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Friday, 20 May 2011

A successful visit

Her Majesty the Queen of England's visit to Ireland has concluded and deemed a diplomatic triumph.

And so far I am inclined to agree, but at the same time breath a sigh of relief that she is gone back to England.

I will not focus too much on the particulars of her visit, but I will comment that small touches such as wearing green upon leaving the plane as well as starting off her key speech with a greeting spoken in Gaelige went a LONG way to endearing the Irish population to her. Her visits were cordial, projected disturbances and protests minimal and non violent (mostly), and hopefully Sinn Fein's misjudging of the public mood over this will upset any progress they make down south.

Now with that said, lets get the elephant out of the room. That elephant being the painfully obvious west-briton sentiment in the Irish media, to which Her Majesty was the darling of the hour.

Do not misunderstand me, I am greatful the visit went so well AND that the media tried pushing the positive effects of the visit (the resulting boom in tourism that this will likely cause plus finally having good stories about Ireland being told in foreign media outlets, confirmed by reports from irish Embassies worldwide. Thank God, nothing good about Ireland being said by foreign newsgroups for near 3 years now), but what disgusted me was their attitude towards their urging, and how aggressive it was. They kept pushing the angle that this was a historic visit (it was), but their slavish devotion to this as well as pushing the 'cultural links with Great Britain' (of which there are innumerable, but not something you want to remind the public about if you plan to make us keen on the British monarchy as the same historical poison taints our view of it and pushing the link of monarchy with Britain wont make the modern Irishman more keen on it) reeked of west-britonism, and it did nothing to convince Irishmen that royalism and monarchism really isn't a 'British' thing. Which does not help the Irish Monarchist cause in any light.

Good relations with Britain is necessary economically and perhaps socially (a great many Irish families have members working across the Irish sea) but the west britonism in the media would have us stop speaking Irish for economic integration and 'cultural exchange' by destroying whats left of Irish culture to improve those relations. Which I will never stand for.

One historian brought before the newscaster at the beginning of the visit commentated on how 'there has always been an undercurrent of royalism in Ireland' of which that is 100% true, but then went on to immediately associate that royalism with britain by using the last visit of a British Monarch to Ireland as her one and only example. Really!? Then what of the jacobites? the war of the three kingdoms? the flight of the earls? The blatant monarchism in Irish Catholicism, the actions of Irish Monarchists on the continent both before and after the flight, THE FACT THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN IRELAND BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR WAS DOMINATED BY IRISH DUAL MONARCHISTS AND NOT BY BLOODY REPUBLICANS!?

Oh and never mind the brief reinstatement of the Council of the Chiefs of the Name officially recognised by the Republican Government before a Scandal forced their dissolution, or how every Irishman is descended from ancient Kings, why those crest must be mere decoration, right? No, sure, it only is relevant if we link royalism with the British Royal family and nothing else.

Its not as if any other royal family has links to Ire-oh wait, there was that one Sovereign Prince fellow wasn't there?

To hell with it, I will do it if they would not. I will start digging up resources and Focus on Irish men, both Nationalists and before the rise of Irish nationalism, who were monarchist, royalists or otherwise disassociated with Britain and associated with Monarchism. If only to, if futilely, dispel the myth of Monarchism being a 'British' thing.



    I suspect the push for dual monarchy reflected pragmatism more than conviction. In the Resurrection of Hungary (the classic dual monarchy text) Arthur Griffith stated that although he would much prefer a republic, it would be easier to secure the support of Ulster Unionists within a familiar constitutional framework. Griffith's entirely cynical proposals would have been effectively a return to the 1792-1801 status quo ante.

    Consider also the military strength of the British Empire in those days. Withdrawing allegiance from the Crown was legally regarded as treason, and before the entanglement of British forces in the World War, there was very little warrant to believe Irish nationalists could forcefully assert total separation.

    Succeeding events made that consideration irrelevant. The decline of Britain as a world power and its eclipse by the United States, combined with the reconstruction of a New World Order on the basis of President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Point Plan (in which the rights of small nations and self-determination were made paramount), meant that London could no longer order the world as it wanted. The War itself contributed to this sentiment: it was promoted ostensibly on the basis of vindicating the 'rights of small nations' (specifically Belgium), so it seemed rather arbitrary and hypocritical to withhold the same right from Ireland.

    The reason why post-1916 Sinn Féin (in which a new vanguard took over the old party of the same name) came to be popularly (and perhaps inaccurately) known as 'republicans' was because they were opposed to the 'constitutional' projects for greater autonomy for Ireland (Home Rule or Dominion status) and demanded full separation from any connection with the British Crown. It was not because of an attachment to republicanism as an ideology, or even aversion to the concept of monarchy per se. Pearse and Connolly wanted Prince Joachim Franz Humbert of Prussia (the youngest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II) to be King of Ireland and this was discussed and seriously considered by their colleagues at the GPO during the 1916 Rising. The 1917 Sinn Féin Ard Fhéis left the issue of monarchy an open question and decided that after an independent republic was achieved the people could vote on whether or not to install a monarchy (so long as the royal house was not Saxe-Coburg and Gotha).

  2. I will concede the pragmatic concerns would've influenced pre revolutionary nationalist support for continued monarchy, but I am not convinced said Nationalists where anything other then monarchists at the time. Considering the New Departure measures undertaking by republican elements within the wider nationalist movement(and fragmented one at that, we must not think of 19th and early twentieth century nationalism as a united entity, as political cultural and intellectual nationalism largely developed separately before coming together) the vast majority of the people then, even in the intellectual circles, did not favour republicanism or a split from Britain (but very much a split from the British Parliament) And I acknowledge Griffith's preference for a dual monarchy along austro-hungarian lines, it may not have settled the unionist frustration however, but that is a debate for another time.

    And even if as you say this would've returned us politically to the state prior to the inaction of the Act of Union, the Ireland that would've resulted would've been fundamentally different from the 18th century one prior to the Act.

    In such a return to the status Quo Ireland would be impossible to ignore as the rise of Catholics within intellectual and political circles would've meant an increasingly (and possibly dominent) Catholic Parliament under the British Monarch. It would certainly not be perfect by any means, but for Britain in the long run this arrangement would most likely have been preferable, especially if the Home Rule movement had of succeeded prior to the War and Revolution.

    Regardless events and history are impossible to ignore, but I do concede your point of Sinn Fein even late at the time as it were seriously considering Prince Joachim as King of Ireland (evidently so too did the Germans as they agreed to land a small force to help the revolution, which did occur but the obscenely poor execution and planning of the Rising and the disagreement among rebel leadership as to when the uprising should start lead tot he failure of the Rising, the capture of the German troops, and all the ensuing mess afterwards.

  3. As I understand it (and correct me if I'm wrong) a Catholic Irish government under a Protestant British/Irish monarch was the plan, conceded to by London, until a mutiny by unionist forces caused them to back down. Anyway, as I probably should have pointed out in my own remarks, it was perfectly proper for even nationalists to welcome the Queen's visit (she is descended from Irish royalty herself) but for the struggle toward a true feeling of equality to accomplished it would be best for the Queen to have someone of equal dignity to welcome her, such as a High King of Ireland, rather than a collection of trumped up political elites. Other royal visits (of the non-British sort) might also present a good opportunity at reminding the public how, not only is the British monarchy NOT the *only* one but that, over the long history of the struggle for independence, other monarchs such as the King of Spain were the ones actually sending forces to aid the Irish in restoring their independence.

  4. All in all (to the event), I'd rather have the visit be peaceful rather than eventful in negative ways, wouldn't you?

  5. I think both Mad Monarchist and Servent have identified what is at present perhaps the most important strategy to be pursued by Irish monarchists - that of distinguishing in the popular mind the concepts of monarchy and royalty from the instantiations of those concepts in the institution of the British monarchy.

    Other royal visits will certainly help...but only if they are used appropriately. The contrast between the focused coverage and analysis directed at Queen Elizabeth II's visit and that of the Prince of Monaco was telling, and disappointing.

    Of course, some of this is unavoidable, given the history, but we shall have to do better in future to use all such visits to highlight the traditions and history of kingship, royalty and hierarchy native to Ireland, as well as to draw attention, as MM suggests, to those other monarchs whose aid (though in given in their own interest) may yet have thwarted the conquest and colonisation of Ireland.

  6. The Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains is still in existence , it was never dissolved. The Chairman is Hugo Ricairdi O Neil, The O'Neil, Prince and Count of Clanaboy. Each year they hold an essay competition for schools.