Wednesday 29 May 2013

60th Anniversary of the Conquest of Mount Everest

Today is the 60th anniversary of the conquest of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary KG, ONZ, KBE and Tenzing Norgay OSN, GM. Appropriately, news that the Union Flag had flown at the summit of the world reached London on 2nd June, the day of the Coronation of HM The Queen.

Sir Edmund Hillary was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 6 June 1953, a member of the Order of New Zealand in 1987 and a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 22 April 1995. He is one of only 3 New Zealanders to have received the Garter.  In 1953 he received the Nepalese Order of Gorka Dakshina Bahu, 1st Class. The Indian Government posthumously conferred the nation's second highest civil award, the Padma Vibhushan, on Hillary in 2008.

Tenzing Norgay received the George Medal on 1 July 1953 (it is believed that discussion of a knighthood had been quashed by India's president Nehru following British consultation with the governments of Nepal and India). Also in 1953, Norgay received the Order of the Star of Nepal, 1st Class from HM King Tribhuvan of Nepal. In 1959 the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan, the country's third highest civil award.

All members of the Everest Expedition, including Hillary and Norgay, received The Queen's Coronation Medal. 

Monday 20 May 2013

Prince Charles as Prince Regent? Possibility Raises a Puzzle for Canada.

This article, based upon my interview on CTV's Question Period politics programme, appeared on the CTV News website on Sunday, 19 May. 

As Canadians prepare to celebrate Victoria Day, the official date of birthday honours for the reigning monarch, there is increasing speculation that Queen Elizabeth is about to make a decision that could have constitutional implications for Canada.

When Queen Elizabeth II opened the British parliament last week, her son, Prince Charles, was in attendance for the first time in 17 years, along with his wife Camilla.

Some royal watchers interpret the couple’s presence as a signal that the 87-year-old monarch might be preparing to offload some of her duties by elevating Charles to a prince regent.

Britain’s Regency Acts dictate what happens when a monarch becomes physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling his or her duties, royal commentator Rafe Heydel-Mankoo told CTV’s Question Period.

If Charles were to become prince regent it would pose a conundrum for Canada, which does not have regency acts of its own, Heydel-Mankoo said.

Canadian constitutional experts would need to decide whether a prince regent can appoint the next governor general.

But Heydel-Mankoo suggested such a scenario is highly unlikely.
“It’s a legal impossibility to become prince regent whilst her majesty remains in robust health, physically and mentally,” Heydel-Mankoo said.

He added that while there’s no possibility of the prince becoming a regent in the foreseeable future, Charles is likely to take on more royal duties over the next few years.

The queen announced earlier this month that she would send Charles to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Sri Lanka in November, marking the first time she has skipped the gathering since 1971.

Buckingham Palace said it was reviewing the queen’s amount of long-haul travel.
As a counsellor of state, Prince Charles already fulfills royal duties at home when the Queen is abroad.

Queen Elizabeth was briefly hospitalized for a stomach illness earlier this year, and she skipped the Commonwealth Day Observance service at Westminster Abbey on March 11.

According to the Regency Act of 1937, in order to be declared unfit to rule, at least three of the following people -- the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls and the spouse of the sovereign -- would have to agree in writing, after seeing medical evidence, that the monarch is physically or mentally incapacitated.

Original Article

Friday 10 May 2013

The State Opening of Parliament 2013 -- my interview on LBC Radio

Broadcast on 8 May, below is a link to a short radio interview on LBC Radio in which I discuss the significance of the presence of The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at The Queen's Speech. Some of the ceremonial traditions surrounding The State Opening of Parliament, and their constitutional significance, are also discussed.

Make 10 May, Sir Winston Churchill Day. Let's Believe in Britain Once More

Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on this date in 1940, when our island nation was left standing alone against the might of an enemy who commanded an entire continent.

Equipped with nothing but his oratory and skills of leadership, Churchill kept the flame of freedom flickering for an entire year -- aware that if it were extinguished on this island, the vast mass of the world outside of the Americas would have been plunged into a new Dark Age.

As the Awards Committee said when Churchill received the Nobel Prize for Literature: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to one man."

9 April is National Churchill Day in the USA as it was the date on which President Kennedy awarded the Great Man honorary US Citizenship (the first ever to be granted).

It seems wrong and bizarre that Britain has not yet acknowledged its greatest prime minister in a similar fashion.

I would like to see 10 May officially declared "Sir Winston Churchill Day". Even better, the drearily named "Spring Bank Holiday" (which falls in late May) could be renamed "Sir Winston Churchill Bank Holiday".

A national holiday to commemorate the Greatest Briton -- what better way to mark the restoration of our full sovereignty. -- Rafe Heydel-Mankoo

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Prince Charles Gets Higher Commonwealth Role as Queen Stays Home

I am quoted a fair amount in this article by Janet Davison of the CBC which deals with The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the future of the Commonwealth.


Elizabeth cutting back on long trips, helping Charles prepare to be king


Posted: May 8, 2013 5:10 AM ET 

Last Updated: May 8, 2013 11:50 AM ET