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  #21  
Old 01-30-2004, 06:07 AM
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I think we have reached intersting times with the increasing strength of the EU the US marching on unilaterally and the whole debate about what do we want from the EU as an institution how to make it more democratic equally applies to monarchy as well.


I don't really understand your statement. For the most part, the European monarchies are the strongest democracies in Europe, so I'm not exactly sure what your point is. Perhaps you can clarify.

God it looks like I missed all the fun last night. Sean the reason why European monarchies today are the strongest democracies is because after revolution upon revoulution their subjects demanded that of them with the exception of Spain where the King was extremely wise (hence his popularity) to go down the democratic route and you are right Spain could easily have become the Serbia of the Iberian Peninsula. The way I see it, it took England over 700 years from the signing of the Magna Carta to universal suffrage to have the sort of parliamentary democracy we have today with a constitutional monarch with limited powers. England did not get here because the monarchies wanted it, they had to be dragged into constitutional reform. How long did it take for the British Monarchy to pay taxes. So yes the strongest democracies in Europe are European monarchies but for me, its more of a testament to the will and strength of the people and nothing to do with the benevolence of the institution or the people in it. Spain might be the exception to this rule.
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  #22  
Old 01-30-2004, 09:55 AM
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Sean the reason why European monarchies today are the strongest democracies is because after revolution upon revoulution their subjects demanded that of them with the exception of Spain where the King was extremely wise (hence his popularity) to go down the democratic route and you are right Spain could easily have become the Serbia of the Iberian Peninsula. Magna Carta to universal suffrage to have the sort of parliamentary democracy we have today with a constitutional monarch with limited powers. England did not get here because the monarchies wanted it, they had to be dragged into constitutional reform. How long did it take for the British Monarchy to pay taxes.
Lol. You're giving me a history lesson!?? Anyway, your comments have nothing to do with the EU, the future of monarchies, and the argument I put forward (and I would still like you to clarify your previous statement). Moreover, "revolution" after "revolution" does not negate the fact that they are the strongest democracies *today*. Nor does it negate the fact that they do play a role in their respective countries and that they may become even more entrenched with continued European integration. Also, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, and even Britain have not had "revolutions" in a very, very long time. Actually, Spain is the only one to have had a recent revolution.

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So yes the strongest democracies in Europe are European monarchies but for me, its more of a testament to the will and strength of the people and nothing to do with the benevolence of the institution or the people in it.
Who said otherwise? That's the same with most institutions. Look at colonialism for instance. Social change takes collective action.

As I said before, I am not making a pro or anti monarchist argument. However, your statement does not negate the fact that the monarchies of Europe are the strongest democracies in Europe *today*. Nor does it have any bearing on my hypothesis that monarchies will become more popular with increased Europeanization. For the monarchies to have survivied this long they've had to have been doing something right (whether that includes 'giving in' is irrelavent). You're earlier statement of
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EU the US marching on unilaterally and the whole debate about what do we want from the EU as an institution how to make it more democratic equally applies to monarchy as well
did not make sense to me and that is in the context in which I made my comment. Again, perhaps you would clarify your satement.
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  #23  
Old 01-30-2004, 12:20 PM
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EU the US marching on unilaterally and the whole debate about what do we want from the EU as an institution how to make it more democratic equally applies to monarchy as well

did not make sense to me and that is in the context in which I made my comment. Again, perhaps you would clarify your satement.

The monarchy by definition is an undemocratic institution - primogeniture, one family has privileges above everybody else. Democracies dictate that we are all equal. The same applies to the EU- the issue of democratic deficit and how to make the EU more transparent and accountable to European Citizens at the moment its a half way house because some nations want integration others want an InterGovernmental Union with accountability to the directly elected governments of the nation states. The French and Germans are currently arguing for an integrated European superstate to counter American Hegemony other nations think other wise for me this is mirrored in the current debates in the UK about the modernisation of the House of Windsor to fit the 21st Century. Pretty much modernise or die -what are the basic arguments put forward about the Eu in a globalised world you need to be united etc etc

So far as I'm concerned and I doubt if this applies to continetal European Royal family's but I am not getting value for money from the House of Windsor - why should we drag them into paying taxes, why should we force them to decommisioning the royal yatch britannia, what the hell am I doing paying for bunch of cousins in kensington Palace who do not perform any royal duties - the house of Windsor costs as much as seven european royal families put together!!! are they made of 50 carat gold, they are not doing anything different from their cousins in the continent so why on earth are they so expensive? Why is the civil list that long? If the House of Windsor wanted to strengthen the institution of monarchy in the UK they should be coming forward and saying we've chatted to our advisors we believe its best for the institution and the country as a whole if we paid taxes, cut the civil list etc etc. The image projected is one of you have to drag us kicking and screaming just to modernise and there will come a point where people will say you know what just go. I'll give you an example Charles came up with the idea of cutting the civil list (making it smaller) like what goes on in the continent apparently his papa disagreed with him and his little brother Andrew was upset that his daughters would no longer have the title of HRH and benefit from state hand outs. Really!!! Are they thinking about the future of monarchy or their own selfish reasons. another example remember when windsor castle burnt down the british subjects (and by the way the British are the only subjects in the world - we are not yet citizens!!!!!&#33 were told to pay for the reconstruction as windsor castle belonged to us. That was news for the entire nation, so far as we were concerned windsor castle belonged to the royal family and they had to pay for it. The average british SUBJECT does not know what belongs to the state or the HOUSE OF WINDSOR and even though we apparently own buckingham palace, Windsor palace etc we have to pay to go and view for something that already belongs to us and that we pay for through our taxes.

If we strip everything down devoid of personalities etc no one is doubting the resilience of the institution of monarchy. But what is the monarchy for - if we define the monarchy as say x fulfilling role y. its logical to assume these variables will change with the passage of time and if monarchy does not modernise with the winds of change they are pretty much letting in republicanism through the back door. If you look at all the republics of Europe whats the biggest lesson there from the French Revolution onwards you don't modernise your gone.
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  #24  
Old 01-31-2004, 12:09 AM
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Sheba, thank you for the clarification and the interesting post. I agree with many of your conclusions (and have made the same points in many of the forums here and on other boards),but I also disagree with some of your points. I will post a detailed response next week, when I have more time.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

S
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  #25  
Old 01-31-2004, 04:03 AM
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I think one big advantage of a monarchy is that it separates the state from politics. It's much harder for a Prime Minister in a monarchy to play the patriotism card than for a powerful President, because in the European monarchies the monarch is the national focus and it's understood that the Prime Minister is basically a party politician.

In the USA there's always been a tendency for an incumbent president to take advantage of his position as head of state to try and tie patriotism to his political party. Since the events of 11 September, George Bush has been utterly shameless about doing so and has tried (and succeeded to an alarming degree) to plant in people's minds the notion that voting for the other party would be tantamount to an act of treason and would emphatically not be the action of a properly patriotic American because Bush, and by extension the Republicans, embodies the state. if Tony Blair pulled a stunt like that, people would see it for the cynical piece of manipulation it was because Tony Blair is recognised as head of government and a party leader but not head of state.

I think people in Europe possibly have a clearer view of what's going on the USA than the Americans do, and while Bush is playing the patriotism-equals-a-vote-for-my-party card, he's going to turn Europeans away from the idea of replacing their monarchs with a system like that.
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  #26  
Old 01-31-2004, 04:08 AM
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Sheeba, if it's any help to know this, the Civil List's been cut. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (and the Queen Mother until her death) are the only people covered. When other members of the Royal Family do public duties (including the Kensington Palace cousins the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent, but not the Michaels and I think possibly not the Duchess of Kent because of ill health), the Queen reimburses them. They're not on the Civil List any more.
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  #27  
Old 01-31-2004, 08:22 AM
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Dear Elsepth
Thanks for clarifying that but are you sure about the civil list. Because Andrew, Sophie, Edward et al are still on it. Prince Charles idea was the civil list catered for Ruler, consort and direct heirs (i.e. him and his sons) everybody else make your own way which for me, that would get my vote if Charles became King he could not implement such a change quicker, most of his ideas for modernising the monarchy have been practically flatly refused by his Parents and frankly I don't think they are giving him the merit he deserves. Yes he made a mistake with Diana, yes his households a bit of a mess but you should not hold that against him and I think because he has been so scarred by Diana he would make a good King. The Princes Trust does a good job. I just wish the British Monarchy could copy their continental cousins, I almost fell of my chair whilst reading about the Dutch Royal Family when Prince Constatin (I think thats his name) got married and he and his wife were moving to London because of his job because he is not on the Civil List and he has to make his way. I think they are back now and he is a consultant to the EU. Frankly lets admit it Sophie and Edward will not be able to live in Bagshot Park with their wages, Edwards business went bust and I don't know whats happening with Sophies business. They might have cut off extended family but immediate family are still there. Take Spain for example doesn't Infanta Cristina live in a flat what would the Spanish people think if the King did not pay for his daughters weddings and put them up in Lavish big homes and had to be forced by the Spanish people to pay taxes. I think Spain would be a republic. I believe theres a direct relation between the popularity of the monarchy, the way the media treats them and how much they depend on their subjects. Whats the first line of defence for every scurilous tabloid editor its in the public interest because we pay for you. The tabloid editors I believe will not get away with what they get away with in the UK in continental europe well certainly in Spain - or am I being naieve and too kind to the tabloid press in Europe. And besides we speak of the future of the Spanish Monarchy one phenomenon that past kings never had to deal with is the media and the internet. I don't know who owns the majority of the media in Spain but if Letizia has not gotten of on a good footing with them and Felipe thinks the good will shown to his father will somehow automatically trickle down to him, they've got their work cut out. In the UK Rupert Murdoch is anti Monarchy but only believes in the imperial succession of his sons to rule his empire (ironic to say the least) so the British Monarchy will always be on the defensive from now on. William will never present a single mother or divorced mother to the British Public oh boy and dare I say a mixed race girl or a catholic girl - the House of Windsor is way to damaged to cope with such a bomb and besides Rupert Murdoch would love it. And speaking of the internet - the media can bung on and on about how this poll showed people are pro letizia or there will be a republic if this happens, the nobility on Spain are against this and that etc etc you cannot tell in todays age,information is so diffused you can skew a poll to suit your political objectives and that makes the jobs of advisors in the Palace even more difficult. Do they have their fingers on the pulse of the nation and you get the feeling that they don't - look what happened over here with the jubilee celebrations expected to be a no show look what happened. No doubt there were pleasantly surprised. Imagine if the exact opposite happened in Spain with everybody saying everybody likes Letizia and the exact opposite happens. Always prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
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  #28  
Old 01-31-2004, 11:31 PM
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Thanks for clarifying that but are you sure about the civil list. Because Andrew, Sophie, Edward et al are still on it.
The money granted to them via the Civil List is being repaid to the Treasury by the Queen. Her allowance from the Civil List didn't go up by that amount, so the reality is that the other members of the Royal Family (except for the Duke of Edinburgh)aren't being paid for by the Civil List.

http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page318.asp
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  #29  
Old 02-01-2004, 07:18 PM
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thanks everyone for replying to my original question, it makes for some very interesting reading

Sean and Sheeba your posts have been both informative and educational so once again thanks
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  #30  
Old 02-19-2004, 06:42 AM
Meg Meg is offline
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[QUOTE]Indeed, without without Juan Carlos, Spain would be the Serbia of the Iberian Penninsula

I donīt agree with Sean King Juan Carlos has made a good diplomatic work. But the monarchy in Spain is merely representative, King has no real power. Spanish situation in Europe is due to Spanish real Governments. Juan Carlos is very popular in Spain, but Spanish people are juancarlistas not monarchist. Their loyalty is not unconditional, Felipe must be very cautious. We never cut our Kings heads as our French neighbours did, but we have exiled them twice.
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  #31  
Old 02-23-2004, 04:32 PM
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Meg - Although all European Monarchies at the moment are constitutional. I think the Spanish King has more powers than the British Monarch and the same goes for the Dutch Monarchy. Yes the King was a good diplomat, I made a point that King JC was the only reigning monarch to be voted as one of the most influential Europeans of the century in an FT poll currently running. They would not have done so if he had not made smart political decisions with regards to Spains Democracy. Compare his strategy to the Military coup to his brother in laws in Greece. And for that he needs to be commended. Only the future will know if Felipe will ever reign, same with Charles over here. Que sera, que sera!
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  #32  
Old 02-23-2004, 04:45 PM
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I donīt agree with Sean King Juan Carlos has made a good diplomatic work.

May I ask why? I was actually referring to political decisions, but I think he's been a very good diplomat as well, particularly in securing a kind of Latin 'axis'. The King does have more political power than most of his European counterparts and more than many ceremonial presidents.

He also has the loyalty of the military which is important in Spain.


S
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  #33  
Old 03-02-2004, 06:03 AM
Meg Meg is offline
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I speak a very bad English and I forget a comma sorry. I mean that Juan Carlos is a good diplomat, but I know pretty well the Spanish Constitution and he has almost no power.
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  #34  
Old 04-05-2004, 04:17 PM
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i don't think it will be abolished. however, spanish royals are not very popular...
it's a pity... sofia is, imo, one of the best queens in europe.
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  #35  
Old 04-05-2004, 06:24 PM
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Originally posted by carlota@Apr 5th, 2004 - 4:17 pm
i don't think it will be abolished. however, spanish royals are not very popular...
it's a pity... sofia is, imo, one of the best queens in europe.
They seem as if they are really popular with the people right now. I read somewhere that they are being hailed as the "People's Monarchy".
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  #36  
Old 04-05-2004, 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by Gabriella@Apr 5th, 2004 - 5:24 pm
They seem as if they are really popular with the people right now. I read somewhere that they are being hailed as the "People's Monarchy".
I read this in a BBC article, about the Spanish royal family being hailed as "the people's monarchy." It was about how members of the royal family were the only ones to reach out and console the grieving family members after the memorial mass while members of the government stood around watching. (The article added that members of the government felt that they couldn't comfort the grieving families because they were partly responsible by chain of actions, such as supporting the U.S. alliance against terrorism and then sending Spanish troops. I am not sure that I completely believe this, but it is what the article said. Personally, I think the government should've been the first people to comfort the grieving families.) But in this way, the monarchy acted as the bridge between the government and the people.

As unfortunate as the events of March 11 were, and in no disrespect to I mean to demean the horribleness of those terrorist acts or the sad loss of lives, but the subsequent actions taken by the family the day of the terrorist attack and in the weeks after leading up to the memorial mass have shown the Spanish people how important and special their monarchy is. All members of the royal family showed tremendous compassion and sympathy with those who were hurt and/or those who lost family members, friends and loved ones. Even the "newest" (not technically official yet, I know) member of the royal family, Letizia showed tremendous concern and compassion.

I read that according to the Spanish press, they were most impressed with Queen Sofia during these weeks. She is normally quite stoic and unaffected emotionally by things, or at least does not show her emotions easily, but during the memorial mass she was the one member of the royal family who cried the most. I know that crying the most doesn't mean anything, but it does show how affected Her Majesty was by the event.

And also, I think that however opposed some of the Spanish people felt about Letizia becoming their future Queen this coming May, Letizia's actions and her behaviour at this time certainly demonstrated that she is capable for the task at hand. She may not be the Spanish people's perfect ideal of a future Queen, but in her own way and with her own style, she is capable. In a way, I think it was a trial by fire for Letizia, and certainly from what I have read and seen, she passed the test.
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Old 04-05-2004, 07:36 PM
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Giving credit where credit is due, I think it was through one of Alexandria's posts on another thread where I got the information of the People's Monarchy. But you are very right and your post was very well said.

It's unfortunate that it takes something as horrible as a terrorist attack for people to finally understand that what they have is great, and what a huge asset the Spanish Royal Family is to the people. I remember much of the same sentiment said in the US after September 11th.

I myself was quite impressed by their actions in the days following the attacks. A royal family is usually so stoic and held together. For them to be visibly upset and affected by the attacks shows to me how much they truly care for their country and their people. In King Juan Carlos' eyes you could see pain and grief, as if a close loved one had just died. Cristina openly weeped and Sofia went out of her way to console family members. I gained a new respect for the royal family after seeing all of those pictures.
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Old 04-05-2004, 10:40 PM
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read that according to the Spanish press, they were most impressed with Queen Sofia during these weeks. She is normally quite stoic and unaffected emotionally by things, or at least does not show her emotions easily, but during the memorial mass she was the one member of the royal family who cried the most. I know that crying the most doesn't mean anything, but it does show how affected Her Majesty was by the event.
I think that is very interesting, Queen Sofia has always been a very open and compassionate Queen; whether it is cryingly consoling the mothers of dead soldiers or playing with children with AIDS.

Quote:
And also, I think that however opposed some of the Spanish people felt about Letizia becoming their future Queen this coming May, Letizia's actions and her behaviour at this time certainly demonstrated that she is capable for the task at hand. She may not be the Spanish people's perfect ideal of a future Queen, but in her own way and with her own style, she is capable. In a way, I think it was a trial by fire for Letizia, and certainly from what I have read and seen, she passed the test.
I don't think Letizia could have done any different.
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Old 04-06-2004, 03:00 AM
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Queen Sofia has been quite compassionate the last few years, I saw her cry a few times in public, however, general public just didn't pay much attention before until now. Queen Sofia has always been the 'perfect Queen', she definitely has the highest respects from most of the Spainards, but she has never been 'popular' in Spain. Before Felipe's engagement, the only things interested Spanish media were Felipe's love life and Elena's marital problem, both could be quite negative at times. The media/population really didn't pay much attention to all the wonderful works the RF family had done over the years.
Letizia probably will never be the 'perfect Queen' Queen Sofia is, but she has the chance to be more popular than Queen Sofia (Beauty and Style definitely helps in the 'popularity' contest). Some people might not like her (lots of them are actually from the internets), but majority people in Spain are willing to give her a chance (my relatives and friends all said so). Right now there is tremendous interest at whatever she does, this probably had never happened to any member of the RFs before. Her engagement suit becomes the hottest fashion this spring, there were mothers talking about their young daughters wanting to wear suit jackets and high heels, trying to be like Letizia, everywhere Pertegaz went, people wanted to know how her wedding dress looked like, numerous books about her and the prince (people really tried to cash in), someone was even talking about a musical show about their love story ....
I don't think the CP job is any difficult for her, just hope she is happy about her role and doesn't find the CP job very boring (personally I think those princess jobs are quite boring), and they can keep each other happy.
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Old 04-06-2004, 03:36 PM
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"Queen Sofia has always been the 'perfect Queen', she definitely has the highest respects from most of the Spainards, but she has never been 'popular' in Spain. "

Thats a surprise to me. Well I guess she has the benefit of being a Kings daughter and gets on with the job. People will always admire professionalism. She's not the most beautiful and elegant but its her work that sees her through. its abit like Princess Anne in the Uk not the prettiest and not the most elegant and certainly quite rude, but asked time and time again who the nation prefers to take over when the Queen dies its Anne. Her hard work and luck of scandals has seen her through.

One thing to remember the Spanish press is heavily censored. I never realised how much untill the recent bombings, and thats why most of the negative comments on Letizia are aired on the internet no Editor of any newspaper will dare print what they know or hear. In the Independent article that was mentioned it was stated that attacking the Royal Family (The King and Queen) was like attacking Democracy in Spain because the King was so integral to its flourishing after Franco. Thats why the phrase Juan Carlistas. You will never read anything about his affairs or how the monarchy spend their Ģ40 million + , here in the UK its open season. The attacks on Letizia are lame because of the tightly controlled press can you imagine if William were to get engaged to a Letizia type girl? If the King and Queen of Sweden are trying to end Victoria's relationship that should give you some idea of the risk Felipe is taking, all one can hope for is that Felipe's gamble pays off like Haakons. But Norwegian and Spanish societies are completely different. Felipe can not be assured of the same treatment his Father has received from the press, one because in the communication age people will get their news from different sources so it makes it impossible to control every channel making news management almost impossible. Indeed when his Father steps down God help that child and lets hope Letizias past does not come back to haunt her. Monarchy is not based on someones pretty looks.
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