In Defense of RoyaltyJef Costello
In recent months, when I would think ruefully of the peculiar life I lead, I took some solace in the thought that soon my invitation to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding would arrive.
Alas it did not, and I am writing these words hours after the nuptials ended – apparently without a hitch (if we don’t count the fashion disaster that was Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York). For weeks prior I was deliberately shocking everyone I know by telling them of my excitement about the Royal Wedding. Americans are all knee-jerk anti-monarchists. I am a knee-jerk pro-monarchist partly because I am a knee-jerk anti-American. My enthusiasm was always met with disbelief. “Who cares?” they would ask, grimacing at me. This question was often followed by the usual ignorant claims about the Royal Family being parasites and nitwits. (The biggest idiots are always the ones who make an exception for Princess Diana.)
Sadly, it’s becoming difficult to find a Brit who seems to think differently. Every time I meet one over here I always find a way to ask what they think about the Royal Family. “Oh, they’re all parasites and nitwits. Except for Diana,” they’ll say. Finding an Englishman who admits to liking the Royals is becoming about as hard as finding a German who admits to liking Wagner. And yet all the polls show the majority of the British public against the abolition of the monarchy. (Just as every summer Bayreuth is full of Germans.)
So, why do I like the British Royal Family so much? Well, partly it just has to do with the fact that I am pro-monarchy – and I am pro-monarchy because I am a Radical Traditionalist. That it is the British monarchy I am so passionate about is no mystery. My ancestry is English and my mother was a staunch Anglophile. She worshiped the Royals and imbued me with a respect for them, and for my English heritage.
I was at a conference once and brought up my love for the Royal Family over breakfast with some colleagues. One of them looked aghast and said “But I heard that Queen Elizabeth actually thinks she’s better than other people!” My response was calculated to bother him: “Of course she thinks she’s better than other people. She’s royalty. Her father was a king, and his father before him, and so on all the way back.”
You see, one of the major things I love about the Royals is just the knowledge that somewhere there’s a group of people who think they’re born better than the rest of humanity – and that it doesn’t have to do with how much money daddy makes. Some years ago when Charles fired a nanny who was just a bit too familiar he created a controversy when he was overheard saying “Some people just don’t know their place.” I cheered when I heard that. But, of course, in today’s Land of the Last Man, we must all pretend that no one is better than anyone else. We must all hug. We must all use first names.
Whatever their faults might be (and I’ll go into those) the Royal Family stand for a lot of things I like. First and foremost, of course, is elitism. Second is good manners. There have been Royal lapses where manners are concerned. Prince Phillip and Prince Andrew have been known to behave rather swinishly now and then. Of course, some of those events involved journalists (such as the time Andrew sprayed a group of reporters with a paint gun), so they don’t really count. Charles stirred up another controversy several years ago at a photo op when he was picked up on an open mike referring to the assembled journalists as “awful people.” But who can blame him? Still, some of their other conduct is less defensible. For instance there was the time Prince Phillip said to a group of deaf children at a pop concert in Wales, “No wonder you’re deaf listening to this row.” (In fairness, Phillip has insisted this never happened and was invented by the press.)
Lapses in royal manners are interesting only because generally their manners are so faultless. The female members of the family tend to invite less controversy where manners are concerned. My favorite member of the Royal Family is the Queen. She has always seemed to me to be an exemplary person: polite, dignified, strong, and tirelessly dutiful. When Stephen Frears’s 2006 film The Queen was shown in America it was sold as a delicious, wry “skewering” of the royals. But it was no such thing. Aside from some bits at the expense of Charles, it portrayed the Royal Family with fondness and respect. As portrayed by Helen Mirren (in a truly remarkable performance), one cannot help but like and admire the Queen.
I get a kind of warm feeling inside when I see the Queen (the real Queen, not the Marxist Mirren). It’s the same sort of feeling I get when I see Hitler. If I could choose my fantasy mother and father, they would be the Queen and Hitler. (I wonder what the Duke and Duchess of Windsor would think of that.) The Queen symbolizes old fashioned manners and old fashioned virtues. She brings out the best in people and serves as a standard. This is why she is loved so much – and hated so much, by those who resent decency, dignity, and nobility.
The Royal Family are sort of like the Brady Bunch in that 1995 movie of the same name. If you haven’t seen it, it’s good for a few laughs, and the premise is a stroke of genius. The Bradys are portrayed exactly as they were in the seventies, only they’re in the nineties and keep encountering nineties situations (with which, of course, they simply cannot deal). One comes away feeling that (gasp) the Bradys are better than us. In the same way, the wonderful thing about the Royal Family is that they are a family out of another time. They are a family that still dresses for dinner, with kids that still bow and curtsy to grandma. They wear signet rings, and have individual, heraldric styles. They are served by ladies in waiting, equerries, and squires. They give dukedoms as wedding gifts (Prince William, in fact, just became Duke of Cambridge). They use the royal “We.” They wear hats.
Apparently, when Charles proposed to Diana he got down on one knee. (Guess what? She laughed at him.) This is the kind of thing I mean. Whatever his faults might be (and I don’t count adultery as one of them) this gesture speaks volumes. This is not a man of his time, but a man against his time. And it is worth noting that Charles has an interest in Traditionalism and René Guénon.
How can a Radical Traditionalist not love such people? Of course, I know plenty of Radical Traditionalists who don’t admire them at all, and I’ll explain why. First, let’s dispense with the silliest objections one hears from all and sundry. The Royals are not “parasites.” Yes, they do receive government money but much of their lifestyle is supported by the Queen’s personal fortune, which is vast. Second, the idea that the Royals lead idle lives of luxury is absurd. I once looked at an account of Princess Anne’s social engagements within one calendar year and found that she had attended around 500 charity events or state functions. The members of the Royal Family, in fact, work tirelessly on behalf of charities. Only those who are ignorant of this have held up Diana as exceptional. In truth, Diana’s charity work got attention simply because she was the most glamorous of the Royals.
In a real sense, the Royal Family do not have lives of their own. Their destinies are marked out for them at birth, their days plotted for them by secretaries and handlers, their every move watched by loathsome Fleet Street bloodsuckers praying for a misstep, a gaffe, an unguarded moment. Most people would love to have the wealth and luxury of the Royal Family. Very few would like to have their lives, if they knew what those lives were really all about.
My Radical Traditionalist friends object to the Royals primarily because they see them as doing nothing to stop the multicultural destruction of Britain. In recent years, multicultural mumbo jumbo has even been put into the mouths of the Royals, as in recent Christmas messages by the Queen. There’s a lot to be said here. First, the nature of constitutional monarchy actually precludes the Royals from making statements of a political nature. The Queen’s role is to advise the Prime Minister. And who knows what she has said behind the scenes? We do know that the last two Labour Prime Ministers, Blair and Brown, were not invited to William and Kate’s wedding. This could mean any number of things, but one can’t help think that the Queen is not entirely happy about Labour’s helping to make possible the colonization of her country by brown people even more truculent than the ones we have over here.
The Royal Family are caught in a terrible bind. Being Royal is their family business (George VI referred to his family as “the firm”). And the forces arrayed against them have never been more hostile. If they were to go against government policy, that might be the beginning of the end for the monarchy.
The truth is that I don’t care. These people represent the last, tattered remnants of pre-modern, pre-egalitarian, pre-PC traditionalism. Even if their role and their appeal are now largely symbolic, I find the symbolism enormously attractive. It’s the politicians who are to be blamed for Britian’s multicultural monstrosity, not its dutiful, long-suffering Queen. Many years ago, the last King of Egypt quipped that “one day there will be only five kings in the world: the four in the deck of cards, and the one in England.” This may well prove true. Today’s wedding will strengthen the monarchy and foster new love and devotion for the Royal Family. Today’s wedding has reminded the entire world – including the allegedly royalty-hating American booboisie (millions of whom tuned in) – of the power of traditional symbols and the enduring allure of royalty.
God save the Queen!
P.S. Did I mention Prince Harry’s Nazi uniform? You’ve got to love these people.
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Tricky issue that of Royalty. One should bear in mind that there is a great difference between monarchs like Saint Louis and, without even speaking of their relationship to religion, those of today.
Chateaubriand said that in the aristocratic hierarchy there was an age of meritocracy, then an age of stable feudal relationship, and then an age of undue privileges – that ultimate according to him led to the French Revolution.
I must admit that I stayed up until almost 3:00 am watching the live wedding (at my fiancés behest). I enjoyed it, and could not help but notice how overwhelmingly White the crowd and guest list was. One might even come to the false conclusion that London is not the most ethnically diverse city in Europe! In some ways, the wedding can be viewed as a last gasp of an Englishness that might slip away forever if trends continue. A beautiful albeit melancholy display as England and Europe continues to darken.
You are absolutely correct, the royal family is amazing. I am glad to see another radical traditionalist that is also a monarchist. Might I suggest checking out this book, A Defence of Aristocracy by Anthony M. Ludovici: http://www.anthonymludovici.com/da_01.htm
Prince Charles has so many admirable qualities, his ideas on nature and society are exactly what I would expect from a noble, thought-provoking and sensible. One example: when he prevented, much to the medias chagrin, the construction of an ugly building along the Thames because it did not fit in with the classical architecture of London I was quite pleased. There is a monarch with vision and principle.
If memory serves, didn’t Charles tell the architects that the Luftwaffe did more for modern architecture than they ever did?
Uncle Adolph – ever the originiator, never the imitator!
This Time, The World
Quite what has the British royal family ever done for our cause? If Charles ever becomes king then he has said he wants to change the coronation vows from “defender of the faith” to “defender of faiths” that’s how sold on PC and diversity he is.
We need more than symbols to save us – especially those symbols that represent nothing more than an elite who has never once risked its position to speak out on behalf of the people it is supposed to represent.
Each to his own – if you like this sort of thing, then you are welcome to it – but please don’t confuse this spectacle with anything that is vital and wholesome in our tradition.
As an Englishman I understand what you mean about the attraction of monarchy: the non-pc appeal, the anti-socialist angle, the links with tradition, etc; the trouble for me comes with the practice, specifically the practice of the current crop of royals. The Queen, having taken an oath to defend the realm, hasn’t lifted a finger in protest to the Turd World invasion which is set to return the country to the stone age! The Queen, realising she is onto a good deal, has kept silent about this treachery, if she hasn’t been complicit in it (being one of the wealthiest individuals in the world she must be privy to information not available to the plebs). If she had made one non-pc gesture, some indication of opposition to her realm being destroyed from within then I would amend my estimation; all we ever get, however, is boring protocol and hence evasion. Unlike her namesake, Queen Elizabeth I, the current monarch has publicly welcomed multi-culturalism, thus I can only say, ‘God save good Queen Bess!’ referring to her predecessor,
Hear, hear. Damned well said, Mr Costello. Whatever the individual faults, like the Papacy, it’s the institution that matters.
There has been talk of republicanism in New Zealand and elsewhere, and now a Republican movement in Britain that was given some press notice during the wedding. Do away with the monarchy and what would be gained? Would usury go with it? Multiculturalism? How would social justice be advanced an iota?
There have been suggestions that the wedding is akin to the “bread and circuses” of a bankrupt system for the purpose of distratcing people from the real issues. I believe rather, that it is addle-brained crap about republicanism obscures the real issues by suggesting that obliterating monarchy would deal with problems on any level.
In the case of New Zealand, we are told that the monarchy is an anachronism and a break on our identity. Rather, it is one of the few remnants of our identity. We were divorced from Britain and pushed into US alliances soon after World War II. The monarch provides a focus for identity, at a time when we are told we are part of Asia, or nothing more than a piece of real estate in the south pacific whose only identity is to be found in “the world community.”
Over severeal years there has been a campaign to change New Zealand’s flag by eliminating the Union Jack from it, as Canada did years ago; on the basis that – like the monarchy – it is obstructing NZ identity. Who are those pushing for such a change?: commercial interests, who want a more distinctive “marketing logo” (sic) for world trade. Everything is based on the cash nexus, including prattle about the expense of the monarchy. As Mr Costello has indicated, the British royal family work their gutses out. If the counting house mentality must be put on everything, the Royal Family go far beyond working for their keep. Prince Charles is outspoken on ecological issues, and has a particular interest in architecture, speaking out against the utilitarian modernism of the present. He is denigrated because of the fiasco with Diana, and even many monarchists believe he should be bypassed as King. King Charles would be outspoken and make his opinions strongly known, as he does now: perhaps that is the real problem?
While monarchy in every state is merely a degraded shadow of the traditional concept of castes reflecting the divine order on Earth, its elimination for a banal republicanism would herald no benefits. Monarchy, as Salvador Dali commented, is metaphysical. It is transcendent. Like God, it is uplifting, as distinct from leveling downward.
In the name of equality, do away with the great estates (and many are in financial trouble), the castles and the manors, the pomp and the ceremony, the titles beheathed generation upon generation; and what is left is a grey universal drabness: pure bolshevism that not even the USSR could withstand for more than a few years.
God save the Queen!
Nice piece and well said. I agree and for all the death and destruction that was caused by them, namely Germany,Rhodesia North and South and South Afrika, the world as Adolf Hitler said is or was a better place because of England. They are true Ladies and Gentlemen.
The Royal Wedding a very beautiful ceremony was mainly watched by women. I have talked to my mom and sisters and they viewed it and cried almost non stop. So this is something that touches their heart very deeply. It is only a shame, that what they love and find so touching and pure is just about done. With Muhamad becomming the number one baby name in London or maybe even in England, the real English or England is in the autum days of it’s life. All this will be gone. Yet most women like my family fail to graspe this. I guess it is true for all of us, everything that we hold dear and cherish is just about done.
Paraphrasing your quote from Uncle Adolf, “the world WAS a better place because of England.”
England offered better Institutions, an unwritten Constitution, whose foundation and sustaining was done by an essentially meritocratic aristocracy (including Victoria’s Consort!) that KNEW they were to rule, and rule rightly.
That was THEN.
Fifty years ago, we pulled them out of Suez.
NOW, they needed our approval to attack LIBYA.
A watchful eye should be kept on Singapore; British institutions, melded with the elite meritocracy of Asian culture.
THAT is what London should have been, and not Londonistan.
This Time, The World
The British Royal Family’s function is to provide the circus part of “bread and circuses”.
As to Eugenie & Beatrice, the joke’s on you, mate! The majority of the yap is about Beatrice and her bow-tie “hat”. You just don’t get it – she KNOWS she looks hopelessly silly. She is wearing that kind of thing on her head for that very reason. Her mum, Duchess of York, was treated poorly (some believe) because she wasn’t royal enough for her betters housed up there in Buckingham Palace. She took her revenge thru her daughter’s sendup of the royal women’s traditionally stupid and ugly hats. Good on ya, Beatrice!
In principle, I’m not against monarchism, if monarchism is defined as a form of government in which sovereign authority is invested in one man. However, this conception of monarchism requires elaboration. A monarch does not have to inherit their position. A monarch does not have to wear a crown (indeed, individuals who exercise sovereign authority over a group are often described as “uncrowned kings”). A monarch must possess sovereign authority (by this standard, the remaining monarchs in Europe are hardly monarchs). Monarchy should not be confused with tyranny, although monarchs can be tyrannical. (However, aristocracies and democracies can also abuse their powers, and may be more prone to do so than monarchies.) Monarchism and socialism are not incompatible. Monarchism is not a hopelessly antiquated or abberrant form of government. Monarchies have been a commonplace throughout history, whereas democracies have not. Even today, democracies can hardly be said to exist. As Thomas Molnar remarked:
“It is false and silly to say that the post-1945 world is a ‘democratic’ world, that the world, in 1945 any more than in 1918, has been ‘made safe for democracy.’ True, most if not all regimes call themselves by this name, in fact vie for this label. But the genius of an Aristotle is not really needed to review the existing systems of government in today’s world and conclude that the label hides ‘guided democracies,’ ‘people’s democracies,’ ‘capitalist’ and ‘socialist’ democracies, ‘presidential,’ ‘consensus,’ and ‘revolutionary’ democracies, as well as regimes of ‘democratic centralism.’ In other words, hardly any democracies at all.”
That said, I think that some of the views expressed here are misplaced. Our problem lies in that we are living in an interregnum. We need to be revolutionary conservatives rather than reactionaries. A policy of conservation or restoration is a sterile and futile policy and is therefore no policy at all. Authority and sovereignty rather than symbolism is the real issue here.
The Weimar-era revolutionary conservative Arthur Moeller van den Bruck wrote:
“Is our Republic a republic? Is it not still a monarchy bereft of all symbols in which men believe: monarchy in deepest degradation? So the legitimist thinks. His opinion is that we need only restore the monarchy in order to recapture the position we enjoyed while we still were a monarchical people.
“The conservative cannot agree. He is a monarchist because he believe in the power of a leader as ensample. But the conservative’s monarchism is founded on a higher conception of monarchy than that of the legitimist, who is solely concerned with the power of the symbol. The German Republic has been obliged in these years to depend on the support of our enemies. This has been hard for Germany and, we may well suppose, bitter for the republicans. But it would have been intolerable for a monarch.
“If, or when, it is finally demonstrated that democracy cannot save us; would it not be most natural for us to have recourse to a monarchy again? The answer is No. A monarchy ought to be won; and we see today no sign of a monarch who could win it. Even if we suppose that the man exists and is in waiting somewhere needing only a summons, we cannot perceive conditions which would make it possible for him to show himself. A tolerated, graciously-permitted monarchy under the supervision of foreign parliaments, under the guarantee of foreign governments—that would be no monarchy in its own right, let alone a monarchy by the Grace of God.
“A monarchy must be fought for. It cannot be accepted as a gift. The idea of monarchy involves the idea of consecration: which the last of our monarchs desecrated. The man to whom a king is holy, and an emperor glorious, must obliterate himself today. Political conditions are not favourable for a monarchy; spiritual conditions even less. There is nothing in the German world either royal or Christian: and so there is no king. There is nothing imperial in the German world today: and so there is no emperor. Only the people itself is there: the German people, waiting to become a German nation. At this stage our need is rather for leaders. We need popular leaders whose only party is Germany—it matters little whether they are of the democratic or of the aristocratic type, whether they prefer the role of Marius or that of Sulla.
“We need leaders who feel themselves at one with the nation; who identify the nation’s fate with their own; leaders who, whether they spring from the old leader-class or themselves create a new one, will devote all their powers of decision, of will and of ambition to securing the future of the nation for Germany. It is very possible that we shall need a long and changing succession of such leaders to nationalize the people, and then to make the new-born nation politically-minded; leaders under whom the German history of yesterday can work through the effects of the Revolution and pass on into the German history of tomorrow, into which we should without them drift leaderless; leaders who will know how to hold the scale even between the possibilities which still remain to us and the new possibilities which are only opening before us; leaders not concerned that a party should be always right, but that one person’s will should prevail; leaders who in the uncertain future into which we are sailing will steer a straight course and through all vicissitudes and storms will keep their bearings and pass on the chart to their successors.”
What Moeller van den Bruck wrote of Germany is also true of our own nations today: “At this stage our need is rather for leaders. We need popular leaders whose only party is Germany—it matters little whether they are of the democratic or of the aristocratic type . . . We need leaders who feel themselves at one with the nation; who identify the nation’s fate with their own; leaders who, whether they spring from the old leader-class or themselves create a new one, will devote all their powers of decision, of will and of ambition to securing the future of the nation for Germany.” Guillaume Faye expresses comparable ideas in Why We Fight.
A question for Greg Johnson: would you be interested in publishing articles addressing the tensions between revolutionary nationalism and traditionalism, revolution and counter-revolution, populism and elitism? I have noticed that although you are evidently sympathetic to traditionalism, one of the first items you translated and published at Counter-Currents was an article by Guillaume Faye highly critical of traditionalism.
One of the merits of Counter-Currents is that it does not have a rigid “party line” and publishes articles by writers with a wide range of views.
A review of Julius Evola’s book on fascism–the French translation is titled Le Fascisme vu de droite–might be quite interesting regarding the traditionalist perspective on revolutionary nationalism in its Fascist and National Socialist forms. Rodolphe Badinand’s Requiem pour la Contre-Révolution et autres essais impérieux might also be interesting in this context, as well as Philippe Baillet’s article in the latest issue of Tabou, “Optimisme fasciste et pessimisme traditionaliste.”
I would be very interested in hosting and participating in such discussions here.
Who knows, maybe Prince Harry, or William will get a nudge by Destiny to return their country to its original folk and by doing so regenerate the monarchy in a real and meaningful way.
They’ll live to see the National Anthem close with the added word, drawn out to match the stately pomp of the song, and the new national circumstances: “InnnnnnnShaaaaalllllllaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.”
The CoE should have completed reconciliation with Rome by then.
Finally, given Treasury’s breathtaking Soft Revolution of limits on the Royal Household, and the de facto shift to a (written!) Constitutional Monarchy, (seen, in microcosm, by Clegg’s unchallenged announcement to Parliament that the Government will set all future elections on a fixed schedule), they will have plenty of time on their hands.
This Time, The World
More likely we will see them adopting a black or Asian child, a real first for the very fashion conscious English royals.
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