Friday 31 December 2010

Queen's First Great-Grandchild has Canadian Roots -- article

My broadcast to CTV News has been incorporated into this article: News Staff
Date: Thu. Dec. 30 2010 5:37 PM ET
Queen Elizabeth II is now a great-grandmother after the Montreal-born wife of her eldest grandson gave birth to a baby girl.

The first child of Autumn and Peter Phillips was born Wednesday at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday. The girl weighed eight pounds and eight ounces, according to the palace.
While the name of the child is not being released at the moment, the Queen, her husband Prince Philip, and the rest of Autumn and Peter Phillips' families are delighted with the news, the palace said in a statement.

By holding British and Canadian citizenship, the day-old girl is the first Canadian to be in line to the throne, said Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry, a guide that keeps a genealogical history of the Royal Family.
The girl is 12th in line to the throne.

Heydel-Mankoo said the birth adds more Canadian flavour to the Royal Family, as Prince Charles' wife Camilla is a descendent of Allan Napier MacNab, who was a Prime Minister of Upper Canada in the 1800s.
As well, one of Prince Edward's two daughters-in-law, Sylvana Windsor, hails from Newfoundland, he said.
"The Royal Family has never been more Canadian and I think that's quite important in strengthening the connections between the Canadian people and the Crown," Heydel-Mankoo told CTV News Channel from London, England.
Peter Phillips married his wife, the former Autumn Kelly, in May 2008 at Windsor Castle. They live in Hong Kong, where Peter Phillips works for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The couple met when Peter Phillips was attending the Montreal Grand Prix in Autumn Phillips' hometown in 2003.
As a child, Autumn Phillips attended various Catholic schools in Montreal and later attended McGill University. She converted to Anglicanism when she married her husband to preserve his succession rights to the throne.
The couple's child arrives at a time when there is a lot of buzz surrounding the Royal Family, largely due to the engagement of Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, and Kate Middleton. Their wedding is one of the most-anticipated events of 2011.

With files from The Canadian Press

Wednesday 29 December 2010

The Monarch as Moral Leader and Champion of Civic Duty and Civil Society

The Monarchy has deliberately resisted attempts to steer it down a show-business path. In so doing it stands as an important counter-weight to the excesses of contemporary culture. Actively engaged in charity and philanthropy, and patron to thousands of organisations, the Monarchy is the supreme champion of civic duty and the voluntary ethic. Many of the causes it espouses and the values it sustains are unglamorous and unfashionable; but this is Monarchy at is best – honouring the many individuals engaged in voluntary work (be it in soup kitchens, delivering meals on wheels, or volunteering in a local museum) and recognising the work of institutions such as the Girl Guides and St. John’s Ambulance.  These are the unsung heroes of Britain. Their work appeals closely to The Queen’s own system of values and beliefs.

Through royal visits, the conferral of royal patronage and the bestowal of honours, the Monarchy is able to draw attention to institutions, causes, social needs, visible minorities and deprived groups which would otherwise be neglected by the media and the government. It encourages citizenship engagement in local communities, promotes local initiatives, highlights issues of social, cultural, environmental and spiritual concern.  Importantly, the Monarchy is able to achieve this whilst remaining politically neutral. In the modern era, nothing has done more to strengthen the monarchy and make it more visible than its commitment to charitable and voluntary work. 

As a champion of civic duty the Monarchy has an important role to play in the Big SocietyThe notion of national ideals, shared values and a common purpose have fallen out of vogue, with the responsibilities of citizenship overwhelmingly subordinate to its entitlements. The Monarchy leads by example; its charitable work and the causes it supports are vital to the promotion of civil society, social cohesion and national identity.

The Monarchy has never been more relevant to society and more finely in-tune with its needs. The Prince of Wales has a particular appreciation for, and understanding of, many of the issues facing contemporary society: environment, agriculture, education, inter-faith dialogue, architectural heritage, urban regeneration and the built environment, youth projects.

The Monarchy’s future requires it to continue to remain politically neutral whilst engaging even more with society. The Monarchy must be seen and be seen to do good.

Friday 24 December 2010

Monday 20 December 2010

The Role of Monarchy

Speaking in Quebec in 1964 HM The Queen declared: “The role of a constitutional monarch is to personify the democratic state, to sanction legitimate authority, to assure the legality of its measures, and to guarantee the execution of the popular will. In accomplishing this task it protects the people against disorder.”

As the world changes ever more quickly, becoming, in the process, both increasingly chaotic and unfamiliar, the Monarchy stands as a steadfast symbol of stability and continuity. It is one of the few elements in modern life that grounds us and places us at a fixed point in the continuum of our history. This stability may explain in part why post-war Britain was able to transform from an imperial nation, through decolonization and economic decline, without the unrest and ideological battles that afflicted nations such as France -- the trappings of Monarchy made the transformation easier to bear.

Today, the Sovereign is not merely a legal entity or constitutional power; HM is the representative of the nation, the ultimate symbol of national identity and the supreme champion of the spirit of civic duty.

During her Coronation Service The Queen took a solemn oath dedicating herself to a life of selfless service and duty, reaffirming the covenant between Sovereign and People. The oath and the consecration/annointing are of profound significance to our religiously devout Sovereign. In The Queen’s 2000 Christmas Broadcast HM said: “For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”

The modern British monarchy continues the tradition of Christian Monarchy, upholding three fundamental pillars of civil society: 

  • 1.      ceremonial and ritual (symbolising the state and providing a source of national unity)
  • 2.      civic duty (expressed principally through philanthropy and charitable work)
  • 3.      moral leadership (demonstrated through sacrifice and duty)

No other form of government, and no other type of head of state, is better equipped to handle these essential elements of civil and civilised society. 

Friday 17 December 2010

Watch my CBC TV interview on the Royal Wedding

To watch a short (2 min) clip of my 5 minute CBC News interview about the wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton (discussing such weighty topics as royal commemorative tea towels) please CLICK HERE

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Restoration of "Royal Canadian Navy" one step closer

Yesterday evening the Canadian Senate's national security and defence committee recommended that the Senate pass a motion supporting the change of the name of Maritime Command to include the word "Navy". The Senate is expected to adopt the motion today or tomorrow. It will then be up to National Defence Minister Peter MacKay to decide whether to restore the naval force's traditional name: "Royal Canadian Navy" before the end of the year (the navy's centennial year) or, failing that, in time for Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.

A national grassroots campaign to restore the Royal Canadian Navy has united patriotic Canadians. The campaign has a regularly updated BLOG (CLICK HERE) through which supporters can sign the ON-LINE PETITION (CLICK HERE)

The campaigners have also produced the above video

Saturday 11 December 2010

Order of Merit finally ranked in Canada -- symbolic of the renaissance of Canadian institutions

Following HM The Queen's decision to appoint former Prime Minister Jean Chretien to the Order of Merit in 2009, there was some discussion regarding the precedence of the Order within the Canadian Honours System. 

In a post on The Monarchist web-site one author (posting under the pseudonym "Beaverbrook") wrote as follows:

"Having pretty much completely abolished titular honours from the Canadian landscape (apart from the odd anomoly), it was surely the intent of the Government of Canada to ensure that the highest honour bestowed upon Canadians (save those rewarded for the most conspicuous acts of bravery) be the Order of Canada, whatever the rank. By refusing to resurrect the old knighthoods, the Order of Canada would never have to compete with the likes of the Garter, the Thistle or the Bath.

This is clear from the Governor General's website regarding the modern orders of precedence. All three ranks of the Order of Canada take precedence in the orders of wear after the Victoria Cross (V.C.) and the Cross of Valour (C.V.). 

The problem is they forgot about the non-titular orders that are in the personal gift of the Sovereign, such as the highly prestigious Companions of Honour (1917) and the even more exclusive Order of Merit (1902), both of which rank ahead of the Order of Canada (1967) if bestowed prior to June 1, 1972. Presumably these honours are so rare, no room was ever made for them in the new Canadian honours system, though the Royal Victorian Order was, probably because it conveniently ranked after the Order of Canada."

"The issue you raise has required formal consideration for some time. Unfortunately, as LB Pearson was the last Canadian to hold the OM and the powers-that-be at Rideau Hall no doubt thought it unlikely that another Canadian would be appointed, the OM was not included in the modern/revised Order of Precedence. I suspect, however, that the official position of the Government would be that, post 1972, the CC outranks the OM. 

Such a position, if it is ever formally expressed, will have been based upon wholly political and pseudo-nationalist considerations and would be as unconvincing and nonsensical as the decision to group all the grades of the Order of Canada together, ranking a lowly Member of the Order of Canada above Companions of the Order of Military Merit, the Order of Merit of the Police Forces and of the Royal Victorian Order.

It is my view that the OM, as an exclusive award in the personal gift of Her Majesty, clearly outranks the far less exclusive CC. The Government's agenda notwithstanding, I do not see how one can arrive at any other conclusion. The New Zealand Royal Honours System (which, after that of the UK, is the most finely crafted honours system in the Commonwealth) has ranked the OM correctly."

In light of this, I am delighted to announce that the Order of Merit has now received official ranking in the current Canadian Order of Precedence, where it has been correctly positioned in third place, below the Victoria Cross and the Cross of Valour.   This is highly-encouraging and Government House and the Prime Minister's Office are to be congratulated. This excellent decision is merely the latest in an impressive line of initiatives by the current Government to restore the visibility of the Canadian Crown and reassert pride in Canada's traditional institutions and symbols.  Across the Commonwealth the Canadian situation should warm the cockles of traditionalist hearts and give inspiration and indeed motivation for citizens to call on their Governments to act likewise.

SI/2010-88 December 8, 2010

Order of Merit (O.M.) Order

P.C. 2010-1499 November 26, 2010
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, hereby directs that the Order of Merit (O.M.) follow the Cross of Valour (C.V.) in the order of precedence in the Canadian Honours System. 

(Hat tip to  Gavin Guthrie for Gazette link)

Friday 10 December 2010

Reforming the Lords - Part Two

The second part of my blog post dealing with Reform of the House of Lords has been published on the "Disraeli Room" of the ResPublica website. It may be read by clicking HERE

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Lords Reform - A Century in the Making

ResPublica, Britain's most dynamic and exciting new think tank, has published my article on Reform of the House of Lords in its "Disraeli Room".  Part One today and Part Two tomorrow.  It may be read by clicking HERE

Monday 6 December 2010

Hereditary Succession 101

Hereditary succession is the element common to all monarchies, save for rare historic examples of election such as in Poland and the Holy Roman Empire, and in the modern example of the Papacy.  

As an aside: It is also interesting to note the Anglo-Saxon tradition of the “election” of a new king by the Witenagemot from amongst the deceased King’s family.  Although tempting to draw a comparison with Parliament’s invitation to William and Mary in the seventeenth century and the installation of George I in the eighteenth, the power of the Witenagemot was never so great and, in practice, amounted to little more than formal recognition of the king’s established (primarily primogenital) heir.  Nevertheless, I regard this Anglo-Saxon recognition as an early form of the concept of covenant/consent which was to be settled in England after 1689.  As evidence I can cite two occasions where it is believed that the Witan deposed a king (Sigeberht, King of Wessex in 757 and Alchred, King of Northumberland in 774) and one where the Witan offered to restore a king on the condition that he improve the quality of his kingship (Elthelred the Unready had fled the country in 1013).

Various different forms of hereditary succession have been employed in different countries: 

1. Absolute or lineal promogeniture, also known as full cognatic priomogeniture: inheritance by the oldest child, irrespective of gender. The first monarchy to introduce this was Sweden in 1980 (displacing Prince Carl Philip as Heir Apparent in favour of Crown Princess Victoria).

2. Agnatic or patrilineal primogeniture: inheritance by the eldest son, and then his male issue inheriting before brothers and their male issue. (this is also Salic law)  

3. Agnatic-cognatic primogeniture allows female agnates (or their descendants) to inherit once there are no surviving male agnates.

4. Male preference primogeniture (also known as "mixed-female succession" and as "cognatic" primogeniture) allows a female to succeed if she has no living brothers and no deceased brothers who left surviving legitimate descendants. 

5. Matrilineal primogeniture is a form of succession where the eldest female child inherits the throne to the total exclusion of males. 

6.Uterine or ovarian primogeniture a right of succession may also be inherited by a male through a female ancestor or spouse, to the exclusion of any female heir who might be older or of nearer proximity of blood;

Succession provides the continuity that is essential to the stability of Monarchy. According to the common law Doctrine of Perpetuity, the Sovereign never dies but is immediately succeeded by his or her successor. Hence the expression: “The King is Dead! Long Live the King!” The individual Monarch may die but the Crown continues, for it is the source of all authority and without it the state would cease to be. 

The continuity afforded by Monarchy through hereditary succession enables the public to understand and tangibly connect with the stability of the political system. The Monarchy provides the nation with all-important reassurance in a world which is changing ever more rapidly. The Monarchy grounds us; it promotes order, symbolises essential values and provides us with a sense of national identity and unity. 

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Modern Constitutional Monarchy

Republicans have a habit of conflating the terms “Democracy” and “Republic”, treating them as synonyms. Republics and constitutional monarchies are of course merely different forms of democracy (and we can cite numerous undemocratic republics).   

Constitutional monarchies are limited monarchies –limited by the constitution and its conventions. Of the 31 constitutional monarchies in the world, only two have an uncodified constitution: the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The other constitutional monarchies are Australia, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Granada, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and Tuvalu.  16 of the world’s 31 constitutional monarchies recognise HM The Queen as Sovereign.

Constitutional monarchies comprise some of the world’s most developed, wealthy, democratically accountable and progressive states.  The 2009 United Nations Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living worldwide, is generally regarded as the best index for determining the quality of life offered by a state. The HDI ranks constitutional monarchies extremely highly:  7 of the top 10 (Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden) and 16 of the top 20 countries in the world, in terms of quality of life, are constitutional monarchies. This is all the more remarkable when one realises that republics outnumber monarchies by 5-to-1 (31 vs approx 150).

It would be foolish to claim that it is by virtue of their status as monarchies that these countries afford their citizens such a high quality of life -- that is an obvious absurdity; the form of government and quality of life is most likely due to their stability. However, their success provides clear evidence that constitutional monarchies are not an impediment to modernity or progression (be it social, cultural, scientific or technological) -- neither are they incompatible with democracy and the institutions of a modern state. It is also incorrect to categorise constitutional monarchies as naturally or inherently conservative. Sweden, Norway and Denmark are amongst the world’s most socially progressive states. Monarchy, as a symbol of stability and continuity, may in fact be an asset to a reforming government as it can provide a fixed point for a society undergoing dramatic transformation, making the change more bearable.

Constitutional Monarchies survive today because they are adaptable and have been able to change to face new challenges. Those monarchies which failed to evolve (Russia and France for example) perished. Despite some awkward moments, the British Monarchy has developed a good understanding of the importance of ensuring that the Crown maintains the essential elements of heritage and tradition whilst remaining relevant to the modern age and reflecting positive aspects of contemporary society. 

Friday 26 November 2010

A Sorry State: Self-Denigration in British Culture

Last night I attended the launch of a splendid new book, edited by the noted author and authority on the British cultural zeitgeist, Peter Whittle of the New Culture Forum, and with contributions from many leading authors and scholars, all of whom are proud to be British and seek a revival of pride in Britain's accomplishments. If you are concerned about British culture, the book may be of interest to you and may be pre-ordered via at this link:

To quote from the blurb of the book:

"Self-loathing permeates our culture to such an extent that we no longer even see it for what it is. For many of us, it has come to be the natural way of looking at the world. We have become used to living in a permanent state of cultural cringe, of apology, of guilt for real or imagined acts; where our opinion formers appear to agree that western culture is an indefensible horror.
The aim of this collection of essays is to illustrate how self-denigration operates in both specific and general areas of contemporary life. So, along with Helen Szamuely’s essay on history teaching in schools, Emma French’s exploration of the effects of cultural self-laceration in higher education and Marc Sidwell’s analysis of the big state as an expression of self-distrust, we have Gulliver Ralston examining the effects of self-hatred on music education, Paul Seaman on corporate image-building, Juliet Samuel on the environmentalist movement and Douglas Murray on how our response to radical Islam is being compromised. Tony Wells describes the minefield of a simple dinner party among the middle-class intelligentsia, Guy Stagg makes an argument for religion as an expression of self-hate, and Richard D. North describes how so-called ‘anti-elitism’ is another facet of the same phenomenon.
We have aimed to be constructive in this collection, to offer up ways out of self-hatred. Leadership is not just about economics, and the sooner our own elected representatives acknowledge that the burning issues of our time are cultural ones, the better. In the words of countless demonstrators over the years, it is time to ‘Stop the Hate’.
Contents of A Sorry State
Table manners by Tony Wells
Over the rainbow: How radical environmentalists thwarted Copenhagen by Juliet Samuel
There’s no such thing as the state by Marc Sidwell
Cultural self-effacement in music education by Gulliver Ralston
How public relations sells western firms short by Paul Seaman
‘Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe’: Cultural self-laceration in British universities by Emma French
Mea maxima culpa: Religion and the sanctity of self-hatred by Guy Stagg
How do self-hatred and self-blame shape our response to radical Islam? by Douglas Murray
History came to a . by Helen Szamuely
The country that hates itself: Why curing anti-elitism can sort things out by Richard D. North"

Monday 22 November 2010

Watch my TV Interview on the announcement of the Royal Engagement

It's a few days old but here is my interview on the announcement of the Royal Engagement: Click on the link and then scroll down to my name in the right hand "CTV News Box":

Saturday 20 November 2010

Is Love Enough for the newly engaged Royal Couple? -

Is Love Enough?  A newspaper article in today's National Post (Canada) newspaper by Peter Goodspeed, features commentary from me and my colleague Arthur Bousfield of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust:

"Peter Goodspeed, National Post · Friday, Nov. 19, 2010
Fairy tale or nightmare? The royal wedding of Prince William of Wales and commoner Kate Middleton already holds the public enthralled with all the gushing sentimentality of a great love story and the horror of a train wreck.
For the first time in 350 years, an heir to the British throne has proposed to marry a commoner -- for love -- jettisoning age-old traditions of arranged marriages and dynastic alliances based on class.
Some see the event as a transformative step toward modernizing the British monarchy, the most conservative of Europe's remaining royal houses.....
"The monarchy always reflects the society it presides over," said Arthur Bousfield, vice-chairman of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust and coauthor of several books on the British monarchy. "If it didn't, it would be so out of touch it would lose its raison d'etre.
"The monarchy always adapts and royal marriages are the way it sort of rejuvenates itself."
It is a pattern that has been repeated elsewhere.
"Prince William and Kate Middleton are not breaking with European tradition," said Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, an editor of Burke's Peerage & Gentry. "They are following in the wake of their continental counterparts.
"The Crown Prince of Norway married an unwed mother, the Crown Princess of Sweden married a personal trainer and gym owner, and the Crown Prince of Denmark married an Australian whom he met in a pub in Sydney during the 2000 Olympics."...
"In an egalitarian 21st century, Kate Middleton's unexceptional middle-class background is an asset," said Mr. Heydel-Mankoo. "She is a person to whom the average person can relate, even more than they could to Diana, Princess of Wales, or Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, both of whom, though technically commoners, were daughters of aristocrats."
"Kate Middleton is living the fairy-tale dream," he said. "Her story could be anyone's. That's where the magic of monarchy comes into its own."
(C) National Post

Friday 19 November 2010

William and Kate - A break with British tradition but part of a new European trend

Since the announcement of the engagement of HRH Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton, I have had to field questions from many journalists and reporters, all of whom have been keen to understand the implications and consequences of a marriage that will unite the heir to the throne with a woman from a vastly different social background with whom he has already been living for several years. "Is this a stark break from European tradition?", I have been asked. "Will this forever change the Monarchy?" "Given their different backgrounds, can the marriage survive on love alone?"

The success of the existing European monarchies has been their ability to adapt and change with the times; those that were unable to evolve, perished. The British Monarchy, with its close ties to the Church of England, has traditionally been the most institutionally conservative of Europe's royal houses. Prince William and Kate Middleton are not breaking with European tradition, they are following in the wake of their continental counterparts.  The Crown Prince of Norway married an unwed mother, the Crown Princess of Sweden married a personal trainer and gym owner and the Crown Prince of Denmark married an Australian whom he met in a pub in Sydney during the 2000 Olympics. 

To remain relevant, monarchies must reflect contemporary society. Traditionalists may not approve, but they are not the ones who need to be convinced of the value of monarchy. The British Royal Family learnt this lesson in the immediate aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. I am certain that Prince William and Kate Middleton will refashion the monarchy and forge a new relationship with the nation, a nation whose priorities and attitudes may be starkly different from those of earlier generations.  

As for the happy couple themselves -- although love is essential to a happy marriage, given the pressures of modern royalty and the constant scrutiny of a global media, a successful royal marriage also requires many other qualities, not least of which are commitment and sacrifice.  Having been with Prince William for several years, Kate Middleton has a clear advantage denied to her predecessors:  she has been given time to understand the duties required of a Queen, she has had the opportunity to contemplate the experience of previous royal brides and she has had the benefit of her partner's guidance. Kate Middleton is not entering into this marriage as a naive, young girl but as a mature and fully-informed woman. 

In an egalitarian 21st century, Kate Middleton's unexceptional middle-class background is an asset. She is a person to whom the average person can relate, even more than they could to Diana, Princess of Wales or Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother both of whom, though technically commoners, were daughters of aristocrats. Kate Middleton is living the fairy tale dream -- her story could be anyone's. That is where the magic of monarchy comes into its own. 

In 2010, Miss Middleton's background is irrelevant to her ability to fulfil the duties required of a Queen. Prince William clearly does not see her background as an obstacle and the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family are extremely fond of her. That should be enough to satisfy anyone. So long as she demonstrates a clear commitment and dedication to the task before her, and we have no reason to believe she won't, the people will accept her. I wish the happy couple every success in the world -- may they both live happily ever after!

Thursday 18 November 2010

The Canadian Governor General's first investiture ceremony for the Order of Canada

Today HE The Governor General of Canada, Chancellor of the Order of Canada presided at his first investiture ceremony for the Order, of which HM The Queen of Canada is Sovereign.
Photo: (C) Office of the Secretary to the Governor General of Canada
More photographs at the GG web site:

Engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton

Congratulations to HRH Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton on their engagement.  

Question of the Day:

1. St. Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey?  Following Miss Middleton's visit to the Abbey yesterday, it appears likely to be the ancient royal peculiar, site of the weddings of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips, and the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson. The Prince of Wales' decision to marry in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1981 was a break with royal tradition which, some claim, was an attempt to connect the royal couple with the public (and was also due to the Prince of Wales' love of the building). St. Paul's Cathedral is very much the National Church -- a place for events of national celebration and commemoration whereas the Abbey is both Royal Church and, as the resting place for kings, queens and national heroes, a national pantheon.

Watch my interview on the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton (click on link and then scroll down to my name in right hand "CTV News Box"):


Winnigpeg Free Press: TORONTO -- The love affair between the future heir to the British throne and his glamorous middle-class schoolmate may fan the flames of Canada's fondness for the monarchy, experts suggest. Word that Prince William and Kate Middleton have set a 2011 wedding date prompted optimistic predictions from royal observers who view the couple as being well-positioned to renew Canadian support for the Royal Family.

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, a historian and commentator on British royalty, said William and Middleton present an appealing portrait of how the monarchy will function in the 21st century.
The couple _ media darlings of the British press _ strike the ideal balance between time-honoured traditions and much-needed modernization, he said.
"If the monarchy is to survive, it does need people like William and Kate who actually show the modern face of monarchy --  respecting its traditions, but understanding that times change and institutions have to evolve," he said.
William has only visited Canada twice, but Heydel-Mankoo said the prince's place in the Canadian consciousness was secured 12 years ago when he was seen donning Roots' Olympic gear while on a ski vacation with his father and brother, Prince Harry.
Canada was the birthplace of William's celebrity status, he said, adding the country will likely hold special significance for him.
Still, Heydel-Mankoo contends it is Middleton _ the daughter of a former airline worker and an ex-flight attendant that built up a multi-million dollar fortune _ who will resonate most with Canadians.
Her savvy style, confidence and comparatively modest background will make her appealing to a nation that embraces everyday heroes, he said.
"She is your stereotypical middle-class person. She's not an aristocrat who comes from a long line of irrelevant traditions to which most Canadians can't relate," he said.
"She's someone who is very much a person of the people, so I think that they will find her fairy-tale story will be one that they could relate to." FULL STORY:

Thursday 28 October 2010

Polish Nobility Association honours: Royal Order of Piast and Royal Order of Jagiellon

The Polish Nobility Association (PNA) is currently located at Villa Anneslie, in Baltimore County, Maryland. The President of the PNA is Dr. “Prince” Roger Chylinski-Polubinski, the founder of a Maryland cooking school. Dr. Chylinski-Polubinski is “Grand Master” of the self-styled Royal Order of Piast and has been decorated with two Orders that have been subjected to severe criticism: commander’s cross of the infamous Order of Polonia Restituta (previously awarded by the late “Count” Juliusz Sokolnicki)  and chevalier grand cross of the self-styled Order of St. Eugene de Trebizond (awarded by “Prince Lascaras-Camnenos” in 1974). 

The organisation appears to attract a number of individuals who might at best be described as "eccentric", perhaps as "well-meaning but deluded", and certainly as largely ignorant (perhaps willfully) or as psychologically flawed "pure fantastists", impervious to the truth.

Several other officers and members of the PNA have also used, or been accorded, pseudo-titles, including so-called “Count” Julius Nowina-Sokolnicki, “Count” Michael Subritzky-Kusza, “Baron” Wlodzimierz Korab-Karpowicz “Count” and “Countess” Basil Kusza-Subritzky, “Baron” Ezra Machinowski and “Count” Theodore Topor-Jakubowski, a retired United States judge. The Polish Nobility Association currently awards the following self-styled “Orders”:

This so-called “Order” was established on 27 January 1927 as a “progressive Order of Chivalry and Merit”. According to the Polish Nobility Association (PNA) web page, the Order’s “purpose is to protect the absolute independence of the Polish Lithuanian States, and the ultimate recovery of the achievements of the Piast Dynasty; through the realization of a project/movement via ‘The Slavic Commonwealth of Nations.’ The main organizer was Rev. Chodkiewicz and other Polish-Lithuanian nobles.”  The “Grand Master” of the Order is Roger Chylinski-Polubinski. The web page also makes the astonishing and quite bizarre claim that “In 1974, the Knights of Sts. Cyril and Methodius were incorporated into the Royal Order of Piast to minimize the number of Orders created by the Polish Kings and continued by the Polish Nobility over a period of years.”  By what right or authority an unrecognised Polish club or group can lay claim to the Order of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, a Royal Order of the King of Bulgaria, is not explained (see


This so-called "Order" was established in 1969 “
to recognize the significant role played by Lithuania and the Lithuanian people in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of Nations.” The founder was Sigmund H. Uminski, former “Grand Chancellor of the Polish Noblility Association Foundation” and a member of one of the self-styled St. John “Orders”, the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta.

According to the web page “
the Supreme Council of the Royal Order of Piast and the Royal Order of Jagiellon has officially registered their Order with the Institute of Orders Researches in West Berlin (in 1974) under Dr. Klietman, Director of the Institute.” The web page neglects to advise that this act is completely meaningless, the "Institute" and its "Doctor" have no recognised international standing and the act of registration carries as much validity as registering them with one's grandmother.

The Polish Nobilty Association states that the Order of Piast and the Order of Jagiellon are “Supreme Orders”, ranking above another five Orders. The Orders are “a
dministered by hereditary Sovereign-Grand Marshalls, appointed Grand Chancellors, and the Chancellors, as well as other functionaries.” The identity of these individuals is not known (see

The seven Orders, in precedence, listed on the PNA web page are:

1. The Royal Order of Piast
2. The Royal Order of Jagiello
3. Order of Saint John the Baptist
4. Imperial Order of Saint Vladimir (May 3, 1791)
5. Imperial and Royal Order of Saint Stanislas (Holy Union)
6. Royal Order of Saint Michael Archangel (Polish Military)
7. Order of S.S. Cyril and Methoduis (incorporated into the Order of the Piast)

What a lot of nonsense.  Caveat Emptor!

Sunday 24 October 2010

Join The Churchill Centre and Churchill War Rooms

As a member of the Churchill Centre (formerly the International Churchill Society) for 20 years, I encourage all interested persons to consider joing The Churchill Centre and Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms.  Here is the Centre's latest video:

You Tube Video:

The Centre "was founded in 1968 to educate new generations on the leadership, statesmanship, vision, courage and boldness of Winston Spencer Churchill. Over 4000 members around the world, aged from ten to over ninety, work together to impress the record Churchill's life and deeds on the 21st century.

"The Centre sponsors an International Churchill Conference and numerous regional events; Churchill tours in Britain, Australia, France, South Africa and Morocco; academic symposia; student seminars; and the periodic Churchill Lecture, in which prominent world figurews apply Sir Winston’s experience to today’s issues. With grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Centre has conducted highly praised seminars for high school teachers in the USA and UK, to aid their appreciation and use of Churchill's story in their local curricula. The Centre website is a massive array of searchable facts and opinions.

"The Churchill Centre is politically non-partisan, but not apolitical. Its quarterly journal, Finest Hour, often touches on Churchill's political philosophy and its relevance to today's issues. Speakers span the political and cultural spectrum: William F. Buckley, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, Alistair Cooke, William Manchester, members of the Churchill family, and many others.

"While The Churchill Centre's view of its subject is naturally positive, it is not hagiographic and publishes critiques as well as praise. According to Roosevelt-Churchill historian Warren Kimball, "Finest Hour has become a serious (and still entertaining) journal, earning the sobriquet 'The Journal of Winston Churchill,' which has taken Churchill from the clutches of the worshipful and given him over to the appreciative—those who can look at him, warts and all."

"Since 1983, the Patron of The Churchill Centre is The Lady Soames LG DBE, the only surviving daughter of Sir Winston Churchill. From 1970 to 1979, the Patron was The Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

 "How deeply moving it is to me to see how revered is my father's memory, which The Churchill Centre does so much to keep fresh and green."

Daughter of Sir Winston, Patron of The Centre

"The Churchill Centre has achieved an astonishing maintain access to his words is a true historical service, something his future will be very grateful for."

Private Secretary to Sir Winston, 1952-1965

"To the youth of America, as to the youth of all the Britains, I say, 'You cannot stop. It must be world anarchy or world order.  You will find in the British Commonwealth good comrades to whom you are united by other ties besides those of State policy and public need.  Law, language, literature...common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice, and above all the love of personal freedom.  These are common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-Speaking Peoples."

Harvard, 6 September 1943"

For More Information please visit: The Churchill Centre: