Tuesday 29 June 2010

The Queen of Canada:
"It’s very good to be home"

“As Queen of Canada for nearly six decades my pride in this country remains undimmed,” Queen Elizabeth said on her arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “It’s very good to be home.”

The Globe and Mail reported:
"In the pouring rain, the Queen walked steadily and deliberately down the stairs of the Canadian Air Force plane that brought her and Prince Philip from London.

"There was no sign of frailty as she held her own umbrella; later, she showed not a hint of discomfort as the cold wind whipped during the official welcome ceremony at the edge of Citadel Hill.

"It was the first time Queen Elizabeth has been in this province for 16 years, and hundreds of Nova Scotians lined up for hours to get a look.

"The Queen returned the crowd’s affection by hinting at the depth of her attachment to this country."
The nine-day visit will take the Queen of Canada and her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, also to Manitoba and Ontario, where they will celebrate Canada Day on Parliament Hill Thursday.

It has to be noted, that the BBC - unlike its Australian counterpart - correctly referred to Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada as soon as she touched down in Halifax. In itself, this is no great achievement, but considering the persistant ignorance of constitutional facts by the ABC, The Age and countless other Australian media, the proper reporting has to be highlighted.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Jubilant Swedes

Nothing attracts more people than a royal wedding.

The official wedding photo.

H.M. the King's speech to the married couple, June 19, 2010

Your Majesties,
Your Imperial Highness,
Your Royal Highnesses,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Her Majesty the Queen and I wish to greet you all with a most heartily welcome to the Royal Palace and to this wedding gala dinner. It is wonderful to see you all here! On behalf of my family — and especially on behalf of my oldest daughter and my son-in-law — I wish to thank you for coming and for participating in our joy! You will always be a part of this unforgettable and memorable day!

Your Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel!

Dear newly-weds!

The Queen and I would like to wish you — The Crown Princess of Sweden and Prince Daniel — all the best for the life ahead together!

It is a major step in life to enter into marriage. Not only for the bride and groom, but also for their parents. The promise you have given to each other today on mutual support and loyalty ties the two of you further together. It is, however, an unavoidable consequence of your decision that the ties to your parents thus will be changed. From now on, your first loyalty will be to one another.

We as parents take joy in the affection by which you look at each other. But — as so many parents before us have experienced — the joy of seeing one's children standing on their own to build their families, is also spiced with a touch of grief. I wish that you also one day will be able to experience such happiness that we feel today.

Dear Victoria!
You are the successor to the throne of Sweden. It is a mission that comes with duties and responsibilities. And it is with pride and gratitude I have seen you grow into this role.

One day you will — because so it is stated in our constitution — succeed me as the head of state of Sweden. My mind is put at ease when I see the wisdom and determination by which you prepare yourself for this task.

I know that I share this confidence with a large number of the Swedish people. You could, perhaps, with a reference to our ancestor Karl XIV Johan, say "The love of the people is my reward."

Our relation is, however, deeper than that between a monarch and his successor. I am your father. You are my beloved daughter.

No one should believe anything else than that my highest wish has always been — and is — to see you happy. It has therefore always been self-evident to your mother the Queen and me, that you — as any person in our country — should have the freedom to choose your life´s companion as your heart desires. I have today seeked to make this point clear by accompanying you to your future husband, and thereby confirming the decision to approve of your marriage according to our constitution.

Dear Daniel!
On behalf of the Queen and myself I would like to welcome you most warmly into our family. We would also like to congratulate our daughter on her choice of husband. And we — your parents-in-law — congratulate you on your choice of wife.

We have got to know you as a very ambitious and skillful entrepreneur. I have often been impressed by the purposefulness and the go-ahead spirit which you have shown. And we have with approval noticed the energy and determination by which you have been preparing yourself for your mission as Prince Consort. That is: to give your wife, the Crown Princess, support and confidence.

We are also delighted to have made the acquaintance with your parents Eva and Olle Westling as well as your large and lovely family.

Dear Victoria and Daniel!
The Queen and I, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine would like to congratulate you and wish you all the best. On your walk through life together, you can always count on our support and affection. And we pray that God Almighty always will be merciful to you.

Finally, I would like to propose a toast to — and that we all raise a cheer for — the Crown Princess and Prince Daniel, our beloved and beautiful bridal couple.

Four cheers for them!

And to please the republicans' desire to point out to scandals, here is the one and only casualty of the royal wedding:

Thursday 17 June 2010

Swedish wedding - a great boost for the economy

While republicans seem to believe that „the money question“ could be the trigger to raise antipathy against a country’s Monarchy, they never actually calculate as a good accountant would: "debit and credit". Take Sweden as an example.
This Saturday Crown Princess Victoria (32) will get married to Daniel Westling (36), who will be invested with the title Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland.

If you follow the official figures, the Swedish taxpayer has to contribute €2 mill. (AUS$ 2.85 mill.) to the royal wedding. The Swedish republicans claim, this figure were closer to €10 mill. (AUS$ 14.2 mill.). No matter who is right, the positive aspects of the royal occasion outnumbers the public cost multiple times.

The Swedish foreign ministry expects 2,300 journalists, among them 700 from all over the world, to report on the royal wedding. The capital’s hotel industry and commerce expect an additional turnaround of several billion Kronor (Kronor 1.000 = AUS$ 147). Even bed & breakfast accommodations are sometimes rented out for €500 to 600 (AUS$ 710 – 850). The Swedish tourism promotion is very satisfied with the inflow of foreign visitors. Around 200,000 spectators are expected to line the streets of Stockholm, and the souvenir sales could top €250 mill. (AUS$ 350 mill.).

Swedish shops all over the world benefit from the attention that is drawn to the Scandinavian Kingdom. In Berlin all IKEA shops will broadcast live the royal wedding on big screens. And a slice of princess torte will be offered to the customers who will turn up that Saturday morning. Children dressed as a prince or a princess will receive a free meal also. The supermarket chain ICA offers the whole range of specially produced items, from chocolate to coffee and napkins. The German chocolate manufacturer Halloren (Halle) is also producing "Wedding Chocolates". A beer brewery in Saxony provides a special beer for a reception at the Royal Swedish Embassy in Berlin. "Schwedenquell" has a label with Swedish King Gustav II Adolf, who – according to legend had enjoyed the Krostitz beer in 1631.
Sweden can expect an economic boost, which will swipe in additional tax revenue into the Kingdom’s treasury that will exceed by far even the highest republican estimates.

For a whole day Sweden will attract the world’s attention. TV stations know of the people’s desire to watch royal events. Well, nearly all, because Australia’s SBS has refused to broadcast the Swedish wedding. Germany TV stations will not miss the opportunity to get a high rating. When Crown Prince Felipe of Spain married in 2004 ARD/ZDF attracted 52 %. The Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon married in 2001 ARD/ZDF rated even higher: Nearly 60%.

SBS has in the past shown such events either whole or in part, such as the wedding of Crown Prince Felipe of Spain and of course Princess Mary of Denmark in May 2004, which kept one million spectators glued to the TV screen until 3 am.

"The royals are simply too beloved by the people, says Peter Althin, chairman of the Republican Association, which wants to abolish the monarchy. “There is not enough pressure in Sweden yet for the actual dismantling of the monarchy.”

If you can't beat them, join them! Let's celebrate with the newly-wed royal couple!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Taki Theodoracopulos praises King Constantine II of the Hellenes

On the occasion of the Greek Monarch's 70th birthday, Taki's Magazine found the most charming words on the King of the Hellenes.
The Greek royal family had to endure endless vilifications while political hacks led the nation to the ruin of today. Greek politicians fear the King and they fear monarchy even more. Presidents can be appointed and expected to pay back, Kings are not and do not. ...

And it gets worse. Vilification aside, the Greek royal family’s lands were confiscated—lands that had been bought by the family in the early 19th century and not handed to them by a grateful nation - and after judicial review in the highest court of Europe, appraised at one hundredth of their value. The Greek King gave the funds to a Greek charity and has never complained. The fact that the Greek King and his family have always acted impeccably when the nation has been in danger does not seem to matter. Envy is a Greek trait, and the envious among them cheered at the unfairness of it all. Basically, the Greek left never forgave the present King’s father and mother for fighting against the communist guerrillas who tried to take power through force of arms back in the Forties. Greek journalists are, like everywhere, men and women of the left. Punto basta, as they say in the land of pasta.

Which brings me to the present. The King is now planning to move to Greece and last week he celebrated his 70th birthday. His son, Prince Pavlos and his wife, Princess Marie-Chantal, threw a wonderful dinner to celebrate it. ...

Who else was there? I’ve already done all the name dropping I will ever do, but it’s not every day that a King turns 70 and does it in such style. Bob and Chantal Miller, the Carringtons, the Bismarcks, the Frosts, the Hoares, many Greeks, and little ole me. Afterwards I had a drink with Prince Nikolaos of Greece and as I walked back home I thought what a sign of affection for the Greek King Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royals showed towards a very nice man who has always deserved better. Oh yes, I almost forgot. I did not see who dropped coffee on the Queen’s dress, but I sure have my suspicions.

Their Majesties attended the Danish Queen's 70th birthday on 13th April 2010 at Christiansborg Palace.

Monday 14 June 2010

Queen's Birthday in Australia

This Monday is a public holiday to celebrate our Monarch. The Age seems to have resigned to the fact that Australia enjoys the Constitutional Monarchy and did not publish very nasty articles. Only in the final two paragraphs of an editorial that commented on the 666 recipients in this year's Queen's birthday honours list, The Age ranted in a resigned attitude about the "inevitable progression towards becoming a republic.":
As The Age has said before, awarding of Australian honours on a day supposedly devoted to our head of state is anachronistic and confusing.

The other time of year Australian honours are awarded is on Australia Day, as is appropriate. There is nothing wrong in retaining the long weekend, but it should be for a different, more relevant, reason. Would the Queen really mind all that much if Australians ceased to mark her birthday?
I do not want to comment on the editorial's unjournalistic last sentence. Haven't The Age's editors not learned one of the most important principles when writing a comment: Never finish with a question mark. But this is not the only journalistic principles The Age loves to ignore. Fair reporting from both sides of the Monarchy vs. republic dispute comes to mind.

Trooping the Colour in Australia
On the 12th June 2010 - the same day Britain honours Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday with Trooping the Colour, Australia paid tribute to her Monarch with a "Queen's Birthday Parade" at The Royal Military College at Duntroon.

Here's the ABC's short report on this great event.

Unfortunately there was neither a live coverage of the Australian nor of the British ceremonies on the Australian television networks.

The Royal Military College (RMC) of Australia trains and educates the future officers of the Army.

'Colours' originated from the distinctive badges or crests on medieval banners and were used in the British Army originally as a means of identifying the location of the headquarters of regiments in battle. In time the Colours became a focal point of regimental esprit de corps.

The original Colours were first presented to the RMC by His Royal Highness the Duke of York (later King George VI) during his visit to Australia in 1927. These Colours are now lodged in the Headquarters of the Royal Military College of Australia, Patterson Hall. The Queen's Colour was trooped for the first time on the Queen's Birthday Parade in 1956. The present Colours were presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in May 1988.

This year's parade comprised 350 members of the Corps of Staff Cadets from all three classes at the College. The success of recruiting and retention efforts at the RMC sees the largest number of cadets on parade since 1998.

The RMC Band provided musical accompaniment for the Trooping the Colour ceremony.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Aussie Republicans cling to wishful thinking

Contrary to his convictions ARM chairman Major-General Michael Keating must have had one or two or more toasts in honour of Queen’s Birthday. How else is it possible, that he sees double figures? According to the traditional and tired pro-republican Queen’s Birthday article in today’s Sunday Age, he claimed: "Sixty to 80 per cent of people are republicans and half of them vote for the Coalition." These figures are about double of the usual republican paid opinion polls and have nothing to do with reality. But wishful thinking characterizes the Australian republican existence.

Of course Queen’s Birthday is always a day of hope for republicans. They cling to the idea that they can raise enough discomfort with Australia’s oldest holiday to fill their ranks with fighters for constitutional change. This year’s republican hope lies with the opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, “who has taken over from Malcolm Turnbull as the torchbearer for republican sentiment within the Liberal Party” as The Sunday Age put it. However, Mr. Hockey poured water into the republican wine and said the Coalition was unlikely to adopt a party position on the republic but leave it as a matter for individuals.
No progress for republicanism in Australia. Happy Queen’s Birthday, folks!!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Australian Monarchists help to develop “Southern Hemisphere Garden” at Highgrove

On the occasion of Prince Charles’ 60th birthday The Australian Monarchist League (AML) presented him 60 tree ferns, that were delivered to his Highgrove estate in March 2009 for planting. Highgrove, a few kilometres outside Tetbury in Gloucestershire, attracts 23,000 visitors a year and boasts a three-year waiting list. So for all those who are curious about the estate but thwarted by the waiting list, he decided to create a store open to everyone, selling estate produce and other things he quite liked, where all the profits would go to his charities.

As reported in November 2008, the Australian Monarchists’ gift are Dicksonia Antarctica, known as the Soft Tree Fern, Man Fern or Tasmanian Tree Fern is an evergreen tree fern native to parts of Australia, namely Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria.

In its June Liberty Newsletter the AML could render an account on the tree ferns:
We have heard from Highgrove. The ferns we gifted to HRH The Prince of Wales for his 60th birthday did very well last year and we are advised that they have made such an impact on the garden that they have inspired His Royal Highness to develop the “Southern Hemisphere Garden” later this year.
The Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1994 and there are only about 40 of them in the wild (some accounts say 80 adult pine). Up to its discovery it was known only from fossils records and it was thought to have become extinct 65 million years ago.

Friday 11 June 2010

Republicans have no style

In which country can a government-owned organisation publish an insulting advertisement ahead of the head of state’s official birthday? The answer is: Australia, or to be precise: the State of Victoria. And here in particular the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), a Victorian Government-owned organisation set up in 1986, which published this half page advertisement in The Age and probably other local newspapers in Victoria as well.
Degrading the Queen of Australia has become something of a habit and takes place despite the Monarchists’ protests. However, to use a photo of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh two days before the Queen’s Birthday indicates an unknown depth in decency. And all this with the taxpayers' money. TAC's e-mail address: info@tac.vic.gov.au

For republicans Queen’s Birthday is, what Shaun Carney, The Age’s associate editor described like this: ”The republican question is now what used to be called in the newspaper game a ‘hardy annual’: a predictable, intrinsically inconsequential story that can be trotted out at the same time every year to little lasting effect."

We can expect more nastiness in the coming days and on Queen’s Birthday itself.
Aceh’s de jure Sultan has died

Teungku Hasan Muhammad di Tiro (*25th August 1925), the founder of Aceh's independence movement, has died on 3rd June 2010 at the Zainoel Abidin hospital in Banda Aceh, where he was being treated for a failing heart, leukemia, and a lung infection.

The former leader of the Free Aceh Movement, Gerakan Aceh Merdaka (GAM), that was dissolved under a peace accord in 2005, passed away just one day after the government restored his Indonesian citizenship, which had been revoked because of his independence struggle in exile.
Hasan di Tiro claimed that Indonesia was an illegitimate state and that Aceh should reclaim its pre-1873 independence. He left Aceh soon after civil war began in 1976, first he went to Malaysia, then to Sweden. He returned in 2008, after leading the rebel movement from Sweden for three decades and becoming a Swedish national.

A memorial service was led by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf in Mireue village, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) outside Banda Aceh. About 1,000 supporters and former rebels prayed over his body, which was wrapped in white sheets. Among the Acehnese, Hasan di Tiro was revered as the heir to the Aceh Sultanate. When he returned from exile in October 2008, the local media titled their articles A new 'sultan' for Indonesia's Aceh, or just a better peace?

Hasan di Tiro was the grandson of resistance leader Teungku Cik di Tiro, a national hero killed in 1891 in fighting against the Dutch troops, that had invaded Aceh in 1873. He is survived by a son from his American wife.

Wikipedia on the Sultanate of Aceh:
The Sultanate of Aceh, officially the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam (Acehnese: Keurajeun Acèh Darussalam), was a sultanate centered in the modern area of Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, which was a major regional power in the 16th and 17th centuries, before experiencing a long period of decline.

In the 1820s, as Aceh produced over half the world's supply of pepper, a new leader, Tuanku Ibrahim, was able to restore some authority to the sultanate and gain control over the "pepper rajas" who were nominal vassals of the sultan by playing them off against each other. He rose to power during the sultanate of his brother, Muhammad Syah, and was able to dominate the reign of his successor Sulaiman Syah (r. 1838-1857), before taking the sultan himself, under the title Sultan Ali Alauddin Mansur Syah (1857–1870). He extended Aceh's effective control southward at just the time when the Dutch were consolidating their holdings northward. Britain, heretofore guarding the independence of Aceh in order to keep it out of Dutch hands, re-evaluated its policy and concluded the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of Sumatra, which allowed for Dutch control throughout Sumatra in exchange for concessions in the Gold Coast and equal trading rights in northern Aceh. The treaty was tantamount to a declaration of war on Aceh, and the Aceh War followed soon after in 1873. As the Dutch prepared for war, Mahmud Syah (1870–1874) appealed for international help, but no one was willing or able to assist.

In 1874 the sultan abandoned the capital, withdrawing to the hills, while the Dutch announced the annexation of Aceh. The sultan died of cholera, as did many combatants on both sides, but the Acehnese proclaimed a grandson of Tuanku Ibrahim sultan. The rulers of Acehnese ports nominally submitted to Dutch authority in order to avoid a blockade, but they used their income to support the resistance. However, eventually many of them compromised with the Dutch, and the Dutch were able establish a fairly stable government in Aceh with their cooperation, and get the sultan to surrender in 1903. After his death in 1907, no successor was named, but the resistance continued to fight for some time. Indeed, Hasan di Tiro, who founded the Free Aceh Movement, is a descendent of the last sultan.

Saturday 5 June 2010

The Queen attended the Greek King's birthday reception

On 2nd June 2010 The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Her other realms attended the 70th birthday reception of King Constantine II of the Hellenes at Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece's residence in London - unfortunately not in His Majesty's Greek residence.

Photos of other royal guests and a short report (in French) were published here plus here.

Friday 4 June 2010

Green Party believes “genocide ideology” in Rwanda started with the abolition of the monarchy in Rwanda

by Chief Editor of Rwandainfo

In a statement issued at Kigali on June 3rd, 2010, the Founding President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Mr. Frank HABINEZA, clarifies his party’s position on the notion of ‘genocide ideology’. They believe that the genocide ideology takes roots from the 1959 Hutu revolution which consecrated the abolition of the monarchy and the proclamation of the Republic.
Here is the Green Party’s declaration:

Our position on Genocide Ideology:
The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda believes that indeed the problem of genocide ideology started as far back as 1950’s after the abolition of the monarchy and culminated into the 1994 genocide against Tutsis. This genocide ideology could be acts, statements and plans to exterminate fellow Rwandans but since the 1994 genocide is still fresh in our minds, this ideology is more targeting the Tutsis other than anybody else.

We strongly condemn anyone who may have plans to take the country back in the situation of 1994 Genocide.

We believe that the Law on Genocide ideology should be more clarified and fine-tuned so that it is not used by anyone to freeze political thoughts and descent voices on pretext that they have a genocide ideology. This would minimize the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of expression.

This is what the US magazine Time has to say about the Mwami Kigeli Ndahindurwa V of Rwanda:
When reporters located the king of Rwanda Kigeli Ndahindurwa V in 1994, he was applying for food stamps in Maryland. He had been deposed in 1959, after a coup supported by the Belgian government. Ndahindurwa had fled to Kenya before being granted asylum by the U.S. in 1992. After the massacres in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis, the former king, a Tutsi, toured the U.S. and Canada to raise awareness for the plight of refugees. He told the BBC last year that he still wants to go back to Rwanda and regain his throne, but would only do so with the support of the Rwandan people.
"A king is like a father to the nation...
All the tribes are like his children."

Kigeli Ndahindurwa V

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty!

This is how Italian Monarchists congratulated the King of the Hellenes.

70th Birthday of the King of the Hellenes

Today His Majesty King Constantine II of the Hellenes Κωνσταντίνος, Βασιλεύς των Ελλήνων celebrates his 70th birthday. That this important landmark in his life cannot be celebrated with joy and festivities at home has nothing to do with the Greek financial crisis that cripples the country. The King has been living in exile since the counter-coup to re-establish democracy in Greece, failed that fatal night of 13th December 1967.

The Mad Monarchist stated quite bluntly that “the ruling regime is so hostile to the former royal family and the royals so increasingly removed from the country that it can seem like a lost cause more along the lines of the plight of the Dalai Lama than even the King of Romania in terms of the likelihood of the success of a restoration. However, the Greek monarchists deserve a great deal of credit for fighting the good fight far more frequently and for greater durations than most other monarchists, especially in modern times. It is also important to note that when modern Greece won its independence from the Turks in 1829 it originally went back to the classical period which is so idealized and founded a republic. Monarchists should be quick to point out that this republic did not last long because it proved totally incapable and so a monarchy was established.”

When Prince Constantine of Greece and Denmark was born on 2nd June 1940 to Crown Prince Paul and Crown Princess Frederika (née Prinzessin Friederike von Hannover, Herzogin zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg) Europe was at war. On 28th October the same year the Duce decided to attack the Kingdom of Greece, but the defiant Greeks were able to claim the first great victory that the Allied forces had won against the Axis powers since the beginning of the war. It increased the prestige of King George II of Greece, Crown Prince Paul's brother, who was very active in monitoring the progress of the military campaign against Italy. The Italian troops were driven out of Greece, and the Royal Greek army entered Albania, that had also fallen victim to Italian expansion plans. German dictator Adolf Hitler came to his allies rescue and on 6th April 1941 German troops attacked the Royal Greek Army.

After several weeks of intense fighting, the Greek armed forces were defeated and German troops occupied Athens on 27th April. At that time the King was determined to continue the resistance. He formed a government under Emmanouel Tsouderos (a former opponent of the King’s), who also happened to be from the island of Crete - the place of the latest epic battle between the Greeks and the Germans. On 23rd April King George , Crown Prince Paul, Queen Frederika and their children, Princess Sophia and Prince Constantine and the royal government were evacuate to Crete.

The German invasion of Crete began on 20th May 1941 and by 1st June the last Allied troops had surrendered. King George II, Crown Prince Paul and the Royal Greek government were first evacuated to Egypt, and later went to the United Kingdom to continue their fight for the liberation of Greece. Crown Princess Frederika and her children went to South Africa, where in 1942 the couple's third child, Princess Irene, was born.

After the German defeat the Monarchy was re-affirmed in a referendum in 1946. In the midst of a bloody civil war, King George II died and was succeeded by his brother, who ascended the Greek throne as King Pavlos I. Now Crown Prince Constantine went to the Anavryta School in Athens; graduated of three military academies; was inscribed in the Faculty of Law at the University of Athens; and underwent postgraduate studies in modern European History at Cambridge University. At the Games of the XVII Olympiad in Rome Crown Prince Constantine won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960 for yachting, becoming the first Greek to do so since 1912.

On 6th March 1964 King Paul died, and his son ascended to the throne as King Constantine II. The US magazine Time illustrated his proclamation:

Last week, as high government officials, the hierarchy of the Greek church, leading judges and Members of Parliament gathered solemnly for a candlelight ceremony at the royal palace, new King Constantine kissed a silver-bound Bible, then took the royal oath. "I succeed my father to the throne with the firm determination to follow his lofty example," Constantine declared. "I pledge to serve my country with wholehearted devotion, and all my powers as a vigilant guardian of the free institutions of the democratic regime. My only thoughts and cares will always be the true and supreme interest of our fatherland." When the vows had been spoken, Premier George Papandreou shouted "Long live the King!" and the assemblage echoed the words. At 23 the world's youngest monarch, Constantine will be tutored in statecraft by the foxy Papandreou,* 76, whose Center Union coalition won a landslide victory over Karamanlis' Conservatives last month. A tall, athletic youth who won an Olympic gold medal in 1960, Constantine can rely for some time on sympathy for his father and the good feeling engendered by his impending marriage next January to Denmark's Princess Anne-Marie to facilitate his task. But ultimately Constantine can calm Greece's latent antimonarchist feelings only by calling, like his father, on the motto of his royal house: "My power is the love of my people."

* Whose own son Andreas, 45, gave up U.S. citizenship and a University of California post as an economics professor to run for election and join his father's Cabinet as chief aide to the Premier.

The following years were full of unrest and unstable governments. For a good account of this period see Wikipedia.

King Constantine’ Counter-Coup:

From the outset, the relationship between King Constantine II and the colonels was an uneasy one. The colonels were not willing to share power with anyone whereas the 25-year old King, like his father before him, was used to playing an active role in politics and would never consent to being a mere figurehead, especially in a military administration.

The King finally decided to launch his counter-coup on 13th December 1967. Since Athens was effectively in the hands of the junta militarily,
Constantine decided to fly to the small northern city of Kavala, East of Thessaloniki. There he hoped to be among troops loyal only to him.

The vague plan he and his advisers had conceived was to form a unit that would advance to Thessaloniki (Greece's second biggest city and unofficial capital of northern Greece) and take it.
Constantine planned to install an alternative administration there. International recognition, which he believed would be given, as well as internal pressure from the fact that Greece would have been split in two governments would, as the King hoped, force the junta to resign, leaving the field clear for him to return triumphant to Athens.

In the early morning hours of 13th December the King boarded the royal plane together with
Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, their two baby children, Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark and Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, his mother [Queen] Friederike and his sister, Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark. Constantine also took Premier Kollias with him. At first things seemed to be going according to plan. Constantine was well received in Kavala which, militarily, was under the command of a general loyal to him. The air force and navy, both strongly royalist and almost not involved in the 1967 coup, immediately mobilized. Another of Constantine's generals effectively cut all communication between Athens and the north.

Two referenda, the first under the military junta’s rule in 1973 and another one in 1974 did not bring back the Monarchy. The Greek Royal Family left Rome in 1973 and took residence in the United Kingdom.

King Constantine suffered another blow in 1994, when the Greek parliament, the very same parliament that is directly responsible for Greece's current debt crisis, passed a law to expropriate his property and revoke his citizenship. To this day, he refuses to accept being told that he is not Greek.

The Prime Minister in 1994 was Andreas Papandreou, son of the former Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou, and father of the current Prime Minister... so much for democracy in a republic!
One of the most recent photos: On 16th April 2010 the King and Queen of the Hellenes attended H.M. Queen Margrethe of Denmark's 70 birthday anniversary at the Palace of Fredensborg.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Merkel’s man has left

When asked about their preferred republican system, Australian republicans sometimes claim the German model could be suitable for this country. It is doubtful they know, what they are talking about, since are usually ignorant of the German republic’s structure. They should have a proper look, especially one day after the German president Horst Köhler announced his resignation with a bang.

In a televised press conference he took just about everybody by surprise, when he announced: "I am resigning my post as federal president with immediate effect." Mr. Köhler's resignation caught Germany's political parties completely off guard. Chancellor Angela Merkel was reportedly only informed of the decision two hours before the public announcement.

Merkel’s question: president or football?
Deutsche Welle illustrated the dramatic situation by telling its audience: “After she was informed of his decision, Merkel cancelled a planned afternoon visit to the training camp of the German national soccer team.” Well, this must be a real political crisis if she had to cancel a photo shooting opportunity with footballers.

In the past few days, Köhler had been under fire for saying that a country like Germany, which was heavily reliant on foreign trade must know that military interventions could be necessary to uphold German interests. He said that for an export-orientated country like Germany, it was sometimes necessary to deploy troops "to protect our interests... for example free trade routes".

After a public uproar, Köhler tried the usual politicians excuse and said his comments were "misunderstood" and that his remarks were not meant to refer to the mission in Afghanistan, where Germany has 4,500 troops in a NATO-led force fighting a Taliban-led insurgency.

A former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, Köhler was elected to the post of president in 2004 and re-elected in 2009 – each time with only one vote more than the required constitutional majority.

Despite his slim margin Köhler tried to re-interpret the German constitution and act as a “political president” instead of restricting himself to ceremonial duties.

Little sympathy for Hotte
The German media received the news of Köhler’s resignation with little sympathy.

This is how the Munich daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung began its editorial:
The 67 year old resigned, because he felt insulted and refused to face the public debate on his statements on Afghanistan. This discloses: The wooden Köhler did always try – and was not up to the job. ... The proof are two decisive sentences of his resignation speech: 'The criticism lacks any justification. It lets miss the necessary respect for my office.‘ That is, with due respect, nonsense. The fact that one is one of Germany‘s highest representative, relieve his speeches and deeds not of agreeing or disagreeing interest.” (Der 67-Jährige tritt ab, weil er beleidigt ist und sich der öffentlichen Debatte über seine Afghanistan-Äußerungen nicht stellen will. Dies offenbart: Der hölzerne Köhler war stets bemüht - und überfordert ... Der Beweis dafür sind zwei entscheidende Sätze aus seiner Rücktrittserklärung: 'Diese Kritik entbehrt jeder Rechtfertigung. Sie lässt den notwendigen Respekt für mein Amt vermissen.' Das ist, mit Verlaub, Unsinn. Die Tatsache, dass einer Deutschlands höchster Repräsentant ist, enthebt seine Reden und Taten nicht der zustimmenden oder ablehnenden Anteilnahme.")
Köhler claimed to be exempt from critcism, but was openly criticising everything and everyone. In his opinion the office of the German president should be beyond criticism, something neither the Queen nor any other Constitutional Monarch would expect.

The conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung opened its editorial with a heavy blow against the ex-president:
A presidency without highlights came to an end with a thunder. (Eine Präsidentschaft ohne Höhepunkte endet mit einem Donnerschlag.)" And further on: "With his emotional resignation he definitively became a tragic figure. (Mit seinem Rücktritt im Affekt wurde er endgültig zur tragischen Figur.)"
Shortly after his re-election he was termed a "lame duck“ and what was more significant: Within a short time important collaborators left the Bellevue Palace in Berlin. When he gave the crucial radio interview, that became the trigger to his resignation, he had no press secretary, because the previous one had left him all of a sudden and in disagreement and the new one hadn’t yet arrived.

Germany's federal president is elected by secret ballot in a Federal Convention (consisting of all members of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, and a corresponding number of representatives from the federal states), without a prior debate, and requires an absolute majority. In case none of the candidates achieve an absolute majority in the first two rounds, then the candidate who receives a simple majority in a third round of voting is considered elected.

Should anyone dream of an non-political president or one that acts above party lines, the German example should teach them a lesson. No matter how they get into their presidential palaces, they cannot shed their past. They remain politicians and act like politicians. Mr. Köhler is the best example for this thesis.

The History Teachers Association of Victoria wants more Revolutions and Australian History courses, reported The Age today.

That should please Rob Hulls.