Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Friday, 9 February 2007

The "Princess Pat's" Colonel-in-Chief

This is a most unwelcome precedent. The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada (1999-2005), has been offered the Colonelcy-in-Chief of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (see PPCLI), effective March 17, 2007. From many standpoints this is to be commended, assuming the elderly Lady Patricia, the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, is retiring from the position out of her own volition: the Queen has appointed her, the Government of Canada endorses her, the Regiment apparently wants her, her commitment to the troops while in office was sincere and above the call of duty - all very proper, all very well and good. Only I wish it were more so.The problem with Her Emminence is that she has never been satisfied in her role as a foil for monarchy, nor understood that her function was to be Her Majesty's representative in Canada, and nothing more. It is still shocking to recall her interview on CBC Newsworld back in October 2006, when she stated that she felt that while the Queen remained popular with Canadians, the Governor General was the direct representative of the Crown, not of the Queen, and was therefore Canada's legal head of state! This is an utterly scandalous interpretation of the Constitution to say the least, though quite McWhinnian and one wholly fitting within the long tradition of Liberals usurping and arrogating to themselves the prerogatives of the Crown. But even for Liberals - even for Liberals - it is one breathtakingly monstrous leap to go from pretending you're the head of state, to stating you actually are!

"She's the first Canadian to actually serve in the role as civilian advocate for the soldiers of the PPCLI", snorts the Globe and Mail, most agreeably, knowing full well that such positions are reserved almost exclusively for royalty. Now its true that in rare circumstances a non-royal can fulfill the role - the Duke Of Wellington's Regiment comes to mind, so does Lord Kitchener's Own - but we never had to worry about Wellington or Kitchener confusing the Crown with themselves. Peculiar, isn't it: Australian elites seek to abolish the Crown, British elites seek to control it - we, on the other hand, seek merely to be it. And that probably makes us the worst of the bunch.

Now what will happen to all our royal Captains-General and Colonelcies-in-Chief upon the demise of Elizabeth the Second, do you suppose? A most unwelcome precedent has been set.

HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850–1942) was a son of Queen Victoria, and brother to King Edward VII. Arthur served as the Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. He was a popular Governor General and offered his royal patronage to a number of newly created regiments during the Great War. His very popular daughter, Princess Patricia, took an active interest in her namesake regiment that was formed in 1914.

Princess Patricia of Connaught attaching laurels to the standard of "Princess Pat's" Regiment during the Great War. She designed the regimental colours herself, a crimson flag with a circular blue centre. In the circle are gold initials V P which stand for Victoria Patricia.

Princess Patricia of Connaught

Princess Patricia, First Colonel-in-Chief (1918-1974) of the PPCLI

Lady Patricia, second Colonel and Chief (1974-2007) and cousin to Princess Patricia

Adrienne Clarkson, to be third Colonel-in-Chief on March 17, 2007


Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Two points.

First, the Globe and Mail isn't "snorting" at anyone. That was a Canadian Press wire story you linked to, so your beef is with them, not the Globe (the same exact story appeared in the Edmonton Sun, the Ottawa Citizen... literally dozens of Canadian papers). Also, as a Monarchist myself, I don't think we want to be pointing out that the reason a Canadian Colonel-in-Chief has never occured before is because it's traditionally an honour for a member of the Royal family (hence reminding everyone that no member of the Royal family has ever chosen to call Canada their home). THAT certainly won't sway any nay-sayers to the cause!

Second, it is my understanding that the regiment itself selected Mme Clarkson as their Colonel-in-Chief, having bonded quite personally with her during her visits to Afghanistan. And, while I'm a Monarchist too, as far as I'm concerned, if our soldiers decided they wanted to have a Chia Pet as their Colonel-in-Chief I'd support their decision. Monarchist or not, they're heroes, and I would never question their choice.

Also, on a factual note, are you sure Lord Kitchener was ever Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment that bore his name? Maybe so, but the regiment (the 244th Infantry Batallion) began recruiting in Montreal (near McGill, on Peel street) in the Spring of 1916, and Lord Kitchener was killed in June of 1916. I always thought the regiment was named for Kitchener AFTER his death, and I wasn't aware that there was any specific conection to him before that. Was I wrong? Being born and raised in Kitchener (hence my tag... I literally AM one of Kitchener's Own, in one sense) I'd be interested to be corrected if I was wrong!

Anonymous said...

Canadian Press are communists. Secondly, Clarkson is a communist and anti-monarchist and this is not a finger in our faces but a fist pumping.
(real conservative)

The Monarchist said...

Thanks. I already made mention that the PPCLI wanted her, which is great as far as that goes.

I could be wrong on LKO. I assumed this was the case, just as it was for Duke of Connaught's Own, the Queen's Own Rifles, etc - it's own meaning under their patronage, royal or not. The Duke of Wellington was most certainly C-in-C of his own regiment.

Your point that it is traditionally an honour for the Royals to be C-in-C is bass ackwards - the honour is all ours! It is an honour to receive a royal patronage, and all regiments who do naturally have a royal as mother or father of the regimental family. The exception would be for quite exceptional, deserving individuals. Remember that not even the Governor General is C-in-C of the GG's namesake regiments because it is not under their patronage. The great Vincent Massey, who was offered the Order of the Garter, wasn't even considered for the honour.

Other than all the good reasons for doing this, I worry that the precedent is simply one because of Canadian-ness, which is an insinuating snort in the direction of the Royal Family that they are not sufficiently Canadian, which is a reprehensible "little Canadian" nationalist sly against the Queen of Canada and her royal siblings!

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


Excellent point about the Royal patronage being an honour for the Regiment. However, I'd imagine Her Majesty and other Royals are also honoured to be connected to our Armed Forces.

As for this being a precedent based on "Canadianess" I just don't think that's what's going on here. I take it Clarkson was chosen because that's who the soldiers wanted and, as I said, my own preference would be to defer to that, regardless of almost any other consideration. I'm sure the regiment will appreciate that a Canadian patron will be able to be more personally involved with the regiment (by which I by no means intend a slight to the Princess btw, just an acknowledgement of the inherent convenience of being over here) but I don't think that's why the Regiment chose her. I think the regiment wanted Adrienne Clarkson, not "somebody Canadian".

I think the Canadian Press story pointing out that Clarkson is the first Canadian to be Colonel-in-Chief of a regiment has pehaps led you to the conclusion that this is why she was chosen. I don't think that's true. A precedent may have been set that a Canadian can be a Colonel-in-Chief (if anyone ever doubted that) but I don't see any precedent having been set as to the criteria for selecting a C-in-C (with the possible exception being "the troops get whomever the troops want" which is a precedent I have no problem with!). I don't think the troops chose Clarkson because she's Canadian, I think they chose her because they wanted HER, so I'm less worried that some "nationalist" (read "republican") precedent has been established, or was intended, by this appointment.

The Monarchist said...

I am reading too much into it, but not when you take the long view. And the long view is what counts in the end. By the way, we'd love to have a Lord Kitchener on this blog.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

While I am no fan of Queen Pretender Adrienne I, on the army forums, she appears to be a popular choice for PPCLI Colone-in-Chief.

But I agree with the Monarchist (whom I presume to be Lord Beaverbrook?) that this is not a good precident. Who is next for Colonel-in-Chief of a regiment? Margaret Atwood? Peter Mansbridge? Atom Egoyan?

The Monarchist said...

Lord Baron of Beaverbrook here. The GG is next, whomever that will be upon the demise of E II R. Queen E is C-in-C of around three quarters of our regiments, and I fear all of those will be replaced with him or her, depending of course which government is in power at the time.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

The reason I tossed those names out were because they were either members of the Order of Canada or CBC broadcasters, who seem to end up as GG now a days. I've heard some commentary about using members of the Order as a "royal family" of sorts to select future GGs from. Makes my stomach turn.

Thomas said...

This forum shows not all the Pats are happy. BTW, something called the Regimental Guard came up with the selection criteria. I suspect it consists of senior officers who may have been given a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" from Ottawa about selecting AC. I doubt if the troops had much say in the matter. My few encounters with Canadian soldiers have shown them to be intensely proud of their regimental traditions. This whole thing reeks of PC and the creeping undermining of the monarchy in Canada.

The Monarchist said...

Thanks, Thomas! Sounds like the choice was controversial, if the PPCLI forum is anything to go by.

Josh said...

I am an avid Monarchist, and I support this decision 100% and really Countess Mountbatten of Burma is not a member of the Royal Family, she does not carry the HRH title. I have added a list of what qualifies people to be members of the Royal Family and Countess Mountbatten doesn't come under any of those categories. Instead she is more of a Collateral of the British Royal Family.

* the monarch (the king or queen);
* the consort of the monarch (his or her spouse);
* the widowed consorts of previous monarchs (Queen Mother or Queen Dowager);
* the children of the monarch;
* the grandchildren of the monarch;
* the spouses and the widowed spouses of a monarch's son and male-line grandsons; and
* before 1917, great-grandchildren in the male line.

Beaverbrook said...

You're right, Josh, she's a member of the Queen's extended family, but not a member of the royal family.