For those who find our monarchy a ridiculous throwback to an earlier age of abject subservience we recommend a dip into this week’s New European for a hilarious piece about would-be monarchs not recognised by their own countries. A few examples:
[One] modest royal was Nicholas Romanov, who until his death in 2014 had a strong claim to the imperial crown of Russia as a direct descendant of Tsar Nicholas I. He lived in exile as, among other things, a Tuscan cattle farmer and only visited Russia for the first time in 1992 – as a tour guide. Despite his heritage Nicholas was essentially a republican on whose death the dynastic inheritance passed to his brother Dmitri, a retired banker in Copenhagen who seems to share his brother’s lack of appetite for reasserting royal rule. Their claim is vigorously disputed by their formidable cousin the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna largely, it seems, on the grounds that Nicholas and his father had married beneath themselves. Maria, who still refers to the current Russian government as ‘the Bolsheviks’, is seemingly more assertively regal than her cousins and has declared she is “ready to respond to a call from the people”.
There’s a similar dynastic squabble in Italy. Vittorio Emanuele, the Prince of Naples, has had a long and bitter rivalry with his third cousin, Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, over who is the rightful Duke of Savoy, the bloodline of Italy’s last king Umberto II. Matters came to a head in 2004 when on leaving a dinner in Madrid hosted by King Juan Carlos of Spain the two men are said to have come to blows on the steps outside, with Amedeo left with a bleeding mouth and the King of Spain shaking his head in disbelief. Both combatants were in their sixties at the time.
The current Crown Prince of Albania Leka II has worked for the nation’s foreign ministry, advised the Albanian president, and plays a lot of golf. Arguably the most controversial thing to befall him is having to sign a declaration before visiting relatives in Australia that he wouldn’t address any ‘dissident groups’. He was four years old.
Alongside all this nonsense, our dear Queen luxuriates in the age-old flummeries – and presumably can’t believe her luck. As for the future Charles III, he rather pushes his luck in Lady Thatcher’s Wink…