Sunday, 1 March 2009

A Republican on the road to nowhere

The Sunday Age of 1st March 2009 could not have chosen a more appropriate title for an opinion piece of Guy Rundle: On the road to nowhere. Rundle dug deep into old prejudices and gossip to unearth whatever seemed useful to him to show how he despises the Australian Royal Family. Even the most decayed rumours had to mentioned by this Australian writer living in England (The Sunday Age).

But what kind of a royal expert is Guy Rundle if he doesn’t even get a basic known name right? The Queen Mother was not born Mary Bowes-Lyon, but Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon. According to Rundle, after her death in 2002 she “almost completely faded from public consciousness".

However in July 2008, when the memorabilia of her former man servant William Tallon were auctioned, the 700 items fetched record prices. A note from the Queen Mother instructing Tallon " to pack two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin . . . in case it is needed" was expected to fetch up to $620, it 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 $62,000 -- five times its estimate. (Details see: William Tallon's royal mementoes send auction prices soaring)

It is understandable that this auction did not catch Rundle’s attention, because at that time he covered the US primaries, which cost the record sum of US $ 1 billion and culminated in the inauguration of Barack Obama on 20th January 2009, which cost the equivalent of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. But why does he write on something he does not know well?

Calling the Prince of Wales inveterately odd” may be republican speak, but the fact remains Prince Charles talked about climate change long before Penny Wong imagined there might be a ministerial job for her on this topic. And when it comes to Prince Charles’ opposition to GM crop, well, he is certainly in accord with the majority of the Australians ... how odd!!

Nothing is too cheap for Rundle not to use it: “[Queen Elizabeth’s] husband – a surplus unit of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glückburg branch in, as the name suggests, Greece – had an attitude closer to the old Habsburg grandees who were fond of winging peasants with a musket.” I’d like to know, if Rundle could name any Habsburg, even less one who winged peasants with a musket. And ridiculing Prince Philip’s Greek origin should be beyond someone who styles himself as an intellectual. At least he knows - I think - that Prince Philip’s grandfather was born into the Danish Royal Family – which bears the name Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glückburg – before the Greek Parliament chose him as King of the Hellenes in 1863. Does Rundle play the game of nationalistic Greeks? Nobody in Sweden gets upset because their dynasty is called Bernadottes and can be traced back to France. Royal dynasties are beyond nationalism, therefore they can serve their respective nations. I consider that a great advantage in times of nationalistic fervour everywhere.

Not even in math is Guy Rundle firm: “Queen Elizabeth’s mother and aunt [the former wife of the Australian Governor-General, the Duke of Gloucester] both lived past 100, compos mentis to the last, and she seems determined to hang on, presumably in the hope that Charles will predecease her, and the crown will pass directly to William. By then, Australia will have been a republic for two decades or whatever pieces remain of it, in 2030.” What utter nonsense to suggest the Queen would be waiting for her eldest son to predecease her! Since our Queen will celebrate her 83rd birthday this April, she would be 104 in 2030, two and a half years older than her mother was when she passed away. Should Australia have been a republic for two decades by then, Guy Rundle must hurry up to bring it in, in 2010. But there is no Australian republic on the horizon, thank heavens and thanks to people like Guy Rundle who with their mud raking actually help to make people reflect on our Royal Family.


Matterhorn said...

Great post! Yes, so many cheap errors; but this is typical of a certain kind of anti-royal polemicist.

masayuki said...

For today's Zimbabwean, they were better governed by the British rather then by their own kind. For the Germans 60 years ago being govern by a very German man cause them their state, mean while being ruled by a German descent got UK out from the ashes of WWII.
By the people from the people and for the people is the famous motto of the republican maggot. But remember this, some of the most worst ruler in the history of mankind came from the first two principles and some of the greatest ones didn't came from these principles but they understand very well the meaning of the third principle (for the people). So for all you liberal maggots out there; remember when you mock Monarchy don't forget that your own precious modern republics are more flawed then our God given Thrones!!!

radical royalist said...

I received a reply from Guy Rundle.
Here's our correspondence:

Thank you for your letter. The late Queen Mother was known as 'Queen Mary' during her reign as consort - in that respect I think that Mary Bowes-Lyon is an accurate contraction of her name. I did not suggest that in the article that this was her birth name.

As to the 2008 sale of mementos, I note that the majority of items went for prices in the three to four figure range. The auction following that at the auction house (Reemans) generated £1,900 for a 'Victorian Doulton Lambeth Hannah Barlow jardinière with incised decoration' (Lot 1). I am happy to concede that the Royal family occupies as much place in British hearts as a Victorian Doulton Lambeth Hannah Barlow jardinière with incised decoration, and quite possibly more.

As to Prince Charles, I have no quarrel with his opinions on GM foods, or architecture - the widespread assessment that he is 'not fit' to be King comes from surveys of the UK public, and appears to be more firmly held by monarchists than republicans. I presume that his beliefs in the efficacy of talking to plants, his requirement that seven boiled eggs of different degrees of runniness be prepared for each breakfast, and his self-description as a woman's sanitary product, among other things, have something to do with this.

I remain sir, your obedient servant

Guy Rundle
Shropshire SY7

Dear Mr. Rundle,
Thank you for your email. I appreciate that you took the time to reply to this unrepentant monarchist.

However, I do not understand, why you insist on calling Queen Elizabeth II’s mother “Queen Mary” As wife of King George VI she was only know as Queen Elizabeth, after the King’s death she was styled Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, to distinguish her from her daughter with the same name. Of course there was a Queen Mary (26 May 1867 – 24 March 1953, née Princess May of Teck, a surplus unit of the junior branch in, as the name suggests, Württemberg), King George V’s wife and King George VI’s mother. It would have been confusing to call Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, “Queen Mary” since that would have been mixed these two Queen consorts.

I don’t know your resource, but I advice you to check (and if you keep an archive: correct) them. Repeating a mistake does not make it a fact, I am afraid.

Concerning Prince Charles, Australia’s future King, you repeated hardly new gossip. On his 60th birthday many articles were published that gave proper credit to his work not to something he might have said in a private conversation or what disgruntled butlers sold to the media. Here’s just one different opinion that contradicts your idea that “he is ‘not fit’ to be King”:

Above all, though, Charles's own history shows the importance of being patient - even at 60. The things that looked ridiculous 20 years ago - the organic carrots, the Eastern religions, the sustainable communities - now look rather less funny and more impressive. Indeed, in many ways Charles is still the most progressive major member of the House of Windsor - and he seems a much more 21st-century figure than either of his sons, both of whom would be right at home in the pleasure gardens of the Georgians.
The funny thing about Prince Charles, in other words, is that the older he gets, the more he seems in tune with our times.
Dominic Sandbrook, Evening Standard,

I am sure you are already thinking of an article for The Age that could be published on Queen’s Birthday holiday. The Age is such a predictable newspaper, when it come to promoting republicanism. Nothing new under the southern sun.

Nuno Castelo-Branco said...

It's amazing the capacity of "mental reserve" that some people insists to show. The quantity of idiots whoa are now rulling the greates part of ouro planet it's something without paralel in history. They rule as absolutist "chiefs" with the title of mr. president. I really can not understand what's the problem to have an Head of State who is a king or queen? The normal argument it's the hereditary position, not elected. But since when the people who benefits of REAL power, like judges - normal courts, supremes, etc - are elected? Who elects the public prosecutors? The chiefs of all the armed forces? The governor of the Central banks worldwide. Nobody, because they are nominated by political appointment or worse, by the implicated interested of each sector. So, I conclude that all that matter it's simply an inferirity complex. To say the true, if I could I'd put all "the republic" dignitaries inside an Airbus A380 and send them to the Caribean enjoyng peacefully their stollen millions. And they can take the infamous green-red flag with them. Please...