Monarchy New Zealand

Volume 5 Issue 3 The Newsletter of The Monarchist League of New Zealand Incorporated August 2000

Patron: Hon Sir Peter Tapsell, KNZM MBE

ISSN 1174-8435


Editorial

The present coalition Government probably contains a higher proportion of republicans than any previous government in this country. Although the Prime Minister has acknowledged that the issue of New Zealand becoming a republic is not one of immediate importance, there are some within the parliamentary parties, particularly in the Green Party and the Alliance, who would like to see New Zealand become a republic as soon as possible.

The weakness of the arguments advanced by these republicans is clear to see, for those to take the time to analyse just what they have been saying. As an example, take the maiden speech of Green party MP Keith Locke (covered in detail later in this issue of Monarchy New Zealand).

Locke argues that it is time for New Zealand to "Break free of the British Crown"- an idea that seems to imply New Zealand is in some way still a colony. He complained that "bowing before the British Queen reflects a colonial mentality". If he were to understand that the Queen is Queen of New Zealand he need see no difficulty.

Mr Locke also called the monarchy a "feudal relic", as "nobody should rule because of an accident of birth ". Yet he acknowledged that the monarchy does not have a lot of power.

The crowning absurdity of Mr Locke's argument was his assertion that New Zealanders "should act and think for themselves, and not do anything just to get brownie points from other governments". Is he implying that New Zealand remains a monarchy to please the British (or some other) Government? It is hard to fathom his meaning. New Zealand remains a monarchy because we chose to continue to acknowledge Elizabeth II as our Queen.

If Mr Locke and his confederates wish to advocate a New Zealand republic, they are free to do so. But they should do their homework first, and think before they speak. The inadequacy of their reasoning has been all too apparent so far.

Top


News in Brief

Queen's Birthday Honours' List

The first New Zealand royal honours list without knighthoods was announced on the 5th of June. The first honours list without titles received noticeably less media attention than previous lists. Indeed, coverage was so slight that one might be forgiven for not realising that any honours had been awarded at all.

The senior award went to Most Revd Thomas Cardinal Williams, head of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand, who was made a Companion of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ). His appointment brings the number of living ordinary members to the maximum number of 20.

The recipients of the new grades of the New Zealand Order of Merit, which replace knighthoods and damehoods, included the Rt Revd Te Whakahiu Vercoe, MBE, Bishop of Aotearoa, who was made a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merrit (PCNZM).

The five new Distinguished Companions (DCNZM) were Heather Begg, OBE, Russell Coutts, CBE, Grace Hollander, CBE JP, Hon Douglas Kidd, MP, and Professor Vincent O'Sullivan.

The twelve Companions (CNZM) included the Hon Robert Smellie, QC, and the Rt Hon Robert Tizard, former husband of Dame Catherine Tizard, Governor-General 1990-96.

There were 26 Officers (ONZM), including Ian Haynes, Commodore David Ledson, RNZN, and an honorary ONZM was awarded to Francesco de Angelis.

Fifty Members (MNZM) were appointed, as well as one additional and two honorary Members.

The awards in the Queen's Service Order included seven QSO for Community Service, and eight for Public Service.

The Queen's Service Medal was awarded to 32 people for Community Service, and 32 for Public Service. The former group include Fay Giles, a member of the League.

Lt-Col John Dyer, RNZA, received the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration (NZGD) for services as a UN Observer in Sierra Leone. This award is equivalent to the MC.

A Special List for East Timor included two CNZM. These were Major-General Peter Cosgrove, AC MC, the Australia Commander of the Interim Force, and Brigadier Martyn Dunne, the Commander of the New Zealand contingent. Other awards for East Timor included five ONZM, 14 MNZM, and five QSM for Public Service.

The New Zealand Gallantry Star (NZGS)- equivalent to the DSO- was awarded to Col Neville Reilly, ONZM, and the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration (NZGD)- equivalent to the AFC- to Sqn-Ldr Logan Cudby, RNZAF.

 

AGM Report

The fifth annual general meeting of the Monarchist League of New Zealand was held on the 28th of May. The new Council included a number of changes. Mr Noel Cox is now Chairman, and Mr Merv Tilsley Vice-Chairman of the League. Mr John Cox is the new Treasurer. Miss Nancy Sellars will remain as Secretary until the end of the calendar year. If any member would be prepared to accept this post they are urged to contact the Chairman.

The AGM expressed its thanks to Mr Merv Tilsley, who had been Chairman of the League since its foundation in 1995.

Robert Mann, MSc PhD, and Ian Madden, MA LLB FSAScot, have joined the Council.

Mr Ian Revell, MP, has resigned as patron. As he is retiring from active politics he felt that his usefulness to the League would be lessened. The Annual General Meeting accepted his decision with regret, and we thank him for his past support.

The AGM decided that membership subscriptions for the current year would remain at the 1999-2000 levels. A renewal notice has been included with this issue of Monarchy New Zealand for those members who have not already paid their 2000-2001 subscriptions.

 

Fellowships to Australians

In accordance with the Constitution of The Monarchist League of New Zealand Incorporated, Philip Benwell, MBE and Kerry Jones have been elected to Fellowship of the Society.

Mr Benwell is Chairman of the Monarchist League of Australia. Mrs Jones is Executive Director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. Both were heavily involved in the recent referendum in Australia, and the League felt that was appropriate that their efforts be marked in some way.

The Constitution provides for the election of fellows by the Council, for distinguished service in promoting the objects of the Society. These are to promote, support and defend the monarchical system of government in New Zealand and abroad. Fellows may also be elected for distinguished service to the Society.

Mr Benwell and Mrs Jones are the first Fellows to be elected, and are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "FMLNZ".

Top


Royal Diary

Events to mark the Queen Mother's birthday

The first of the events to mark the 100th birthday of the Queen Mother was a ball held at Windsor Castle on the 21st June. This also marked the 70th birthday of Princess Margaret, the 50th birthday of Princess Anne, and the 40th birthday of Prince Andrew.

The BBC abandoned plans to broadcast Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's 100th birthday tribute, a huge parade involving soldiers, civilians and aircraft, because executives do not think that it would attract enough viewers. The decision by the corporation, which pulled out of negotiations with organisers of the event after five months of talks, was condemned by British MPs and several of the Queen Mother's favourite charities as a disgrace.

ITV stepped into the breach, and broadcast live coverage of the Queen Mother's birthday pageant in July. Regrettably, the New Zealand news media has shown no interest in the event, and did not respond to calls from the League to broadcast the parade.

The 100th birthday pageant for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was the first royal occasion since the beginning of the 20th century where seats have been sold to corporate sponsors. Opposition politicians in Britain condemned the Government for refusing to find £400,000 for the open-air military gala on Horse Guards Parade on the 19th of July. The parade involved some 7,000 soldiers and civilians.

The hundredth year of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, was also marked with the issue of a £5 commemorative coin by the Royal Mint in Britain.

Although legal tender, the coin is expected to appeal mainly to souvenir collectors, and only a small number are likely to enter general circulation. Specialist coin dealers said that because they were produced in such large numbers, modern commemorative coins rarely held their value for collectors. The new coin features a portrait of the Queen Mother in profile, with her signature, the dates "1900" and "2000", and a background scene of flag-waving crowds.

It was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, whose controversial portrait of the Queen also appears on the obverse. Mr Rank-Broadley, who enjoys the rare distinction of having designed both sides of the coin, was criticised for his updated portrait of the monarch which appears on the standard coinage in several of Her Majesty's realms. Critics have said that the Queen "looked like a jowly, elderly woman rather than a head of state".

Of his depiction of the monarch's mother, based on photographs taken at a special session at Clarence House, Mr Rank-Broadley said: "I wanted a realistic portrait which shows Her Majesty's dignified bearing of many years, but retained the elegance and grace for which she is so admired."

The cupro-nickel coin, of the same alloy as is used for 5p, 10p and 50p coins, is being sold in a presentation folder for £9.95, with gold and silver versions available since May at much higher prices.

A small quantity of the cupro-nickel version will go into general circulation at face value later in the year.

In another event marking the birthday, The Queen Mother's Century In Stamps, a book of stamps dating back to 1932, was launched in London by the philatelist, Peter Jennings, and the royal photographer, Tim Graham.

In New Zealand a number of events have been organised to mark the centenary. This will include Evensong in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Parnell, Auckland. Local members of the league are asked to attend. The service will be at 5 pm on Sunday 6th August.

Wellington Cathedral is also organising a Thanksgiving Service, for lunchtime on the 4th of August. This will be attended by the Chief Justice, Dame Sian Elias and is organised with the support of the Prime Minister's department. Nelson is holding a similar event; Dunedin is organising a street parade and party.

The National Programme public radio will feature recollections of people who have written in relating to the visits made by The Queen Mother to New Zealand, on its Sunday night programme for the 6th of August. New Zealand Post is issuing a set of stamps to mark the Queen Mother's birthday. Members are encouraged to purchase these to show our support for the monarchy.

 

Prince William turn 18

Prince William has decided to remain as "William" and not to be referred to as "His Royal Highness" until he starts to undertake royal duties later in life.

Although he has been styled HRH since birth, convention dictates that royal children are not addressed as such until they are 18. Although the media widely misreported this as a change, a similar announcement was made at the time of the 18th birthday of the Duke of York, in 1978.

Now in the midst of A-Level studies, the Prince confirmed his intention to read history of art at university and has finally disclosed the full results of the GCSE exams he took in 1997 and 1998. He obtained three A* passes in French, Latin and biology, five As in English, English Literature, geography, history and Spanish, and two Bs in maths and additional French. These are better than had been predicted by the critics and suggest that he is likely to do well in his A-Levels in history of art, biology and geography.

Despite speculation to the contrary, no final choice of university has been made. Decisions about royal duties or a possible career in the Services remain a long way off.

In another sign of the prince's upbringing coming to an end, the Joint Head Masters, Ludgrove School, Gerald Barker and Michael Marston, have both been made LVOs in the latest Queen's Birthday Honours list in the United Kingdom.

Lieutenants of the Royal Victorian Order are approximately equivalent to OBEs. Prince William attended Ludgrove School 1990-95, and Prince Henry from 1992 to 1998. Mrs Olga Powell, assistant nanny to the Prince and Princess of Wales from 1982, was given the Royal Victorian Medal in the same list.

Top


Overseas News

Prince's Trust chartered

The Prince of Wales accepted a royal charter from Her Majesty The Queen on 1st of November 1999, in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace, on behalf of The Prince's Trust.

The Trust was set up in 1976 by the Prince of Wales to encourage young people to help others and in so doing to become aware of their own abilities and potential.

Charters are petitioned for by many organisations which aspire to obtain this much-valued form of recognition. However, royal charters of incorporation are an expression of royal favour and are only sparingly granted. They recognise outstanding achievement on the part of an institution that is pre-eminent in its field. The main types of organisations likely to receive royal charters today are educational, professional or benevolent.

A royal charter creates a new independent legal personality. The grant is effected as an exercise of the royal prerogative, on the advice of the Privy Council. The legal personality so created is distinct from those created by, or under, statute. A body incorporated by royal charter has all the powers of a natural person and is not restricted by the doctrine of ultra vires (beyond legal power) that generally limits an institution incorporated under Acts of Parliament.

The Prince of Wales's Trust has been in New Zealand since 1995. It has set up operations in south and west Auckland, Porirua, and Whangarei.

Like the Trust established in the United Kingdom, the Prince of Wales's Trust in New Zealand is a joint venture between private enterprise and government to help unemployed youth into work.

Steve Marshall, Chairman of the Trust in New Zealand, and former Director-General of the New Zealand Employers Federation, co-ordinates with government departments, including defence, youth affairs, income support and employment, to achieve the objectives of the Trust. Private sector companies play an equally important role.

 

Lord Camoys resigns

Lord Camoys, 60, who as Lord Chamberlain was head of the Queen's Household, retired at the end of May because of ill health.

The former banker has had surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain. Although he is expected to make a full recovery, his doctor has advised that it would not be sensible to continue in a demanding public role. The Palace said Lord Camoys, who was appointed in January 1998, was very disappointed but felt unable to carry out "the full range of his duties without putting his long-term health at risk". The Queen appointed him as a Permanent Lord in Waiting from the date of his retirement on the 31st of May.

Lord Camoys is credited with turning the role of Lord Chamberlain into something akin to the advisory role of non-executive directors of public companies. He has concentrated on ensuring that the Royal Family's public image was improved, appointing a director of communications from industry. Advice has been given to the Queen on how to run her financial affairs, and Palace staff have been kept informed of what the Royal Household was doing through an in-house magazine and regular briefings.

The position of Lord Chamberlain, traditionally the channel of communications between the monarch and Parliament, dates from the Middle Ages. The position was a political appointment until Ramsay MacDonald's first Labour government allowed King George V to personally decide on an appointment. Lord Camoys took no role in political affairs and did not remain a member of the House of Lords following the recent reforms.

Lord Camoys - born Ralph Thomas Campion George Sherman Stonor - is one of Britain's leading Roman Catholic laymen and a descendant of Sir Thomas de Camoys, who commanded the left wing of the English army at Agincourt. The Duchess of Kent took her first Mass following her conversion to Catholicism at Lord Camoys's private chapel in Stonor Park.

 

New Master of the Household

Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Blackburn, LVO, takes over as Master of the Household from Major-General Sir Simon Cooper, KCVO, this month. General Cooper, a former Major-General Commanding the Household Division and General Officer Commanding London District, had held the office for eight years.

The Master of the Household is nominally deputy to the Lord Steward, but actually controls all domestic services for The Queen's Household, wherever Her Majesty may be living. He is responsible in particular for State banquets, and other royal entertainment, and for the employment of domestic staff. The Master of the Household also liases with police, and controls the Palace Post Office. In carrying out his duties he meets The Queen at least weekly.

In the course of his naval career Admiral Blackburn has held several posts which gave him a thorough grounding in the skills necessary for a Master of the Household. His last post was a Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe. In this role he combined administrative responsibilities with diplomatic duties. He had been Equerry to the Duke of Edinburgh during 1976-78.

After commanding HM Ships Kirkliston, Birmingham, York, and Cornwall, Blackburn held several posts at the Ministry of Defence. His penultimate naval posting was as Defence Attaché and Head of the British Defence Staff Washington, another posting where diplomacy looms large.

 

The Solomonic Crown

Ethiopia was the oldest continuously functioning monarchy in the world, traditionally descended from the union of King Solomon (King David's son) and Queen Makeda of Sabae (Sheba) some 3,000 years ago. The monarchy is Christian, but is also intertwined with the Jewish and Muslim religions, and as such is a true representative of the Ethiopian people, and the cultures that make up that diverse country.

The late Emperor Haile Selassie I was very much liked by our own Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. They often visited each other's countries, and the Royal Family still have some contact with surviving members of the Imperial Family.

Since the coup in 1974 and the subsequent murder of Emperor Haile Selassie I, the Imperial Family have been living in exile. The late Emperor's eldest son was at the time in Geneva having medical treatment. He wisely did not return home, but instead went to London. Some years after the death of Haile Selassie he was declared Emperor, as Amha Selassie I. A year after the coup the Imperial Family went to live in the USA, home in exile to many Ethiopians. He died in Washington DC in 1997, leaving his son HIH Crown Prince Zere Yacob Amha Selassie as the new heir to the imperial crown.

During his short reign, Amha Selassie I re-established the Crown Council in 1993, to preserve the crown, its ranks, titles, symbols, and history during the present interregnum. It also acts as an advisory body to the Crown and to the Crown Prince. Today the President of the Crown Council, who was appointed by the late Emperor Amha Selassie I, is his nephew HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie. Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie lives with his family in Washington DC, and is very much a respected person in the world of diplomacy, and is well qualified for this role.

Emperor Haile Selassie I

HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie has recently established The Imperial Society of St George of Lalibela, dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of the sacred and most ancient living pillar of western and African civilizations. In other words, to help the Crown Council in its efforts to restore and maintain the crown. Its Imperial Commandery's spiritual home in exile is in Washington DC. However, when restoration occurs, it will be transferred to the Church of St George in Lalibela, Ethiopia.

We must never let the cause of monarchy die, wherever it may be. For it would be folly indeed, particularly in this ever changing modernising world, to think that our own monarchy could never face a similar fate as that of the Ethiopian or many other monarchies. If any readers would like to know more about The Imperial Society of St George of Lalibela, or would like to support the cause of restoration in Ethiopia, then please contact the author of this article, at 23 Engels Road, Shannon, 5555, New Zealand.

Kevin Couling Baron de St Saveur

Royal Yachts

Alternative role

Although it has been said that a new royal yacht would not have a military role, and the intention seemed to be to give her an enhanced commercial role, there were alternative roles suitable for a royal yacht. As a royal yacht would not be required for extended periods, there are other roles, apart from hosting sea days, which could be fulfilled at other times.

As the royal yacht carries The Queen, who, as well as being Sovereign, is Lord High Admiral, the Britannia had already acted as a flagship. Whilst it would not be practical to fit the full range of command control intelligence and communications equipment necessary for the new royal yacht to act as an operational flagship, there is no reason why it could not be designated as a peacetime flagship for limited purposes, such as training cruises.

This raises the possibility of using the ship as Royal Naval College training ship. In the second term of naval general training at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, officers under training join the Dartmouth training ship for a training cruise. During the course of the cruise young officers work their way around the various specialist departments of the ship. A ship operating in the role of the Dartmouth training ship is never operational whilst carrying officers under training, so there would be no risk of the royal yacht becoming involved in active operations.

Until 1972 a Dartmouth Training Squadron, consisting of a number of frigates, took cadets on training cruises. From the late 1970's to the early 1980's, the amphibious ships Fearless and Intrepid took turns to carry cadets, until frigates were again given the role. Neither types of vessel were specifically designed or fitted for this task, though the Fearless with 600 crew, and accommodation for 400 Royal Marines, had space readily available for young officers.

The destroyer HMS Bristol was converted in 1984-6 for service as a dedicated training cruiser. Although she was expected to be used in this role for fifteen years, she was only operational between 1987 and 1991. HMS Bristol carried 400 crew, in addition to 100 midshipmen on the nine week training cruise. Although with a slightly reduced war role, she could still act as flagship for Flag Officer First Flotilla when required for observing naval exercises.

In 1991, Bristol was confined to a harbour-only role. The first batch of the Broadsword-class frigates were given the midshipman training role. The four ships carried 65 officers under training on training cruises until they were sold off in 1995-7.

While frigates can be used to give officers sea-going experience, there are advantages in using a dedicated ship, especially one large enough to carry a significant number of specialist officers. Any new midshipman training ship would also have to be sufficiently well-equipped to adequately represent the widest range of equipment found on modern naval vessels.

All functional departments were well represented on HMY Britannia, except weapons engineering. As on aircraft carriers, and HMS Bristol, on Britannia the Heads of Departments were commanders, and many Special Duties officers were borne. The environment on the Britannia would have been suitable for training midshipmen in most of the skills required of officers.

The proposed new royal yacht could be used as a midshipman training ship. Training cruises are relatively short, and are scheduled well in advance, as are royal visits. There would be no insurmountable difficulty in using the yacht as a training ship when not required as a royal yacht, just as the Fearless-class were used as training ships when not required as amphibious warfare ships.

Such a dual role is not unprecedented overseas. The French navy midshipman training ship is the helicopter carrier Jeanne d'Arc. In peacetime she carries 182 officers under training on six-month training cruises. In times of tension or war she would carry anti-submarine helicopters.

Thailand has chosen the expedient much used in Britain between the world wars, and has fitted their new light aircraft carrier, the Chahri Narubot, with royal apartments. Delivered early in 1997, and with 600 crew, she is designed to carry 10-12 AV-8S Harrier attack aircraft, and 10-15 Sea King anti-submarine helicopters. It remains to be seen whether such a composite ship will prove a success in the role of royal yacht, though experience in Britain would suggest that such a compromise is rarely successful.

The combination of operational aircraft carrier and royal yacht risks a conflict of roles; a combined training ship and royal yacht should be much less risky, because the training programme is planned far in advance. Operational exigencies which might affect an aircraft carrier are unlikely to affect a training ship.

The Britannia's long-standing role of hospital ship was the only role for an operational naval vessel which was legally non-combatant. However, this requires that the ship not be fitted with cryptographic machines, nor carry ciphers or codes. These are however necessary on a royal yacht.

If converted to the role of hospital ship, the Britannia would have been declared to the International Red Cross, and painted with the appropriate markings. In the Gulf War 1990-91 the RFA Argus fulfilled this role, and the Britannia never served as a hospital ship, either then or in the earlier South Atlantic conflict.

There might be advantages in giving a royal yacht an alternative war-time role, but the cost or inconvenience of conversion tends to make it impractical. It makes more sense to give the yacht a secondary, peace-time role, such as training ship. This would not be an operational naval role, nor would it in any way reduce the prestige value of the yacht. The reduced likelihood of a major war also makes a secondary peace-time role more practical than a secondary war role.

reprinted from Navy Today October 1997

 

 

Royal Poetry

The second poem in our new series needs no introduction to readers. Land of Hope and Glory, also sometimes called Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned, is one of the best known royal and patriotic songs. What is not so well known is that it was first arranged as a coronation ode.

In the autumn of 1901 the Covent Garden Grand Opera Syndicate commissioned a work to be premiered at a Royal gala on the eve of King Edward VII's coronation. Sir Edward Elgar was the obvious choice for composer. Elgar chose to use the trio section of his new Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 as the foundation for the new "Coronation Ode (1902)". Pomp and Circumstance No.1 was the first of a set of five military marches collectively known as Opus 39, and was already a popular march, although it had only been published the previous year.

The completed Coronation Ode was in six parts and approximately 35 minutes long. The finale was Land of Hope and Glory, with words by Dr Arthur Benson to Elgar's March. Benson also assisted with the libretto for the rest of the Ode. He was a scholar and a prolific writer, and was the eldest son of an Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Ode was completed by the beginning of April 1902 and received a provincial premiere at the Sheffield Festival in October of that year. The Sheffield Choir, who were to have sung the work at its intended London premiere, had the Coronation not been delayed by the King's appendicitis, performed the new work.

The Coronation Ode's Finale proved so popular that Elgar asked Benson to provide alternative words for an arrangement of the tune for solo voice. It is the chorus to this arrangement, first sung by Dame Clara Butt in London in June 1902, that has proved so enduring. The words that follow are from this later version.

LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY

1. Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned.

God make thee mightier yet!

On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned,

Once more thy crown is set.

Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,

Have ruled thee well and long;

By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,

Thine Empire shall be strong.

Chorus:

Land of Hope and Glory,

Mother of the Free,

How shall we extol thee,

Who are born of thee?

Wider still and wider

Shall thy bounds be set;

God, who made thee mighty,

Make thee mightier yet.

2. Thy fame is ancient as the days,

As Ocean large and wide:

A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,

A stern and silent pride:

Not that false joy that dreams content

With what our sires have won;

The blood a hero sire hath spent

Still nerves a hero son.

Chorus:

Land of Hope and Glory, etc.

Sir E Elgar/AC Benson

 

Royal Residences past and present

Gatcombe Park

Gatcombe Park is the private country home of the Princess Royal, situated between the Gloucestershire villages of Minchinhampton and Avening, five miles south of Stroud. The house and farming estate were bought by The Queen in 1976 for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. The previous owner was Lord Butler, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a former Home Secretary, who had inherited the house from his father-law, Samuel Courtauld. Courtauld had acquired it from the Ricardo family, owners from 1814 to 1940.

The house was built 1771-74 for Edward Sheppard. It features Bath stone construction, and comprises five main bedrooms, four secondary bedrooms, four reception rooms, a library, a billiard room and a conservatory, as well as staff accommodation. It was renovated and redecorated for Princess Anne and Captain Phillips, and they moved into it in November 1977. In 1978 the land was increased by the purchase of the adjoining Aston Farm. The Gatcombe estate now covers around 730 acres, of which 200 acres are woodland, and includes a trout lake containing brown trout. There are considerable stabling facilities, including a new stable block built for the Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips.

Carisbrooke Castle

Carisbrooke Castle, on the Isle of Wight, was long a royal castle, though rarely a royal residence. However, it is infamous as the place of imprisonment of King Charles I after the civil wars of the seventeenth century. Most recently it was the home of Princess Beatrice, daughter of Queen Victoria, as Governor of Isle of Wight, 1896-1944.

Carisbrooke was the strongest castle on the island, though it does not dominate the countryside like many other castles.

There are traces of a Roman fort underneath the later buildings. Seventy-one steps lead up to the keep; the reward is a fine view. In the centre of the castle enclosure are the domestic buildings; these are mostly of the 13th century, with upper parts of the 16th. Some are in ruins, but the main rooms were used as the official residence of the Governor of the Isle of Wight until the 1940s, and they remain in good repair.

The Great Hall, Great Chamber, and several smaller rooms are open to the public, and an upper room houses the Isle of Wight Museum. Most rooms are partly furnished, but on the whole it is the fireplaces and other features of the rooms themselves which are most interesting.

One of the main subjects of the Museum is King Charles I. He tried to escape from the castle in 1648, but was unable to get through the bars of his window.

Near the domestic buildings is the well-house with its working donkey wheel. As it is still operated by donkeys, the wheel is a great attraction and creates long queues. Next to the main gate is the chapel which was rebuilt on old foundations in 1905.

Surrounding the whole castle are large earthworks, designed by the Italian Federigo Gianibelli, and begun in the year before the Spanish Armada. They were finished in the 1590s. The outer gate has the date 1598 and the arms of Queen Elizabeth I.

 

Book Review

The Ninth Rama: A Biography of King Bhumibol of Thailand, by William Stevenson

This is the extraordinary life story of Bhumibol, King of Thailand, who for the last fifty years has been the monarch of one of the most troubled and exotic kingdoms of the modern world. Brought up in the west, Bhumibol acceded to the Thai throne when his brother King Ananda was assassinated, and he was immediately confronted, at the young age of 19, with a task that was almost unimaginably difficult and dangerous.

Not only was his position insecure- he was suspected both domestically and internationally of engineering his brother's murder- but the country he hardly knew was a crucible of conflicting ideas and influences.

Thailand's people regarded their king as a god, and the huge royal court was Byzantine in its protocol and its intrigues. At the same time the strategic importance of Thailand as a possible bulwark against communism made it increasingly the focus of Western political interest and interference.

Married to the beautiful Queen Sirikit, King Bhumibol, the Ninth Rama of the Siamese dynasty, has fought his country's problems in his own unique way. Making use of the latest technology to bring his people into the twenty-first century, he also continues to maintain the mediaeval ceremonial that means so much to the country.

In order to keep abreast of international weapons experts operating inside his borders, he has become himself an expert in modern weaponry- and yet, as a devout Buddhist, he is committed to turning Thailand into an ideal Buddhist society of equals.

William Stevenson, a journalist and author, spent five years in Bangkok, and was given unprecedented access to the king and his family.

Top


Published by The Monarchist League of New Zealand Inc. Editor: Mr Noel Cox, 123 Stanley Road, Glenfield, Auckland 1310, New Zealand. Tel: +64 9 444-7687; Fax: +64 9 444-7397; E-mail: noel.cox@xtra.co.nz


Home

1