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July 16, 2013

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Susan Benton

While I can agree with much of what the authors say, he ignores the origin of royal and noble titles - these were the leaders, nearly always military leaders of the ancient and medieval world. They had titles such as king, duke, earl, etc. and passed them on to their children, who normally followed in their footsteps. With a greater and greater specialization of society, and with the harsh reality that some sons (and daughters) do not follow in their parents footsteps, they maintained the title but not the leadership, or leadership skills, military or otherwise of their ancestors. Hence we see that nearly all members of the royal family of Britain are or have been in the military it doesn't always follow that they have the leadership skills needed. Prince Philip and the Earl of Montbatten were military men and reasonably good ones apparently, but Prince Charles not at all, it remains to be seen if his sons and grandsons will succeed where he has failed.

As an American who lived in England for many years I know that the anti-monarchsts in the USA usually don't know enough about it to fully understand that the British middle to upper classes take these things in their stride and are not that impressed. The lower classes - here and there tend not to think at all.

R.J. Godlewski

@ Ms. Benton,

For the record, my ancestors ruled most of what is today Central Europe, so I possess royalty within my own blood. Also, a great many of us fought for Napoleon, so I know about opportunists as well. I will not claim to be an “anti-monarchist” because, frankly, I am an American. I believe in free speech (Britain banned Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller), freedom of religion (Britain is now decidedly post-Christian and swamped by Islamists. That’s what Henry VIII got for abandoning the Church in order to procure more monarchists), and an individual’s ownership of firearms (most British cops that I have seen through the years do not even possess pistols).

Because a power spike deleted my original posting, I will truncate my reply just to say that I am concerned about Prince William’s baby. Cameras will follow that child from birth to death and we will be swamped with photos of the baby’s first presence in the public, first birthday party, first teeth, and, undoubtedly, first “baby made a poo poo!” Already they are discussing that, should the baby be a girl, whether they will include Diana, William’s mother, as part of her name. From the decidedly non-British perspective, I could care less. Princess Diana emerged as someone between a naïve schoolteacher and a nude sunbathing tramp. In this regard, I felt pity for Prince Charles for he had no normal life as had Diana. Yes, she did some good things – BECAUSE she had wealth (for which she never earned), access to the cameras (which she milked for everything she could), and plenty of time on her hands (because she possessed no function). Consider the death of contemporary Mother Theresa. It did not surprise me in the least how both died. One acting like a spoiled teenager and the other quietly going to meet her Maker.

As for British military leadership resulting from the monarchy. Had they won ANY wars since the Spanish Armada was largely defeated through guerrilla (fire ships) conflict? One of the thickest books that I own deals with the British disasters during the 19th century and the world wars were fought with the aid of allies that were certainly far more powerful than Britain. Naturally, there seems to be a pro-British bias within the United States (particularly during the Confederacy) but the vast majority of America’s population and land mass came from other nationalities. Therefore, it is not surprising that New England remains the only part of the country that brags about British affiliation. Having visited and lived within 45 of our 50 states, I can attest to the preponderance of French and Spanish names. :o)

All this said, I do not dismiss or hate the British. I used to like watching Britcoms on television. However, I view the monarchy as equal (or less so) to, say, the governor of Rhode Island or Idaho. At least the governors actually DO SOMETHING to EARN their minimalist pay. The Queen of England gets, what, $65 Million a year for waving her hand in public?

No, I have not forgotten the origin of royal and noble titles. My forefathers gave up their kingdom for independence and freedom. I mean, how many cities can be named after a particular family? What is more important, however, is that I have not forgotten the origin of the United States either. Our founding fathers consciously dismissed the need for any form of monarchy – preferring to have legitimate, functioning representatives elected by their constituency and bound by a Constitution. Why, then, would we necessarily care if another individual has a baby across thousands of miles of ocean? How many babies have been born today (some even dying soon afterwards) that are not even known to us? Who cares about THEM? Who fights for THEIR freedom and right to life, liberty, and the eternal pursuit of happiness (read that last word as JOY).

Regards,

R.J.

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