Its the Antiques Roadshow up on Cripple Creek.The Golden Bough, the first king, sexless in suburbia and watch out for those in-laws.The comparison of today’s Royal family with Elizabeth I and James I are not that far-fetched as the current nuptials seek to avoid a crisis of monarchy that could see Charles as a repeat performance of James I, son of Mary Queen of Scots.
Christopher Hitchens:For Prince William at least it was decided on the day of his birth what he should do: Find a presentable wife, father a male heir (and preferably a male “spare” as well), and keep the show on the road. By yet another exercise of that notorious “magic,” it is now doubly and triply important that he does this simple thing right, because only his supposed charisma can save the country from what monarchists dread and republicans ought to hope for: King Charles III. (Monarchy, you see, is a hereditary disease that can only be cured by fresh outbreaks of itself.)Read More:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/04/21/christopher-hitchens-middleton-would-do-well-to-escape-the-royal-family-sideshow/
James Frazer, The Golden Bough: In antiquity this sylvan landscape was the scene of a strange and recurring tragedy. On the northern shore of the lake, right under the precipitous cliffs on which the modern village of Nemi is perched, stood the sacred grove and sanctuary of Diana Nemorensis, or Diana of the Wood. The lake and the grove were sometimes known as the lake and grove of Aricia. But the town of Aricia (the modern La Riccia) was situated about three miles off, at the foot of the Alban Mount, and separated by a steep descent from the lake, which lies in a small crater-like hollow on the mountain side. In this sacred grove there grew a certain tree round which at any time of the day, and probably far into the night, a grim figure might be seen to prowl. In his hand he carried a drawn sword, and he kept peering warily about him as if at every instant he expected to be set upon by an enemy. He was a priest and a murderer; and the man for whom he looked was sooner or later to murder him and hold the priesthood in his stead. Such was the rule of the sanctuary. A candidate for the priesthood could only succeed to office by slaying the priest, and having slain him, he retained office till he was himself slain by a stronger or a craftier. The post which he held by this precarious tenure carried with it the title of king; but surely no crowned head ever lay uneasier, or was visited by more evil dreams, than his. For year in, year out, in summer and winter, in fair weather and in foul, he had to keep his lonely watch, and whenever he snatched a troubled slumber it was at the peril of his life…. Read More:http://www.templeofearth.com/books/goldenbough.pdf
James I was the first king of Great Britain. He won the prize that had eluded his mother: the right to rule over a united kingdom. But he earned himself a very bad press. …
The year 1603 was once regarded in England as a decisive turning point, even as a year of doom- one that announced the prologue to a tragic mid-century confrontation ending in civil war. In that year James VI of Scotland was crowned King James I of England, and with his ascension the prestige of the monarchy began a decline that ended with the trial and execution of his son Charles I in 1649.
Compared with his glamorous and strong-willed predecessor, Elizabeth I, James was not an effective ruler. He lacked the Tudor genius for self-advertisement and self-projection; he was basically a timorous man, not given to bold decisions and too set in his ways to initiate reforms. When the long war against Spain ended in 1604, James could no longer pose as a national leader in times of danger; his policy of peace and reconciliation was sensible but undramatic.
Christopher Hitchens:A hereditary monarch, observed Thomas Paine, is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician. But try pointing this out when everybody is seemingly moist with excitement about the cake plans and gown schemes of the constitutional absurdity’s designated mother-to-be. You don’t seem to be uttering common sense. You sound like a Scrooge. I suppose this must be the monarchical “magic” of which we hear so much: By some mystic alchemy, the breeding imperatives for a dynasty become the stuff of romance, even “fairy tale.”
The usually contemptuous words fairy tale were certainly coldly accurate about the romance quotient of the last two major royal couplings, which brought the vapid disco-princesses Diana and Sarah (I decline to call her “Fergie”) within range of demolishing the entire mystique. And, even if the current match looks a lot more wholesome and genuine, its principal function is still to restore a patina of glamour that has been all but irretrievably lost. Read More:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/04/21/christopher-hitchens-middleton-would-do-well-to-escape-the-royal-family-sideshow/
The major causes of the Great Rebellion of 1642 were already present, and had been for several generations, and only a wholly original genius could have averted a crisis. James was not that original genius; but he was an intelligent and experienced ruler, competent and wise enough to avoid confrontations that Charles I later seemed to welcome. As James VI of Scotland proceeded slowly south in 1603, to claim the throne of England, the nation surrendered itself to euphoria.
James I had a strong Scots accent and a slight deformity of the tongue that thickened his speech and gave him a tendency to dribble. His features were undistinguished and faintly vacuous: a straggly beard, watery eyes, thin lips, sparse hair trimmed unfashionably short, and spindly legs. None of this mattered in an age in which not more than 10 per cent of the population ever saw their ruler except on the face of a coin. What did matter was the fact he was a man. England had just had fifty years of female rule under Mary and Elizabeth, particularly Mary who could not tame an unscrupulous, rapacious and irresponsible nobility that had divided royal power among themselves. In fact, Mary offered new and handsome prizes in the name of lawlessness.
Christopher Hitchens:The harvest was equally gruesome in both cases: Princess Margaret later married and divorced a man she did not love and then had years to waste as the model of the bone-idle, cigarette-holdered, gin-sipping socialite, surrounded with third-rate gossips and charmers and as unhappy as the day was long. (She also produced some extra royal children, for whom something to do had to be found.)
Prince Charles, subjected to a regime of fierce paternal harangues and penitential cold-shower boarding schools, withdrew into himself, was eventually talked into a calamitous marriage with someone he didn’t love or respect, and is now the morose, balding, New Age crank and licensed busybody that we flinch from today. He has also apparently found belated contentment with the former wife of a brother-officer.Read More:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/04/21/christopher-hitchens-middleton-would-do-well-to-escape-the-royal-family-sideshow/
James Frazer, The Golden Bough: The bloody ritual which legend ascribed to the Tauric Diana is familiar to classical readers; it is said that every stranger who landed on the shore was sacrificed on her altar. But transported to Italy, the rite assumed a milder form. Within the
sanctuary at Nemi grew a certain tree of which no branch might be broken. Only a runaway slave was allowed to break off, if he could, one of its boughs. Success in the attempt entitled him to fight the priest in single combat, and if he slew him he reigned in his stead with the title of King of the Wood (Rex Nemorensis). According to the public opinion of the ancients the fateful branch was that Golden Bough which, at the Sibyl’s bidding, Aeneas plucked before he essayed the perilous journey to the world of the dead. The flight of the slave represented, it was said, the flight of Orestes; his combat with the priest was a reminiscence of the human sacrifices once offered to the Tauric Diana. This rule of succession by the sword was observed down to imperial times; for amongst his other freaks Caligula, thinking that the priest of Nemi had held office too long, hired a more stalwart ruffian to slay him; and a Greek traveller, who visited Italy in the age of the Antonines, remarks that down to his time the priesthood was still the prize of victory in a single combat.Read More:http://www.templeofearth.com/books/goldenbough.pdf