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September 21, 2004

International monarchs

The pending divorce of a Prince of Denmark from a woman of British-Chinese-Austrian descent brought to mind a curious fact: Europeans today seem intent on moving toward post-nationalism, but they have for centuries been ruled by cosmopolitan monarchies. As we all know, the French revolution was the beginning of the end for monarchs across much of Europe, with the World Wars being the coup de grace.

But as this site notes, much of Europe is still monarchial. Some peculiar facts.

* The Swedish royal line is descended from a French commoner adopted by the king in the 19th century.
* The Prince Consort of Denmark is of French origin.
* The current wife of the Crown Prince of Belgium will be the first Beglian born Queen of that nation.
* The Queen of Spain was born a Greek princess, but she is almost exclusively of Danish and German extraction.
* Princess Diana was the first English woman to marry the Prince of Wales in centuries.

I simply point this to remind readers that truisms of today are the counterintuitions of the future. At one point nationalism was "progressive". When Latin was the common language of the Europe intellectual class, Hungarian students from Transylvania could study at Oxford without knowing any English at all. These examples of international monarchs & lettered Latinate elites should also serve as a caution: the Liberal Age has been characterized by nationalism. Perhaps it would behoove me to note that it is less Europeans, than European elites, who are pushing the move toward denationalization.

Posted by razib at 12:45 PM