By Dr George Venturini
A cast of characters: The Monarchy
Most Australians ‘believe’ that Queen Elizabeth II is a figure head with virtually no political or financial power.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
As the present head of the Windsor Dynasty, she is the sovereign head of state of the United Kingdom and sixteen other states – including Australia. Elizabeth II is also the head of the 53-nation Commonwealth, the new name for the still-existing – under different cloth – British Empire.
That empire controls approximately, 30 million square kilometres – one-fifth of the world’s land mass and gathers 2,5 billion – 30 per cent of the world population.
But the power of the House of Windsor also derived from Queen Elizabeth II’s status as the ‘chief executive officer’ of an informal body known to some as the ‘Club of the Isles’, which combines the political and financial clout of a far more extensive combination of intermarried European royal and princely families.
The Club comprises some 3,000 to 5,000 wealthy oligarchic families drawn from the global aristocracy and financier élite.
The origin of the Club is attributed to the Rothschilds’ control of a far-flung financial empire, which includes majority stakes in most world central banks. The Edmond de Rothschild clan owns the CMB Banque Privée (Suisse) S.A. in Lugano, Switzerland and the Rothschild Bank A.G. of Zurich. The family of Jacob Lord Rothschild owns the powerful Rothschild Italia S.p.A. in Milan, Italy. They are founding members of the exclusive $10 trillion Club of the Isles – which controls corporate giants such as Anglo American plc, Barclays, B.H.P., Imperial Chemical Industries – now AkzoNobel, Lloyds of London, Lonrho, Rio Tinto Zinc, Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever. The Club dominates the world supply of petroleum, gold, diamonds, and many other vital raw materials.
This gigantic ‘combine’ controls every aspect of the global economic network, the banks, factories, finished products, insurance companies, raw materials, major retail groups (and by market rigging all the rest), the stock and material markets, transportation, governments, media, intelligence agencies and so on.
This is coordinated through the secret societies and one of their most important vehicles is the City of London-House of Windsor combination known as the Club of the Isles. It was named after King Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s son, who was the first to carry the title Prince of the Isles. The title is held today by Prince Charles. Edward was heavily involved with Black Nobility barons of the Square Mile London financial district and helped them to engineer the Crimean war, the Russia-Japan war, the Opium wars with China and the preparations for the first world war.
Through the central organisation of the Club of the Isles comes the fantastic web of interlocking directorships which hold apparently independent companies in a network of common control and common agenda. Some of this web include: the Bank of England, AkzoNobel, Anglo American plc, Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. Venice, Italy, Barclays plc, Barings Bank, BAT Industries, BP plc, Cadbury, Courtaulds plc, Courtaulds Textiles Ltd, De Beers Group, Diageo, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Hanson Limited, HSBS Holdings plc, Inchscape plc, Inco Limited, ING Group, Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited, Johnson Matthey, Klienwort Benson, Lazard, Lloyds, Lloyds Bank plc, Lonrho, Midland Bank plc, Morgan Grenfell Group plc, J. P. Morgan and Co., N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, NatWest, P & O, Pilkington Group Limited, Reuters Holdings plc, Rio Tinto Group, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Schroders plc, Société Générale S.A., Standard Chartered plc, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Unilever plc, Vickers plc and S. G. Warburg & Co. (There are, of course, other views of such awesome power. Those views belong more to the realm (how appropriate) of mythology and fabulism than history. There will be a brief mention of them in closing. Nevertheless, such ‘stories’ take an enormous place in the daily life of ill-informed, badly-read and rather ignorant populace. The ‘glamour’ of the monarchy fuels that fire).
Britain may appear to the outside observer as an ‘estate of a landed aristocracy’ – more a ‘feudal estate’ than a nation.
The English do not mind, so long as they have their periodical ‘panem et circenses’ – ‘bread and circuses’. This pregnant expression is a figure of speech, specifically referring to a superficial means of appeasement. As a metonymic the words originated by Juvenal, a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century c.e. and are used commonly in cultural, particularly political, contexts. In a political context, the words are used as a mean to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace, by offering a palliative – for example food and entertainment.
Juvenal, a mordant satirist, used the words to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The words belong to a population’s erosion or ignorance of civic duty as a priority. (Juvenal, Satire X.77–81) Juvenal was railing against laws enacted in 140 b.c.e. to keep the votes of poorer citizens, by providing cheap food and entertainment, a device became the most effective way to rise to power.
The so-called House of Windsor has been quite skilful in providing such entertainment, particularly since the misfortunes which fell upon ‘The Family’, or – more appropriately – ‘The Firm’, after the annus horribilis.
The words were brought to modern prominence by Elizabeth II in a speech to Guildhall on 24 November 1992, marking the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne, in which she described the year as an annus horribilis. “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. she said. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.”
The ‘sympathetic correspondent’ was later revealed to be her former assistant private secretary, Sir Edward Ford. The unpleasant events which happened to the Royal Family in this year include: the announcement on 19 March that her second son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, would separate from his wife Sarah, Duchess of York; the news on 23 April of the divorce between daughter Anne, Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips; the publication on 8 June of Diana, Princess of Wales’ tell-all book Diana: Her True Story, after it had been serialised in The Sunday Times. Written by Andrew Morton, it revealed for the first time the unhappy truths of the princess’s marriage – particularly, the affair between Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles – starting the ‘War of the Waleses’; the appearance on 20 August in the Daily Mirror of ‘scandalous’ pictures of the Duchess of York being kissed on her feet by her friend, John Bryan; the disclosure on 24 August of intimate conversations between the Princess of Wales and James Gilbey from a tape recording of their phone calls which was published in The Sun, causing ‘Squidgygate’; the fire with consequent extensive damage on 20 November of Windsor Castle – just four days before the speech. Following that speech, on 9 December 1992 Prime Minister John Major announced to the House of Commons that the Prince and Princess of Wales had decided to separate.
If one looks back onto the most publicised ‘monarchic events’ of the past twenty years in Britain, the most popular certainly from the point of the supply of bread and circuses, one cannot go past the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London, William and Kate, the diamond jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012 and the recent marriage of Harry and Meghan.
The ‘Royal Family’ is a prime-time soap opera, with viewers obsessing on new characters, story line and how it is doing in the ratings. There is, of course, a much more serious, down to business, aspect of the working of ‘The Firm’ – as will be seen.
But for the time being it is worth considering such episodes of that opera buffa by mentioning the placing of bets recently on what William and Kate’s new born baby would be named. The birth itself was considered – once again – a kind of ‘miracle’, not because of the health conditions of the mother – a perfectly healthy former commoner – but because it was going to be a ‘Royal Baby.’ If a common, almost vulgar comparison is possible: assuming the birth-rate in Australia to be the same every year, about 814 children are born each day. None of them was born billionaire – unlike Louis Arthur Charles Battenberg. So what is the fuss?
There had been a huge glitzy campaign around the 2011 ‘Royal wedding’, to be surpassed and grandly magnified the following year by the diamond jubilee of Elizabeth II – the queen of diamonds.
And when a ‘royal wedding’ happens very few, even in England, care about the cost of the show. In the case of William and Kate such cost has been estimated around AU$ 45 million (average June 2018 value). The taxpayers paid that.
This type of expenditure has often been rationalised on the grounds of ‘value to the economy.’ In fact, the story of the ‘Royal Family’s value to the British economy is invariably dreamed up by smart PR professionals to save an institution which is permanently presented as in financial crisis. If that is true, it is hardly difficult to justify why the taxpayers should lose about AU$620 million a year simply to have a head of state who is the most expensive head of state in Europe if not in the world. Probably a large number of English hope that there is a last-minute change in the line of succession, so that instead of there being a Charles III there would come a William. This eventuality is most unlikely and only testifies to the intensity of the gaming industry in England and the feeblemindedness of the sand-and-surf republicans in Australia. The next king will be Charlie, and his part in the tragic opera buffa will be seen in due course.
Continued Saturday – A cast of characters: The Monarchy (part 2)
Previous instalment – A cast of characters: John Kerr (part 2)
Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some seventy years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reached at George.email@example.com.
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