Saturday, November 20, 2010

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Kings

Like some of our readers, Father A. is preparing to preach on the celebration of Christ the King. His sermon is nearly complete, and he has even posted a few chunks over at the parish milk-crate. But as so often happens, the sermon prep has left us with a few ideas that don't really belong in the pulpit.

For instance, it seems that Britain's Prince William is going to get married, and this has got people of a certain age waxing nostalgic for the marriage of Charles and Diana. Pardon us while we erupt with derisory laughter. We barely noticed the wedding, and as things developed cared little for the late Princess of Wales. Her saint's-cult appalls us on many levels, not least because it often seems to involve American Anglophiles genuflecting to a Barbie doll.

Generally speaking, we think that the British royals get far too much attention, especially on the left side of the pond. People seem to forget that we busted our butts just to be rid of one of the present queen's ancestors. But that doesn't mean we are anti-royalist! Far from it. While a weird affection for the Stuart clan is properly an Anglo-Catholic affectation, there are a few living monarchs (or would-be monarchs) of whom we are quite fond. Consider, if you will,

King Michael of Romania. Decent guy, from all reports. Had a Lutheran grandfather. Deposed by the Reds. Says he won't come back unless they ask him, which doesn't seem likely. But just in case they change their minds, he asked the Parliament to recognize his daughter's legal right to succession. Just in case.

Queen Margarethe II of Denmark. Lutheran, which is a plus. First female monarch of Denmark since the 14th century! She has formal training as an archaeologist and a political scientist, and is an accomplished painter. What thrills the neeks and gerds at the Egg, though, is that she illustrated the Danish edition of Lord of the Rings.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Do they call her Queen Bee for short? Honestly, we just like that she wrote Peter Rabbit. Um, didn't she?

Emperor Akihito of Japan. Not a Lutheran; we checked. Still, the guy's got a throne made out of chrysanthemums, for crying out loud. Don't try to tell us otherwise, because we aren't listening. He's also a trained and published icthyologist, which invites some easy jokes about sashimi. (Have we mentioned that we miss JJ's fusion restaurant in Astoria? Oh, man, do we miss it.)

King Juan Carlos of Spain. Most definitely not a Lutheran, but we like him anyway. Sure, he helped his nation make the difficult transition from fascism and dictatorship to a modern democracy. Sure, he signed a bill legalizing gay marriage, which probably cost him a few points at the Monarch's Conference. But you know what we really like? The guy kills bears for fun. Have we mentioned that bears are not your fuzzy woodland friends, but savage marauders intent on eating your children?

King Jigme Sanhye Walchuk of Butan went Juan Carlos one better. He didn't just help them make the transition from absolute monarchy to parliamentary democracy, he demanded it. Then he abdicated so his son could play. But best of all, he was the guy who came up with the best-ever goal for a nation to pursue. Sure, global hegemony sounds nice; we suppose liberty, equality and brotherhood are okay. But Jigme called for an increase in "gross national happiness." No word on whether he is a Lutheran, but it sounds unlikely.

There are some others -- King Goodwill of the Zulus has a great name, for instance. There are two guys who claim to be King of France, and even though we don't know a thing about them, we will lay odds that they're both snobs. Italy has a handful of dukes and so forth with royal aspirations, and we don't imagine any of them could be worse than Berlusconi. So there's that.


LoieJ said...

The english royalty gets attention over here because they actually speak ENGLISH. With that sort of stuffy accent. Americans admire accents. If they spoke plain old American, nobody would care.

Anonymous said...

"Bhutan", not "Butan".
How about Karl XVI Gustaf, who separated church and state in Sweden?