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Peoples Monarchy -A modern democratic success story Print E-mail
Written by Simon Frame   
Saturday, 19 May 2012
 
              
      

Last week the Japanese Imperial Household announced that Emperor Akihito would attend The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London as her guest. (This was the subject of a report in London's Daily Telegraph)

His Imperial Majesty was, with King Albert II of Belgium, the only other current head of state in attendance at the Queen Coronation in 1953 representing their respective nations.

For this review I thought I would leave the subject of Commonwealth Realm monarchies and look at some of the other success stories of constitutional monarchy in the Asia-Pacific region.

This week’s review is of The Peoples Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy 1945-1995 by Kenneth J Ruoff.


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Japan has had a long history of monarchy. It has an unbroken line – meaning the dynasty has never changed – going back well over a millennium. The pre-war Japanese government gave the figure of 2,600 years of the dynasty, whereas 1,600 years would be, based on modern research, a more appropriate time period.

.

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[Emperor Akihito delivers the Speech from the Throne to open the Japanese Diet in 2010.]

Ruoff notes the irony that for many leftists in Japan, the Emperors involvement in politics had been an aberration of the militarist era and the pre-war Japanese constitution, so it was right and proper that the Imperial Throne have no involvement in the post-war government of Japan except as a symbol.

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[Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko exchanging gifts with the Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace during their 2007 visit to London.]




...development of the constitutional monarchy...


Of course for much of that era the Emperors were purely powerless figureheads who carried out religious and social duties while real power rested with the nobility and later the Shogunate, a form of military dictatorship, which however still required the seal of approval from the Imperial Throne to be legitimate.

It wasn’t until the 19th century and the coming of the western powers to Japan that the Imperial Throne was restored to power and used to help unite Japan and forge a modern nation-state.

The then constitution – also known as the Meiji Constitution - of the pre-war modern Japanese era, roughly 1860 to 1945, gave the Emperor sweeping powers and the constitution itself bore more a similarity to Imperial Germany’s and Austro-Hungary’s respective constitutional arrangements.

All this changed with the defeat of militarist Japan, somewhat incorrectly I believe termed by historians as “Imperial Japan”. Japan is still an Imperial State after all reigned over by an Emperor, but its militarist past has long since been rejected.

The post-war constitution declared the Emperor to be the "Symbol of the Nation" and to have extremely limited responsibilities. Ruoff's book looks at the practical political and cultural ramifications of this seemingly drastic change to modern Japan.

You can see a thread that links pre-war and modern Japan.

Few Prime Ministers in Japans modern history have governed for a sustained time. Terms as head of government like those enjoyed by our Prime Ministers: Menzies, Hawke or Howard are unknown in Japan.

The frequency of the forming and the collapse of governments was the same in pre-war Japan. The focus of the nation’s symbolic governing authority was the Emperor. He remained on the throne, unchanging and so symbolised Japan far better than any politician could.

This is a theme that has remained true of Japan today, even though they have lost a war and received a new constitution in between the pre-war and the post-war eras. Governments come and go, but Japan’s Emperor - the symbol of the nation – reigns throughout.

The issue of Japanese War guilt is one that persists to this day. We in Australia know well the crimes committed by Japanese war criminals on their unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbour, the bombing of Darwin, the atrocities perpetrated on forced labourers of Burma-Thai railway just to give three well known examples. Japan itself, at least to the outside world, has done little to resolve its wrongs in the war.

As Ruoff points out the one person who has done more to say sorry to the world is Emperor Akihito who has been on the throne since the death of his father Hirohito in 1989, the latter whose name is forever linked with militarist JapanAs they stated, surely it was a time honoured tradition in Japan - except for the era of 1860-1945 - that the Emperors were symbols, not heads of government. The Emperor therefore in the new Japan could make no political utterances and show no political partialities whatsoever and this was completely in keeping with Japanese tradition.

The Right and broadly speaking most conservatives in Japan were horrified at the limited role set by the post-war constitution – written by legal experts of the American Army – for the Emperor. Their grievances were further compounded by the fact that the constitution had never been decided upon by the Japanese people themselves.

In the long term however the political Right in Japan came to accept that the modern constitution gave the Emperor a more historically accurate role. Indeed when leftists started supported the idea of the Emperor acting as a symbol and making apologies to other nations for Japan’s war guilt, it was the Right who said that was not possible, as the Emperor was only a symbol and that apologies were a political matter and as such only the government could offer them, not the Emperor!

As Ruoff points out, what characterises the modern Japanese Monarchy with its great symbolic value and non-political raison-d’être is that it can be all things to all Japanese…depending on their point of view.

Emperor Hirohito was Emperor for much of the time period this book covers and his reaction to his new role and the reaction of the Governments and Oppositions of the day to their Sovereigns new role is explored in this work.

What I got from this book was a feeling that the Americans who drafted this constitution were wrong to leave the Emperor without any reserve powers, however limited. There was no way the Emperor could encourage his Ministers or help break a political deadlock. The primacy of politics might argue for the need for powerless head of state, but the primacy of good government I believe however argues the opposite.



,,,Emperor Akihito...


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In more recent times the Emperor Akihito has however stared down critics of the Imperial System - both the hard left who wanted to get rid of his throne and the far right who used the Throne as part of their nationalist agenda - to make symbolic gestures by personally apologising to Japan’s neighbours, most notably China and South Korea, who bore the brunt of Japanese militarism, and offering his deep regret about Japan’s past actions.

Long before William and Kate started a sensation with their “royal-marries-commoner” love story, Akihito made huge waves in Japanese society by marrying a commoner, the first Japanese Prince to do so in history. It has proven to be a true love story and one that symbolised modern Japan with its rising and prosperous middle class and democratic tendencies.

The Empress Michiko as Crown Princess and even more so now as Empress Consort, has been very much a hands-on Royal whose common touch endeared her to the Japanese people, and this long before the world became enraptured by Princess Diana and her style.

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[People's Emperor! Akihito and Empress Michiko connecting with their subjects]

(insert photo of the Imperial Couple with their subjects)

Above: People's Emperor! Akihito and Empress Michiko connecting with their subjects.

Emperor Hirohito and his Empress never kneeled on the same level as their subjects. This has become however a practice during the current reign.

Ruoff highlights this an example of the way in which the current Emperor has redefined the Imperial Throne. Indeed the modern monarchy of Akihito’s reign has quite rightly been regarded as the “monarchy of the masses”, although that title was not given as a compliment at the time it was first used.

Much is made in this book of the Japanese monarchy’s emulating the Royal Family of Great Britain and the Commonwealth Realms. In seeking to modernise the monarchy and connecting with the populace, the Japanese establishment sought to replicate the style and success of the House of Windsor, showing that monarchical tradition and democratic governance compliment each other perfectly.



...leadership beyond politics...

Readers will no doubt note that Kenneth Ruoff’s work, published in 2003, commented on what seemed to be the lack of non-partisanship by the Queen during the so-called Sunday Times controversy when according the to the said tabloid the Queen had voiced criticism of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As we know from the subsequent admissions of the royal staffer in question, Michael Shea, it was his embellishment of his own views as a staffer of the Royal Household that led to the story in the first place.

Indeed writers such as Andrew Marr, Robert Hardman and the American journalist Sally Bedell Smith have in their recent works shown that Elizabeth II made no such comments about her British Government and that Shea’s actions were a result of his own political leanings.

Ruoff’s work also raises an interesting point, regarding the term “Head of State”. There was some uncertainty in the post-war constitution – and the Japanese body-politic - as to whether or not the Emperor was the head of state. As this American academic points out the term is a mere diplomatic nicety, not a defined constitutional position.

Ruoffs observations on the diplomatic term very much validate Sir David Smith’s conclusions in his work Head of State about the Australian Constitution.



...symbol...

In many ways the Japanese Monarchy with its purely symbolic and non-political role, is closer to the reality of the Australia or Canadian Monarchy where the Sovereign is a symbol, as opposed to the British Monarchy where the Sovereign has a more hands on role in Government, albeit one restricted by history and tradition.

Tradition and popular consent have long been the hallmarks of constitutional monarchy. Its practical working has made it an ideal model of responsible and stable governance. Japan, like our own country, is the beneficiary of this mode of government.

With his intimate and thoroughly researched knowledge of Japan, Kenneth Ruoff’s work highlights the way in which constitutional monarchy can evolve and in doing so represent’s the best that a nation would want in its constitutional governance.

The Peoples Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy 1945-1995 by Kenneth J. Ruoff is available from the Book Depository for $28.37, which includes free delivery. All prices are at the time of writing this review.

By following the above links and purchasing the book, your buy will help benefit ACM directly, and as with all orders from the Book Depository postage is free.

Subsequent chapter updates or “Epilogues” to this work can be downloaded from his university webpage: http://pdx.edu/profile/meet-professor-ken-ruoff

 
Crown and Shamrock: so close, yet so far away Print E-mail
Written by Clr. Simon Frame, Book Editor   
Friday, 16 March 2012

[ It is most  appropriate that on the eve of St. Patrick's Day we publish Simon Frame's review of Mary Kenny's excellent book, Crown and Shamrock  referred to in an earlier column, "Will Ireland be won over by The Queen during her State Visit?" 16 May 2011 ]


                     “May the union of hearts endure in the family” 


The above quotation comes from the dedication in Mary Kenny’s book Crown and Shamrock: love and hate between the Ireland and the British Monarchy which I now review in time for St Patricks Day. 

Mary Kenny represents the best of modern Irish journalism and academia. She was a founding member of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement and a writer for such publications as the Irish Independent, the Times and the Spectator. From a traditional Irish Catholic family she is married to an Englishman and spends her time between Eire and the UK. Mary Kenny was the writer best positioned - nay destined - to write this work. 

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[Crown and Shamrock by Mary Kenny]

 For reasons of disclosure I admit I am an unabashed fan of this work and its author.  In 2008 when I was on a trip to the UK I was offered the chance to see her award winning play ‘Allegiance’ about an invented and purely fictional meeting between Winston Churchill (played by the actor Mel Smith) and Michael Collins (played by the talented Irish-German film-star Michael Fassbender) and set on the eve of the end of the Anglo-Irish War of the early 1920’s. To my subsequent but great regret I had to decline. 

Much has been written, on both sides of the divide, about the Crown as a legal institution and the Irish people as the body politic of the nation, but this work is one of the most important studies of Anglo-Irish relations through the prism of the Monarchy and Royal Family on the one hand and the Irish people on the other.

 Mary Kenny and her work bestride those divides and take a fresh and innovative look at the relationship between the Crown and the (Irish) people, and more importantly their dual histories. 

As someone of both Catholic and Protestant Irish heritage myself I look at the failure of British policy in Ireland, the extremism of Irish republicans over the many decades and the lack foresight on both sides, and I cannot help but mourn the loss of Ireland from the Royal Realms and the Commonwealth. Ireland is truly the lost sister of the Commonwealth family.

 Reading Mary’s sober and well researched book, I’m glad to see that I was not alone in my views. Mary Kenny is scrupulously neutral in any argument about Monarchism vs. Republicanism, but her work makes clear that Monarchism is a system based firmly in constitutionalism but also renewal through the family element. We have seen this recently with the surge of popularity given the recent marriage of Prince William of Wales of Catherine Middleton. 

Whilst it is easy to romanticise the past, it is far more important to study it and draw lessons from it. I have always thought of modern Britain and Ireland like the branches of a great fig tree:  the branches have diverged but its trunk and roots are completely linked. There are no constitutional connections between the United Kingdom and the republic of Ireland today, but the social, cultural, family, defence and business connections between the two nations are now thoroughly, and probably irrevocably, interwoven. 

Anecdotally when back in 1996 I spent a week in the Republic of Ireland sailing at Royal Cork Week, I asked an official at the event why a republic would still have a ‘Royal’ sailing week? She responded that the UK government paid for Ireland’s coastal emergency services and that it was to honour this that Ireland had kept the ‘Royal’ honour for both the Cork Sailing Club and for Irelands most prestigious sailing event. 



...from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth....

The chapters of this book, available from the Book Depository, are divided into the reigns of Monarchs from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II. There is “brief history” of Anglo-Irish relations upto the reign of Queen Victoria, but the theme of family in Ireland is mirrored in the fact that this works charts relations between Irish people and the Irish Crown from roughly the time the Monarchy was remodelled around the family unit during the era of Victoria and her consort Albert.

Chapter One is entitled Victoria: Great Empress or Famine Queen and highlights the thoroughly reciprocal love-hate relationship between the Queen and her Irish subjects. It also looks at the root of Irish-American antagonism to Great Britain, this is despite the fact that for Irishman in Australia, Canada and in New Zealand that their narrative was often one of loyalty and enterprise. 

It was during Queen Victoria's reign that some of the most strident efforts towards Home Rule for Ireland were made, with wiser heads such a Charles Parnell arguing for an independent Ireland with the Crown retained. Indeed Mary Kenny quotes the famous Irish Catholic nationalist Daniel O'Connell who described the Monarchy as a "golden link". 

For Australian readers it will be interesting to note that the statue that stands outside the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney was originally designed for - and rested in - the forecourt of Leinster House in Dublin where the Dail or parliament of the Irish Free State and later Republic is now housed.

 This can be noted on the statue in one small but telling feature, hardly discernable for the average Sydneysider walking past the statue: Queen Victoria wears the collar, badge, star and sash of the Irish Order of Chivalry, the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick on her person. 

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[Statue of Queen Victoria, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney]

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Elizabeth the Queen: a life like few others Print E-mail
Written by Clr. Simon Frame, Book Editor   
Friday, 16 March 2012

“Elizabeth II fulfilled her duty with steadfast determination and clarity of purpose, exerting influence without grasping for power, retaining her personal humility despite her public celebrity”

My book review this week is of Sally Bedell Smith’s new book Elizabeth the Queen, The Life of a Modern Monarch. There has been much anticipation in literary circles about this book, the first personal, rather than political, biography of the Queen since 2002.

I mentioned this book in passing in my review of Robert Hardman’s work Our Queen the other week. Whereas Robert Hardman’s book was about what made Elizabeth II the hardworking monarch that she is, in both her duties and her outlook, Smith’s book looks at the personal experiences of the Queen.

Where as Hardman’s study of the Queen looked at various events and influences in the Queens life, Smith’s book is a chronological biography of the Queen and her experiences.

It would seem that there were many doors open to Sally Bedell Smith as the list of those she spoke to on the record is long and distinguished to say the least and includes statesman, commentators, celebrities, and socialites from all over the world, but most tellingly they include close family and confidants of the Queen such as Lady Patricia Brabourne (daughter of the late Lord Mountbatten), Lord Carey(former Archbishop of Canterbury), Lady Elizabeth Anson(cousin to the Queen) and former members of her Household.

Although many will not have heard of her name before, Smith is a respected American Journalist who’s previous works have been on such historical and celebrity figures such as Diana, Princess of Wales, John and Jacqueline Kennedy and more recently the Clintons. She has also been a contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1996 and has spent part of her journalistic career working at Time Magazine and the New York Times.

Smith’s prose is respectful but not gushing. The writer clearly admires her subject and perhaps that is what gives her work all the more credibility. Smith is not a subject and as such has no reason to form anything but her own opinion of Elizabeth II, independent of cultural and national mores of Britain and the Commonwealth.

The book doesn’t shy away from highlighting the periods when the Crown and the Royal Family have suffered dips in their popularity, or when the Queens sense of judgement – as perceived by the public – has failed her. This would not be the quality biography that it is if it did not cover such periods.

However in both good times and bad Sally Bedell Smith accurately portrays the Queens stoicism, sense of duty and hard work.

One of the charming things about this book is that it recounts amusing stories that very much show Her Majesty’s sense of humour, which is very much an ingredient and constant of the Queen’s character. Some of them I was surprised made it to paper.

When about to be examined by a new male physician many years ago the Queen,  dressed only in a nightgown, said to the understandably concerned man: “don’t worry, I’m as nervous as you are.”

Or the time at Balmoral when a Minister of the Scottish Church, who was saying grace at the royal dinner table, used a rather old fashioned term for conversation and gave the blessing: “For what we are about to receive and the wonderful intercourse afterwards, may we be truly grateful.” Amen indeed! The Queen’s well known ability to mimic accents allowed this to be a story she could recount many a time to her friends and guests.

Another wonderful story comes when the Queen was talking to her thoroughbred trainer Ian Balding after the 1979 UK election she asked him” What do you think about Margaret Thatcher getting in?” To which he replied “Ma’am I not sure I can get my head around a woman running the country.” Silence greeted him down the phone. “You know what I mean?” he hastily, and probably nervously, added. The monarch had the grace to laugh at his choice of wording.

The very human side of Elizabeth II was shown many years later, once again relating to Margaret Thatcher. Indeed it also disproves the myth of Elizabeth II and Thatcher not getting along.

The Queen’s humanity was revealed at an 80th birthday in 2005 for Baroness Thatcher, who was weakened following several strokes. The Prime Minister was ‘visibly excited’ that the Queen was coming to the event at a London hotel.

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[Margaret Whitlam, wife of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, curtseying to the Queen at the opening of the Opera House on October 20, 1973]

“Baroness Thatcher asked, ‘Is it all right if I touch her?’ as the Queen approached. Baroness Thatcher then extended her hand, which the Queen held steady as her former Prime Minister curtseyed, although not as low as before. The Queen then tenderly guided Thatcher through the crowd of 650 guests.”

Charles Powell – now Lord Powell – a senior adviser to Mrs Thatcher during her No 10 days, tells the author:  “That was unusual for the British, who know you are not supposed to touch the Queen. But they were hand-in-hand, and the Queen led her around the room."

The Queens relationship with her Australian Prime Ministers, as well as other Commonwealth leaders such as Nelson Mandela is explored as well. When the Queen came to the throne the Statesman of the Commonwealth included the likes of Winston Churchill and Pandit Nehru. More recently names like Nelson Mandela have added their own contributions to the organisation and become confidants and friends of the Queen.

I was fascinated to read Smith’s analysis of what made Gough Whitlam a fan of the Queen at their first meeting. To quote Smith the Queen “wrapped Whitlam round her little finger”.

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[Queen Elizabeth II at former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's 80th birthday party in London in October 2005. As Thatcher curtseyed, the monarch held Thatcher's hand to steady the ailing former political leader]

Importantly Smith makes mention of the failed republican bid in the late 90’s and the Monarch and her families view that the issue was one purely for the Australian People. Another example of her practical but proper sense of being a Monarch.

The Queens love for Australia, and that of her direct heirs Princes Charles and William, is accurately portrayed as well.

The Queen’s commitment to, and regard for, the Commonwealth is naturally an ongoing theme in this book. The special place the Queen holds in her heart for the Commonwealth and her sense of duty towards is vividly expressed by Smiths study of the Queen’s life and reign.

Conversely the book makes clear that the strength of having the Queen as head of the Commonwealth  - and her heirs and successors - is the fact the Monarch is a symbolic and non-political head of the Commonwealth, albeit one with convening power and the gravitas to stop political and national egos from preventing progress and the work of the Commonwealth.
 
This book is for the reader who wants to know more about the experiences of the Queen as a person. Who she has met, who her friends and confidants are, and the effect that she has had on people and vice versa. But it is from such works as these that we can see what makes the fibre of our Queen and what allows her to carry on her duties so flawlessly.

Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith is available in paperback at the Book Depository for $9.44 which includes free delivery. All prices are at the time of writing.

By following the above links and purchasing the book, your buy will help benefit ACM directly, and as with all orders from the Book Depository postage is free.

 
The Crown Jewels: from feudal regalia to icons of freedom Print E-mail
Written by Clr. Simon Frame, Book Editor   
Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I start off by telling you this book, unlike the previous two I reviewed, is a coffee table book.

But like a lot of high-quality contemporary coffee table books, it is thoroughly researched and a great reference work.

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Click here to purchase copy through The Book Depository for
$45.56 hardback $20.87 paperback, post and tax-free (including details of the special edition. Prices were applicable  at the time of writing )

The author Anna Keay is the Curational Director of English Heritage and formerly Assistant Curator of Historic Royal Palaces. She has also authored several other works on the monarchy and presented several television programmes.
 
I remember as a child being taken to see the Crown Jewels when on a family holiday to England. I confess I was rather blasé about them back then. I had no idea about their heritage and workmanship, I just wanted to see the other parts of the Tower of London, preferably those with some military connection.
 
On my most recent visit to England I must say I dwelled far longer looking at these items. The cold weather and lack of crowds at the Tower allowed me the time and space in the Jewel House to do so.
 
I was in awe of what was before me: its history and its visual effect.
 
James Bond once described Miss Moneypenny as "a feast for my eyes". The same could be said about this book.
 
The book is superbly researched and includes commentary on little known objects that were made in medieval England but which went overseas as part of dowry's in dynastic marriages. These beautiful objects include Princess Blanches Crown and the Crown of Margaret of York.

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The medieval Crown of Margaret of York made circa 1300AD

The history of the evolution of regalia from the ancient world and how they became a part of medieval imagery are detailed in this book. Also included are many original design sketches by crown jewellers of the crown jewels.
 
Readers will be surprised to learn the fact that diamonds and other precious stones have been passed from crown to crown for uses at different times, they have rarely ever been static or affixed permanently in crowns with the exceptions of the St Edward and Imperial State Crowns. Indeed before the modern era that is to say roughly the 18th century, the Monarch and Government borrowed jewels for use in Crowns.
 
Of particular interest to the jewel or regalia historian will be to see the gold and silver frames of crowns long since in disuse. Described as un-set, although formerly-set may be a better way to describe them, they seem like the regalia equivalent of a ghost town, the structure is there but not the jewelled substance.

Read more...
 
Our Queen; Her Duty Print E-mail
Written by Clr. Simon Frame, Book Editor   
Thursday, 23 February 2012

This week's book review is of Our Queen by Robert Hardman. This is of course one of many books that have been released in the lead up to the Diamond Jubilee.

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Click here to purchase copy through The Book Depository for $24.77, post and tax-free

Robert Hardman is a well known observer of the Monarchy and the writer of several internationally acclaimed royal documentaries including 'The Queen's Castle' and 'Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work'(and the accompanying book of the same name). The latter series was known here in Australia as 'A Year with the Royal Family'. He is also columnist for the Daily Mail in the UK.

Hardman knows his stuff. The author has interviewed a wide range of figures from the great to the small, including Prince William, John Major former UK Prime Minister and Malcolm Fraser and many other current and former heads of state and government.

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William, Duke of Cambridge speaks frankly about his grandmother and his relationship with her

Whilst the author clearly respects and admires his subject, it is not a fawning work, but rather a sober reflection on what the Queen is and what she does in the performance of her constitutional, social, cultural and family duties.

Whereas the forthcoming book by Sally Bedell-Smith(which I shall review in the next fortnight) focuses on the personal elements and experiences of Elizabeth II, Hardman focuses on the Queen more broadly as Head of State, diplomat, institution and icon.

There are several chapters, but I will touch on a few by way of highlighting the work.

In the chapter called Herself, Hardman shows the personal and charmingly endearing side of Elizabeth II.

In the British Parliament the Senior Opposition Whip has title of Vice Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household and it is his duty to write what is known as a 'message' to the Monarch detailing the events of the days parliamentary proceedings. During the Prime Ministership of John Major this duty fell to Sydney Chapman, MP for Chipping Barnet.

Parliamentary discourse that day focused on the seemingly endless scandals that had beset the Tory Government.

In reporting this discourse Her Majesty's Vice Chamberlain was rather lost for words and decided that a little levity was needed. Hardman writes that Chapman describes the message he sent to Queen as follows:
"there were all these scandals going on so I composed this message, in the traditional third person way, saying that even Her Majesty's Vice-Chamberlain had dreamed that he himself was involved in a scandal and had been caught writing secret notes to a married lady of great importance living in a large house. I thought I might have overstepped the mark. But it obviously went down all right because I got a very nice call from someone at the Palace saying: "Everyone here wishes they were Sydney Chapman right now!"

As Hardman reflects it obviously didn't do Chapman any harm to show some well-judged humour: Sydney Chapman had the unusual honour of, when having stepped down from the job, being offered an instant knighthood.

Also in the same chapter, one of the things that comes shining through is the professionalism of Elizabeth II and indeed her ability to teach the rookies of world stage a thing or two and lead by diplomatic example and be sensitive to the embarrassment of others.

Hardman describes when Barack Obama, President of the United States and his wife were attending a State Dinner in honour of their visit to the United Kingdom:

"There was an excruciating moment in May 2011 when President Barack Obama raised a toast to the Queen at the end of his state banquet speech but then carried on speaking. By now the Orchestra of the Scots Guards had already started playing the National Anthem and it was too late for them to stop. When both had finished, the Queen simply turned to her guest and said: 'That was very kind.' "

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Barack Obama toasing the Queen just moments before his unfortunate diplomatic faux pas

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ROYAL VISIT 2014

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Prince William: The Early Years
Prince Charles

Prince Charles

Constitutional Monarchies & Republics Compared

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Defend the Constitution and Flag
Australian Election Watch

10th Anniversary Neville Bonner Oration

11th Anniversary and Appeal

Crowned Republic 

   Keep The Australian Flag
Return the Governor to Government House
The Succession
The Succession
The Governor of New South Wales
Governor of New South Wales
Fiji
Fijian soldier
Media and Monarchy
Media and Monarchy
Royal Yacht Britannia
Royal Yacht Britannia
Republic Audit: Costs of Republic
Republic Audit: Costs of Republic
Reserve Powers of the Crown
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