line to the throne according to the constitution of the old Iraqi monarchy. According to this constitution, the heir to the monarchy would be Prince Ra'ad (born 1936), who lives in Jordan.

Prince Ra'ad is the only son of Prince Zeid Ben Al Hussein (the fourth son of Sherif Hussein Ben Ali of Mecca) and Princess Fakhrelnissa Zeid, a renowned artist.

The Prince, who spent most of his early childhood in Baghdad growing up alongside King Faisal II of Iraq, was invited by his cousin the late King Hussein to make Jordan his home after the 1958 Iraqi revolution.

He obtained his bachelor's degree from Victoria College, Alexandria, in 1960, and his master's from Cambridge University in 1963. A staunch advocate of the disabled, the Prince heads the Jordan Sports Federation for the Disabled, the Jordanian Special Olympics Organisation and the Friendship Society for the Blind. He pushed for the 1993 Law for the Welfare of Disabled Persons which delineates clear obligations by the public and private sectors towards the disabled.

Prince Ra'ad is also president of the Petra National Trust (PNT), a non-governmental, non-profit organisation with a mandate to preserve the antiquities, environment and cultural heritage of Petra.

What do Iraqis think about the Hashemite Monarchy that was toppled in 1958?
Aida Kouyoumjian, now a retired educator, lives in Seattle, Washington State:Iraq may need what it once had -- a constitutional monarchy
Once upon a not-too-distant past, civility prevailed in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where I grew up. We had a King whose throne necessitated civil behavior among the tribal blood feuds, the religious diversities and the ethnic mores. The aura of a monarchy bestowed the privilege to control behavior and bring dignity to the self.

Iraq was a Kingdom before Saddam Hussein's precursor regime that, playing with Moscow in the 1950s, executed regicide, much like the Bolsheviks did to the Tsar's family in Russia in 1917. The coup d'etat, led by an Iraqi general (Brig. Gen. Abdel Kerim Qassim), on July 14, 1958, raided the Qasr al-Zuhur (Palace of Roses). On the pretext that a helicopter would pick up the Royal Family to safety, they were directed to the courtyard. Instead, the King, the Regent, the Princess, the grandmother and other members of the Royalty were made to face the palace walls and machine-gunned.

The brutality was furthered in the display of the dead bodies of the 23-year-old King Faisal II and the 45-year-old regent, Abdel Ilah. They were dragged down Rashid Street in Baghdad, with "feet up and naked, except for white briefs," as described by my father who witnessed the demonstration on his way to work that day. Obviously, he did not go to his office, for fear of his life.

There is nothing fundamentally undemocratic about a limited monarchy serving as a transition. Royalty provides the framework for law and order and national unity. It preserves the symbolic past and can be in itself an important representative without threatening democracy. Kings and Queens in England, Denmark, Spain and Jordan have espoused an evolving constitution while the governing body revolves around the monarch -- a figurehead responsive to its citizenry.

Iraq would benefit from a constitutional monarchy, without having to re-invent the wheel. Since its inception in 1921, Iraq has had three kings, descendants of the Hashemite clan, a direct line from the Prophet Muhammad. Each king ruled effectively under a constitution ratified by the Iraqi parliament in 1925, much of its essence reflecting the U.S. Bill of Rights. All Iraqis were equal before the law and in their enjoyment of civil and political rights, irrespective of religion or ethnicity.

The fact that I am in [the USA] is a good example: ethnically, I am Armenian, not an Arab; by faith, I am a Christian, not a Muslim; and I am female, not male. Despite all those odds and a Fulbright scholarship in my hand, the Iraqi government, in 1952, under the rule of monarchy, supported my ambition for higher education in America.
The Hashemite Royalty has earned a reputation for tolerance and coexistence with other faiths and other branches of Islam throughout the Middle East. Certainly, the Kings of Jordan fit this description, as did the kings of Iraq. I've experienced that in the first two decades of my life in Baghdad:

1. I can show you school pictures with friends who are Jewish, Muslim (both Shia and Sunni), Ba'hai, Assyrian and Armenian. I went to church on Sundays, my Jewish friends attended temple on Saturdays and schools were closed on Fridays, in deference to the Muslim state of Iraq.

2. My father, a Christian Armenian, worked for the government as one of the lead engineers in the irrigation department.

3. My mother volunteered at the Red Crescent Organization (the local Red Cross) with Christian teachers, Armenian doctors and with the King's fiancé and her mother, both Sunni Turks.

4. We shopped anywhere, swam in the Tigris or Euphrates anytime, and danced with whomever we pleased -- Americans, Arabs or Swedes.

In other words, we controlled our own destiny. What we couldn't control was the awful dust.

The principle of hereditary monarchy does not attract many defenders in a world of equal opportunity and anti-elitism. But there is a lot to say about grooming the next in line for high office that promises a stable future. What Iraq needs immediately is stability.

Restoring the monarchy, ruling with a non-flailing whip, may be a political necessity to control the hostilities that have festered in the psyche of the Shi'ia and Sunni for 1,200 years.

There are several descendants of the Hashemite heritage in the diaspora. Would they consent to ascend the throne? Perhaps temporarily. With guidance from the members of Iraq Royalist Party, who were duly elected into the current government, there would be a semblance to civil behavior among the feuding factions in the country.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Evict the Queen from Buck House: Make space for Rupert!

You would not have guessed it: Barry Everingham is a Melbourne-based republican and a commentator on royalty. Melbourne’s tabloid newspaper HeraldSun is one of his favourite media to publish his articles and the HeraldSun gave the author that discription.

Considering the number of articles he writes on the Monarchy in Australia as well as the British Monarchy and the republican tendencies in both countries, he must earn a substantial amount of money. Let’s hope he gets enough to live royally. The commentator's latest presumably well paid attack on Royalty was published on 8th July in the HeraldSun

Barry Everingham is disgusted that “our own head of state has complained she hasn't enough money for the upkeep of Buckingham Palace. The Queen wants the Government to allocate a huge sum to keep the crumbling building shipshape”.

Dear me, what has she asked for? A 70 percent payrise like French president Nicolas Sarkozy? He got immediately what he wanted from a rubber stamp Assemblée Nationale, but Barry Everingham was not referring to the civil list the British Parliament draws up every year to pay for the cost for the Monarchy. Actually, you will not find the annual budget for the Monarchy in Barry Everingham’s article. You have to look into more serious media to find this: “The monarchy now costs £40 million to maintain, up £2 million in the last year, according to an annual report from Buckingham Palace. The Queen spent £1.2 million on catering and hospitality and £600,000 on housekeeping and furnishings.” Or you can go the British Monarchy website and download the annual financial report.

You will then discover facts Barry Everingham avoids to mention: “The Royal Public Finances annual report, which includes details of public expenditure on property and travel, states that Head of State expenditure for 2007-08 at £40.0 million (including VAT of £2.6 million) has increased by 2.0% in real terms. Over the past seven years it has decreased in real terms by 3.1%.

Unlike French president Sarkozy or US-president George Bush the Queen does not get a salary. The Royal Budget is mainly spent on people who work for the Monarchy. As long as a country has a head of state, costs arise to keep the machinery going – in a Monarchy as well as in a republic. Claims, a republic would be cheaper, have very often proven wrong, like here.

However, Barry Everingham goes even further in proclaiming: “The Queen wants the Government to allocate a huge sum to keep the crumbling building shipshape.” Again, he follows the motto: Don’t let facts disturb your prejudice. The fact is that Buckingham Palace and other residences are in urgent need of repairs. Already in June last year The Daily Mail warned:

“At Frogmore, which is in the grounds of Home Park at Windsor, parts of the Victoria and Albert Mausoleum's ceiling have fallen in and the situation is so serious that English Heritage has warned it may need to be closed completely.

"The problems are most acute, however, at Buckingham Palace. The elegant quadrangle is described as a 'potential risk to health and safety'. Built in 1847 out of Caen stone, it has been badly affected by the elements.

"Although aides insist the area is not dangerous for members of the public, they admit the incident involving Princess Anne's car in February was a close call. 'It was fairly dramatic. To have the nation's palaces crumbling in front of our eyes simply isn't acceptable,' one senior aide said.

"The maintenance of official royal residences is funded by a grant from the Department for Culture Media and Sport. If the Queen is refused the extra money, aides say they will have to divert it from other essential projects rather than play roulette with public safety.

"Sir Alan added:'There is a critical backlog in maintenance projects already, however, and if our historic buildings are to remain safe it is essential that the grant is increased by £1million per year.'"

You may well ask: Why does the Queen not receive the necessary funds? The answer is simple: Because of the bloody Olympics: Queen refused government grant because of 2012 Olympic Games

Cheap republican Britain?
Returning to Barry Everingham's article we have to ascertain that he does not give any figures, he just talks about “a huge sum”. Would this sum be smaller in a republican Britain? Certainly, victorious republicans would not let the Royal Family stay in Buckingham Palace, but would nationalize this building and many more Royal Residences. Who would then pay for the repair work? The incoming president himself? Does George Bush pay for any damage his presidency causes - locally or worldwide? Still the people, I guess, like in any other republic. Barry Everingham’s envy game is as lucid as his sources are doubtful.

With a little help from his Marxist friend
In his HeraldSun article Barry Everingham relies heavily on an article published in the London newspaper The Times: “One newspaper headline rather rudely, yet hilariously, reported 'One is on one's uppers', and the venerable The Times went so far as to suggest that perhaps it's time Parliament voted to abolish the monarchy, using the recent events in Nepal as a blueprint.

We can provide you with the name of the author Barry Everingham dares to mention: Mick Hume, former editor of Living Marxism, wrote the attack on the Queen "Can't pay for your palace? Then get out" on 1st July, 2008, which inspired Barry Everingham to his flaming crusade against "the greedy royals" six days later.

I don't know if Mick Hume is a staff writer of The Times or just a freelancer like Barry Everingham. It is significant, that both newspapers, The Times and the HeraldSun belong to Rupert Murdoch’s world wide media empire. They all follow the same pattern: Discredit the Monarchy, but make money for Rupert. That’s obviously as fine for good old marxists in Britain as for their fellow republican imitators in Australia. Or should I have missed an attack by Barry Everingham on the Murdoch dynasty?

Sunday, 6 July 2008

A Royal Auction of William Tallon’s collection
William Tallon’s collection, a legacy of more than fifty years service, was auctioned Saturday, 5th July 2008. The servant who had joined the royal household in 1951 was devoted to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. He had collected bits and pieces, souvenirs of a lifelong service for all members of the Royal Family. And they thanked him in different ways. He collected memorabilia: Photos, invitation cards, notes, gifts and trinkets. Everything went under the hammer. About 400 buyers and spectators crowded into the Reeman Dansie auction room in Colchester, Essex, with others bidding from around the world by telephone and internet. The auction lasted more than ten hours and took nearly double the pre-sale estimates.

Among the treasure trove of 700 items was a note from the Queen Mother, known for enjoying a tipple, instructing Mr Tallon to pack "two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin ... in case it is needed".

Expected to fetch up to $617, it eventually went to a phone bidder for $33,000.
Top-priced item was a portrait of the Queen Mother by Sir James Gunn, dated November 1945, which went for $61,700 - five times its top pre-sale estimate.

The frenzied auction attracted even the attention of the ABC, which is surprising considering that when the Queen Mother died, the ABC did not have time to show much of the state ceremony surrounding the funeral of the former Australian sovereign, because the time was needed to broadcast an old Cary Grant film, this despite a large number of complaints. The ABC as usual failed to see that it has a duty to cover State events involving the Australian Royal Family.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother celebrated Her 100th birthday on 4 August 2000. Born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother was one of the most popular and admired members of the British royal family. She was the widow of King George VI and mother of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.

To mark her 100th birthday Australia Post issued a special souvenir cover shown above. The cover featured Australia Post’s 1999 Queen’s Birthday stamp which also celebrated the life of the Queen Mother. The stamp features images of both the Queen and the Queen Mother and was the first time mother and daughter had appeared together on an Australian stamp.

After the Queen Mother's death in 2002 The Age reported then Prime Minister John Howard cited her visits to Australia in 1927, 1949, 1958 and 1966. "The Queen Mother's connection with Australia was very regular," he said. "She was a well-loved member of the royal family, a deeply revered lady around the world and a gracious and impressive person." Then Opposition leader Simon Crean said the Queen Mother had earned the public's respect. He said her reign and Australia's federation had seen profound changes in the monarchy.