Sunday 31 July 2011

Württemberg's 'secret King' 75

This 1st August Duke Carl, Württemberg’s „secret king“, celebrates his 75th birthday. He is a most respected person and keeps in close contact with the government and the elected representatives of the country and with the premiers/governors/heads of government (Ministerpräsidenten) of Baden-Württemberg, as the former Kingdom and state of Württemberg was amalgamated with Baden and Hohenzollern (the origin of Germany’s Imperial Family) in 1952.

Duke Carl is the fifth of six children of Duke Philipp (II.) Albrecht of Württemberg (né Stuttgart 14th November 1893 - + Ravensburg 15th April 1975) and his second wife, Duchess Rosa of Württemberg, née Arch Duchess of Austria-Toskana (née Parsch/Salzburg 22nd September 1906 - + Friedrichshafen 17th September 1983). After studying law in Tübingen, Duke Carl took up a leading position in the administration (Hofkammer) of the assets of the Royal House of Württemberg. After his father’s death he assumed the position as head of the family and moved to Altshausen, where the royal family has resided since 1919.

The Castle of Altshausen near Lake Constance.

Sometimes he refers to himself as the country’s “most feared donation collector”. He is patron of 27 charity organisations, among others of Herzenssache, a charity organisation to support children in need. His old alma mater of the Tübingen University (founded in 1477 by his ancestor Duke Eberhard I.) made him an honorary senator, the Catholic diocese of Rottenburg honoured him with the Max-Müller-Medal for his work as 1st Chairman of the Catholic School Association. He also received the Große Verdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany). In 1991 Duke Carl founded the Ludwig-Uhland-Preis, a literature prize. The prize is awarded to those who have contributed to the understanding of the literature of Württemberg.

On 21st July 1960, he married Princess Diane of France (born in Petrópolis, Brazil, 24th March 1940), the daughter of Henri Comte de Paris (1908–1999, claimant to the French throne and Chef de la Famille de France), his wife, Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza (1911–2003). They have four sons and two daughters, plus numerous grandchildren.

When in 1918 revolutionaries forced the German Monarchs to leave their thrones, King Wilhelm II of Württemberg was the last to abdicate. On 30th November 1918 he sent his Scheidegruß (Farewell Greetings) to the people of Württemberg. With his death in 1921 the protestant branch of the Royal House of Württemberg died out in the male line.

People in the state's capital Stuttgart resisting the destruction of their main railway station used images of King Wilhelm II of Württemberg to show their anger.

Duke Carl's grandfather, Duke Albrecht of Württemberg (né Wien 23rd Dec. 1865 - + Altshausen 29th Oct. 1939), was heir presumptive during the time of the Monarchy and became head of the Württemberg Royal Family and de jure King of Württemberg. He belonged to a junior branch that had converted to Catholicism.

Duke Carl of Württemberg has never made a secret of the fact that he is in favour of a Constitutional Monarchy and has said so in several interviews, like this one with the Südwestdeutscher Rundfunk (SWR) in 2006:

From the Southern hemisphere go the heartiest birthday greetings to the "secret King" of Württemberg. Long May he live!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

His Majesty King Harald V of Norway addressing the nation in the wake of the tragic events in Oslo and on Utøya island

25th July 2011

Norway has been struck by a national tragedy. The kind of calamity that we hoped would never happen here has somehow taken place.

At Sundvolden today we met young people and their families who shared with us their gruesome stories. They have lived through a day that is beyond all comprehension. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to all of those afflicted by the events in Oslo and on Utøya.

The police, rescue workers, health personnel and volunteers have worked tirelessly and heroically to save lives, in some cases at risk to their own. All of us are affected by the catastrophe that has swept over us, and we watch in disbelief as the death toll continues to rise.

In the midst of all the anguish and chaos, the Prime Minister, the Government and the ministries have responded to the situation with exceptional fortitude and resolve.

Both as individuals and as a nation it will take us a long time to digest and work our way through what we have witnessed, our grief and our feelings. We will need each other in this process. Throughout the length and breadth of our country, there are people who have lost someone they loved. Many of our children and young people are afraid today. We must make every effort to reassure them. Many will want to be together, while others will need space for quiet reflection. It is comforting that the country’s churches are open for anyone who wishes to light a candle and seeks a place to be. It is also helpful that the local authorities and volunteer organisations are providing arenas for those who feel a need to be with others.

There is still much we do not know about the background for yesterday’s atrocities, and it is essential that we let the responsible authorities continue their work to bring clarity to the situation. Some things we do know, however: the acts in Oslo and on Utøya are an attack on the Norwegian society that we hold so dear. And they represent an assault upon the very heart of Norwegian democracy.

It is when our nation is put to the test that the true strength, solidarity and courage of the Norwegian people come to the fore. We stand united behind our values.

I firmly believe that freedom is stronger than fear.

I firmly believe in an open Norwegian democracy and society.

I firmly believe that we will uphold our ability to live freely and securely in our own country.

Sunday 10 July 2011

News of the World

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire may be stirred, but is not shaken – yet. Last week’s events in the UK has implications on three continents, where his tentacles have got hold of the media.

Peter Oborne, Chief Political Commentator of The Daily Telegraph, wrote a scathing analysis on Mr. Murdoch’s influence on Britsh politicans Phone hacking: David Cameron is not out of the sewer yet

"For more than three decades the most powerful man in Britain has not been a politician; it has been the brilliant but ruthless US-based media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who burst on to the scene with the purchase of the News of the World in an audacious takeover bid in 1968. Within barely a decade he had built up a controlling interest in British newspapers.

"But he did not just control our media. He dominated British public life. Politicians – including prime ministers – treated him with deference and fear. Time and again the
Murdoch press – using techniques of which we have only just become aware – destroyed political careers. Murdoch also claims to determine the results of general elections.

"Rupert Murdoch’s empire has been a spider at the heart of an intricate web that has poisoned British public life.

"Murdoch used his power to immense effect, undermining and attacking our greatest public institutions – above all the monarchy and the judiciary. His employees believed they were above the law and could act with impunity".

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Media watch
Québec, les Québecois and the Canadian Monarchy

Before the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge arrived in the Dominion of Canada, the media hoped for trouble in the province of Québec by a republican protest wave.

They grounded their hopes on a well-known quack: Amir Khadir, a Québec Solidaire member of the province’s National Assembly had called the newlywed royal couple “parasites.” Mr. Khadir is known as an outspoken politician, whose remarks have put him in the spotlight before.

Québec’s Minister of Foreign Relations and Minister of La Francophonie, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, welcomed their visit, which is already garnering the attention of dozens of international journalists seeking accreditation for the tour. She said the province would cover part of the cost of their tour, although she didn’t specify the exact amount. She called the visit a chance to put the belle province on display.

That incensed Mr. Khadir even more, who compared the parading of the royal couple to a “circus” meant to attract tourist.
The Globe and Mail, 31st May 2011

The visit to Montréal on 2nd July and Québec City on 3rd July went ahead and was a huge success.

The worst reported incident arising during the visit of Prince William and Kate on the weekend was a small group of Québec anti-monarchists, numbering between 30 and 100, unfurling a banner calling them royal parasites.

The protesters were overshadowed by scenes of unbridled enthusiasm for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In Québec City, the heartland of Québec nationalism, William delivered a speech "tout en francais" that was deemed passable, with an improved accent. The attractive young couple went up to the barricades to shake hands and talk to star-struck Québecers who voiced their approval.
Calgary Herald, 5th July 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kept calm and carried on as they were met by small but loud groups of Québec sovereigntists expressing their disdain for the Crown over the weekend.

Nearly 100 members of the British media are in Canada to cover the royal couple's first official international visit.

They are part of the almost 1,400 journalists accredited to cover the royal visit.
The Canadian Press, 3rd July 2011

It must be exhausting to continually fight the battle of the Plains of Abraham more than 250 years after its formal conclusion, and utterly demoralizing to keep losing it.

The relative handful of demonstrators who tried to disrupt the Montréal and Québec City segments of the royal tour only succeeded in demonstrating that their anti-monarchist sentiments are even less relevant than the monarchy.

The cost of accommodating Prince William and his wife, Kate, is a pittance compared to the international attention a royal tour commands. Travel industry marketers would kill to get that kind of bang for their buck. So the “parasites” argument doesn’t wash, especially coming from fringe characters in North America’s most notorious welfare state.

Then there’s the character of the royals themselves. I had the privilege of meeting William’s father, Prince Charles, and Charles’ wife, Camilla, during their visit to Montréal in 2009, and their easy-going nature, impeccable manners and good humour under constant scrutiny left an unforgettable impression. These are people who are drilled from early childhood in the art of social politesse, and they embrace their position and responsibilities with unfailing grace, which is more than can be said for self-centered athletes, actors, rock stars and famous-for-being-famous celebrities who behave like petulant children when they feel their ”space” is being invaded. (I’ll never forget a story from a friend of a friend who, as a teenager, was waiting outside the Forum to get a famous visiting hockey player’s autograph, and when the team bus showed up, the player brushed past his biggest fan and growled, “F*** off, kid, I haven’t even had breakfast yet.
Montréal Gazette, 5th July 2011

Anti-monarchist protesters failed to disrupt the visit of Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate to Québec, which was the most politically sensitive portion of their Canadian royal tour.

A group estimated by local reporters at about 200 people used loudspeakers on Sunday to decry the royal family and call for sovereignty for the French-speaking province, but they were kept far away from the couple in Québec City.
Reuters, 4th July 2011

Gary Sims, a staunch monarchist and amateur historian, said the protesters don’t know their history. “If it wasn’t for the British influence in North America, there would be no French at all,” he said, noting that, had the Americans and not the British triumphed in the War of 1812, French-speakers would likely have been assimilated and Quebec as we know it would not exist.
The Globe and Mail, 3rd July 2011

Sunday morning, Montréal very nationalist daily newspaper Le Journal de Montréal, posted 80% of all its pages reserved to the royal couple (the Montréal visit) in a very positive mode, with nice pictures and details. 20% was reserved for the protests, insisting these people are a minority. This morning, Montréal federalist daily newspaper La Presse report explains how Québecers appreciate the visit in Québec city, with minor references to the protests. Now look at english media outside of Québec and their pathetic focus on how these Québec separatists hate the royal couple. The focus to find and interview some Québeckers who dislike the monarchy, etc.... Let me be clear: their is no enthusiasm for the royal family in Québec, and there will never be. But the immense majority of people are polite and have nothing against Kate and William. We are simply nor indifferent or nor charmed by this couple. So now read english national media, and you will see that the coverage of the royal visit in Québec has by far focus on these bad people. English media were so happy to see some Québeckers booing them. These media needs daily doses of Québec bashing to keep alive a part of their audience.
Denis_Montreal, 4th July 2011

Monday 4 July 2011

Otto +
* 20th November 1912 - + 4th July 2011

His Imperial and Apostolic Majesty Otto, Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, passed to his eternal reward this morning at his exile home, Villa Austria, in Pöcking, Germany, after a virtual reign of 89 years, three months and four days.

The mortal remains of the All Highest will rest for three days in the parish church of St. Ulrich in Pöcking. There will be requiem masses in Munich, Mariazell, and Budapest. His funeral mass will take place in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna on July 16, after which his mortal remains and those of the Empress Regina will be laid to rest in the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna.

After a requiem in Budapest his heart will be buried on Sunday, 17th July in the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma .

See the obituary in The Daily Telegraph.