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17 April 2012

When the Russian government moves to London, why not install a British Tsar in Moscow?

Major Hewitt
One doesn’t like to gloat, and I should not boast because yesterday I wrote a post about the evils of boasting. So I will have to restrict myself to saying, British-style, that I derive a certain quiet sense of satisfaction from this morning’s news that Boris Berezovsky, the exiled oligarch, has taken up my call for closer integration between Britain and Russia. In the Court Circular of today’s Moscow Times, I see the following item:
“London exile Boris Berezovsky announced Sunday that under his new Resurrection Movement political party, he would instate a constitutional monarchy in Russia and named Britain's Prince Harry as a candidate for king.”
     When I wrote last week that Russia should move its government headquarters to London, I proposed that as an independently sensible solution to a variety of problems (see 11 April). But now I see I did not go far enough. How much better would it be if there were some sort of reciprocal gesture on Britain’s part? Exporting a member of the Royal family who causes almost as much embarrassment in Britain as the power elite does in Russia would have a nice symmetry to it. In any case, many people believe Prince Harry may not be “the son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana”, as Berezovsky says, but of Princess Diana and Major James Hewitt, late of the Life Guards.
     We used to be able to send such people out to govern New South Wales. Now that Australians have developed their own ideas about how their country should be administered, the preferred option might be to send them to Russia, where they will probably be much more genuinely appreciated. Everyone’s a winner.
Prince Harry
     Though the Moscow Times is to be congratulated for unearthing this important news story, it should be censured for its grammar. You cannot “instate” a monarchy, at least not in conventional, contemporary English. My version of the Oxford English Dictionary has no example of the word used in any sense after the mid-nineteenth century and none in connection with a monarch since Samuel Pepys wrote, in 1667, “He will enstate the King of Spayne in the kingdom of Portugall.” (note the different spelling).
     In general you “install” a monarch on his or her throne or “invest” him or her with monarchical or Royal powers—as Prince Charles was himself “invested” as Prince of Wales in the famous televised ceremony in 1969.
     Berezovsky is right, however, when he points out later on in the report that Prince Harry probably has more Russian blood in him than Nicholas II did, and maybe a lot more if we knew something about Major Hewitt’s longer background. He was notoriously a friend of Anna Pasternak, the author of A Princess in Love, a controversial and disputed account of the affair between Princess Diana and the “bonking” Major, as he came to be known. What we also know is that “Bonkers” Hewitt won a weightlifting challenge on a television celebrity games show, was later arrested for possession of cocaine, and had his gun licenses revoked by the police because of his “intemperate habits”. So he may well have some Russian blood in him.
     If he has indeed passed that on to Prince Harry, the case for installing him as Tsar is surely unanswerable. With his government in London, he could rule as peacefully as his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, does from Balmoral, being even further from the centre of political life and intrigue than she is in the stalking season. Both Russia and Britain are countries that still harbour imperial ambitions, which neither is in a position to gratify in the modern world. What better solution than that each colonise the other by having the Russian government in London and the British Royal family in Moscow?
     Can there be any serious objection to such a solution?


  1. Hmmmmm... that old chestnut! Does not add much to your argument. Also, note that Prince Harry's recent tour of the Caribbean and S. America on behalf of the Queen was a great success. You seem to think that Prince Harry is still 19!

  2. I Russian citizen and respect and bow to Harry much and respect lineage of prince (to Charles father). I also remark to the Scotland finishing money and end of gas in North Sea: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9203329/Alex-Salmond-manufacturing-outrage-over-Economist-Skintland-cover.html