Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Queen's message to Her Canadian people

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo (l.) standing Guards moments before the shooting.

The Queen's message to the Governor-General of Canada

Prince Philip and I were shocked and saddened by the events in Ottawa earlier today. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.


Message de Sa Majesté la Reine à la suite de la tragédie survenue à Ottawa

Le prince Philip et moi avons été choqués et attristés par les évènements qui ont eu lieu à Ottawa hier. Nos pensées et prières accompagnent toutes les personnes touchées.


Cpl Nathan Cirillo's dogs. Such a sad sight.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a reserve infantry regiment based at the James Street Armoury in Hamilton, Ontario. Their Colonel-in-Chief is of course, Her Majesty.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Harvard Professor Nelson: The Royalist Revolution - Monarchy and the American Founding

Eric Nelson is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of political thought in early-modern Europe and America, and on the implications of that history for debates in contemporary political theory. Particular interests include the history of republican political theory, the relationship between the history of political thought and the history of scholarship, theories of property, and the phenomenon of secularisation. Nelson is the author, most recently, of The Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding (Harvard/Belknap, 2014).

Generations of students have been taught that the American Revolution was a revolt against "royal tyranny". In this revisionist account, Eric Nelson argues that a great many of the US-American “founding fathers” saw themselves as rebels against the British Parliament, not the Crown. The Royalist Revolution interprets the patriot campaign of the 1770s as an insurrection in favour of royal power - driven by the conviction that the Lords and Commons had usurped the just prerogatives of the monarch.

Leading patriots believed that the colonies were the king’s own to govern, and they urged King George III to defy Parliament and rule directly. These theorists were proposing to turn back the clock on the English constitution, rejecting the Whig settlement that had secured the supremacy of Parliament after the Glorious Revolution. Instead, they embraced the political theory of those who had waged the last great campaign against Parliament’s “usurpations”: the reviled Stuart monarchs of the seventeenth century.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Princess Anne visiting Queensland

On 21st October HRH Princess Anne arrived in Brisbane to attend the 26th Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) at the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) showgrounds.

The RASC conference aims to share ideas about agriculture, food, and the natural environments of Commonwealth members and is the body that unites agricultural show societies from all over the Commonwealth in order to share ideas, knowledge and skills.

Princess Anne took over as president from her father Prince Philip, who founded the society in 1957.

Princess Anne greeted a man on a horse at the Brisbane Royal Show Grounds, on her first of four days attending the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference
The Princess Royal praised the conference venue - the redeveloped Royal National Association's facilities at Bowen Hills, which had been "dangling in front of us" for several years.

"So it is a pleasure to be here and to see it in the flesh. And, a big thank you to Queensland and to Brisbane for their hospitality and for being the host society for this the 26th agricultural conference."

She said she was surprised it was the first time that Brisbane had been the host city: "I am actually quite surprised that it is the first time that it has been here given the extraordinary history of Queensland as one of the greatest primary producing areas in the world," she said.

HRH praised Queenslanders' resilience against floods and its record as a world leader in beef and livestock production. "Those of us who live in slightly wetter places on a normal basis I don't think can really quite understand just what drought truly means," she said. "And for that you have huge sympathy."

She acknowledged the state's ability to bounce back after the 2011 floods. "In previous years, there was extraordinary devastation caused by flooding and 2011 was the most recent floods," she said.

RNA President David Thomas is the current vice-president of the RASC, which means he's met with the Princess Royal several times in recent years.

"I think Princess Anne has always been a popular royal, she's very hard-working," he said. "I think she's one of those people who are very approachable; my dealings with her have been completely delightful."

230 delegates from countries including the UK, Canada, Singapore, Zambia, Kenya and Uganda attend the event, as well as interstate show societies and some of the 128 local show societies in Queensland.

Mr Thomas said Brisbane organisers had added in speakers who were experts in areas besides agriculture, such as entertainment programming, social media and volunteer management. "It's a lovely combination of the traditional agriculture with strategic and operational aspects of shows," he said. "Certainly the show movement has been really happy that we've included all those things."

While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent just six hours in Brisbane when they visited in April, the Princess Anne will be in town for all four days of the conference.

Her Royal Highness will also spend some time visiting charities and other groups. "She wants to meet everyone who's at this conference," Mr Thomas said. "There's no particular protocol around that, we'll just be walking around and guiding her to different groups so by the end hopefully everyone's met her once. She's a very nice person to talk to, very down-to-earth... she'll be very interested in what people have to say."

Princess Anne is the third royal to visit the RNA showgrounds, after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) in 1920, and Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, in 1954.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Prince Richard, son of former Australian Governor-General, turns 70

HRH Prince Richard, 2nd Duke of Gloucester
Born Prince Richard of Gloucester on 26th August 1944 at Northampton, he was christened Richard Alexander Walter George. When he was four months old he was taken by his parents to Australia, where his father, Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester, was Governor-General from 30th January 1945 to 11th March 1947. The Duke of Gloucester is the second son of the late Duke of Gloucester and the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (third daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch). His elder brother, Prince William, died in a tragic flying accident on 28 August 1972. Prince Richard inherited the title Duke of Gloucester on his father's death on 10th June 1974.

The Duke is 23rd in line to the throne, and is the first person in line who is not a direct descendent of King George VI; his father was Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester, younger brother to King Edward VIII and King George VI; this also makes him the youngest grandchild of King George V, the eldest being Queen Elizabeth.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester opened the Linburn Centre for Scottish War Blinded in 2011
After spending his childhood years in Australia, The Duke of Gloucester has constantly returned to Australia. In 2012 he attended the Grand Council Meeting at the Shangri-La Sydney, the Rocks, Sydney, as the Grand Prior of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

His Royal Highness, who is Patron  of the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, met Nuffield Australia Farming Scholars in Sydney. The charity organisation provides a scholarship scheme for the benefit of the Australian farming community.

On 26th May 2012 The Duke of Gloucester presented the Duke of Gloucester Cup to the 2nd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment at Victoria Barracks, Oxford Street, Sydney, New South Wales.

The Duke of Gloucester Cup

The Duke of Gloucester Cup, the three awards are presented to the most efficient infantry battalion of the Australian Army, ship of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during the previous year. The awards were created by HRH Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester in 1946, while he was serving as the Governor-General of Australia, and were first presented in 1947. The RAAF's Gloucester Cup recognises the most proficient flying squadron during a calendar year.

In January 2009 The Duke of Gloucester paid a visit to Melbourne,Victoria, and attended a Lecture at the Royal Society of Victoria  followed by a Reception to commemorate the Centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s Expedition’s location of the South Magnetic Pole. The Duke of Gloucester crossed the South Magnetic Pole, Antarctica, to commemorate the Centenary of the first location of the South Magnetic Pole by the Northern Party of Ernest Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909.

The Royal Society of Victoria had offered the flyover of the South Magnetic Pole, Antarctica, 100 years after it was first positioned by a party of Australians, Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson and Scotsman Alistair Mackay, members of Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909.

Royal Duties
Prince Richard is President of Cancer Research UK, as well as The National Association of Clubs for Young People, and is a patron of British Association of Friends of Museums, Richard III Society and Normandy Veterans Association.

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester represented Her Majesty The Queen at the Mass for the Inauguration of Pope Francis’ Pontificate on 19th March 2013. They also attended the Beatification Mass for Pope John Paul II on 1st May 2011.

At the inauguration of Pope Francis I The Duke and the Duchess of Gloucester represented The Queen.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Serbian Crown Prince Alexander II patron of the Album in Memory of our Ancestors in the Great War

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II accepted with great pleasure to be the patron of the project “Album in Memory of our Ancestors in the Great War,” that has been realised by the Association of the Descendants of Serbian Warriors 1912 – 1920.

I am very happy that the Association of descendants of Serbian Warriors 1912 – 1920 initiated such a project during year when we mark beginning of the war that was remembered as the Great War, as a first war that was titled a World War, and that left tragic marks all around the world. History obliges us not to forget this cathartic experience, but to come to sense and start the restitution of general values: love, honour, of historic culture, creativity and above all – humanity. History calls upon us to take personal responsibility for the future of our ancestors, and this project is a great step forward on that path. As the great grandson of His Majesty King Peter I who went through Golgotha of the Great War together with his sons and his people, as my grandfather of HRH Regent Alexander (later His Majesty King Alexander I) who was supreme commander of Serbian Army in World War I, I had the obligation and pleasure to accept to be patron of this very important project”, Crown Prince Alexander emphasised.

French postcard in support of her Serbian ally.
The project “Album in Memory of our Ancestors in the Great War” has the main goal to increase visibility and sustainability of Serbian cultural heritage as an important part of the cultural heritage of European nations at the time of First World War. One of the primary goals is to empower citizens who chose to take part in it to give their personal touch by providing relevant documents and historic sources in marking the Centenary of the First World War.

The creation of this Album will give an opportunity for all to submit online scans of photographs of their ancestors, biographic texts, diaries, medals, letters of soldiers and other materials of importance for Serbian and world history. At the end of the project, 100 chosen photographs will be printed and exhibited at places of historic importance of this period.

Photos and other documents could be submitted via web site where all material collected so far could be seen.

A web portal and data base of materials will be put at the disposal of historians and other professionals for research and other purposes, and we will all have a lasting memory of our ancestors who fought honourably for their freedom.

General goal:

Promotion of European idea of conciliation, remembrance and devotion in the context of commemoration of the First World War. Preservation of Serbian culture and identity as part of European and World cultural heritage. Sustainability of historic and cultural heritage.

Specific goals:

Marking the centenary of the First World War through promotion of Serbian history, development of positive international image, promotion of freedom loving characteristics of Serbian people, and emphasising membership within the European family of nations;

Conciliation through trust building and cooperation with European Union accession process;

Raising awareness on national identity, tradition and Serbian cultural identity;

Encouraging interest among young people in Serbian history;

Promotion of family values;

Strengthening moral values in Serbia society;

Networking between young people in Serbia and their peers in the Diaspora;

Building an Internet data base of photos from the First World War;

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Adress on television: King Willem-Alexander shared national frustration over the handling of the plane desaster

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands during his television address to the nation.
Statement by His Majesty the King after the gathering of next of kin of the air disaster victims on Monday, 21st July 2014. The video is available here.

Today a large gathering took place of families of the victims of the air disaster in eastern Ukraine. My wife and I were among those present. We were deeply touched by the moving, personal accounts of those who have lost loved ones. People whose lives are in ruins. Their sorrow, their feeling of powerlessness and their despair are heartrending. Many people said to us, 'We at least want to take dignified leave of our loved ones'.

We understand their frustration and their pain. And we share their heartfelt wish for clarity on the cause of this disaster.

We know that their loss can never be made good. Their grief is immense. The only thing we could do today was to be with them, and listen to what they had to say.

In the last few days, people have gathered together all over the Netherlands, and they will go on doing so. In offices, schools, sports clubs and living rooms across the country. People are there for one another.

And that is especially important now, at a time of great trial for our country, when so many people are overwhelmed by grief. It is important that we hold onto one another, that we support each other and do what we can to help. And that we open our hearts to anyone who wants to share their story. Not only now, but also in the months and years to come.

I would like to express my appreciation for all the people who are rallying around those affected by the disaster. Relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues: you are all very much needed now.

I would also like to say how much I value the work being done by the hundreds of professionals involved in carrying out the many sad and difficult tasks that need to be done.

My wife and I sympathise deeply with all those who have been bereaved. We are with them in our thoughts. These sentiments are shared by my mother and by the other members of my family, who feel a particularly close bond with our country in these dark days.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The solution for Russia

Yekaterinburg, Russia, 18th July, 2014.

80,000 people gathered to commemorate the murder of the Imperial Family.

Как это было: Крестный ход в Екатеринбурге

Prince William unveiled Captain Matthew Flinders’ statute at Australia House

Prince William and Mark Richards.

The Duke of Cambridge has unveiled a statue in honour of the first man to identify Australia as a continent.

The Duke, who visited the Commonwealth of Australia with The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George in April, said he was honoured to celebrate a man who "did far more than anyone to place Australia - quite literally - on the map".

Captain Matthew Flinders, the first person to circumnavigate Australia at the age of just 27, is a household name Down Under but little known in his native Britain.

The Duke with a table-top version of the statue of Captain Matthew Flinders.
The 6ft (1.8m) bronze memorial of the cartographer, designed by sculptor Mark Richards, was unveiled by The Duke at Australia House today.

The government of South Australia hopes to bolster Captain Flinders' profile among British people by permanently erecting the statue at Euston station in central London, the site where it is believed Captain Flinders was buried on his death at the age of 40.

The statue shows him kneeling over a map of Australia with a compass and his companion Trim, a cat, who travelled with him on his explorations.

The Duke, who said Australia is a "very dear place to me and Catherine", was presented with a table-top version of the statue, which he was initially a little hesitant to lift. He described Captain Flinders as a man of "action,strength, and determination".

Bill Murrihead, the Agent General for South Australia, said: "Knowing that The Duke of Cambridge is so fond of Australia, we were delighted to have him here today to honour Matthew Flinders, a young, inspirational man like himself. I talked with him about his recent trip to Australia. He is very pro-all things Australian so we feel he is one of us."

He added that Captain Flinders was a "remarkable man who accomplished a huge deal" and deserved to be recognised in his homeland as he is in Australia.

At the beginning of his speech Prince William paid respect to the victime's of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17.

A speech by HRH The Duke of Cambridge at Australia House

High Commissioner, Agent General, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your very warm welcome.

I know that I speak for all of us here when I acknowledge our deep sadness following yesterday's disaster in the Ukraine. For all of us who have lost fellow countrymen and women in the tragedy, words cannot do justice to our sense of loss. For Australians, and for our Malaysian brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth, the crash is a particularly cruel tragedy coming so soon after the loss of MH370. Please be assured of my family's thoughts and prayers at this time.

Earlier this year, you will know that Catherine and I had the great pleasure of spending time, with George, in Australia. In South Australia, we visited an organisation that will long live in our memory called the Northern Sound System. There, we met young people – some from very difficult backgrounds – who were turning their lives around through the power of music. The place was Australia at its very best: young, innovative, caring, cool … it was a truly uplifting place. Australia is a very dear country to me and Catherine, and so I am particularly honoured to have been invited today to celebrate a man who did far more than anyone to place Australia – quite literally – on the map. I am aware that this statue, and its eventual placement at Euston station, involved a lot of hard work by a committed group of supporters, but there are some who deserve a particular mention.

First, I should like to congratulate the sculptor, Mark Richards, for producing a beautiful statue and for telling the story of Captain Flinders with such elegance.

I should also like to acknowledge and thank the many people and organisations who have contributed financially to the project. Although backed by the Government of South Australia, this has been a privately funded initiative.

Finally, I should like to congratulate the Steering Committee for achieving so much. You have truly honoured the memory of Captain Flinders in London.

In closing, I would like to make two brief observations about the figure…I should say figures….not to forget Trim the cat, who apprently isn't bolted down.

First, I appreciate the way this work communicates Captain Flinders as a man of action, strength and determination.

Second, I very much appreciate the sensitivity of the inscription around the base of the statue.

Some of you may know that Matthew Flinders had an indigenous Australian on board HM Sloop Investigator…an indigenous Australian with whom he clearly had a close rapport. His name was Bungaree, a person Flinders described as “worthy and brave”. "Worthy and brave" is a description that is just as apt for Captain Flinders himself.

Thank you for inviting me to commemorate this great man with you all.

Thank you.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

King Felipe VI reaches out to Catalonia

His Majesty shakes hands with the President of the Generalitat de Cataluña, Artur Mas (local leader of the separatist party which forms a minority government in Catalonia).
The autonomous region Catalonia was the destination for King Felipe VI’s first domestic trip as the country's new Monarch. At an award ceremony for young entrepreneurs in Girona on 26th June, the newly proclaimed King sent out a conciliatory message to the Catalans.
"Sincere and generous collaboration is the best way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of each person and achieve great collective goals for the common good. Just hours before his visit, the Catalan regional assembly approved a motion calling for a popular referendum on the monarchy. The same parties behind the motion also called a protest against the king’s presence in the city. Around 500 people turned out for the demonstration As the crown prince, and from now on as the king, I have used these visits to make the Crown even more present in this land, and to convey a message of respect, mutual understanding and coexistence, which as I said in my proclamation address, are inherent values of our parliamentary democracy,” he said, speaking in Catalan.
His message of reconcilliation did not find open ears among a majority of the region's assembly. Just hours before his visit, the Catalan regional assembly approved a motion calling for a popular referendum on the monarchy. 81 voted in favour, 26 against and 18 abstained. The same parties behind the motion - the Catalan secessionist part CiU, the republican left ERC and smaller marxist parties - also called a protest against the King’s presence in the city. Around 500 people turned out for the demonstration.

Among the nasty comments below an English language report on the day's events was this remarkable comment:
I have been victim of the catalonian nationalists, they have discriminate me because I do not share their tought. I am not the only one that have suffered their intolerance, the catalonian nationalists behave like nazis, they can not cope with persons that not share their ideas. The truth that is happening in Catalonia is very different from the catalonian nationalists´version, they have done a business with the victimism. The catalonian nationalists behave like nazis, they can not cope with persons that not share their ideas. The idea of a referendum in Catalonia it is not healthy because in Catalonia there is no democracy, you need informed citizens and the truth is that in Catalonia since the nationalists run the education system they have created many generations of zombies that only stand for their fascists ideas. In Catalonia there is not education, there is indoctrination in the hatred of the nationalists.

Portuguese celebrates its 800th anniversary

Outside Portugal this anniversary is hardly noticed. The first document in the Portuguese language was signed on 27th June 1214 by King Afonso II - it was his testament.

Afonso became King of Portugal in 1212, succeeding his father King Sancho I. Born on 23rd April 1185 King Afonso did not pursue territory enlargement policies of his father and grandfather, the first King of Portugal of the Burgundy dynasty that established the country's independence, managed to ensure peace with Castile during his reign. 

The first official use of Portuguese: The Testament of King Afonso II.
The transcript of this important European document is available here.

In the last decade of the thirteenth century, King Dinis The Farmer - (1279–1325) legalised Portuguese as the official language of the Kingdom of Portugal, following the example of his grandfather, King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon, who established Castilian as the official language of his kingdom during his reign, which started in 1252.

Although the Portuguese was only formalised this in Dom Dinis, as of 1255, the chancery of King Afonso III of Portugal, the Portuguese used it alongside the Latin in official documents.

A report (in Portuguese, of course) can be watched on RTP's website: Língua portuguesa é usada em documentos oficiais desde há oito séculos.

PS. Accidentally (or intentionally?) the two sons of the heir to the Portuguese throne, HRH Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Bragança, bear the names of the two important champions of the Portuguese language: Dom Afonso de Santa Maria, Prince of Beira, Duke of Barcelo and Infante Dinis, Duke of Porto.

Royal Finances and Royal Duties

This week the annual Sovereign Grant report - the report on the Monarchy's public finances in the last year - was published. For details see Royal Family cost each taxpayer 56p last year.

Regularly the anti-monarchist splinter group Republic, run by Graham Smith, occasionally a Fairfax columnist, was quoted by The New York Times:
“They cost much more than they say, and they don’t actually do anything,” said Graham Smith, one of the activists, as he stared up at the palace walls. “People keep pushing for more from the royals, but they give it only grudgingly. We ought to be a republic.”
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall published their annual review in an impressive graphic:

Activities of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in 2013/2014

The Prince of Wales funds himself, his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s activities as royals from the Duchy of Cornwall. Prince Charles, however, incurred £1m travel costs in the last year due to an increased number of engagements performed representing the UK and The Queen overseas.