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, 10 December 2010

More on the Crown of Finland

Following my post abbout the King of Finland and his crown I received the following pieces from my Orielensis friend in Finland, Konsta Helle - perhaps I should head this From Our Finnish Correspondent.

"After not checking your blog for a few days I was delighted to find out you had posted a piece on Finland; it's rather a shame there's very little information on the proposed Kingdom of Finland in English. Dr Vesa Vares, a Finnish political historian, wrote an eminently readable and scholarly treatise on the topic in 1998, entitled Kuninkaan Tekijät: Suomalainen Monarkia 1917-1919 (Makers of a King: The Finnish Monarchy 1917-1919.) Dr Vares has written quite a lot in English and in German, but as far as I know the monograph is currently only available in Finnish.

One of the interesting and quite unique aspects of Finnish history is that while it was eventually deemed expedient to have a president instead of a king, the wide-ranging political powers designed for the king remained practically identical in the republican constitution; and thus between 1918 and 2000 (when the constitution was altered) we had a president who could - and often, especially at the time of Urho Kekkonen, would - exercise extremely dominant though perfectly constitutional political role ranging from appointing 'his men' for bishops, judges, and ambassadors to dissolving parliaments, calling general elections, sacking ministers, and single-handedly conducting foreign policy. It's also notable that the very monarchical systems of noble titles and their inheritance continues together with the proliferation of various military and chivalric orders. "

In response to an e-mail from me he adds

" I should add that the old constitution I mentioned was not a single entity (like the new one is) but was composed of several pieces of legislation passed between 1918 and 1928 with various later amendments. The most important individual act was the 1919 Order of Government, or Hallitusmuoto in Finnish.

There is further information on various noble families and Finnish nobility here - click a link on the right for an English summary. There's also a website for different orders of chivalry here and here .

The three current orders are the Order of the Cross of Liberty, the Order of the White Rose of Finland, and the Order of the Finnish Lion. The President of the Republic is the Grand Master of all three orders and has the sole right and authority to award decorations.

Here's a collection of photos of the different types and classes of decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty, for the Order of the White Rose of Finland, and for the Order of the Lion of Finland.

The presidential website has some detailed information on the subject here.

Konsta adds "Hope this is of interest, and please let me know if you'd like to know more about the subject! "

Well, yes I would!


Image from the Almanach de Gotha

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