Tuesday 30 April 2013

Order Spotting at the Inauguration of HM The King of The Netherlands

Their Majesties The King and Queen of the Netherlands on the
Day of His Majesty's Inauguration. The King is seen here wearing the sash and breast star
of the Military William Order. The Queen is wearing the sash and breast star of the
Order of the Netherlands Lion

HRH The Prince of Wales is wearing the sash and breast star of the Dutch Royal House Order of the Crown as well as the star of the Order of the Garter. Note the rarely seen manner of wear of the Order of Merit, suspended from HRH's aiguillette. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is wearing
the sash and breast star of the Royal Victorian Order and, on her shoulder,
the Royal Family Order of HM Queen Elizabeth II. 
© Reuters

HRH The Princess of Asturias is seen here wearing the sash of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III. HRH The Prince of Asturias is wearing the sash and breast star of the Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau, the neck badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the breast stars of the Order of Charles III, the Spanish Order of Military Merit (white) and the Spanish Order of Naval Merit (white). Under normal circumstances (when HRH would not be wearing a Dutch order) HRH would have (usually although not always) worn the Spanish Order of Aeronautical Merit as his fourth star. © Reuters

A good image of HIH Crown Princess Masako wearing the sash of the rarely seen Japanese Order of the Precious Crown which serves a role slightly similar to that of the Royal Victorian Order and is primarily restricted to female members of the Imperial House. Note that the sash of the Dutch Order of the Crown worn by HIH Crown Prince Naruhito does not pass over his shoulder. © Reuters
TRH The Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark are wearing the sashes and stars of the Order of the Elephant.
The Crown Prince is also wearing the neck badge and star of the Order of the Dannebrog. The Crown Princess has a brooch featuring a portrait of HM The Queen of Denmark pinned to her shoulder -- it is similar to the Royal Family Orders seen in other European monarchies. © Reuters
HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and  HRH The Duke of  Vastergotland
wearing the sash and star of the Royal Order of the Seraphim of Sweden.
Crown Princess Victoria is also wearing a diamond encrusted brooch featuring a portrait
of HM The King of Sweden -- again, it is similar to a Royal Family Order. © Reuters

TSH The Hereditary Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein are shown here wearing the
sash and star of the Princely Liechtenstein Order of Merit. © WENN.com

Saturday 27 April 2013

Duke of Edinburgh finally appointed to Order of Canada - A brief summary of the developments that led up to this great day

The Governor General of Canada invests The Duke of Edinburgh
As the first Extraordinary Companion of the
Order of Canada
Today is a day of celebration for monarchists and those of us who closely study the world of honours and orders. For, on his visit to Canada today, The Duke of Edinburgh was invested as the first Extra Companion of the Order of Canada and a Commander of the Order of Military Merit.

Perhaps unknown to most readers, these two orders are Canada's highest honours. Today's presentation would not otherwise be overly newsworthy, but the long journey that led to today's presentation is one which is worthy of note. For, until now, the elderly Duke had received  substantive honours from both Australia and New Zealand but, surprisingly, not from Canada, arguably the most monarchist of Commonwealth realms.

Whether by pure coincidence, the decision followed a national media campaign which some had launched earlier this year to try to influence the Government and garner public support.

The Duke of Edinburgh is the oldest member of the Royal Family to have travelled to Canada and, after Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the second oldest member of the Royal Family to have left the shores of the UK. Such is HRH's devotion to Canada, The Duke has travelled to the Great White North  more than any other member of the Royal Family.

Considering his unparalleled dedication to Canada, it seems only natural that Canada should honour His Royal Highness with the nation's highest honour. However, it will come as a surprise to many that a man who has been decorated by Australia, New Zealand and numerous countries around the world has, until now, not received a grand Canadian honour.

The reasons for this are complex. Until recently, the statutes of the Order of Canada that determined eligibility for membership were limited to Canadian citizens. The powers-that-be determined that, aside from the The Queen, who, as Sovereign, is the fount from which citizenship and honour flows, members of her family are simply Britons and therefore ineligible.
The Duke of Edinburgh depicted wearing his various honours
including Orders from Britain, Australia and New Zealand.  Regrettably
no Canadian Order graces The Duke's medal bar. A shameful omission.

This contrasts starkly with the far more enlightened approach adopted by the Honours Secretariats of New Zealand and Australia, which, for certain honours, have a special class of membership for members of the Royal Family. New Zealand, the model for all Commonwealth Realms, also permits the granting of honours upon citizens of Commonwealth realms around the world -- a tremendous statement of dedication and belief in the importance of our great family of nations.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as
Admiral of the Canadian Navy but still
lacking any Canadian Orders
By contrast, in Canada, the Duke was regarded as foreign, despite the fact that he was the spouse of The Queen of Canada, the father of the future King of Canada, a Privy Councillor of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Admiral of the Canadian Navy, General of the Canadian Army, General of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Admiral of the Canadian Sea Cadets and the Colonel-in-Chief of numerous Canadian regiments. Surely anyone with a modicum of intelligence would regard this as supremely odd. Consequently, although many patriotic Canadians wanted HRH to receive Canada's highest honour, they were told that the Statutes of the Order prevented this. HRH would have to be content with the "honorary" status granted to Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa, rather than the "substantive" membership accorded to Canadians. The Duke, proud of his Canadian connections, may have found this unacceptable and consequently, in 1982, he politely declined the offer of honorary membership.

The message was clear: the poorly drafted statutes of the Order of Canada needed to be amended. Statutes in New Zealand create a separate substantive class of "Extraordinary" members for members of the Royal Family (viz. Duke of Edinburgh, Extra Companion of the Queen's Service Order and Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand). Similarly, Australians had no problem conferring Australian substantive honours upon members of their Royal Family (viz The Prince of Wales, Knight of the Order of Australia, Duke of Edinburgh, Commander of the Order of Australia)

Canada's Governor General presents
"Honorary" membership in the
Order of Canada upon
HM Queen Elizabeth the
Queen Mother
For whatever reason, in 2000, on the occasion of her 100th Birthday Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was presented with "Honorary" Membership in the Order of Canada (an honour reserved for non-Canadians such as Nelson Mandela).  At the time, many commentators felt is strangely odd, that Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Queen Consort of King George VI of Canada, mother of Queen Elizabeth II of Canada, mother of the Sovereign of the Order of Canada, and, in her own right, colonel-in-chief of various Canadian regiments should be deemed foreign. More bizarrely, the presentation of the insignia of an "honorary" member of the Order was presented by the Governor General of Canada -- when it would surely have been more appropriate to have HM The Queen, Sovereign of the Order of Canada, present the insignia to her mother. What a touching sight that would have been. Nevertheless, as peculiar as many thought it to be, the event was a success and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was deeply impressed.

However, as far as we know, the views of the Duke of Edinburgh remained unchanged. Those of us who are interested in such matters realised that unless the statutes of the Order were amended to enable the appointment of members of the Royal Family as substantive "Extra Companions" or "Royal Companions", there would be little chance that he would accept membership. The idealists amongst us, would have liked to see Canada follow the New Zealand model and open the honours system to citizens of Commonwealth Realms.

Supporters of the Crown agreed that, as there was every chance that this might be the last trip that HRH might make to Canada, it was imperative that steps be taken immediately to try to rectify this omission. We  suspected that senior government officials might also share our concern; but we felt that there would be no harm in involving the media as it could create a groundswell of public expectation and anticipation. "Will he or won't he?" -- which would make the actual presentation all the more eagerly anticipated and exciting. It could become "an event".

An Editorial was duly published in the Globe and Mail calling for the Duke to be invested with the Order of Canada. As a Canadian, and also the editor of Burke's World Orders of Knighthood & Merit (the definitive guide to the state orders of the world) I immediately followed this up with my own letter. I then hoped that these two pieces would be brought to the attention of people at the highest levels of government so that, if they had not been seriously considering the issue before, this might now give them pause for thought.

Here is the letter:

Honours enthusiasts are therefore delighted that this staunchly-monarchist Government, which has done so much to ensure that Canadians fully understand and appreciate the importance of the Crown in our political and cultural life, have seen fit to provide The Duke of Edinburgh with the highest honours they could possibly bestow. The Canadian Government's efforts to ensure that the Canadian Monarchy returns to the heart of national life, helping to ensure that Canadians appreciate the vital role that it has to play at the centre of our understanding of Canadian national identity, are worthy of the greatest praise. We celebrate them for that.  I do not know whether the media campaign we launched had any impact on the ultimate decision to confer the Orders upon HRH but, ultimately, that is meaningless. For we simply rejoice in the fact that The Canadian Government have brought its honours policy in line with those of Australia, New Zealand and the UK and, most importantly, now acknowledge that the Royal Family is Canadian.

Rafe Heydel-Mankoo  Web: wwww.heydel-mankoo.com

Thursday 18 April 2013

My interview on BBC News following Lady Thatcher's Ceremonial Funeral

After the moving ceremonial funeral for Baroness Thatcher, I was interviewed on BBC News by the absolutely charming Kasia Madera. The video may be seen on YouTube or by clicking the link below  

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Thatcher and the Sufragette -- For One Night Only

Lying-in-State in Westminster Hall for
Sir Winston Churchill. A hallmark of a State Funeral
As we now know, Lady Thatcher expressly stated that she did not wish to have a full state funeral. This honour, traditionally reserved for the Sovereign but, in exceptional cases, an honour to be conferred upon Britain's Praetorian Guard, was deemed inappropriate for one who, despite her global stature and almost unparalleled charisma and cult of personality, remained, nevertheless, a divisive rather than unifying force in the nation. The distinctions between a state and a ceremonial funeral are technical and unlikely to be noticed by the general public. However, whether ceremonial or state, the funeral of Thatcher has been marked by two major omissions: 1. The absence of a formal "lying-in-state" (which normally occurs in Westminster Hall, England's greatest and most historic secular building) and the refusal to have a military "fly past" -- a truly thrifty Thatcherite decision. And so, instead, we have ceremonial funeral lite. But, this has been counterbalanced by the presence of HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (the first time they have attended a PM's funeral since that of the Great Man himself, Sir Winston Churchill in 1965). Some have declared that their attendance elevates this to "state" level -- nice, but wrong. Ditto the decision to silence Big Ben (the principal bell inside the Elizabeth Tower -- until the Diamond Jubilee previously known as the Clock Tower) and its sister bells for the duration of the funeral service -- a scene (sound?) not heard since that same funeral of Sir Winston in 1965. Impressive but, however grand, not part of the definition of a state funeral.

Baroness Thatcher resting in the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft
And so, instead of a multi-day lying-in-state in that most glorious of locations, Westminster Hall, which stands, ever ready to bear witness to the thousands of sympathetic souls who feel duty bound to doff their caps and pay sincere respects to an individual who shaped so much of our modern life, we are instead informed that Lady Thatcher wished to have no such displays of emotion -- far too foreign. No, she is to rest in the crypt of St. Mary Undercroft located in the bowels of her true home, the Palace of Westminster, there to be honoured by a select few from within the political establishment.

St. Mary Undercroft is itself a very special building. Small, intimate and atmospheric, it is a "Royal Peculiar", a status that befits a chapel located in the royal residence otherwise known as the Palace of Westminster (a.k.a. the Houses of Parliament). It may lack the melancholic grandure of Westminster Abbey or the sombre simplicity of St. Margaret's Westminster; but that matters not -- for it is Pugin at his best. The walls scream with echoes of the glories of Britain's spiritual past, are filled with sentiments of chivalry, nobility, truth, piety and the desire for spiritual elevation. It's atmosphere is almost unequalled in the chapels of this land.
Sufragette Emily Davison trampled by the horse of
HM King Edward VII

My first visit to the Undercroft occurred many years ago, when I was but a slight, svelte, naive swot. Late one evening, after a lengthy and jovial dinner in the Lords, a senior peer led me on my own into this dark, unlit crypt. Turning on a faint light, he opened the door to a broom cupboard and invited me to follow him in. My gut instinct was predictable but, being British, one did not wish to seem churlish or in any way unappreciative of the kind hospitality one had thus far been afforded. Therefore, with considerable trepidation, I followed said peer into this small broom cupboard. Once inside, "His Lordship" asked me to read the brass plaque that had been affixed to the inside of the door. Having read it, I relaxed immediately and any suspicions were well and truly banished. For this was the cupboard in which that famed suffragette Emily Davison had hidden on 1 January 1911, the day of the official national census. The consequence of her audacious act, was that she listed her address as the Houses of Parliament, a building in which she asserted her right to sit and sleep -- despite the fact that this was denied to all other members of her sex. Tragically it was Emily who was the sufragette now forever remembered for running to be trampled under the horse of King Edward VII at the Derby (pictured supra).

To commemorate Emily Davison's life and passion, the 2nd Viscount Stansgate (otherwise known as "Tony Benn") erected a small plaque to Emily, which is located on the inside of the door to the broom cupboard (and therefore rarely seen by anyone other than the most keen).

The Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft, a Royal Peculiar in the
Palace of Westminster
Whether Thatcher and Davison would have shared much in common is impossible to know. However, I, for one, think it absolutely fitting that two such towering and powerful female figures should now be united through the fact that they are, I believe, the only two women to have rested over night in the Chapel of St. Stephen Undercroft.

Friday 12 April 2013

The Honours and Awards of The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Thatcher LG OM PC FRS

Baroness Thatcher on Garter Day
wearing the robes of a Lady of the Garter

The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher LG OM PC FRS lived a life "crowded with incident".

As far as I am aware, the tributes and articles published in the days following her death have failed to provide full details on the offices she held and the honours she received. The list below is provided for public record.

It is lamentable that Lady Thatcher remains the only Oxford graduate prime minister not to have received an honorary doctorate from that academic institution.

Armorial Bearings:

Blazon: On a lozenge circumscribed by the Garter and the Ribbon of the Order of Merit with Cross pendant
therefrom, surmounted by a baron's coronet, per chevron azure gules, a double key in chief between two lions combatant a tower with portcullis in base all or, with supporters: dexter: An admiral of the British Navy; sinister: Sir Isaac Newton holding in his left hand weighing scales, both proper. Motto: CHERISH FREEDOM. 

Non-Honorary Academic Qualifications:

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Called to the Bar and admitted to Lincoln's Inn


Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service: 1979-1990

Leader of the Conservative Party: 1975-90

Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition: 1975-1979

Shadow Secretary of State: 1974-1975

Secretary of State for Education and Science: 1970-1974

Shadow Secretary of State: 1969-1970

Shadow Secretary of State: 1968-1969

Shadow Secretary of State: 1967-1968

Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Pensions and Insurance): 1961-1964

Member of Parliament to the Constituency of Finchley: 1959-1992

Lady Thatcher in the House of Lords
National Honours:

1970: Appointed to Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council

1975: Honorary Bencher of Lincoln's Inn

1983: Fellow of the Royal Society

1990: Order of Merit

1990: Entitled to the style of "Lady Thatcher" following the creation of a baronetcy for her husband, Major Sir Dennis Thatcher, 1st Baronet, MBE, TD.

1992: Created a Life Peer (UK) as The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher, of Kevesten in the County of Lincolnshire.

1992: Received a Grant of Arms from the College of Arms

1992: Chancellor Buckingham University

1995: Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter

2012: Freedom of the City of Westminster

2013: Ceremonial Funeral with full military honours

President George Bush Sr. presents Margaret Thatcher with
the Presidential Medal of Freemdom
Foreign Honours:

1981: Donovan Award (USA) (for distinguished contribution to democracy and freedom)

1989: Honorary Doctorate from Technion University

1991: US Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation's highest civilian award)

1994: Chancellor of William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

1998: Honorary Doctorate from Brigham Young University (USA)

2008: Honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine University (USA)

Miscellaneous Honours:

1975: As Leader of the Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman entitled to full membership rights in the Carlton Club.

2007: A statue of Margaret Thatcher erected in the Houses of Parliament, standing across from the statue of Sir Winston Churchill by the entrance to the House of Commons.

Falklands Islands Honours:

Since 1992 Margaret Thatcher Day has been celebrated on the Islands ever year on 10 January.

Thatcher Drive in Stanley and Thatcher Peninsula in South Georgia (where British troops landed) were named in her honour.

Monday 8 April 2013

Churchill, The Queen Mother & Thatcher: The History & Differences Between State, Ceremonial & Royal Ceremonial Funerals

Following the announcement of the death of Baroness Thatcher earlier today, No. 10 Downing Street issued the following statement:

"Downing Street can announce that, with The Queen's consent, Lady Thatcher will receive a Ceremonial funeral with military honours. The service will be held at St. Paul's Cathedral. A wide and diverse range of people and groups with connections to Lady Thatcher will be invited. The service will be followed by a a private cremation. All the arrangements being put in place are in line with the wishes of Lady Thatcher's family. Further details will be published over the coming days."

The decision to accord Lady Thatcher a Ceremonial funeral, rather than a State funeral, has raised some eyebrows and caused some debate; however, the decision should not be too surprising. State funerals are reserved for the Sovereign and, on very rare occasions, exceptional public figures. Not even senior members of the royal family receive state funerals -- for example, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, despite her iconic status in Britain and the Commonwealth, received a traditional Royal Ceremonial funeral. Lord Mountbatten also received a ceremonial funeral. Due to her distinct status, Diana, Princess of Wales received a different kind of funeral -- at the time diplomatically described by a courtier as "a unique funeral for a unique person." The Queen Mother and Lady Thatcher were both involved in the planning of their ceremonial funerals and, as far as we are aware, being conscious of the distinction between the two types, neither of them expected to receive a state funeral. 

Lying in State in Westminster Hall prior to the
Royal Ceremonial Funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
There is some debate surrounding the precise number of individuals who have been accorded the great honour of receiving a state funeral. The organisation and planning of state funerals falls under the jurisdiction of the Earl Marshal, one of the United Kingdom's Great Officers of State and also the individual responsible for planning coronations (the office is an hereditary office held by the Dukes of Norfolk). The Earl Marshal is assisted in ceremonial planning by the heralds and pursuivants of the College of Arms.

In his classic book "Heraldry and the Heralds", Rodney Dennys, sometime Somerset Herald and an individual actively involved in the planning of Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral (known as "Operation Hope Not"), claims that only seven non-Sovereigns have received a state funeral:

Pitt the Elder
Pitt the Younger
The Viscount Nelson*
The Duke of Wellington
The Rt. Hon. William Gladstone
The Earl Roberts of Kandahar
The Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill

(*In truth, Lord Nelson received a Full Naval Funeral, but this is generally regarded as the equivalent of a state funeral)

However other lists claim that state funerals have been accorded to a larger number of public figures:

Sir Isaac Newton
The Viscount Palmerston
Lord Napier of Magdala
The Earl Haig
The Lord Carson

In an article on the subject, the excellent commentator Peter Oborne also cited Charles Darwin's funeral -- however I think this is incorrect. Nevertheless, whatever the true number, it is probably fair to argue that Lady Thatcher, by virtue of her impact on Britain and British society, is a figure at best equal to, and in truth far more significant than, some of those listed supra. Nevertheless, it is also true that Lady Thatcher remains a very divisive figure in British life. There can be little doubt that the decision to accord Lady Thatcher a ceremonial rather than a state funeral was in no small part due to a desire to avoid stirring up animosity amongst specific segments of society. 

As a giant of history who straddled the world stage, transforming Britain and changing the world, Lady Thatcher deserves a national funeral. She was, after all, not only Britain's first female Prime Minister but, arguably, also the greatest peacetime leader in British history. However, occasions of national mourning should not be marred by controversy or the risk of disruption by the malcontent. Consequently, the decision to accord Lady Thatcher a ceremonial, rather than a state, funeral is wise and correct. 

In an era of PR, the decision to style the funeral as "ceremonial" rather than "state" serves as a semantic salve that can soothe parts of the nation without having any practical consequence -- for, in reality, the distinction between the two kinds of funeral is so minimal as to be inconsequential. 

State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in
St. Paul's Cathedral

A state funeral only differs from a ceremonial funeral in two or three ways:

1. In a state funeral the gun carriage carrying the coffin is pulled not by horses but by sailors from the Royal Navy. (This has been the case since the funeral of Queen Victoria, during which the horses bolted and slipped on the icy streets, causing the Royal Navy to step in).

2. A state funeral requires a vote or motion in the Houses of Parliament.

Other than these two, largely inconsequential, differences, there is nothing to distinguish a state funeral from a ceremonial funeral.*

(* It is also possible that there may be a difference in the number of rounds fired in the gun salute).

St. Mary Undercroft
As far as we know at this stage, Lady Thatcher's funeral will differ slightly from a normal ceremonial funeral as there will be no lying-in-state (traditionally this would take place in Westminster Hall). Instead, her funeral procession will commence in the beautiful Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft in the crypt of her true home, the Palace of Westminster. Her coffin will travel by hearse to the Church of St. Clement Danes in the Strand (the Central Church of the Royal Air Force). At this point the coffin will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The King's Troop (so named by George VI, with permission to continue to bear the name granted by Queen Elizabeth II) traditionally perform this role in ceremonial funerals, most recently for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery with the
Gun Carriage used to carry the coffins of
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

The King's Troop will process with the coffin along the Strand and Fleet Street before arriving at St. Paul's Cathedral, the great church which was the scene for the greatest state funeral in living memory -- that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 (which, in a remarkable break with tradition, was attended by the Sovereign). 

The route will be lined with members of all three branches of the armed forces. Lady Thatcher regularly attended church services at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and so it is fitting that scarlet coated Chelsea Pensioners shall line the stairs leading up to the great west doors of St. Paul's. Although we are told that the funeral will feature full military honours, we do not know whether this will include a military fly past -- another feature traditionally associated with some ceremonial funerals.