Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monarchy News

From an Illinois news site, an item of interest to royalwatchers:

Queen for a day

Sonja Haraldsen stopped by the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio for a visit on Sept. 12. Sonja also goes by the title, "Queen of Norway." She took the tour and "enjoyed time in the museum shop," according to Wright Preservation Trust staff. Don't know if she bought anything.

In case you're curious, Sonja was born on the Fourth of July (1937). According to Wikipedia, she has been the wife of King Harald V for 41 years. The couple dated secretly for nine years because of Sonja's non-royal status. The future king informed his father that he would never marry if he couldn't marry Sonja, which might well have ended the monarchy altogether since he was the only heir.

She became queen upon her father-in-law's death in 1991 and subsequently has done her share of traveling. In 2005, she became the first queen to visit Antarctica. One of the perks of her job is that she was automatically appointed Rear Admiral in the Royal Norwegian Navy and Brigadier General in the Royal Norwegian Army.

No word on what she thought of Wright, but at least she didn't say, "Off with his head!"

I fear that many of my fellow countrymen associate the word "royalty" with the phrase "off with his head". In any case, ordering the decapitation of the great architect would seem rather pointless, as he died in 1959.

There is a very nice photo of Her Majesty at the website.

Malta: a babe in arms

The 1974 parliamentary coup which transformed Malta from monarchy to republic was another first. Should this be on the candidates list for National Day? It remains memorable for the way it was done more than for its effect. Had anybody started a debate or called a referendum on whether Malta should shed it last remaining shreds of Monarchy a majority would have been found. The PN Opposition would have been outmanoeuvred, too embarrassed to defend a British Queen. Blessed by consensus, the transition may have eluded notice. Instead the new republican constitution, (little more than an amended version of the earlier one) was forced upon the country under threat by the government to seize absolute power on the pretext that Article 6 of the constitution which mere said that the constitution was supreme was not itself entrenched requiring a two thirds majority for its amendment.
The constitutional amendments including the stopping of this loophole were agreed to by the opposition under apparent duress. No revolution took place on December 13th. There was no break in legal continuity and the Government was allowed its two thirds majority. Instead of consensus granting ownership of the change to all parties, we had coercion and we still have resentment.

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