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.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Scandinavian Monarchies in WWII

Recently the Mad Monarchist posted an interesting piece about World War II and the Scandinavian Monarchies which draws several themes together. 

I am not quite sure if I agree with the Mad Monarchist in his tendency to see decline in the story he unfolds. Thus in Sweden the constitutional changes ( whether you agree with them or not ) consolidated into law in 1974 were ones which had developed over the preceding three-quart-rs of a century and Swedish commentastors conside rthe monarchy there more popular than in the past. I recall both before and when the present King came to the throne in 1973 journalist were inclined to write off the Swedish monarchy as finished in an age of social democracy. In reality a young King and Queen and their family held the attentuion and loyalty of the majority,and if you follow theses things at all it is clear the Swedish monarchy is no stanger to public splendour and ceremonial  - barely a bicycle in sight. It was back in 1907 that, very regretably, and on the grounds of cost, that the Swedish royal house, abandoned the coronation ritual; such a change is not recent.

Similarly in Norway the coronation ceremony has not been obligatory soon after 1906. I greatly regret that, but the more muted inaguration of King Olav V in 1957 was followed by a more elaborate ceremony in 1991 for King Harald V according to Norwegian friends.

Denmark gave up the coronation in 1863, but the monarchy retains apublic ceremonial face which is impressive.

In both Denmark and Sweden the condtitutional clashes over the King's powers were made manifest in the First World War or its aftermath, not the Second.

The article is also interesting in bringing out the differences between the the kingdoms, perhaps exacerbated for the Danes and Norwegians by Swedish neutality in the years cafter 1940.

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