Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Swedish Royal Wedding

The wedding last weekend of the Crown Princess of Sweden appears, from what I have seen and read to have been a splendid occasion. There is official coverage on the Swedish Monarchy website, and on the Radical Royalist site.

As in this country it gave an opportunity for the mean-spirited and such like minorities to mutter republican ideas and grumble about the cost, all of which seems to have been rather confounded by a successful and joyful wedding. Some of the coverage in the lead up to the wedding touched on this as in a rather predictable Royal wedding triggers Swedish monarchy debate - Washington Times but the general health of the Swedish monarchy as an institution appears good, as in the articles on this site Official Gateway to Sweden, The and in this article analysing the place of the monarchy in Swedish society The monarchy gives Sweden political innocence.

This is interesting in the light of the new Constitution of 1974 which removed all direct exercise of prerogative power from the monarch and the 1980 legislation which gave complet parity in the succession to women - hence the Crown Princess has a younger brother Prince Carl-Philip, who was briefly Crown Prince from his birth in 1979 until the following year. Whatever one might think of these pieces of legislation they do not appear to have weakened the monarchy - indeed giving women equal inheritance rights was seen as strenthening it by the centre-right government in 1980.

I am old enough to recall the idea being circulated around 1973 when King Gustav VI Adolf died that the age disparity between him and his grandson, the present King Carl XVI Gustav was such that the monarchy would wither between the old age of one monarch and the youth of his successor. That does not seem to have happened - the monarchy appears youthful, glamourous and popular. The instant pundits were wrong again it would appear.

From a British standpoint it was, in my opinion, sad that on the official group photograph the Earl and Countess of Wessex were not included, and seem to be excluded along with members of non-regnant houses, such as Romania and Serbia, or the Liechtensteins. Whatever the reasons the presence of the Queen's youngest son and his wife seems rather less high profile than the representation of the other reigning dynasties. This looks rather like the public tendency of the House of Windsor to keep other reigning, never mind non-regmant, dynasties at something like arms-length on occasions other than when they choose their presence - as in the Garter procession with other monarchs to mark the Queen's Jubilee in 2002, or at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. This seems to go back to King George V's choices in 1917 about his name and foreign titles, and one that seems very different to those meetings of the "Royal Mob" in the days of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. Other royal houses seem much more comfortable displaying monarchical solidarity.

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