Return of the Kaiser

Buried in an otherwise inflammatory article about royalism in Germany is an interesting and encouraging statistic. The Spectator reports: “Around 10 per cent of Germans support the restoration of the royals; among those under 34, that number is nearly one in five.”

The overthrow of the Hohenzollern dynasty was probably the greatest political catastrophe of the modern era. Although carried out by a domestic coup, it was the result of external pressure. The Western powers had imposed the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II as a prerequisite for peace at the end of World War I. This reflected Woodrow Wilson’s ominously broad mission to “make the world safe for democracy.”

Will we eventually escape from the twentieth century?—and from its homogenizing globalisms?

Telling the Bees

From Ebenezer Cobham Brewer’s dictionary of Character Sketches:

Bees (Telling the), a superstition still prevalent in some rural districts that the bees must be told at once if a death occur in the family, or every swarm will take flight.

Daily Mail reports:

The royal beekeeper—in an arcane tradition thought to date back centuries—has informed the hives kept in the grounds of Buckingham Palace and Clarence House of the Queen’s death.

And the bees have also been told, in hushed tones, that their new master is now King Charles III. The official Palace beekeeper, John Chapple, 79, told MailOnline how he travelled to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House on Friday following news of The Queen’s death to carry out the superstitious ritual.

He placed black ribbons tied into bows on the hives, home to tens of thousands of bees, before informing them that their mistress had died and that a new master would be in charge from now on.

I find this beautiful and proper.

God Save the King

The Queen has died, aged 96. The palace released the following notice from her heir and successor King Charles III:

The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.

Official guidance for prayer and liturgy has been given by the Church of England. The collects below are suitable for private devotion:

1 – A prayer of thanksgiving

Eternal God, our heavenly Father, we bless your holy name for all that you have given us in and through the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth.
We give you thanks: for her love of family and her gift of friendship; for her devotion to this nation and the nations of the Commonwealth;
for her grace, dignity and courtesy;
and for her generosity and love of life.We praise you for: the courage that she showed in testing times; the depth and of her Christian faith;
and the witness she bore to it in word and deed.Accept our thanks and praise, we pray,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 – A prayer of commendation

God our creator and redeemer,
by your power Christ conquered death
and returned to you in glory.
Confident of his victory
and claiming his promises,
we entrust your servant Elizabeth into your keeping
in the name of Jesus our Lord,
who, though he died, is now alive
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.  Amen.

3 – A prayer for those who mourn

Father of all mercies and God of all consolation,
you pursue us with untiring love
and dispel the shadow of death with the bright dawn of life.
Give courage to the Royal Family in their loss and sorrow.
Be their refuge and strength, O Lord;
reassure them of your continuing love
and lift them from the depths of grief
into the peace and light of your presence.
Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
by dying has destroyed our death,
and by rising, restored our life.
Your Holy Spirit, our comforter,
speaks for us in groans too deep for words.
Come alongside your people,
remind them of your eternal presence
and give them your comfort and strength. Amen.

4 – A prayer for the new King

Lord God,
you provide for your people by your power,
and rule over them in love:
Grant to your servant our King
the Spirit of wisdom and discernment,
that being devoted to you with his whole heart, he may so wisely govern,
that in his time we may live in safety and in peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I revered Her Majesty deeply and emotionally. Earlier this year I wrote a short encomium on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. It must now serve as eulogy. The Queen is dead, long live The King.

A Tower Raven

An apocryphal but well-known story tells of a prophesy: if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, the Kingdom will fall. Out of an abundance of caution a flock of the birds are kept in residence.

Pictured above: a raven perched on a surviving portion of London Wall (the Roman defensive works that surrounded third-century Londinium) beside the White Tower.

The Platinum Jubilee

In a radio broadcast on her twenty-first birthday in 1947, Her Majesty The Queen—then Princess Elizabeth—told the British Commonwealth and Empire, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” She acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, seventy years ago today. That makes her the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.

Generations have come and gone within her reign. I was born a few years after the Silver Jubilee and am now middle aged. Not since Queen Victoria could anyone have said the same. During that time she has given us the very model of a life of service.

God save the Queen.

The Electro-Machine Age

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the English novelist Dennis Wheatley feared the triumph of Communism was likely, not only on the Continent, but in Britain, where the Labour government was pursuing a socialist agenda marked by harsh austerity.

Wheatley was famous for his espionage and black-magic themed thrillers. His 1934 novel The Devil Rides Out is the subject of a long article on this blog. Wheatley had served in military intelligence during the war, as a member of the London Controlling Section, which planned the Normandy Invasion. His most famous novels blended the threats of dark political forces with the occult.

Wheatley’s horror at the prospect of a Communist coup in Britain led to his writing a remarkable document, which he titled, “A Letter to Posterity.” He composed it on November 20, 1947, the day Queen (then Princess) Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece. Wheatley looked back at the extraordinary technological changes that had taken place since his birth in 1897, and how these changes had ushered in mass politics and Orwellian repression.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, communication technology serves as a lever of both political and occult power in Wheatley’s description. He was writing before television, the internet, or social media, but the trajectory of his critique aims directly at them.

Wheatley buried the letter on the grounds of his estate, Grove Place, Hampshire, where it was discovered after he moved out in 1968. He writes:

When I was born electricity had been discovered but not yet adapted to practical every-day usage. London had no electric light or telephone system. Wireless, radio recording, broadcasting and gramophones were still unknown, and the petrol engine was still in its infancy. There were no motorcars; on the streets all vehicles were still horse-drawn, and for travelling further afield, the steam train as yet without corridor coaches, was the only means of transport. Liners and warships were generally steam propelled but a great part of the world’s sea-borne commerce was still carried in sailing ships; and the idea of travelling by air was as remote and unreal with us as it was with the Romans.

The electric age, having its infancy while I was a schoolboy, reaching maturity during the First World War, and becoming a dominant factor in all our lives from then on, has revolutionised thought wherever it has penetrated.

In the early years of the century the vast majority of the people of Europe and the United States—and even more so those of the less progressive areas of the world—formed their opinions from personal contact with their fellows. The more advanced among them were neither lacking in intelligence or political consciousness, but their attitude towards their rulers was governed in the main by (1) any new laws which affected their personal well-being and (2) the discussion of events at the centres of government—declarations of war, treaties of alliance, court scandals, royal marriages etc. these were often belatedly reported but formed the staple talk wherever men were gathered together; in the towns, in clubs and taverns, in the country, in public halls and inns. Thus, in those days, the ‘voice of the people’ was in fact the consensus of opinion arrived at after a vast number of free debates had taken place at every level of society and in all parts of the country, concerned.

This ‘voice’ was rarely raised; but when it was, rulers had good cause to tremble, and almost invariably, the result was a cessation of repression or a change of government; as the ‘voice’ was usually pregnant with both justice and commonsense.

But the ‘voice’ was stilled by the coming of the electro-machine age, as the new inventions enabled the professional politicians of all parties to get into direct touch with every community, however remote. First came the electric press, enabling a million or more copies of a newspaper to be run off in a single night—and enormously improved arrangements for distribution. Then came the wireless telegraph—which swiftly developed into radio, with a five times a day news service which, by means of a cheap receiving set, could be picked up in every home. And these were followed by the cinematograph which soon became one of the most insidious weapons for political propaganda.

The result was that instead of forming their opinions by quiet thought and reasoned discussion, the bulk of the people took them ready made (from so called ‘informed’ sources) and, in consequence, in the short space of the first two decades of the 20th century an almost unbelievable change took place in the mental attitude of the masses all over the world. The immense speeding up of means of communication brought the national and international picture so swiftly before them that it filled their thoughts to the exclusion of local conditions and the well-being of their own communities; political ideologies and abstract theories of government usurped in their minds the place which had previously been occupied by the selective prosperity of local industries and the prospects of crops. Worst of all, the masses came under the immediate influence of the political demagogues who labelled themselves as the ‘representatives of the people’, who held that ‘all men being equal’ all power should be vested in the majority rather than in the intelligent minority, as had been the case in the past.

Wheatley died in 1977 so he did not live to see the end of the Cold War. He would have been gratified by the collapse of the Soviet Union. But mass media is no less powerful a weapon today—and humans no less susceptible to it.

Scans of the original manuscript can be read on the website of the Dennis Wheatley Collection. See also: The Devil Rides Out.

Tweed Archive: Lord Mountbatten Edition

The Jermyn Street clothiers Hawes & Curtis on dressing the Admiral of the Fleet:

He was fastidious to a degree in his appearance. No one ever saw him unshaven, dishevelled or wearing the wrong clothes for the occasion…

In 1955 he wrote to Hawes & Curtis ordering eight suits from thirty yards of special tweed material and stressed that he wanted them to undertake not to sell the pattern to any other of their clients ‘so that it remains exclusive to Broadlands’. Three months later he wrote again saying he realised that this was not practical. His correspondence with H&C reveals the extent of his attention to the smallest detail in his eternal quest to be dressed always in the correct manner.

Pictured above: Lord Mountbatten with the young Prince Charles both looking timeless circa 1975.

Rest in Peace, Prince Philip

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has died, aged 99. The palace released the following notice:

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Further announcements will be made in due course.

The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.

Official forms of service for the Church of England have been published by The Queen’s Printer. Selected collects appear below:

Eternal God, our maker and redeemer, grant us, with your servant PHILIP, Duke of Edinburgh, and all the faithful departed, the sure bene ts of your Son’s saving passion and glorious resurrection: that, in the last day, when you gather up all things in Christ, we may with them enjoy the fullness of your promises; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hear, O Lord, the prayers of your people, as we remember before you His Royal Highness PHILIP, Duke of Edinburgh: and grant that we who confess your name on earth may with him be made perfect in the kingdom of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Merciful Father and Lord of all life, we praise you that we are made in your image and re ect your truth and light. We thank you for the life of His Royal Highness PHILIP, Duke of Edinburgh, for the love he received from you and showed among us. Above all, we rejoice at your gracious promise to all your servants, living and departed, that we shall rise again at the coming of Christ. And we ask that in due time we may share with your servant Philip that clearer vision promised to us in the same Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Tweed Archive: Prince of Wales Edition

HRH Prince Charles, writing in The Telegraph, September 2016:

I want to encourage much greater understanding of wool not only as a global environmental resource—versatile, sustainable, renewable and natural—but also as a global fashion resource of the highest quality, with a natural elasticity that makes it easy to care for and a cell structure that allows it to adapt to its environment, making it cool to wear in summer and warm in winter.