Monday, 20 May 2013
This article, based upon my interview on CTV's Question Period politics programme, appeared on the CTV News website on Sunday, 19 May.
As Canadians prepare to celebrate Victoria Day, the official date of birthday honours for the reigning monarch, there is increasing speculation that Queen Elizabeth is about to make a decision that could have constitutional implications for Canada.
Friday, 10 May 2013
On this day in 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and started his long battle to save Western Civilisation. To quote from a speech delivered at his Nobel Prize ceremony: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to one man."
I would like to see 10 May officially declared "Sir Winston Churchill Day". Even better, the drearily named "Spring Bank Holiday" (which falls in May) could be renamed "Sir Winston Churchill Day". A national holiday to commemorate the Greatest Briton. That would be truly splendid.
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
I am quoted a fair amount in this article by Janet Davison of the CBC which deals with The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the future of the Commonwealth.
Elizabeth cutting back on long trips, helping Charles prepare to be kingPublished:
By Janet Davison, CBC News
Posted: May 8, 2013 5:10 AM ET
Last Updated: May 8, 2013 11:50 AM ET
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
|TSH The Hereditary Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein are shown here wearing the|
sash and star of the Princely Liechtenstein Order of Merit. © WENN.com
Saturday, 27 April 2013
Duke of Edinburgh finally appointed to Order of Canada - A brief summary of the developments that led up to this great day
|The Governor General of Canada invests The Duke of Edinburgh|
As the first Extraordinary Companion of the
Order of Canada
Perhaps unknown to most readers, these two orders are Canada's highest honours. Today's presentation would not otherwise be overly newsworthy, but the long journey that led to today's presentation is one which is worthy of note. For, until now, the elderly Duke had received substantive honours from both Australia and New Zealand but, surprisingly, not from Canada, arguably the most monarchist of Commonwealth realms.
Whether by pure coincidence, the decision followed a national media campaign which some had launched earlier this year to try to influence the Government and garner public support.
The Duke of Edinburgh is the oldest member of the Royal Family to have travelled to Canada and, after Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the second oldest member of the Royal Family to have left the shores of the UK. Such is HRH's devotion to Canada, The Duke has travelled to the Great White North more than any other member of the Royal Family.
Considering his unparalleled dedication to Canada, it seems only natural that Canada should honour His Royal Highness with the nation's highest honour. However, it will come as a surprise to many that a man who has been decorated by Australia, New Zealand and numerous countries around the world has, until now, not received a grand Canadian honour.
The reasons for this are complex. Until recently, the statutes of the Order of Canada that determined eligibility for membership were limited to Canadian citizens. The powers-that-be determined that, aside from the The Queen, who, as Sovereign, is the fount from which citizenship and honour flows, members of her family are simply Britons and therefore ineligible.
|The Duke of Edinburgh depicted wearing his various honours|
including Orders from Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Regrettably
no Canadian Order graces The Duke's medal bar. A shameful omission.
|HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as|
Admiral of the Canadian Navy but still
lacking any Canadian Orders
The message was clear: the poorly drafted statutes of the Order of Canada needed to be amended. Statutes in New Zealand create a separate substantive class of "Extraordinary" members for members of the Royal Family (viz. Duke of Edinburgh, Extra Companion of the Queen's Service Order and Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand). Similarly, Australians had no problem conferring Australian substantive honours upon members of their Royal Family (viz The Prince of Wales, Knight of the Order of Australia, Duke of Edinburgh, Commander of the Order of Australia)
|Canada's Governor General presents|
"Honorary" membership in the
Order of Canada upon
HM Queen Elizabeth the
However, as far as we know, the views of the Duke of Edinburgh remained unchanged. Those of us who are interested in such matters realised that unless the statutes of the Order were amended to enable the appointment of members of the Royal Family as substantive "Extra Companions" or "Royal Companions", there would be little chance that he would accept membership. The idealists amongst us, would have liked to see Canada follow the New Zealand model and open the honours system to citizens of Commonwealth Realms.
Supporters of the Crown agreed that, as there was every chance that this might be the last trip that HRH might make to Canada, it was imperative that steps be taken immediately to try to rectify this omission. We suspected that senior government officials might also share our concern; but we felt that there would be no harm in involving the media as it could create a groundswell of public expectation and anticipation. "Will he or won't he?" -- which would make the actual presentation all the more eagerly anticipated and exciting. It could become "an event".
An Editorial was duly published in the Globe and Mail calling for the Duke to be invested with the Order of Canada. As a Canadian, and also the editor of Burke's World Orders of Knighthood & Merit (the definitive guide to the state orders of the world) I immediately followed this up with my own letter. I then hoped that these two pieces would be brought to the attention of people at the highest levels of government so that, if they had not been seriously considering the issue before, this might now give them pause for thought.
Here is the letter:
Honours enthusiasts are therefore delighted that this staunchly-monarchist Government, which has done so much to ensure that Canadians fully understand and appreciate the importance of the Crown in our political and cultural life, have seen fit to provide The Duke of Edinburgh with the highest honours they could possibly bestow. The Canadian Government's efforts to ensure that the Canadian Monarchy returns to the heart of national life, helping to ensure that Canadians appreciate the vital role that it has to play at the centre of our understanding of Canadian national identity, are worthy of the greatest praise. We celebrate them for that. I do not know whether the media campaign we launched had any impact on the ultimate decision to confer the Orders upon HRH but, ultimately, that is meaningless. For we simply rejoice in the fact that The Canadian Government have brought its honours policy in line with those of Australia, New Zealand and the UK and, most importantly, now acknowledge that the Royal Family is Canadian.
Rafe Heydel-Mankoo Web: wwww.heydel-mankoo.com
Thursday, 18 April 2013
After the moving ceremonial funeral for Baroness Thatcher, I was interviewed on BBC News by the absolutely charming Kasia Madera. The video may be seen on YouTube or by clicking the link below
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
|Lying-in-State in Westminster Hall for|
Sir Winston Churchill. A hallmark of a State Funeral
|Baroness Thatcher resting in the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft|
St. Mary Undercroft is itself a very special building. Small, intimate and atmospheric, it is a "Royal Peculiar", a status that befits a chapel located in the royal residence otherwise known as the Palace of Westminster (a.k.a. the Houses of Parliament). It may lack the melancholic grandure of Westminster Abbey or the sombre simplicity of St. Margaret's Westminster; but that matters not -- for it is Pugin at his best. The walls scream with echoes of the glories of Britain's spiritual past, are filled with sentiments of chivalry, nobility, truth, piety and the desire for spiritual elevation. It's atmosphere is almost unequalled in the chapels of this land.
|Sufragette Emily Davison trampled by the horse of|
HM King Edward VII
My first visit to the Undercroft occurred many years ago, when I was but a slight, svelte, naive swot. Late one evening, after a lengthy and jovial dinner in the Lords, a senior peer led me on my own into this dark, unlit crypt. Turning on a faint light, he opened the door to a broom cupboard and invited me to follow him in. My gut instinct was predictable but, being British, one did not wish to seem churlish or in any way unappreciative of the kind hospitality one had thus far been afforded. Therefore, with considerable trepidation, I followed said peer into this small broom cupboard. Once inside, "His Lordship" asked me to read the brass plaque that had been affixed to the inside of the door. Having read it, I relaxed immediately and any suspicions were well and truly banished. For this was the cupboard in which that famed suffragette Emily Davison had hidden on 1 January 1911, the day of the official national census. The consequence of her audacious act, was that she listed her address as the Houses of Parliament, a building in which she asserted her right to sit and sleep -- despite the fact that this was denied to all other members of her sex. Tragically it was Emily who was the sufragette now forever remembered for running to be trampled under the horse of King Edward VII at the Derby (pictured supra).
To commemorate Emily Davison's life and passion, the 2nd Viscount Stansgate (otherwise known as "Tony Benn") erected a small plaque to Emily, which is located on the inside of the door to the broom cupboard (and therefore rarely seen by anyone other than the most keen).
|The Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft, a Royal Peculiar in the|
Palace of Westminster
Friday, 12 April 2013
|Baroness Thatcher on Garter Day |
wearing the robes of a Lady of the Garter
The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher LG OM PC FRS lived a life "crowded with incident".
As far as I am aware, the tributes and articles published in the days following her death have failed to provide full details on the offices she held and the honours she received. The list below is provided for public record.
It is lamentable that Lady Thatcher remains the only Oxford graduate prime minister not to have received an honorary doctorate from that academic institution.
Non-Honorary Academic Qualifications:
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Called to the Bar and admitted to Lincoln's Inn
Leader of the Conservative Party: 1975-90
Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition: 1975-1979
Shadow Secretary of State: 1974-1975
Secretary of State for Education and Science: 1970-1974
Shadow Secretary of State: 1969-1970
Shadow Secretary of State: 1968-1969
Shadow Secretary of State: 1967-1968
Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Pensions and Insurance): 1961-1964
Member of Parliament to the Constituency of Finchley: 1959-1992
|Lady Thatcher in the House of Lords|
1970: Appointed to Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council
1975: Honorary Bencher of Lincoln's Inn
1983: Fellow of the Royal Society
1990: Order of Merit
1990: Entitled to the style of "Lady Thatcher" following the creation of a baronetcy for her husband, Major Sir Dennis Thatcher, 1st Baronet, MBE, TD.
1992: Created a Life Peer (UK) as The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher, of Kevesten in the County of Lincolnshire.
1992: Received a Grant of Arms from the College of Arms
1992: Chancellor Buckingham University
1995: Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
2012: Freedom of the City of Westminster
2013: Ceremonial Funeral with full military honours
|President George Bush Sr. presents Margaret Thatcher with|
the Presidential Medal of Freemdom
1981: Donovan Award (USA) (for distinguished contribution to democracy and freedom)
1989: Honorary Doctorate from Technion University
1991: US Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation's highest civilian award)
1994: Chancellor of William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
1998: Honorary Doctorate from Brigham Young University (USA)
2008: Honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine University (USA)
1975: As Leader of the Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman entitled to full membership rights in the Carlton Club.
2007: A statue of Margaret Thatcher erected in the Houses of Parliament, standing across from the statue of Sir Winston Churchill by the entrance to the House of Commons.
Falklands Islands Honours:
Since 1992 Margaret Thatcher Day has been celebrated on the Islands ever year on 10 January.
Thatcher Drive in Stanley and Thatcher Peninsula in South Georgia (where British troops landed) were named in her honour.
Monday, 8 April 2013
"Downing Street can announce that, with The Queen's consent, Lady Thatcher will receive a Ceremonial funeral with military honours. The service will be held at St. Paul's Cathedral. A wide and diverse range of people and groups with connections to Lady Thatcher will be invited. The service will be followed by a a private cremation. All the arrangements being put in place are in line with the wishes of Lady Thatcher's family. Further details will be published over the coming days."
The decision to accord Lady Thatcher a Ceremonial funeral, rather than a State funeral, has raised some eyebrows and caused some debate; however, the decision should not be too surprising. State funerals are reserved for the Sovereign and, on very rare occasions, exceptional public figures. Not even senior members of the royal family receive state funerals -- for example, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, despite her iconic status in Britain and the Commonwealth, received a traditional Royal Ceremonial funeral. Lord Mountbatten also received a ceremonial funeral. Due to her distinct status, Diana, Princess of Wales received a different kind of funeral -- at the time diplomatically described by a courtier as "a unique funeral for a unique person." The Queen Mother and Lady Thatcher were both involved in the planning of their ceremonial funerals and, as far as we are aware, being conscious of the distinction between the two types, neither of them expected to receive a state funeral.
|Lying in State in Westminster Hall prior to the|
Royal Ceremonial Funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
There is some debate surrounding the precise number of individuals who have been accorded the great honour of receiving a state funeral. The organisation and planning of state funerals falls under the jurisdiction of the Earl Marshal, one of the United Kingdom's Great Officers of State and also the individual responsible for planning coronations (the office is an hereditary office held by the Dukes of Norfolk). The Earl Marshal is assisted in ceremonial planning by the heralds and pursuivants of the College of Arms.
In his classic book "Heraldry and the Heralds", Rodney Dennys, sometime Somerset Herald and an individual actively involved in the planning of Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral (known as "Operation Hope Not"), claims that only seven non-Sovereigns have received a state funeral:
Pitt the Elder
Pitt the Younger
The Viscount Nelson*
The Duke of Wellington
The Rt. Hon. William Gladstone
The Earl Roberts of Kandahar
The Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill
(*In truth, Lord Nelson received a Full Naval Funeral, but this is generally regarded as the equivalent of a state funeral)
However other lists claim that state funerals have been accorded to a larger number of public figures:
Sir Isaac Newton
The Viscount Palmerston
Lord Napier of Magdala
The Earl Haig
The Lord Carson
In an article on the subject, the excellent commentator Peter Oborne also cited Charles Darwin's funeral -- however I think this is incorrect. Nevertheless, whatever the true number, it is probably fair to argue that Lady Thatcher, by virtue of her impact on Britain and British society, is a figure at best equal to, and in truth far more significant than, some of those listed supra. Nevertheless, it is also true that Lady Thatcher remains a very divisive figure in British life. There can be little doubt that the decision to accord Lady Thatcher a ceremonial rather than a state funeral was in no small part due to a desire to avoid stirring up animosity amongst specific segments of society.
As a giant of history who straddled the world stage, transforming Britain and changing the world, Lady Thatcher deserves a national funeral. She was, after all, not only Britain's first female Prime Minister but, arguably, also the greatest peacetime leader in British history. However, occasions of national mourning should not be marred by controversy or the risk of disruption by the malcontent. Consequently, the decision to accord Lady Thatcher a ceremonial, rather than a state, funeral is wise and correct.
In an era of PR, the decision to style the funeral as "ceremonial" rather than "state" serves as a semantic salve that can soothe parts of the nation without having any practical consequence -- for, in reality, the distinction between the two kinds of funeral is so minimal as to be inconsequential.
|State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in|
St. Paul's Cathedral
A state funeral only differs from a ceremonial funeral in two or three ways:
1. In a state funeral the gun carriage carrying the coffin is pulled not by horses but by sailors from the Royal Navy. (This has been the case since the funeral of Queen Victoria, during which the horses bolted and slipped on the icy streets, causing the Royal Navy to step in).
2. A state funeral requires a vote or motion in the Houses of Parliament.
Other than these two, largely inconsequential, differences, there is nothing to distinguish a state funeral from a ceremonial funeral.*
(* It is also possible that there may be a difference in the number of rounds fired in the gun salute).
|St. Mary Undercroft|
As far as we know at this stage, Lady Thatcher's funeral will differ slightly from a normal ceremonial funeral as there will be no lying-in-state (traditionally this would take place in Westminster Hall). Instead, her funeral procession will commence in the beautiful Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft in the crypt of her true home, the Palace of Westminster. Her coffin will travel by hearse to the Church of St. Clement Danes in the Strand (the Central Church of the Royal Air Force). At this point the coffin will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The King's Troop (so named by George VI, with permission to continue to bear the name granted by Queen Elizabeth II) traditionally perform this role in ceremonial funerals, most recently for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
|King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery with the|
Gun Carriage used to carry the coffins of
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The King's Troop will process with the coffin along the Strand and Fleet Street before arriving at St. Paul's Cathedral, the great church which was the scene for the greatest state funeral in living memory -- that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 (which, in a remarkable break with tradition, was attended by the Sovereign).
The route will be lined with members of all three branches of the armed forces. Lady Thatcher regularly attended church services at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and so it is fitting that scarlet coated Chelsea Pensioners shall line the stairs leading up to the great west doors of St. Paul's. Although we are told that the funeral will feature full military honours, we do not know whether this will include a military fly past -- another feature traditionally associated with some ceremonial funerals.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
Thursday, 14 March 2013
|HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is a member of the|
national orders of Australia & New Zealand
but not Canada.
Below is the Letter to the Editor that I wrote to the Canadian national newspaper, the Globe & Mail, in response to that newspaper's splendid editorial of March 10, in which the paper called upon the Canadian government to confer the highest grade of the Order of Canada on HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (Editorial may be read at this LINK). The Duke is due to visit Canada in April. The on-line version of my letter may be read at this LINK. The print version of my letter is reproduced below:
Monday, 11 March 2013
|A meeting of Her Majesty's Privy Council. To|
keep meetings as short as possible, Queen Victoria started
the tradition that members remain standing.
1. HRH The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The second son of Queen Victoria, the Duke was previously Duke of Edinburgh and a member of the House of Lords before succeeding to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha upon the death of his uncle, Ernest II, in 1893. To acknowledge his new foreign responsibilities, Alfred left the House of Lords and resigned from the Privy Council.
2. Brigadier John Profumo CBE, former Conservative Party MP and Secretary of State for War. Profumo famously resigned from office in 1963 due to a scandal that became known as the "Profumo Affair".
3. John Stonehouse, former Labour Party MP and Postmaster General. After faking his death in 1974, he was arrested and convicted for a series of fraud-related offences. He was also alleged to have worked for the communist Czechoslovakian military intelligence.
4. Jonathan Aitken, former Conservative Party MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Aitken was convicted of perjury and perverting the course of justice in 1999.
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
My appearance on Sky News to discuss The Queen's admission to London's King Edward VII Memorial Hospital suffering from the symptoms of gastroenteritis, a nasty stomach bug. Video may be seen by clicking below:
Sunday, 3 March 2013
|HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Colonel-in-Chief of the|
Royal Canadian Regiment. The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, stands immediately behind.
The Duke of Edinburgh has been Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Regiment since 1953 (not to be confused with the Royal Regiment of Canada, of which HRH The Prince of Wales is Colonel-in-Chief). HRH has travelled to Canada more than any other member of the Royal Family -- HRH's first trip was in 1951 and his most recent was in 2010.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 91, is the oldest royal in history to have travelled to Canada. The previous record holder was HLM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, whose final trip to Canada was in 1989 at the age of 88 (one month shy of her 89th birthday). The Duke of Edinburgh broke this record in 2010, having celebrated his 89th birthday a few days before travelling to Canada with HM The Queen to participate in the 1 July celebrations on Ottawa's Parliament Hill. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother remains the oldest royal to have left the shores of the United Kingdom. Her final overseas trip was to the European continent in 1992 at the age of 92.
The announcement of the Duke of Edinburgh's April trip to Canada was made during the week in which he became the longest-lived male member of the royal family in history. The Duke is already our longest-serving royal royal consort.
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Friday, 4 January 2013
|Entrance to New Broadcasting House|
Early on the morning of December 31st I was driven through drizzly rain to New Broadcasting House, the spectacular new head quarters of the BBC, to discuss the honours system in advance of the release of the New Years Honours List. My two opponents in the debate were Owen Jones (the current darling of the left) and Benjamin Zephaniah, who famously rejected his Order of the British Empire.
The short interview (necessarily short as it was on Breakfast radio) may be heard here:
|The Today Programme Studio, with John Humphrys far right.|
Sunday, 30 December 2012
Guests of Honour included our President: The Earl of St. Andrews, our two Patrons: Field Marshal The Rt. Hon. The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank and HE The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, as well as Greg Hands MP and Sophie Thompson.
|Left to Right: Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, Dr. Marek Stella-Sawicki, Field Marhsal The Rt. Hon. The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, Joanna Meeson, The Earl of St. Andrews, Greg Hands MP, HE Mr. Witold Sobkow Ambassador of the Republic of Poland|
The Church of St. Clement Danes also contains a memorial to the Polish Air Force and the squadrons that participated in the Second World War. During the concert our President and Patrons processed to the memorial to lay a wreath in tribute to their contribution to the fight for freedom.
|In this photograph I am briefly summarising the contribution of the Polish Air Force during the Second World War and introducing the formal wreath-laying procession to the Polish Memorial in the Church|
|Wreath on the Polish Air Force Memorial in the Church of St. Clement Danes (the Central Church of the Royal Air Force)|
located on the Strand in Central London
Tuesday, 25 December 2012
The Christmas Message of HM The King of Spain:
The Christmas Message of HM The Queen of the Netherlands:
The Christmas Message of HM The King of the Belgians:
The Christmas Message to The Commonwealth of HM The Queen:
The Christmas Message of HM The King of Sweden:
The Christmas Message of HRH The Grand Duke of Luxembourg:
The Christmas Message of HRH The Grand Duke of Luxembourg:
The Christmas Message of HH The Pope
The Christmas Message of HM King Michael of Romania:
The Christmas Message to the British Armed Forces of
HRH The Prince of Wales
The Christmas Message of HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia:
HRH The Prince of Wales
The Christmas Message of HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia:
HRH CROWN PRINCE ALEXANDER II CHRISTMAS MESSAGE – GREGORIAN CALENDAR 2012
On the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the day of great joy for all Christians, I wish the citizens of Serbia and people across the world who celebrate Christmas the very best wishes from my family and myself. May everyone enjoy peace, love and happiness.
Christmas is also the time for people to come together, to give and to share and to be at peace, the time to build respect for each other that helps us all be stronger.
My family joins me in wishing all of you a peaceful and Happy Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2013.
Peace on Earth and goodwill for all!
Peace on Earth and goodwill for all!
Christ is born!
Alexander wikipedia wikipedia Rafe
Alexander wikipedia wikipedia Rafe