Sunday, 31 May 2009

Very true

Some media get it right:

"Anti-royal sentiments have always existed. But they are shallow and transient - although they can be whipped up and exaggerated by those wishing to advance their own agendas; some ideological or political, some simply commercial."

Does anyone know, where this perception comes from?

Monday, 25 May 2009

Observant Canadians: "Monarchists write poetry. Republicans write instruction manuals"

Jack Knox, Victoria Times Colonist, 24th May 2009:

"Republicans argue that Canada is no longer a British colony (as if we didn't know this) and that the monarchy is illogical. Well, of course, Canada's monarchy is illogical. All monarchies are. But it's also illogical that Americans should elect a man who, even after eight years with his hand hovering over the button, still thought it was pronounced "nucular." It's illogical that 16 years after he left office, we are still trying to figure out whether Brian Mulroney deserves an apology or a shot at getting shanked by Conrad Black in the shower room. Logic is overrated.

"Wretched, soulless republicans are grim-faced slaves to the logic chips that replaced their hearts. (Monarchists write poetry. Republicans write instruction manuals.) Republicans fail to understand that the value of the monarchy is not in the individuals, but in the ideals they represent (honour, loyalty, courage, inbreeding, corgi maintenance). Like they say in the army, you salute the uniform, not the person inside it."
Germany’s president gets elected - and nobody took notice

Germany held presidential elections. Did anybody take any notice? Well, I cannot find a single hint in any Australian media. The ceremony was not exactly behind close doors – at least not the official act, however, when it comes to the selection of the candidates that is a different matter. Members of Germany's electoral college elected incumbent Horst Köhler as president with 613 votes out of 1,224, one vote above the required overall majority. He was backed by the conservative Christian Democrats, the free-market oriented Liberals, some independents and one Green. Silke Stokar of Hanover cast the decisive vote - and proudly made her decision public.

The opposition's candidate, Gesine Schwan, was supported by the Social Democrats (SPD) and most other Greens and secured 503 votes in the secret ballot. The rest went to a candidate supported by the former Communist “Die Linke”, four votes were cast in favour of a Neo-Nazi supported singer.

The panel (Bundesversammlung) comprises all 612 members of the Bundestag (lower house) and 612 public figures, a few of them sports "heroes" and television actors, nominated by Germany's 16 federal states. The German population had no say in the composition of the Bundesversammlung. They were never asked whom they wanted as their president.

When Horst Köhler was first elected in 2004, he was not even living in Germany. At that time he headed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and had to be called back from Washington. The conservative party leaders had been unable to agree on a candidate of their liking. It is a well established fact that three party leaders had gathered in a penthouse flat of one of them and agreed at one o’clock in the morning: Habemus Köhler. Since it was not necessary to send him into an electoral campaign to get a popular vote, the practically unknown Horst Köhler slipped into the presidential Palace, Schloß Bellevue in Berlin, with a one vote majority.

The victory for the 66-year-old Köhler in the first round is expected to give Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives an important boost ahead of the September parliamentary election, where she is seeking a second four-year term.

The politicians’ republic, which was rejected by the Australian people in a referendum in 1999 is well in place in Germany. The German people get, what the politicians select for them. Does anybody - outside Germany - care? Compare just two events. Last year, the tiny Kingdom of Tonga with 120,000 inhabitants was the talk of the world, when the new King was crowned. The 80 million Germans get a new president – and the world is bored and ignores the event.

The world media were attracted to the minuscule Principality of Monaco, when Prince Rainier III died in 2005 and his heir, Prince Albert II, ascended to the throne. Horst Köhler taking up residence in Berlin’s Schloß Bellevue did not even get a snippet in The Age.

How German Monarchists commented the “presidential election” can be read in one of their publications. Ask for a copy of the German language Corona newsletter:

And he is the one, German Monarchists want to see as Kaiser:
Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia (*1976), Head of the House of Hohenzollern, a great-great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II and a great-great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Queen's portrait unveiled in Canberra's National Museum of Australia
Comment of an Age reader this morning: “It is so nice to open the newspaper and find a pleasant photo.” Sir William Dargie’s portrait "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second 1954“ was on page 3 of today’s Age.

The photo of the stunning portrait was a very pleasant surprise, but what about the accompanying article? Oh well, it kept its usual tone, however The Age could control its republicanism for a day: "AAAH, the golden, olden 1950s when a beautiful queen reigned and hundreds of thousands filled the streets to see her passing by when she made her astonishingly successful visit to Australia in 1954.

"A portrait of the young Queen by Australian artist
[Sir] William Dargie painted that year at Buckingham Palace captured her sunny calm and authority. The image of the Queen in the famous 'Wattle dress' she had worn during that tour was lovingly reproduced for thousands of scout halls, government offices and citizenship certificates.

"Sir William waited for the first portrait to land safely [in Canberra] before sending off a second version he had painted at the same time as the first. On the back of the canvas he scrawled his explanation that "at least one version" would make it safely home if disaster struck.

"This second version went on to tour Australia before
[Sir William] gave it to Lady Mary Hamilton Fairley, his host in London while he worked on the portraits.

"Now that painting is in Canberra's National Museum of Australia, which bought it this month for $146,400 from a Melbourne auction house acting for Fairley's descendants.
The museum's senior curator,
Guy Hansen, who unveiled the work yesterday, admitted the appeal of the painting lies almost as much in what is jotted on the back of the canvas as in what is painted on its front.

"'We possibly would have bought it even without that story but the inscription is a lovely add-on,' Mr Hansen said.

"Although the first version of the painting can be seen in the Parliament House collection, it is on permanent display and cannot be loaned. The National Museum intends to tour its painting to show it as an important example of Australian social history.

"'It's hard for people under 60 to imagine the impact the Queen's visit had in 1954,' said Mr Hansen, 45. 'This was a definitive moment in Australia and this was incredibly important as the most memorable and ubiquitous image of the Queen's visit.'"

Although being under 60, I can imagine the impact of Her Majesty's visit. And so do republicans. That is the reason, why they do not want any member of our Royal Family coming to Australia. The success of Princess Anne's visit to the Victorian bushfires in February demonstrated the bond between the Australians and their Royal Family "and scared the living daylight out of the politicians" added the delighted reader of The Age.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Faulty reports on Royals are no specialty of republican-minded Australian journalists. British media give enough bad examples, as Marlene Eilers Koenig discovered:

"Daily Mail 'reporters' do not know how to report the news. They prefer (to)sensationalize a story, rather than provide actual facts. Daily Mail 'reporters' also have an unerring ability to ignore facts and eschew research. This is only enforced by many of the comments that follow such stories. Take a look at a story in today's Mail regarding a possible review of security measures for some of the younger royals. (Photo editors at the Mail make sure they find the most deleterious photos to accompany their stories.)"

Sounds very familiar in Aussie ears, doesn't it? Read the whole article here.

Marlene Eilers Koenig lives in Virginia, USA, is a librarian by profession - and also writes about royalty.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

What happened to the "inevitable republic" that was taken for granted in 1998?

Of all the media I least expected The Australian to publish an article on "the Australian commentariat and the news reporters [...] barracking for the seemingly inevitable republic".

Christopher Pearson recalled his experience of the 1998 Constitutional Convention and predicts: "Among the past and present premiers, it's not hard to imagine even the likes of Bob Carr campaigning for the preservation of the House of Windsor, if that was what it took to defeat the direct election model."

"AS a journalist in 1998 I attended the Constitutional Convention held in Old Parliament House, Canberra.

"It was a rather unsettling experience because, almost without exception, the Australian commentariat and the news reporters were barracking for the seemingly inevitable republic.

"I was a columnist with
The Australian Financial Review and persuaded the editors that in the interests of balance it would be a good idea to send me along as a sceptical, contrarian observer. This stratagem had the added benefit of shaming The Australian, a far more vehemently republican journal, into giving Tony Abbott the same brief."

Read the whole article here.

Friday, 15 May 2009


While in the Constitutional Monarchy of Australia Victoria's only quality newspaper, The Age , printed 19 faulty lines on the Queen of Australia's Birthday, in the French republic the daily newspaper Le Figaro dedicated a whole page to the Queen on 21st April 2009:
"Faut-il s'étonner, alors que toutes les autres institutions - Église d'Angleterre, justice, Parlement ... - sont aujourd'hui déconsidérées par des scandales à répétition, qu'Élisabeth II paraisse un roc dans la tempête?"

Translation: "Does one have to wonder while all the other institutions - Church of England, justice, parliament ... - today are discredited by continuous scandals, that Elizabeth II seems to be a rock in the storm?"

The article without a single faulty line, written by Le Figaro's royal editor Stéphane Bern, yes, this French newspaper has a royal editor, is full of praise for "cette petite femme d'1.58 m, dotée d'un teint de pêche et d'un regard bleu qui la font ressembler á une porcellaine de Saxe".

It is utopian to think of a royal editor at The Age, but why don't they let their articles about our Monarchy and our Royal Family be written by someone, who can distinguish between facts and fiction, between information and defamation?

No, The Age prefers authors like Guy Rundle, who states: "The old Marxist in me wants conflict, dissatisfaction and chaos ...". He made his confession in the book "The Best Australian Political Writing 2009" and you wonder, why the editor asked Guy Rundle to contribute. After all, he lives in the United Kingdom and not in Australia.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

"The Queen ist most grateful ...

... for the continuing loyalty and support she receives from her subjects within the Commonwealth."

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Accession of King Umberto II of Italy

Yesterday marked the 63rd anniversary of the accession of King Umberto II and his Belgian-born wife, Queen Marie-José, to the Italian throne. On May 9, 1946, Umberto's father, King Vittorio Emanuele III abdicated in his son's favour.

I highly recommend this blog: The Cross of Laeken for more information on the Italian royal couple.

The last Savoy to have reigned in Italy died March 18, 1983 in Geneva, at the age of 79. He lived 44 of his 83 years in exile. His funeral was ignored by the Italian authorities (only the Italian consul in Lyon was present), but it was attended by ten thousand Italians who made their way to the abbey of Hautecombe near Aix-les-Bains in High Savoy, France. The funeral was attended by the King and Queen of Spain, the King and Queen of the Belgians, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Prince Rainier III of Monaco with his son and heir, Prince Albert, the Duke of Kent represented the Queen of the United Kingdom. The King of the Bulgarians, the King of Romania and the King of the Hellenes paid their last respect to King Umberto. The Vatican was represented by the Apostolic Nuncio in France.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Queen is worth more than many people thought

Sir William Dargie’s famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, was sold at auction house Bonhams & Goodman in Prahan on 6th May.

It changed ownership for $120,000 when $50,000 to $70,000 was expected.

It set a new sales record for the late Footscray-born portrait painter.

Bonham’s national head of art, Geoffrey Smith, called Sir William Dargie’s portrait entitled Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second 1954one of Australia’s most famous paintings".

Showing the Queen of Australia in her “wattle” dress, it became the subject of colour photographs distributed widely in federal, state and local government departments, schools, hospitals, libraries, church halls and RSL clubs throughout the country.

For many immigrants it was their first encounter with Australian art as the masterpiece was reproduced on their Australian naturalization papers, and a print of the portrait was generally present when they took the Oath of Allegiance.

It had been commissioned by Melbourne industrialist James Beveridge for presentation to the Commonwealth Government to commemorate the Queen’s first encounter with Her Australian people.

The Queen, who had arrived in Sydney on 3rd February 1954, had worn the wattle gown to her first evening engagement in Sydney, and again to her last evening function in Perth.

Sir William Dargie painted more than one portrait to ensure one made it safely to Australia. The other, on offer at the Bonhams' auction, was presented to Sir Neil and Lady Hamilton Fairley with whom he stayed while in London. Another one was commissioned in 1975 for the Portrait Gallery of Sir Leon and Lady Trout. The same portrait was also produced for the government of New Zealand.

Eight-time Archibald Prize winner Sir William Dargie died at a Melbourne hospital on 26th July 2003, aged 91.

He received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1959, was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1969, and served on numerous gallery and museum boards. He was knighted on 13th June 1970.

Coloured prints are still advertised, as available today, through The Australian Monarchist League.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Does The Age follow this blog?

In today's edition of The Age I found this little news item.

Browned off
THEY are a vanishing breed, the Aussie knights of the realm, but the survivors still appear keen to have their royal gonghoods limelit. "Do you have any objection to using my title?" asked Sir David Smith of feisty Greens senator Bob Brown on ABC radio the other day. Brown had called him "Mr Smith" and the miffed 76-year-old knight, famed for reading the Whitlam dismissal proclamation on the parliamentary steps in 1975, called time-out. "A little courtesy wouldn't go too far," he told Brown, before apologising for interrupting a question. "You did, Mr Smith," said Brown. He's a tease, is Bob.

Isn't it a strange coincidence that this conversation was published one day after it had appeared on this blog?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


Sir Gulam Noon was born in Bombay in 1936. Within 40 years of arriving in London he was producing a quarter of a million curries a day for British supermarkets.

In a newspaper interview he mentioned the Queen, whom he had met on several occasions. ”I told her to call me Noon, but she said, ‘No, you have a knighthood, you are Sir Gulam’.”

That’s the politeness of a Monarch.

The politeness of a politician can be seen in this episode, reported by the ABC:
Place: Canberra, the Public hearing of the Inquiry into the Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill 2008
Date: 29th April 2009

SIR DAVID SMITH: I'm not talking about legislation. I am talking about the constitution, Senator.

SENATOR BOB BROWN: We are talking about legislation here, Mr Smith. This is a bill before the Parliament.

SIR DAVID SMITH: Do you have an objection to using my title. Should I call you Bob or Mr Brown?

SENATOR BOB BROWN: You are welcome to.


SENATOR BOB BROWN: Very much so.

SIR DAVID SMITH: A little courtesy wouldn't go too far.


SIR DAVID SMITH: I'm sorry. I interrupted your question. I apologise.

SENATOR BOB BROWN: You did, Mr Smith.

No need to mention that in the ABC report, Sir David was not referred to with his title.