Friday, October 1, 2010

The revered King has been at Siriraj for over a year. He was initially admitted for loss of appetite, fever and inflammation of the lungs. According to the royal family, the 81 year-old monarch remains hospitalized for physical therapy.

Source: AP, Reuters


The members of the Monarchist League of Estonia join Canadians in sending congratulations and warm wishes to David Johnston, former president of the University of Waterloo, on his Installation as the Governor General of Canada.

Those who have followed His Excellency’s career know his abundant “people skills”—an affable personality—and deep knowledge of Canada’s constitution and diverse social history. These qualities, combined with a truly global perspective and seasoned political experience at the federal level, are excellent indications that he will faithfully serve The Queen and all Canadians as Governor General.

A graduate of Harvard University in the United States (where he was an All-American hockey player), Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, and Queen’s University, the Governor General has combined his background of corporate and communications law with a career in education and administration. After teaching law at Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, he served as Dean of Law at the University of Western Ontario. From 1979 to 1994 he was as Principal of McGill University, after which he was appointed Principal of the University of Waterloo in 1999.

In addition to having held many academic positions, including chairman of Harvard University’s Board of Overseers, His Excellency has authored over 20 books. As well, he undertook a number of other responsibilities, including chairing the Information Highway Advisory Council, the National Broadband Task Force and the Advisory Council on Online Learning. More recently, he wrote the terms of reference for the Oliphant Inquiry, regarding allegations of impropriety against Prime Minister Brian Mulroney surrounding his business dealings with lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tony Blair told Princess Diana her relationship with Dodi Fayed was a problem

Ex-PM reveals in his memoir that he told the princess he was uneasy about her relationship with Fayed.

"We were both in our ways manipulative people," Blair writes, "perceiving quickly the emotions of others and able instinctively to play with them."

As well as admitting a strong personal fondness for Princess Diana – "I really liked her and, of course, was as big a sucker for a beautiful princess as the next man; but I was wary too" – Blair saw her as encapsulating the political sea change that swept the country in 1997: "Whatever New Labour had in part," Blair writes, "she had in whole."

But Diana was, writes Blair, "an unpredictable meteor" who burst into the royal family's "predictable and highly regulated ecosystem". Her death, three months after Blair entered Downing Street, was "menacing" for the royal family. The Queen was reluctant to speak to the nation after her death because she "didn't want to pretend to a view of Diana that was more conflicted than the public could accept".

But it was Diana's relationship with Dodi Fayed that concerned Blair. The last time they met was in July. "It had not been all that easy," he writes. During a private walk in the grounds of Chequers Blair told Diana that he felt her relationship with Fayed "was a problem".

"This was not for the obvious reasons, which would have made some frown on him; his nationality, religion or background don't matter a hoot to me. I had never met him ... so if you ask me, well, spit it out, what was wrong, I couldn't frankly say, but I felt uneasy," he writes.

Diana didn't like Blair's interference – "I could feel the wilful side of her bridling" – but by the end of the conversation they were again on a "warm and friendly" footing.

Despite their personal relationship, Blair admits that from the moment he was told of her death, he was "trying to work out how it should play".

"I know that sounds callous," he reveals. "I was genuinely in grief ... but I also knew that this was going to be a major national, in fact global, event like no other ... I had to work out how it would work out."

Blair is candid about the tension of the days immediately following Diana's death: "Throughout, we were walking a tightrope, thinner and more frayed by the day, between organising everything to go well and 'cashing in' or exploiting."

He admits that the now-famous phrase he used the next day, "the people's princess" now seems like something from "another age. And corny. And over the top. But at the time, it felt natural."

Despite the high drama of Diana's death, however – and a poll showing an "absurd rating of 93% approval" – Blair insists he never lost sight of the fact that there were more important challenges on the horizon.

"I had, at least, the sense to know ... that the tests of achievement for a prime minister and a government were rather different," he writes.

Amelia Hill

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Grand Day for Monarchism

It is official: Sweden is in love. At least with its Crown Princess and with the monarchy.

On June 19th, Crown Princess Victoria married her former gym teacher Daniel Westling, a young man of what would long ago have been called humble origins, hailing from the small town of Ockelbo a few hundred miles north of Stockholm.

The Swedish monarchy seems stronger than ever.

Things might have been quite different. In November 1917, the Crown Princess´s grandfather´s grandfather, Gustaf V, was nervously packing his suitcases and planning to leave the country, not only because the Bolsheviks were taking over next door in Saint Petersburg but also because there were hunger riots all over Sweden and plenty of domestic revolutionary talk.

The Swedish wartime prime minister, Hjalmar Hammarskjold (father of the future UN secretary general) was called "Hungerskjold", because he would not stop food exports to warring Germany in spite of desperate scarcity at home. The Swedish Queen, Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm´s cousin, lambasted Swedish politicians who refused to join up with their Germanic brethren in WW I. The monarchy was definitely not popular and the entire situation shaky.

King Gustaf eventually unpacked his suitcases. Even though Social Democratic leader Hjalmar Branting in his heart was a republican (in the European sense of the word) and his party program demanded the abolition of the monarchy, Branting preferred a constitutional revolution extending the vote to all Swedish men and women. Establishing the republic was not a priority.

So Gustaf V settled down in his palace and reigned until his death in 1950. Even then the Social Democrats, in power for nearly two decades, were unwilling to do radical constitutional changes. Gustaf VI Adolf, at 68 already past retirement age, took over and, expiring in 1973 at the age of 92, left the throne to the present monarch, Carl XVI Gustaf, a young man of 27.

The young king, at the age of one, in 1947, had lost his father, Gustaf Adolf, in an air crash at Copenhagen airport. His uncle, Count Folke Bernadotte, in 1948 was murdered in Jerusalem by members of the Jewish terrorist Lehi gang, led by Yitzak Shamir, later on Israel´s prime minister.

Efforts have been made to democratize the Swedish monarchy, in tune with the modern world. The King, according to the Constitution, has no political power and does not even formally appoint governments – which is the task of the Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag. The monarch´s role is purely representative, mostly heading trade delegations to foreign lands. On Christmas Day every year, the King addresses Swedish nationals at home and abroad on radio and television.

Born into an equal opportunity monarchy, Victoria as the first-born will inherit the crown, even though she has a younger male sibling, Carl Philip, who would have become Crown Prince under the old order (the Constitution was changed in the late 1970s, after Victoria was born).

The present royal family are the descendants of Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, a social upstart from southern France, who, thanks to the French Revolution, became one of Napoleon´s generals and finally Marshal of France. When Swedish politicians in 1810 offered Bernadotte the Swedish crown, they hoped that with his military experience he would help Sweden regain lost territory, viz Finland, from Czarist Russia. Bernadotte, transformed into Sweden´s King Karl XIV Johan, was no fool. He clearly recalled Napoleon´s disastrous Russian campaign and initiated a long peaceful reign which would become almost emblematically Swedish for the next two hundred years.
The present king´s father-in-law, the Crown Princess´s late grandfather, Walter Sommerlath, emigrated to Brazil in the 1920s and in exile became a member of the German Nazi party on Decmber 1, 1934. (His membership card can be inspected at the German Bundesarchiv in Berlin.) Sommerlath´s daughter Silvia, born in wartime Germany in 1943 when the family had moved back, was one of the German hostesses at the Munich Olympics in 1972, where she met the future Swedish King.

Swedish republicans (not to be confused with the US phenomenon) are facing an uphill task. The Royals are undoubtedly popular. Even Carl XVI Gustaf, whose greatest public relations achievement was to marry his new-found German-Brazilian girl friend Silvia, has over the years, obtuse though he is, gathered public sympathy, particularly in his moving speech after the 2004 Asian tsunami which claimed the lives of some 600 Swedish Thailand visitors. The King said he regretted not being a fairy tale monarch who could restore everything back to normalcy.

Crown Princess Victoria is far from obtuse, in fact extremely articulate – and probably has increased her popularity by marrying her man of the people, Daniel Westling, who now becomes a Prince and a Duke and as the King´s son-in-law and the husband of the future Queen is be addressed as "Your Royal Highness". The wedding ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of the Swedish Lutheran Church. The Bishop of Stockholm was excluded, probably because she is a Lesbian.

Some pointed questions were raised within the Lutheran Church as to how the Crown Princess should be escorted to the altar. In what almost turned into an "Altargate" crisis, critics asked if it wouldn´t be a practically feudal exercise, if the King handed over his daughter to another male person as a piece of property. Or could it be interpreted as the King in fact handing over his daughter to the People, incarnated in young Daniel Westling, the Prince-to-be?

A few days before the wedding, a very Swedish compromise was worked out: the King would walk his daughter half-way to the altar, then withdraw and follow behind the couple to the altar in the Storkyrka ("Big church") of Stockholm.

So will the monarchy go on for ever and ever? Shortly before the wedding, a young Swedish author, Jens Liljestrand, in the Malmö newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet offered a surprising alternative. In an interview taking place, science fiction-wise, a few years into the future, the present Crown Princess has turned into a nearly anonymous Mrs Victoria Westling.

Since her brother and her sister were equally unwilling to take over the throne, Victoria´s abdication immediately after her father´s death gave Swedish politicians the option either to offer the kingdom to another available royal family or finally turn Sweden into a republic. In Liljestrand´s alternative future, Queen Victoria carried on for a few years while the Swedish parliament worked out the transition. After that she retired into "civilian" life. Had she in fact been a closet republican all along? Not at all.

"I did love the idea of monarchy", Victoria Westling says regretfully in Liljestrand´s interview. "The monarchy was a nice concept, and it had been working quite well, at least in Sweden. But in our present type of society, with extreme intimacy and extreme lack of respect, and all the paparazzi around, the monarchy is no longer feasible. As far as I am concerned, the monarchy died with Diana in that car in Paris."


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


When writing to someone of title, there are certain conventions that should be followed in the addressing and greeting of the letter. It is courteous and respectful to properly honor a person of title in the address, the salutation, and even in the closing of your letter. Below is a guideline to the use of appropriate protocol in your written correspondence to people of title.

Royalty and Noble Titles

Address: His Imperial Majesty (Name of Emperor), Emperor of (Country)
Salutation: Sir: or May it please Your Majesty:
Closing: I have the honor to remain Your Imperial Majesty’s obedient servant
The King
Address: His Majesty the King
Salutation: Your dignified Majesty:
Closing: I have honor to remain, Sir, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient subject

The Queen
Address: Her Majesty the Queen
Salutation: Madam: or May it please Your Majesty:
Closing: I have honor to remain, Madam, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient subject

Royal Prince
Address: His Royal Highness The Prince of ……
Salutation: Sir:
Closing: I have honor to remain, Sir, Your Highness’s most humble and obedient subject

Royal Princess
Address: Her Royal Highness The Princess of ……
Salutation: Madam:
Closing: I have honor to remain, Madam, Your Highness’s most humble and obedient subject

Address: His Grace The Duke of …..
Salutation: My Lord Duke:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Address: Her Grace The Duchess of …..
Salutation: Dear Madam:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Address: The Rt Hon. The Lord …..
Salutation: My Lord:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Baroness (wife of a Baron)
Address: The Rt Hon. The Lady …..
Salutation: Dear Madam:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Address: The Most Hon. The Marquess of …..
Salutation: My Lord:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Marchioness (wife of a Marquess)
Address: The Most Hon. The Marchioness of …..
Salutation: Dear Madam:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Address: The Rt Hon. The Earl of …..
Salutation: My Lord;
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Countess (wife of an Earl)
Address: The Rt Hon. The Countess of …..
Salutation: Dear Madam:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Address: The Rt Hon. The Viscount of …..
Salutation: My Lord:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Viscountess (wife of a Viscount)
Address: The Rt Hon. The Viscountess …..
Salutation: Dear Madam:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Address: Sir (First name and surname), Bt
Salutation: Dear Sir:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Baronet’s Wife
Address : Lady (Surname only)
Salutation: Dear Madam:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Address: Sir (First name and surname), followed with appropriate letters relevant to Order
Salutation: Dear Sir:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Knight’s Wife
Address: Lady (Surname only)
Salutation: Dear Madam:
Closing: Yours faithfully,

Religious Dignitaries

The Pope
Address: His Holiness (Name & Roman Numeral)
Salutation: Your Holiness:
Closing: I have the honor to remain Your Holiness’s obedient servant,

Address: His Eminence, (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Your Eminence: or Dear Cardinal (Surname):
Closing: Yours very truly,

Address: The Most Reverend (First and Last Name), Archbishop of (Name of Diocese)
Salutation: Dear Archbishop (Surname)
Closing: Yours very truly,

Address: The Most Reverend (First and Last Name), Bishop of (Name of Diocese)
Salutation: Dear Bishop (Surname)
Closing: Yours very truly,

Address: The Very Reverend (First and Last Name), Abbot of …..
Salutation: Right Reverend Father: or Dear Abbot (Surname)
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Address: The Very Reverend (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Dear Canon (Surname)
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Address: The Reverend (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Dear Father:
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Nun – Mother Superior
Address: Reverend Mother (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Dear Reverend Mother:
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Nun – Sister
Address: Sister (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Dear Sister (Surname):
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Address: The Very Reverend (First and Last Name), Dean of (Name of Cathedral)
Salutation: Dear Dean (Surname):
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Address: The Venerable (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Dear Archdeacon (Surname):
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Address: The Reverend (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Dear Dr./Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss (Surname):
Closing: Yours sincerely,

Address: Rabbi (First and Last Name)
Salutation: Dear Rabbi:
Closing: Yours sincerely,

The austerity monarch

Amid all the publicity about the "bonfire of the quangos" there is one unelected quasi-autonomous body that seems to be being abolished with a little less fanfare – the British monarchy. It was missing from the various lists in recent days on business, health and the arts.

But Cameron and Co clearly have their eye on it. The constitutional reforms soon coming on stream are surreptitiously removing the Queen's prerogative powers and duties. Can the UB40 be far behind?

David Cameron started his attack in 2006 almost as soon as he became Conservative leader. At that time he exempted "the personal prerogative powers of the monarch, such as the power to dissolve parliament and appoint a prime minister". But those are exactly the powers he now has in his sights. In these straitened times, nothing is sacred. It's a simple question: What does the Queen do? Does it need doing? Could someone else fill the gap?

It is slightly difficult to work out what the Queen's powers and duties are because we have an unwritten constitution. Fortunately we also have Wikipedia. It acts rather like the British constitution: bits are added, changed, taken away by mysterious unknown hands yet it looks as if it has always been the same. So, according to this unimpeachable source, these are the Queen's significant personal prerogative powers:

Appointing and dismissing the prime minister
We now know that the Lib Dems do this. If Nick Clegg has his way, this constitutional power will be enshrined in the alternative vote system, giving the Lib Dems, pretty well, a guaranteed veto on the issue. The Queen's personal right will devolve to Clegg and his heirs in perpetuity.

Dissolving parliament
Calling and dissolving parliaments has been in the monarch's sole power since there have been parliaments. Now the Lib-Cons want fixed terms but with a power of dissolution given to parliament – on a two thirds vote or a simple majority if it is a matter of confidence.

There is a precedent – in 1640 when parliament gave itself the power to dissolve itself. It didn't end well. In fact it took 20 years before what was left of the Long Parliament finally disbanded after executions, civil wars, more executions, purges, abolition, dictatorship, reinstatement and finally a return to the ways things were. The monarch has retained the power ever since.

What happens, thanks to the prerogative powers, is that the prime minister goes to the monarch and asks for the dissolution. By convention she is expected to accede to his request – but it is her call. She might instead accept the resignation of her prime minister and then go looking for another one. The important principles involved are enshrined in documentary form viz an anonymous letter published on 2 May 1950 in the Times – up there with Wikipedia as an authority of the highest constitutional standing. It notes:

"It is surely indisputable (and common sense) that a Prime Minister may ask– not demand – that his Sovereign will grant him a dissolution of Parliament; and that the Sovereign, if he so chooses, may refuse to grant this request."

Under the reforms, even if parliament's dissolution decision went to the Queen for her formal agreement, she would be denied any discretion in the matter. To come into conflict with an elected parliament would be a far more serious thing than dealing with a mere here-today gone-tomorrow prime minister. It would be a constitutional crisis. So her prerogative in this matter is to be lost.

Other prerogative powers
The important ones of these are exercised by the prime minister already as executive powers of government. He gets to declare war, make treaties, choose Her Majesty's ministers, peers and Church of England archbishops. The Queen owns the wild swans but not in any practical sense (like eating them). The crown estates are ripe for privatisation (Vince Cable is happy enough to flog off Her Majesty's Royal Mail; he's unlikely to balk at selling the crown estates). The foreshore is the Queen's, but some sensible arrangement could be made about the driftwood, plastic bottles, condoms and winkles found there. She has the prerogative of mercy – but mercifully Ken Clarke is now in post and preparing to throw open the prison gates.

There is not much here, then, for which the presence of a monarch is essential. But what about all those other little jobs she does, the ceremonial stuff? Opening civic centres? Glad-handing the cast of Lord Lloyd-Webber's latest hit? Step forward once more Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister. If the Queen is to be a woman with a constitutional position but no role, Cleggy, surely, is a man with no constitutional position desperately seeking just such a role.

Richard Alcock, Sunday 1 August 2010

House of Lords Luncheon 19th May 2010

Andres Linholm, Chancellor of the Estonian Monarchist League, presided at a Luncheon in the House of Lords in honour of His Excellency Johan Verbeke Belgian Ambassador to the UK.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lembit Öpik: There's more to the cheeky boy than his love-life

I meet Lembit Öpik - MP, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Northern Ireland and Wales, but mostly just a cheeky, cheeky boy - at his Westminster office. "Wow, fantastic view," I say, because it is a fantastic view, right over the Thames. Did you have to fight to get this room? "Luck of the draw," he says happily. There are a couple of other chaps bustling about - researchers? - and a newspaper cutting with the headline: "Asteroid on collision course with earth". He has always fretted about asteroids. "The question isn't if," he says, "it's when." Yikes!

It's a messy office - "we haven't bothered tarting it up for you, I'm afraid" - but not an especially cheeky one unless you count the pink, Cheeky Girl mousemat. Anyway, we are not here to talk about all that. Lembit says he is so, so bored of all that. "I've been amazed at the level of interest as I don't think it's much of a story," he says. I don't remonstrate and say: "But Lembik, it's the most mind-boggling, funniest, unlikeliest pairing ever," because I am a coward, and quite a cowardly coward at that. Still, I can't imagine anything more mind-boggling or unlikelier unless, say, it was suddenly discovered that Anne Widdecombe was dating Duncan from Blue. In this instance, I should add, it's probably best not to imagine the children. I did, for a minute, and got quite scared. That's being a coward for you.

But enough, enough. After all, we are meant to be concentrating on Lembit the politician, not the Lembit who forsook that Welsh weather lady, Sian Lloyd, for 24-year-old Gabriela Irimia, one half of the barely clad Romanian pop duo whose only hit single, "Cheeky Girls (Touch My Bum)", was recently voted the worst song in pop history. But this is fine by me. I am interested in getting the measure of Lembit Öpik. What kind of a man is he, really? What does he believe in? What policies does he support (aside from being keen on getting the Government to spend millions deflecting asteroids)? Is he foolish? Or smart? Humble or self-aggrandising? Did Sian do those fluttery hands in bed and, if so, did they tickle or soothe? What if I was to invite him to Touch My Bum? Are he and Gabi engaged? She was, after all, recently pictured in a tabloid wearing an engagement ring, wasn't she?

"It's not an engagement ring," he says. "Or, if it is, it's not from me. Gabi just happens to wear a lot of jewellery. I think if I had given her an engagement ring I'd remember, don't you? Your profession are very economical with the truth. I read that we're getting married in April at Luton register office. I said to Gabi: 'Why Luton?' She said: 'I don't know, you booked it.'" He laughs gaily. They don't bother you, these sorts of stories? "Nah. It's only entertainment," he says. He laughs again, adjusts his glasses, pushes them back up his nose. He is 42 and may be a bit of a geeky boy, as well as a cheeky, cheeky one. He adds: "If you've got character, you're treated with suspicion in politics. Why? All the greatest politicians had character. Look at Churchill. He had character!" I don't know what's in it for Gabi, but I will say that his Westminster nickname is "Tripod". I think I'll leave that hanging, so to speak.

Anyway, the deal is that I trail Lembit for the afternoon, and he's got the itinerary all worked out. First, it's some kind of statutory instrument committee meeting about policing in Northern Ireland at which he's due to speak - great, let's go! - then it's a reception that has something to do with reducing the use of animals in medical research and then it'll be on to a meeting of the BBC Group, which does what exactly? It meets, he says, to facilitate parliamentary and BBC relations. "I'm the Vice Chair," he says, "and our greatest achievement was probably helping to save Andy Kershaw's radio programme on world music. Andy got turfed off Radio One and after a very intense campaign in parliament he was given a new slot." Is that really a parliamentary matter, I query. Could you bring back Blind Date, do you think, if you put your mind to it? "Well," he says, "it became a parliamentary matter in the sense I chose to take it up ... and it's part of the BBC's commitment to public broadcasting." I think he is pally with Andy Kershaw, not that you'd ever know it. It's only: "I saw Andy last weekend. He lives on the Isle of Man now." And, later, when we're discussing Desert Island Discs, it is: "Andy's going on in three weeks and is really fretting about what to choose."

Off, then, to the Northern Ireland thing. Lembit is Northern Irish via Estonia, and has a lovely accent. "Thank you! I've had it all my life, you know!" His parents fled Estonia and the Red Army at the end of the Second World War and settled in Northern Ireland, where Lembit was born and brought up. His father, Uno, was an academic while his grandfather, Ernst, was a great astronomer. I ask Lembit what it was like growing up in Northern Ireland with an umlaut? He says: "It was difficult having a distinctly foreign background. And I didn't learn English until I went to school, so had a strong Estonian accent. But you find coping strategies. Mine was humour!" And the umlaut? A pain? "Many times it would turn into an apostrophe so it was Lembit O'Pik. But I could see the logic of that. It was close enough!" Were you made to feel different? "I do remember my first political debate. It was at school in 1974/5 and I remember Mr McGowan coming in and saying: 'Right boys, we're going to have a debate about the Icelandic cod war.' I put my hand up, as did one of the other boys, Bryson. Mr McGowan said: 'You, Bryson, can do Britain and Öpik, you're foreign, so you do Iceland.' I went on to win by 19 votes to 17!"

He visits Estonia, he says, three or four times a year. Last time, it was for a royal banquet as the Queen was visiting. "I always seem to say stupid things when I meet the Queen, because I'm very pro-monarchy. She said: 'Do you consider this to be home?' I said: 'Not really because Estonia is a republic and I'm a monarchist.' And I thought, why did I say that?! I'm always slightly in awe when I speak to Her Royal Highness." A fortnight later, he says, he had a meeting with Blair about motor neurone disease - his father died of it and he's now President of the Motor Neurone Disease Association - and Blair said to him: "I hear you've been having dinner with the Queen, Lembit." Well, says Lembit, "my jaw dropped. I said: 'That's amazing. Word travels fast. Who told you that?' He said: 'The Queen!' At that moment I felt I was briefly in the inner circle!"

We walk through a labyrinth of corridors and tunnels that will eventually take us into the bowels of the House of Commons. He first became an MP in 1997 and he says he is still excited by it all. "I still sit here in parliament thinking what a privilege it is to do a job as interesting, because you do get to meet the people who are on television. I know I'm on TV as well but I still feel pretty lucky." We pass Charles Kennedy's office. "A great guy," says Lembit. "He's absolutely brilliant. I've got a lot of time for him." Lembit stood right behind Kennedy as leader of the Lib Dems until Kennedy had to go (drink). He then stood right behind Mark Oaten until Mark Oaten had to go (rent boys). Next, he was right behind Simon Hughes until Simon Hughes had to go (denial of his homosexuality). My, he sure knows how to pick a winner, some might think. He is currently right behind Ming. "Ming's in charge so I back Ming, and that's that." This may or may not be good news for Ming.

We attend the committee meeting. Lord, it's dull. Diane Abbott sleeps soundly throughout. Lembit speaks well and eloquently - it appears to be about positive discrimination in the police force - but it isn't sufficient to stir her. He intermittently sends little hand-written notes over to me. They say: "Not much longer!" Or: "We'll soon get back to being more interactive - ie, more time with me!" He does like attention, I think, which may or may not affect his judgement. I ask if he enjoys what fame he has. He says: "I don't go to bed at night thinking about how famous I am, but there is an advantage. If very well-known, you are able to exert a bit more influence in your political activities. You probably carry a bit more clout and people listen more to what you say. On motor neurone disease, for example, my high profile means that the Association has also got a higher profile."

But there is a cost, too, isn't there? As "entertaining" as all the coverage might be, Lembit, don't you feel - hmm, how to put this, being a coward and all that? - don't you feel it diminishes you as a politician? Doesn't it mean that the public takes you less seriously than it might? He gets quite shirty. He says: "What connection is there between my career and Gabi?" It's just the drip, drip effect, I say. "At the end of the day," he says, "the public can tell the difference between serious politics and having a laugh. I'm here to do politics and I'll do my politics with a smile, but I'm deadly serious about the outcomes. We're near to finding a cure to motor neurone disease. That's what's important. That's what will be my legacy." He then says there is no point getting tetchy about the press coverage anyway. "What," he asks, "if you read everywhere that you were engaged to Hugh Grant?" I wouldn't mind, I say, although Daniel Craig or James McAvoy would be better. "OK then," he says. "Say it was Jeffrey Archer. And you read about your engagement everywhere. What would you do about it?" I'd tell them to bugger off, I say. He says: "But you're powerless to stop the stupidity, so why take it seriously?" Because I wouldn't want to be a laughing stock? But Lembit doesn't see it like that. "Sian Lloyd dumped me and I started a new relationship with Gabi. What's the story?" I am imagining their children. It's quite scary but they do have very nice arses. That Gabi has a good arse, doesn't she, Lembit? "Hah," he says. "Imagine if I'd said that!"

We move from the committee to the animal research reception. There is wine and nice sandwiches and those little cocktail sausages, which Lembit seems particularly fond of. Can you cook, Lembit? "I can do kippers, Marmite on toast, porridge. It's not terrible food but it's not going to win an award. I actually did Ready, Steady, Cook and one of the greatest injustices in television history was me defeating the Labour MP Tom Watson in the vote-out at the end, because there's no question that Tom is a much better cook than me. But I did win." Yes, Gabi is a good cook - "She's great at stir fries" - and no, they don't live together. He has a place in London and a house in his constituency, Montgomeryshire. Yes, his mother is very proud of him. "I send her copies of Hansard with my speeches in them, and I know she likes that." He says he must mingle at this reception, but as no one approaches him, we leave quite promptly.

Why politics? I ask. Well, he says, it started at Bristol University, where he studied philosophy, and "where I stood for the presidency of the student union because there were things I wanted to do and do differently. It went from there." He took a job with Proctor and Gamble and moved to Newcastle, where he won a seat on the council. "I got a big kick walking around in my area, thinking, I fixed that pavement, or I got those road humps there, or whatever. They may be small things but they're measurable. I could point to things and say that's happened because of me. That's the kick I get out of politics. So when I got the chance to stand for parliament, it was like, great, I can do even more." He was Independent initially, only throwing in his lot with the Lib Dems when he met Paddy Ashdown in 1989. "I liked him and believed he would make a great Britain if he became Prime Minister." Yup, he sure can pick a winner.

We chat amiably on, somehow managing to miss the meeting of the BBC Group (damn!). We talk about his flying, as he has a pilot's licence - "It can take years, but I got mine in 22 days" - and his musical tastes. He likes folk and plays the harmonica. We talk, too, about books. No, he says, he hasn't read the novel A Brief History of Tractors in the Ukraine, but "everyone tells me I have to read it. It's the kind of thing my friend Andy Kershaw would like as well, so I might get it for him for Christmas." Our time's up. He's due elsewhere. "I enjoyed it," he says, worryingly.

"Tripod", by the way, is ... nope, sorry, too cowardly.

Plane crash in Smolensk

The Estonian Monarchist League presents our condolences to the members of families, friends and all close people of the victims of the plane crash happened on 10 April 2010 in Smolensk (in West Russia), where the President of PolandLech Kaczynski, his wife and the members of the official Polish delegation were killed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Imperial House is claiming to continue the investigation permalink

The Basmanny District Court of Moscow on 19 March 2010 partially granted the Head of the Russian Imperial House Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Her will, as the investigator is now obliged to issue Her a copy of the decision to dismiss the criminal case into the death of Her relatives the Most August Members of the Family in 1918, but it refused to accept the decision of terminating the case was illegal, said Sir Herman Lukyanov, a lawyer representing the Head of the House.

Sir Lukyanov said that the Grand Duchess disagrees with this decision, because the court came to the position of the General Prosecutor Office and the Investigation Committee under the Prosecutor’s Office of Russia and not taken into consideration Decree of the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court about the rehabilitation of the Imperial Family.

The Head of the Imperial House is planning to appeal this decision in the Moscow City Court.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Estonian Monarchist League officially became member of the International Monarchist Conference (IMC)

Demonstrations in Nepal

NEPAL: On February 22d 2010, thousands of Nepalese monarchists poured into Kathmandu following the appeal of the Monarchist Parliamentary Party « Rastrya Prajatantra Party Nepal »(RPP-N). Demonstrators, boasting a popular petition that gathered about two million signatures demanding a constitutional referendum, occupied the centre of the Nepalese capital, almost paralyzing the city.

There were reportedly several incidents, although we don’t have precise information in that regard. But it seems, according to our sources, that the police forces arrested about half a thousand citizens. Among the people under arrest are to be found the leaders and representatives of the RPP-N.

In front of the magnitude of repression, the exiled sovereign, H.M Gyanedra met the Indian authorities who stated that they were highly concerned about the home affairs situation of Nepal. Less than two years after the Republic was proclaimed, Nepal seems to be on the verge of another Revolution, this time in favour of a return of Monarchy. This reversal of situation is taking place after a rapid social and economic deterioration of the country. This illustrating the incapacity of Maoist revolutionaries and their moderate republican allies to handle with the situation.

Since 09:00 a.m this morning, thousands of Rastrya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-N) are pacifically blocking the accesses to Singha Durbar and before Padmodaya School Putalisadak, Anamnagar and Maithigar, demanding constitutional monarchy to be integrated to the new Constitution. During the demonstrations, executives of the RPP-N were wounded by the authorities and there were numerous arrests.

Source: The International Monarchist Conference

Titles: Duke and Duchess

Duke is the highest of the five grades of the peerage. For guidance on how to address the three royal dukes (York, Gloucester and Kent) see Other Royals section).

Duke is the highest of the five ranks of the peerage, standing above the ranks of marquess, earl, viscount and baron.

The title duke is derived from the Latin dux, a leader. The title originally signified Sovereign status, for example William the Conqueror was Duke of Normandy, and it was not adopted as a peerage title until 1337, when King Edward III conferred the Dukedom of Cornwall upon his eldest son, the Black Prince.
Dukedoms were created in Parliament by the fastening of a ceremonial sword to a belt or girdle (cincture). This ceremony was traditionally used until 1615, when it was replaced by the conferring of letters patent under the Great Seal (peerage patents are always created by letters patent under the Great Seal, which represents the Sovereign's authority).
The first subject to receive a dukedom who was not a member of the royal family, nor one nearly related, was Sir William de la Pole, Marquess of Suffolk, who was created Duke of Suffolk in 1448. A Prince of the Royal Blood is usually created a duke either shortly after coming of age or upon his marriage. The Queen's second son, Prince Andrew, was created Duke of York upon his marriage in 1986.
The Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, broke with royal tradition when he chose the title of Earl of Wessex upon his marriage in 1999. Buckingham Palace announced that the Earl of Wessex will be granted the dukedom of Edinburgh when the title reverts to The Crown (the title will only revert to The Crown on both the death of the current Duke of Edinburgh, and the succession of the Prince of Wales to the throne). The other royal dukes are The Queen's first cousins, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent (both grandsons of King George V).
At present there are 24 dukes (not including royal dukes). The premier duke and earl of England is the Duke of Norfolk. His ancestor John Howard was created Duke of Norfolk in 1483, but because he inherited his dukedom through his mother, Margaret Mowbray, the duke's precedence (ie his seniority in terms of the antiquity of his title) is dated 1397, which is when Margaret Mowbray's father was created Duke of Norfolk.
The premier peer of Scotland is the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon (created 1643). The premier duke, marquess and earl of Ireland is the Duke of Leinster (created 1766). The most recent (non-royal) dukedom to be created is Westminster in 1874.
Since 1989 only one dukedom has become extinct, Portland (in 1990), but the Earldom of Portland continues and is currently held by Timothy Bentinck, who plays David Archer in BBC Radio 4's drama series 'The Archers'
A duke is always so described, unlike the lower ranks of the peerage. If reference is made to only one duke he may be called 'the Duke' but if distinction is necessary, or on introduction, he should be referred to as 'the Duke of …..'.

Ecclesiastical, ambassadorial and armed forces ranks precede the ducal rank. For example, Major-General the Duke of …..'.

When a duke is also a privy counsellor or has received a knighthood he may use the appropriate post-nominal letters.

The wife of a duke is always described as the Duchess, or the Duchess of ….. if distinction is required or on introduction.

In official documents the style of The Most Noble ….. should still be used for both a duke and duchess.

How to address a Duke and DuchessThe recommended (social) style of address for all non-royal dukes is as follows:

Beginning of letter: Dear Duke/Duchess
End of letter: Yours sincerely
Envelope :The Duke/Duchess of Norfolk
Verbal Communication: Duke/Duchess
Invitation* & joint form of address: The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk
Description in conversation: The Duke/Duchess of Norfolk
List of Directors or Patrons: The Duke/Duchess of Norfolk
Place Card: The Duke/Duchess of Norfolk
Legal document: The Most Noble Edward William Duke of Norfolk, The Most Noble Georgina Susan Duchess of Norfolk

*Note that, traditionally, invitations to a married couple, when sent to their home address, are addressed to the wife alone, with both names being inscribed on the invitation card. It has become increasingly acceptable, however, to address the envelope with both names.

Widow of the Duke

Officially the widow of a duke is known as 'The Dowager Duchess of Norfolk' (unless there is already a dowager duchess in that family still living in which case the widow of the junior duke is known by her forename, eg Anne, Duchess of Norfolk).

In practice, many widows prefer to use their forename in place of 'Dowager'. If in doubt, use of the forename is recommended.
If the present holder of the dukedom is unmarried, the widow of the previous duke does not use the term of either The Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, or Anne, Duchess of Norfolk, but continues to be known as The Duchess of Norfolk.

How to address the Widow of a DukeThe recommended (social) style of address is as follows:
Beginning of letter Dear Duchess
End of letter Yours sincerely

Envelope The Dowager (or Anne) Duchess of Norfolk
Verbal communication Duchess
Invitation The Dowager (or Anne) Duchess of Norfolk
Description in conversation The Duchess of Norfolk
List of Directors or Patrons The Dowager (or Anne) Duchess of Norfolk

Place card The Dowager (or Anne) Duchess of Norfolk
Legal document The Most Noble Anne Mary Teresa Duchess of Norfolk

Former wife of Duke

If a marriage between a duke and duchess has been dissolved, the former wife (although no longer a peeress) may continue to use her title as a duke's wife, preceded by her forename (unless she remarries*).

How to address the Former Wife of a DukeThe recommended (social) style of address is as follows:
Beginning of letter Dear Duchess
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope Jillian, Duchess of Hamilton
Verbal communication Duchess
Invitation Jillian, Duchess of Hamilton
Description in conversation The Duchess of Hamilton
List of Directors or Patrons Jillian, Duchess of Hamilton
Place card Jillian, Duchess of Hamilton
Legal document Jillian Duchess of Hamilton

*If the former wife of a duke subsequently remarries she adopts her style of address from her present husband. Thus if Jillian, Duchess of Hamilton, marries Mr Cuthbert Robinson she becomes Mrs Cuthbert Robinson.

Sons of a Duke
Eldest Son of a DukeThe eldest (or only) son of a duke will use one of his father's lesser peerage titles. For example, the son and heir apparent of the Duke of Rutland is known as the Marquess of Granby and the appropriate forms of address for a Marquess by courtesy therefore apply to him and his family.
If the duke is of the peerage of Scotland please refer to Scottish Title of Master
See Peerages by Courtesy
Younger Sons of a DukeThe younger sons of a duke have the courtesy title of 'Lord' before their forename and surname.
Prefixes such as His Excellency, Major General, The Rt Rev, The Rt Hon etc. precede his courtesy title.

How to address the Younger Son of a DukeThe recommended (social) style of address is as follows:
Beginning of letter Dear Lord Edward
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope Lord Edward Fitzgerald
Verbal communication Lord Edward
Invitation* Lord Edward Fitzgerald
Description in conversation Lord Edward
List of Directors or Patrons Lord Edward Fitzgerald
Place card Lord Edward Fitzgerald
Legal document Edward Fitzgerald commonly called Lord Edward Fitzgerald

*Note that, traditionally, invitations to a married couple, when sent to their home address, are addressed to the wife alone, with both names being inscribed on the invitation card. It has become increasingly acceptable, however, to address the envelope with both names.
Wife of the Younger Son of a DukeThe wife of the younger son of a duke has the courtesy title of 'Lady' followed by her husband's forename and surname (unless herself the daughter of a duke or marquess *).

How to address the Wife of a Younger Son of a DukeThe recommended (social) style of address is as follows:
Beginning of letter Dear Lady Edward
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope Lady Edward Fitzgerald
Verbal address Lady Edward
Invitation Lady Edward Fitzgerald
Description in conversation Lady Edward
List of Directors or Patrons Lady Edward Fitzgerald
Place card Lady Edward Fitzgerald
Legal document Helen Fitzgerald commonly called Lady Edward Fitzgerald

*If she is the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl, she may continue to use her own title instead of that of her husband. This style should only be used if it known to be the preferred form of address.
Widow of the Younger Son of a Duke
Her style in widowhood does not change, except on remarriage, when she adopts the style from her new husband.

Daughters of a Duke

A daughter of a duke has the style of 'Lady' before her forename and surname, eg the elder daughter of the Duke of Norfolk is Lady Rachel Fitzalan Howard.
On marriage she continues to use the same style, with her husband's surname, ie when Lady Rose FitzRoy married Mr Guy Monson, she became Lady Rose Monson.
Should she marry a peer she adopts his title.

How to address the Daughters of a DukeThe recommended (social) style of address is as follows:
Beginning of letter Dear Lady Rose
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope Lady Rose Monson
Joint form of address Mr Guy and Lady Rose Monson
Verbal communication Lady Rose (on introduction, Lady Rose Monson)
Invitation Lady Rose Monson
Invitation* to husband & wife Mr Guy and Lady Rose Monson
Description in conversation Lady Rose
List of Directors or Patrons Lady Rose Monson
Place card Lady Rose Monson
Legal document Olivia Rose Mildred Monson commonly called Lady Rose Monson

*Note that, traditionally, invitations to a married couple, when sent to their home address, are addressed to the wife alone, with both names being inscribed on the invitation card. It has become increasingly acceptable, however, to address the envelope with both names.
If she marries a courtesy peer, and the precedence she derives from this is lower than that she derives from her father, she has the option of:
(a) adopting the usual style of the wife of a courtesy peer, eg Countess of Twickenham, or
(b) continuing her own style followed by the courtesy title, eg Lady Mary Twickenham.
In practice very few ladies now adopt course (b) unless the marriage has been dissolved.
If the daughter of a duke marries the younger son of a duke or marquess, again she has the option of:
(a) adopting the usual style of the wife of a younger son of a duke or marquess, eg Lady Charles Manners, or
(b) continuing her own style followed by her surname, eg Lady Mary Manners

Debrett's People of Today 2010 now available

This definitive guide to Britain's meritocracy is the major biographical study of the UK's most influential and successful people. Debrett's People of Today recognises the achievements of over 25,000 people drawn from every sector of society - from academics to writers, business leaders to sportsmen, civil servants to pop stars, clergy to politicians.

Typically over 650 new entrants are hand-picked by Debrett's team of expert editors each year, in addition to over 20,000 amendments made to existing entries. Not all entrants are guaranteed a place in Debrett's People of Today for life, unlike certain other reference works.

Who's Included?Debrett's People of Today provides the widest possible coverage of any biographical reference book in the UK. Leading figures include chairmen, chief executives & managing directors of leading companies; members of the medical profession; directors of banks and financial institutions; architects, designers and engineers; artists, composers & musicians; members of the legal profession; directors of marketing & advertising agencies; film, theatre & television actors; editors, publishers and journalists; scientists, academics & educationalists; leading literary figures; sportsmen & sportswomen; bishops and church leaders; MPs, MEPs, MSPs, MLAs and AMs.

What's Included?For each entrant a full biographical resume is presented - the person's correct title and decorations, date of birth, family history and education, recent position, achievements, career, recreations and clubs, preferred style of address and contact details.

Quite simply, no other publication brings this breadth and depth of information together in one place to provide a snapshot of those high achievers pre-eminent in their fields.

Additional IndicesDebrett's People of Today also includes several indices to complement the biographies and act as an invaluable comprehensive reference source in their own right. These cover business, charities, civil service, clubs, education establishments, embassies, law, politics and other professional fields. Detailed contact information is provided for each of the above.
The 2010 edition is now available (published December 2009).
We aim to deliver all orders to UK addresses within 7-10 working days, although you should allow up to 28 days in exceptional circumstances.

Available on

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Burke`s Peerage & Gentry new digital edition now available

Burke’s Peerage is delighted to announce our new digital edition of the definitive study of the extant Orders of Knighthood and merit of every state.

World Orders of Knighthood & Merit is widely accepted as one of the most important works ever produced on the subject and will remain the definitive guide for many years to come. This 2,100 page full-colour book is of great interest to academics, historians, collectors, monarchists, heraldry enthusiasts and those who are members of any of the numerous international, noble and state Orders.

The British royal family's official website has been relaunched

Frederik and Mary of Denmark throw open the doors of their modern new palace

24 FEBRUARY 2010

After five years waiting for your new house to be ready, most people would be wanting to leap inside immediately.

But Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have decided to postpone their big move in order to allow the public to view their future royal residence for a limited time.

The newly renovated Frederik VIII Palace in the Amalienborg royal complex in Copenhagen, where Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik also reside, will be open to visitors from February 27 to May 30.

Those paying the modest €5 entrance fee will be able to admire the transformed ground and first floors of the 18th-century building, which will be used for official receptions.

Every detail of the £26 million refurbishment was decided in conjunction with the prince and princess and includes the renovation of painted ceilings, canvas-clad walls and pine, marble and mosaic-covered floors.

Meanwhile, artworks by a host of contemporary Scandinavian artists add modern touches to the classic interiors.

The 1,660 square-metre gardens have also been remodelled by landscape gardener Jacob Fischery, who has added new plants, a 1,300 square-metre lawn and a 40-metre swimming pool.

Also known as the Brockdorff Palace, the building was the home of Frederik's grandparents, King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid, but has remained empty since Ingrid died in 2000.

By moving into the palace, a former military academy, Frederik and Mary will be continuing the tradition of Denmark's heirs and regents living around Amalienborg's four royal residences.

House of Romanovs wants royal remains to be re-examined

Moscow, February 24, Interfax - The House of Romanovs has said it wants to re-examine what is thought to be the remains of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family found in Yekaterinburg.

"Unfortunately, there is too much confusion in this case and some serious errors were made when the Yekaterinburg remains were being identified," Prince Georgy Mikhailovich, the son of the Romanovs' House head Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, told Interfax on Wednesday.

"Many of the facts uncovered suggest that the Commission was staging a political show for a date, rather than working to establish the truth," Romanov said.

The remains were buried in St. Petersburg in 1998 in haste and in defiance of the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the House of Romanovs, he said.

"No satisfactory answers have been provided to the ten questions, formulated by independent scholars and referred to the Commission back in 1998 by the late Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II. Meanwhile, those were questions, which interested not only experts, but also people and millions of believers. The Church needed to console these people instead of leaving them with a feeling of having been deceived. The Commission did not care. There was a farce instead of an act of repentance and purification," he said.

The remains' authenticity must be further studied, Romanov said.

Grand Duke of Russia gave an interview to a newspaper "The Tomorrow"

Lev Tikhomirov, in his work "monarchical state," written in the early twentieth century and which gave a theoretical justification of the monarchical principle, wrote the following: "Humanity is not always correctly guess what it is. History of Greece, the general opinion of all her political life and civil, has been a process of democratic development. And yet, it actually finished a world monarchy of Alexander of Macedon, who was the representative of cultural affairs, prepared by the preceding period of development of democracy. This exodus of the Greeks did not expect to do nothing with Themistocles, Pericles. Do not imagine, and the gallant Republicans Rome since the Punic wars of the future appearance of Caesar and Augustus "

According to opinion polls, about 20% of the citizens of modern Russia are ready to support the revival of the monarchy. It is possible however, that each of the respondents understood monarchy as something of their own. The spread of opinion in this matter is extremely wide. For some preferred a constitutional monarchy, it is decorative: as a kind of symbol that can stabilize the political life in the country and to emphasize the historical continuity of epochs. Others, conversely, looking forward to the autocratic system await full power of Caesar, which will provide the necessary centralization of power, clean Augean stables "democracy", restore the international status of Russia, arranged inside the country a semblance of the kingdom of justice.

I remember, the hero of the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, watching crimes of bandits during the civil war, and cried in their hearts: "I am - a monarchist by conviction. But at the moment the Bolsheviks are required ..." Now you can hear something else: "I am - a socialist by conviction, but without the wise and strong king of Russia did not get out of the quagmire ... "

Editor of portal, historian Alexander Eliseev wrote once in his article "The Tsar and the Soviets!" ("Tomorrow" № 47, 2007) wrote this: "... autocracy and self-government - this is the formula of the dialectical synthesis, through which you can restore the age-old Russian rule at the next level."

Today's monarchist movement is contradictory and heterogeneous. It is the projection of the mysteries and paradoxes of denial, of what happened in March 1917. The religious meaning of the termination and restoration of the monarchy in Russia is obvious to so many Orthodox believers, though not universally accepted.

Ideological, spiritual and political nuances of monarchical consciousness superimposed on the unresolved questions about a possible way to establish a monarchy in Russia.

Modern Russia's monarchists are divided into two main groups: the so-called "Cathedral Folk" and "Legitimists." That is, the supporters of the election at the Council a new tsar, unrelated to any dynastic preferences, and supporters of the Romanov dynasty.

The first group in the early 90-ies took shape as a very powerful movement, supporting the new All-Russia Convention (Zemsky Sobor), which should elect the next tsar. Main of this movement was a monarchist and populist Vyacheslav Klykov. He urged the arrival of the new ruling dynasty, namely -the descendants of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov. Public euphoria ended after Gaidar's reforms and shootings in 1993 and the activities of the cathedral monarchists came to nothing.

Regarding "Legitimists", here we see several trends, targeting various competing branches of the Romanov dynasty, whose representatives were born and live outside Russia." But today, the European monarchs and representatives of the ruling houses, who lost their thrones, recognize the inheritance right only Kirillovichi, which is well known and we have.

The heir to the throne of Russia, son of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, and Prince Franz-Wilhelm of Prussia Hohenzollern, the Grand Duke George of Russia - the youngest of Kirillovich. He was born in 1981 in Madrid. From his father side, he is the great grandson of german Emperor Wilhelm II, from his mother – great-great-great grandson of Russian Emperor Alexander II. Native language of George - French, although he readily speaks and reads Spanish, English and Russian.

Prince George for their incomplete thirty years had to learn in Oxford, to work in the European Parliament, and then the agency of the European Commission on Nuclear Safety in Luxembourg. Since 2008 he works as Advisor to CEO, Norilsk Nickel, Russia, introducing this corporation in the Nickel Institute (Brussels, Belgium).

Grand Duke George has kindly agreed to talk with representatives of the newspaper “Tomorrow". Personality and perceptions of the Romanov heir, of course, will be of interest to most of our readers.

Tomorrow. Your Highness, being heir to the Imperial House, do you see yourself as a potential monarch?

Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich. Status of Imperial House head, which is now my mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and her heir, of course, contains within itself the possibility sometime in the future to lead not only the dynasty, but also country. Of course, this can only happen if Russian people would again support the monarchical principle. If the day will come when I called to this duty, I do not turn from it. But in the present, as all the sovereigns of our home in exile: My great-grandfather, grandfather and my mother - I try to live according to the well-known principle of "Do what you must, and whether that will happen." It would be foolish to sit and dream: "And what will I do if I will ascend to the throne? I try to be useful to my Motherland in my today’s position, helping my mother in her duty and accumulating professional experience and knowledge that will be useful in any case.

Tomorrow. How, in your opinion, monarchist idea could be implemented in contemporary situation?

GD It is necessary freely expressed will of a nation-wide for the monarchy’ restoration. I'm sure if people will get honest and objective information, they will make the right conclusions and choose one that fits its genuine national interests. History shows that people mechanical majority often make mistakes. But if people feel not like "mass" and "population", but as individuals, united by common values, respect of their ancestors and themselves and willing that following generations will respect them - then people would not make mistakes. Revival of the monarchy after the Troubles of XVII century, 400 years since the end of which we will celebrate soon, clearly illustrates my words.

Tomorrow. Could the Russian monarchy be restored not as the Empire, but in the frames of the local "national state"?

GD In the foreseeable future, I do not see any prerequisites that Russia has lost its multinational character, regardless of type of its political state. But if you talk in theory ... This Empire - this is not a system of oppression of one nation by the others, but the family of fraternal peoples, united by common goals and interests, which keep the unity in diversity. Russia had originally been a multinational state and throughout its history has sought to integrate people into a single empire. But along with this, in our past there were periods when dominated by centrifugal forces. In its time to revive a central state was able to Muscovy, initially very small and even smaller than that in the impact of other similar "local national states." The reason for this, in my opinion, lies in the fact that Muscovy, on the one hand, managed to defend the hard monarchical principle, and on the other - their policy was sufficiently flexible and modern. Yes, they were able to compromise, and without betraying the principal and over several generations strategically preparing the union and the liberation of their country. Nowadays, Russia, indeed, because of the severe consequences of several revolutions of the twentieth century, thrown far back. But, I repeat, I am confident that before the "local national state" we do not ever sunk. On the contrary, I believe that Russia has a chance not only to maintain its current territorial integrity, but also attract the fraternal peoples of the former Russia Empire by the updated forms of integration. Perfectly aware that it will not pre-revolutionary Empire and the Soviet Union. However, an appeal to the best examples from the past will enable us to preserve, at least, a single cultural space.

Tomorrow. Many of the current conservative models start with the obligatory defamation of the Soviet period. How do you see the restoration of the monarchy in Russia? Political revenge or a kind of vanguard project for the Russian future? Restoration or attempt to unite the nation with consideration of the Soviet experience?

GD Very serious question. Restoration of the monarchy in any case can’t be revenge. Emperor Nicholas II abdicated it in the hope of reconciling and preventing fratricide. Imperial House of Russia did not participate in the Civil War, when it still broke. We are not "red" and not "white", and we can’t have revenge sentiments. Revolution is a terrible national tragedy. Our Dynasty greatly suffered from it. But our entire nation suffered a lot, including the direct creators and participants of the revolution from both sides. If our thoughts and desires towards the future, we must stop to reopen old wounds and remember each other offenses. My mother always called compatriots seek not what divides but what unites all of us. If we want to return Russia to its place in the world, we should not continue to blame each other, and learn to forgive and ask forgiveness. And to go forward with goodwill and solidarity, not with hatred and revenge.

Monarchy - is the idea of true national unity. Being a legitimate and hereditary, that is continuous in historical time, it brings together the country's citizens, not only for the sake of some short-term goals, but for centuries-old traditions in the name of the present and for the future. The monarchy is obliged to take into account any experience - both positive and negative. We should not forget anything to avoid a repetition of evil. Need to give moral and legal appraisal of the past. For example, nothing can justify the violent nature of the God-fighting totalitarian regimes and its class or racial genocide, when millions of people were wiped out for what they could not change under any circumstances - for their national or social origin. But in condemning the crimes and errors, with the dirty water does not have to splash out a child. There were a lot of bright and heroic in our people life in the Soviet period. My great-grandfather Emperor Kirill and my grandfather, Emperor Vladimir Kirillovich always called for a clear distinction between the godless and inhuman Marxist-Leninist ideology and the creation of the national spirit, which breaks all the shackles.

Imperial House of Russia believes that the monarchy - is a modern and progressive system of government, which has a future. It is able to synthesize the positive experiences of all periods of our history, including the Soviet one. Even my great-grandfather in one of his hits made a very correct idea: "No need to destroy any facilities, life caused, but we need to turn away from those who desecrate the human soul." I fully share this view. That is my position.

Tomorrow. Monarchic project must necessarily rely on a layer of "sovereign people". From which strata of society, in your opinion, they should come? The oligarchs, the army, the intelligentsia, etc.

GD Monarchy - a national idea. It can’t rely on some specific classes and social groups. One major advantage of the legitimate hereditary monarchy is that in this system, the head of state is not obliged to his authority to anyone but God. And therefore it can be a true arbiter, the Father of the nation, for whom all the members of his family are precious. The monarchy must have support at all levels of society. Of course, the state is unthinkable without a hierarchical structure. Another thing is that the ruling class should be continuously updated with the best representatives of all social strata and groups. And these very strata and groups should be allowed to occupy its worthy place in a legal state and civil society, possessing all the necessary rights and responsibilities.

Tomorrow. Your ancestors - the tsars and emperors. Do you feel any particular, involvement in the history of your family, figuratively speaking: Do you have dreams you about dynasty’ past?

GD Dreams ... not dream, but the involvement, of course, I feel like probably everyone feels a connection with their ancestors. Even if he does not think there is, after all, it is genetics. Our ancestors have left this world, but some small part of them continues to live in us, to influence our character, temperament, and, consequently, our actions. The feeling of belonging to the family inspires self-discipline. We must try to behave so as not to disgrace our ancestors and our descendants to not be ashamed of us.

Tomorrow. Is the role of the House Heir the burden to you, does you status bother you in your life?
GD Yeah ... A negative answer to your question would imply frivolity, and the positive - excessive pride. In fact, any position dealing with people trust to you and their hopes is a difficult burden. But at the same time, it inspires and allows you to survive in difficult life situations. I can’t say that my situation bothers me. But I understand that this is a big responsibility. I have the right to privacy, especially because now I have no public duties. But I still can’t do much of what any other individuals could do. My mother and grandparents raising me put in my mind kind of traffic light. If there is even a thought: "Why me, in the end, should do or not do so-and-so?" Then suddenly red light lit. Sometimes it's a human being annoyed that maybe missed some opportunities, but then, over time and common sense, I am convinced that self-restraint in most cases was correct and useful. God brought our world so that everything in life is balanced, so to complain about the fate of never worth it.

Tomorrow. Do you have any preferences in Russian history, favorite heroes or anti-heroes?

GD Calm and confident style of the reign of Alexander III is close to me. During his reign Russia was a real superpower, whose power was based not on fear and dislike, but in sincere respect. When he died, even geopolitical enemies of our country paid tribute to him, because he was the guardian of international equilibrium. I think undeservedly overlooked John III, who in 1480 was destined to a peaceful end of foreign domination. And in fact he is the father of the sovereignty of our country. Such rulers as John III, maybe not famous for great battles and grandiose reforms, but really they have done more for the country than many brilliant rulers. In general, the main hero of Russian history, of course, is our people. They are often sacrificed for the sake of supposed "public interest". But what are these interests and whose are they, if for the sake of them millions of people being sacrificed? The true heroes are not those who spectacularly won the struggle for power, to bump off their fellow citizens, without counting, but those who have had successes, saving people lives. And when it really is a threat to national existence, our nation does not need to be convinced to make sacrifices. An example of this - all the wars from the campaigns of Oleg and Svyatoslav to the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

Interview by Andrey Smirnov and Andrey Fefelov

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In Honour of the Heir of Imperial Russia

On occasion of the official visit to Moscow of His IMPERIAL Highness Grand Duke GEORGIY MIKHAYLOVICH a big reception was done on 31 January 2010 in the Pilgrims’ Centre of the Moscow Patriarchy.

In the beginning of the reception Grand Duke on behalf of His Mother a Head of the Russian IMPERIAL House Grand Duchess MARIA VLADIMIROVNA presented several loyal to the House people with IMPERIAL orders.

Then during the party guests had possibility to talk with Grand Duke. There were a chairman of the Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation Sir Vladimir Churoff, representatives of the Russian Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, foreign diplomats and representatives of the Orthodox Church among the guests of the reception as well as the delegation of the Russian Imperial Union-Order.

Chancellery of the Commander of the RIU-O

Friday, February 19, 2010

Swedish King and Queen and Crown Princess attend first official dinner of the year

The Swedish King and Queen hosted the year's first official dinner on Tuesday 11 February.
Guests included representatives from the diplomatic corps, the Swedish parliament, the government, counties and authorities, as well as representatives from the Swedish business community, science, culture and sport.

The guests, who numbered approximately 150, were received and greeted by The King, The Queen and The Crown Princess in the "Vita Havet" assembly rooms. The dinner was held in Karl XI's Gallery.

Seating arrangements

The King accompanied the wife of the Speaker, psychiatrist Ylwa Westerberg, to the table. Minister Christina Husmark Pehrsson was seated on The King's left. The Queen was accompanied to the table by Speaker Per Westerberg, and Minister Mats Odell, who accompanied Princess Christina to the table, was seated on her other side. The Crown Princess was accompanied to the table by Minister Andreas Carlgren. Speaker Per Westerberg was seated on Crown Princess Victoria's right.


The menu comprised a medium rare fillet of veal with sardine dressing; deep-fried beef and “jungfru" salad with mature parmesan; grilled fillet of monkfish with creamy puy lentils, red wine sauce made from oxtail and lobster-filled raviolo; grilled fillet of beef with fried duck liver from free-range ducks, accompanied by a truffle gravy and spinach garnish; and for dessert, a creation featuring beetroot with chocolate and blood orange.

Italian aristocrat cousins fight over defunct throne

The family of Italy's last king are locked in a bitter court feud over who has the right to lay claim to the country's defunct throne more than 60 years after the monarchy was abolished.

The battle pitches Prince Victor Emmanuel, the son of Umberto II, against his third cousin, Duke Amadeo of Aosta, both of whom are descended from the 19th century king of Italy, Umberto I.

The dispute has reached court after four years of public bickering which divided the country's small but ardent band of monarchists.
It began when the duke declared he, rather than his cousin, was the real head of the House of Savoy, the name of the Italian royals until the monarchy was abolished by referendum at the end of the Second World War.

The duke, 66, argued that his cousin was no longer eligible to call himself Prince of Savoy because he had failed to secure the legally-required permission of his father, king-in-exile Umberto II, to marry a Swiss biscuit manufacturer heiress and champion water skier, Marina Doria, in 1971.

The duke also argued that the prince forfeited his right to the dynastic title because in order to be allowed to return to Italy from exile in 2002, Victor Emmanuel had to formally recognise the Italian republic as the country's legitimate government.

The feud even erupted into violence when Victor Emmanuel was accused of punching the duke twice in the face following a dinner held by King Juan Carlos I of Spain in honour of the wedding of his son.

But now a court in Tuscany has finally ruled the 73-year-old prince is the true heir to the dynasty, which has its roots in the north-east of Italy and ruled the whole country after it was unified in 1861.

It ruled the Savoy royal title can now only be used by Prince Victor Emmanuel and his son, Prince Emmanuel Filiberto, who is best known to Italians as the recent winner of a reality television show, Dancing with the Stars.

It also ordered the Duke of Aosta to pay his cousin £43,000 in compensation as well as the costs of the trial.

The court pointed out that the "dynastic squabbles underlying this affair" had no legal relevance to the modern Italian state because the monarchy had been abolished more than 60 years ago.

It also highlighted the fact the prince was descended from the last king of Italy while the duke came from only a "junior branch" of the royal family.

The court ruled that the duke's use of the Savoy name had been "unmerited" and ordered him to bring his "harmful conduct" to an immediate end.

Prince Emmanuel, who has been embroiled in a series of scandals including an incident in which he fatally shot a German tourist who climbed aboard his yacht off Corsica in 1978 and, more recently, charges of recruiting prostitutes for clients at a Swiss casino, praised the court's decision.

"The judge understood the vile and harmful action that Duke Amadeo had construed against me, my son and the Royal House of Savoy, an action which has been rightly punished," he said.

But a furious Duke Amadeo vowed to fight on. "I respect the judgment but naturally I don't agree with it and I'm going to appeal," he said.

It was not just the claim to a long defunct royal line that was at stake. The Savoy name also confers the control of various charitable institutions and entitles the holder to call himself prince of Venice and Piedmont – although the positions are purely titular.

Mystery of Prince Michael's £800,000 cash injection

When Prince Michael of Kent and his two siblings raised £2.1 million at Christie's in November from the sale of more than 300 heirlooms from their late parents' estate, it was widely assumed that the 67-year-old cousin of the Queen was in need of the windfall. Now, however, Mandrake can disclose how precarious Prince and Princess Michael's finances really are.

The couple, who this year must make their first annual payment of £120,000 to the Queen for the rental of their apartment at Kensington Palace, accumulated losses of almost £800,000 with Cantium Services, the umbrella firm for their commercial activities.

So dire are the latest accounts filed at Companies House that the directors of the consultancy firm felt the need to warn that its losses would "indicate a significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern".

The directors say they do not advise that it should be shut down only because a total of £800,000 in share capital has been pumped into the firm.

The couple have undertaken to keep supporting the company, which lost a further £39,806 in the year ending March 31 2009. They declare in the accounts that they will "continue to provide the necessary finance, either by way of additional share capital or by personal loans, to enable the company to continue".

Simon Astaire, their spokesman, declines to shed any light on how the firm accrued such heavy losses, or where the £800,000 came from. "We have a policy of never commenting on the Prince and Princess's finances," he tells me.

A friend of the couple, whose son, Lord Frederick Windsor, married the actress Sophie Winkleman in September, insists, however: "Don't you worry about their being hard up. Michael makes an awful lot of money in Russia."

The Prince and Princess sold their 18th century Gloucestershire retreat, Nether Lypiatt, for £5.75 million in 2006 to Lord Drayson, the Science Minister, whose company PowderJect was awarded a £32 million government contract for smallpox vaccine without competition in 2002, shortly after he donated £50,000 to the Labour Party. A Parliamentary inquiry identified no improper activity.

For the past seven years, the Queen paid the £10,000-a-month rental bill on the Prince and Princess's London apartment. The five-bedroom property had been a wedding gift from the monarch. However, in 2002, after protests from republican Labour MPs, Buckingham Palace announced that a commercial rent would be paid on the flat.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Estonian Monarchist League Constitution will be signed on 19th of February 2010 at The Cavalry and Guards Club

Mr. Michael Wynne-Parker agreed to become a Patron of The Estonian Monarchist League

Michael Wynne-Parker is an experienced consultant, author and lecturer who has assisted many international business, cultural and charitable organizations.

Michael Wynne-Parker was elected Chairman of The Guild of Travel and Tourism (UK) in 1999.The Guild's members represent all aspects of British Tourism. The Guild holds seminars, hosts luncheons and dinners at prestigious venues attended by Industry leaders, politicians, authors and Royalty.

Global Development Consultant, Cobolt Security Systems

The George Kirilov Society

The St. George Foundation (Estonia)

Former Governor of the English Speaking Union of the Commonwealth

Former Chairman: English Speaking Union of Sri Lanka, Norwich Conservative Candidates Committee (UK, Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding UK, ESU Dartmouth House Appeal (UK), Inaugural British Forces Foundation Ball (1999)

Founder: United Charities Unit Trust (UK)

Co-Founder: Mencap City Foundation (UK)

1978-1985 Principal Secretary and Receiver General of the Monarchist League

1985-1986 Acting Chancellor of the Monarchist League

Knight Commander,Military and Hospitaller Order of St.Lazarus of Jerusalem (1980)

Grand Cordon,Order of the Crown of Yemen (1977)

Miembro de Honor Union Monarquica Espanola (Knight,1974)

Direct decendent of King Gruffudd ab Cynan.King of North Wales (d.1136)Ranking First of the five Royal Tribes.

HRH Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia agreed to become a Royal Patron of The Estonian Monarchist League

Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia (born 1959) is the daughter of Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia and Princess Margarita of Baden. She is married to Desmond de Silva QC and has a daughter Victoria de Silva.

Count Nikolai Tolstoy agreed to become a Patron of The Estonian Monarchist League

Count Tolstoy-Miloslavsky is head of the senior branch of the Tolstoy and Miloslavsky families (Maria Ilinichna Miloslavskaya married the Tsar Alexei Mihailovich in 1648). His father escaped from Russia in 1920, and came to England where Nikolai was born near Maidstone, Kent. He was educated at Wellington College and Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated with Honours BA and MA in Modern History and Political Theory.

An account of his immediate family background may be found in the last chapter of his family history THE TOLSTOYS. He holds dual British and Russian citizenship. The development of his concern with post war forced repatriation is set out in the prefaces to VICTIMS OF YALTA and THE MINISTER AND THE MASSACRES, and his long standing fascination with the Arthurian legend and Celtic studies in THE QUEST FOR MERLIN.

Nikolai and his wife Georgina have four children: Alexandra, Anastasia, Dmitri, and Xenia. They live in a 17th century house overlooking the Berkshire Downs, near Oxford.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Adjunct Professor at Utah Valley State College. In October 1987 he was presented with the International Freedom Award by the United States Industrial Council Educational Foundation:

In January 1993 he was appointed by Ataman G.G. Krutov of the Moscow Cossack Krug to the rank of Essaul (Captain) in the Cossack Host. In June 1996 at a military ceremony commemorating the Nazi invasion of Russia he was presented with a ceremonial sabre by the All-Russian Cossack Ataman Alexander Gavrilovich Martynov, and appointed an honorary Terek Cossack. He holds Russian and British citizenship.

He has written the following books:
THE FOUNDING OF EVIL HOLD SCHOOL (1968): a Gothic fantasy for children.
NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES (1972): the story of Hitler’s Blood Purge of 1934.
VICTIMS OF YALTA (1978): the history of the forced repatriation of Soviet citizens in 1944 47. In consequence of the public outcry following the revelations in this book, a committee drawn from members of all parties in both Houses of Parliament arranged the erection of a memorial to the victims in central London. A translation was recently published by the Russian Defence Ministry as part of the official history of the Great Patriotic War, and the book is required reading at the Russian Staff College.
THE HALF MAD LORD (1978): a biography of Thomas Pitt, 2nd Baron Camelford (1775 1804), an eccentric prize fighting peer who attempted to assassinate Napoleon with a specially invented repeating pistol.
STALIN’S SECRET WAR (1981): an analysis of Stalin’s security preoccupations at home and abroad, which his daughter Svetlana described as ‘the best biography of my father ever written’.
THE TOLSTOYS: TWENTY FOUR GENERATIONS OF RUSSIAN HISTORY (1983): a history of Nikolai’s family from 1353 to the present day.
THE QUEST FOR MERLIN (1985): an investigation into the Celtic, shamanistic, and psychic origins of the Merlin legend.
THE MINISTER AND THE MASSACRES (1986): an exposé of the responsibility of Harold Macmillan for the forced repatriation of Cossacks and Yugoslav citizens from British occupied Austria in 1945. This book was censored in England, and removed from the Bodleian and other research libraries. It is understood to be the first book suppressed on political grounds for exactly two centuries, the last being Thomas Paine’s THE RIGHTS OF MAN, prohibited in 1791.
‘Russian National Character’, in Michael Hurst (ed.), STATES, COUNTRIES, PROVINCES (1986).
THE COMING OF THE KING: THE FIRST BOOK OF MERLIN (1988): an historical novel set in sixth century Britain and Europe, published also in the United States, Russia, Germany, and Italy.
‘The Application of International Law to Forced Repatriation from Austria in 1945’, in Stefan Karner, Erich Reiter, and Gerald Schöpfer (ed.), Kalter Krieg: Beiträge zur Ost-West-Konfrontation 1945 bis 1990 (Graz, 2002).
PATRICK O’BRIAN: THE MAKING OF THE NOVELIST (2004): the first volume of a biography of his late stepfather, whose novel Master and Commander was made into a major feature film by 20th Century Fox, starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany.
‘Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Merlin Legend’, in Arthurian Literature XXV (Cambridge, 2008).
‘The Mysterious Fate of the Cossack Atamans’, in Harald Stadler, Rolf Steininger, and Karl C. Berger (ed.), Die Kosaken im Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg (Innsbruck, 2008).

This year the Edwin Mellen Press published his book THE OLDEST BRITISH PROSE LITERATURE: THE COMPILATION OF THE FOUR BRANCHES OF THE MABINOGI. It was awarded the Adele Mellen Prize.

Tolstoy’s books have been published in English, Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

In addition he has published articles on Celtic studies in learned journals, numerous articles and reviews on political and historical topics, appears regularly on television and radio programmes, and delivers lectures at universities, international academic conferences, and other venues around the globe from Canada and USA to Korea, Australia, and Chile.

His preferred amusements are haunting second hand and academic bookshops, walking, tennis, and drinking in inns. He is a member of Britain’s second oldest (1735) dining society, the Sublime Society of Beef Steaks (motto ‘Beef and Liberty’) and the Cavalry and Guards Club.

He is Chancellor of the Monarchist League, President of the Association of Bankrupts, a Patron of the United Kingdom Independence Party, a Distinguished Patron of the Orchestra of the World, Patron of CountyWatch, and a life member of the Royal Stuart Society, the Royal Martyr Church Union, and the Forty Five Association. He is a member of the Association of Russian Nobility, the Society of Descendants of Veterans of the War of 1812, the Association for the Memory of the Russian Imperial Guards, the Russian Heraldry Society, the Society of Authors, the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, the Countryside Alliance, the Supporters of the Old Berks Hunt, and the International Arthurian Society.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Estonian Monarchist League

The Estonian Monarchist League is an Estonian cultural society founded as a non-party, non-government and non-profit association by Mr. Andres Linholm and supported by HRH Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia, Count Nikolai Tolstoy and Mr. Michael Wynne-Parker.

The goal of the League is to advance civilizing values by spreading the concept of Constitutional Monarchy and co-operation with similar Leagues and Associations in Europe and elsewhere. The aim of the League is to bring together those who espouse the ancient principles of monarchy in its several forms, to study its history and advocate its relevance in modern world. The activities of the League will not be a battle for the realization of our goals, since a battle relates to aggression, and to winners and losers. Our actions will be through the expression of our love towards Estonia, our traditions and history.