Return of the Royals
From Brussels to Belgrade, from Sophia to Stockholm, from Madrid to Monaco and every point in between on the European continent, the institution of royalty is making a comeback. What is happening? Is the age of republicanism dead?
Time magazine recently reflected, “In the 1950s, Egypt’s King Farouk, on the verge of losing his throne, famously predicted that only five royal houses would survive the 20th century: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Windsor” (June 3).
Indeed, despite the trials and tribulations of the House of Windsor (and the efforts of liberal-socialists and the gutter press to destroy them), the British royal family is currently riding the crest of a wave of public popularity in the midst of Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee year. But Farouk’s musings had more to do with the sudden disappearance of royalty from Europe following the impact of two world wars.
“His pessimism was understandable. Eastern Europe lay imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain, swaths of Western Europe were infatuated with socialism, fascism held sway in Spain under Franco and, while some of Europe’s monarchies continued to bask in the residual popularity they had earned as symbols of national resistance during World War ii, their modern relevance seemed increasingly dubious” (ibid.).
Since the unification of Germany and the collapse of Soviet sway over Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, much more than the systems of politics and economy have changed in Europe. In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking that the clock is being wound back to a time before the Treaty of Versailles, at the conclusion of which most of Europe’s royal houses faded into exile.
“Were he to set foot in Europe today, Farouk would be astounded by the robustness of the institution whose very survival he doubted. Europe has 10 reigning monarchs—a clutch of kings, queens, princes and a grand duke” (ibid.).
As republicans lick their wounds and liberal-socialists slink off into the sunset under the barrage of right-wing resurgence across Europe, the Continent’s royal families have every right to feel buoyant.
“[A]ccording to a recent mori poll, 70 percent of Britons still prefer a monarchy to a republic. Europe’s two other female sovereigns command even higher approval ratings [than Queen Elizabeth]: around 80 percent for the Netherlands’ Beatrix and her family and above 90 percent for Denmark’s Margrethe ii” (ibid.).
Why this sudden surge in the popularity of monarchism in Europe?
Cultural and Historical Roots
Surveying the political landscape of modern Europe, one thing is patently clear. This increasingly federalizing European Union—this mixture of iron and miry clay (Dan. 2:43)—is having a most disturbing and destabilizing effect on the populations of its member countries.
The EUwas constructed ponderously during the Cold War era under the guise of a benign “common market.” Then came the added force of Germany’s dominance after its reunification. This laid the groundwork for the EU to rapidly move to integrate not only Europe’s national economies, but also its systems of foreign exchange, law, defense and security. In the process of emerging as a giant federal state, the EU is steadily eroding the national sovereignty of its member nations. Europeans are simply at risk of losing their separate national identities!
So where does a country of long and historic heritage turn, in such a situation, to recapture a sense of its uniqueness as a nation? Where else but its most enduring institution—the royal heritage that spawned its nationhood!
David Starkey, a British constitutional historian, sees what is occurring in Europe as being “a redefinition of nationhood, away from political self-assertion and conquest, toward a form of cultural and historical nationalism” (ibid.; emphasis mine).
It is such a redefinition of nationhood based on heritage, that is, as Starkey asserts, an amalgam of cultural and historical roots, which will play right into the hands of those minions of European Union who meet, unelected, behind closed doors, to impose their form of federalism on the people of the European continent.
Right now there is a groundswell of reaction by a European public worried at their individual loss of identity. What a paradox it is that, as the Anglo-Americans turn away from their history and heritage, Europeans are avidly seeking to recover theirs. Pope John Paul’s cry to Eastern Europe rings yet in the people’s ears—“return to your roots!”
The Eurocrats, via their Central Bank, were clever enough to permit the monarchies within the European Monetary Union to strike the head of their individual sovereigns on their euro coinage. This is but a foreshadow of a movement within the German-Vatican-influenced EU to resurrect the old European royal houses in the south and east to conform ultimately to the old Vatican-dominated, Catholic monarchist Holy Roman Empire’s structure of Europe that existed prior to World War i.
It is more than coincidence that, as the royal houses of the largely Protestant Israelitish nations of Britain and northwestern Europe (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands) enjoy an upswing in popularity, we should see the royal houses of the predominantly Catholic nations of Gentile heritage returning from exile to their homelands. The power behind the rise of the Eurobeast coordinates with precision the timing of these events (Rev. 13:1-2).
Since the turn of this century, the royal families of Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania and Italy have come home to the avid acclaim of their prior subjects. It was King Juan Carlos of Spain whose early return from exile to his home country in 1975 proved a stimulus and provided hope for others in exile. King Constantine of Greece presently awaits the final outcome of a case being heard in the European Court of Human Rights. This judgment could lead to his return home within two years. In the tiny but vastly rich island kingdom of Monaco, the Vatican-loyalist Grimaldi family continues to reign as they have for over 700 years, a prime symbol of loyal Catholic monarchism.
So what is the significance of all this in the modern, secular, liberal society of the 21st century? Just this: Your Bible forecast, millennia ago, way before any modern republican, socialist or communist movement ever sought to destroy monarchism forever, that 10 kings would hold sway over 10 nations or groups of nations just prior to the return of Jesus Christ to impose His monarchy over all!
Read it for yourself: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Rev. 17:12-13).
That term kings is translated from the Greek word basileus, meaning, literally, a sovereign or king. The term kingdom in this verse comes from the Greek basileia, meaning a realm, kingdom and reign.
To correctly understand this verse, Herbert Armstrong connected it with the prophecy of Daniel 7, thus allowing the Bible to interpret itself. He wrote, “‘And in the days of these kings …’—it is here speaking of the 10 toes, part of iron and part of brittle clay. This, by connecting the prophecy with Daniel 7, and Revelation 13 and 17, is referring to the new United States of Europe that is now forming out of the European Common Market, before your very eyes! Revelation 17:12 makes plain the detail that it shall be a union of 10 kings or kingdoms that (Rev. 17:8) shall resurrect the old Roman Empire” (Mystery of the Ages, p. 301).
Here is what this great teacher of biblical prophecy wrote in 1956: “Perhaps even this coming military-political leader does not yet now how many, or precisely which European nations will join in this united Nazi fascist Europe. But you and I can know the number—for God Almighty wrote it down for us 1,900 years ago, in Revelation 17! There will be 10 dictatorships, exerting iron rule over 10 European nations. These ten will give all their military power to the central overall leader—pictured under the prophetic symbol, ‘the beast.’”
Your Bible is plain on the composition of the federal Europe which will rise to power just before the return of Jesus Christ. On this point, Herbert Armstrong had extremely clear foresight and vision.
“We are now looking for the tenth and last resurrection of the Roman Empire—the seventh head of this Beast of the 17th chapter of Revelation (Rev. 17:12), which is also pictured by the 10 toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image of Daniel 2:40-44. Since these toes were on the two feet that represented Eastern and Western Europe, there is strong likelihood that this final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire will include Iron Curtain nations of Eastern Europe as well as nations in Western Europe. … They will form a third gigantic world power probably as great or even greater than the USSR or United States of America” (Are We in the Last Days?).
Prophesied Move East
Mr. Armstrong’s vision incorporated the drawing of other Eastern European nations into that beastly European combine. “World troubles escalate. Even the Soviet Union has serious trouble in Poland. Will Poland free itself from Soviet domination and join with Yugoslavia, Romania and possibly Czechoslovakia—and with Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Austria—in a resurrected medieval ‘Holy Roman Empire’ to dominate Europe and equal the USSR and the USA in world power?” (co-worker letter, Aug. 27, 1980). He saw, fully six years prior to its breakup, the end of the Cold War and the implosion of the Soviet Union!
Almost 50 years ago, Mr. Armstrong envisioned the breakup of Yugoslavia within the context of Bible prophecy: “The strong indication of these prophecies, then, is that some of the Balkan nations are going to tear away from behind the Iron Curtain.”
Now! Putting this all together—the expansion of European Union influence into Eastern and southern Europe, the prophecies of Daniel 7 and Revelation 17 that 10 kings ruling over 10 kingdoms or groups of nations will come onto the scene in Europe just prior to Christ’s return—and considering this in the light of the return of the royal families to Europe from prior exile, do we see it all beginning to fit together?
Note that the Catholic king of Bulgaria, upon his return from exile, already rules his home country as its prime minister! He has been given the Path to Peace Award by the Vatican. In commenting on this, Archbishop Renato Martino declared to Vatican Radio, of this King Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, that “his whole life is very special.” Yes! Very special, as he may yet prove to be a forerunner of others to come, in fulfillment of God’s prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, that 10 kings, rulers or dictators will ultimately reign over a 10-nation or 10-groups-of-nationscombine which will hold sway in Europe in a globallydominant political unit just before Jesus Christ’s return to this Earth.
But therein lies the best news of all. For that will be a great sign of the most wonderful event to follow! Let Herbert Armstrong, from his book Mystery of the Ages, have the last word on this as we look forward to this greatest of events, observing these prophecies building toward ultimate fulfillment in the months ahead: “So, mark carefully the time element! ‘In the days of these kings’—in the days of these 10 nations or groups of nations that shall, in our time, resurrect briefly the Roman Empire—notice what shall happen: ‘… shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed … but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever’!”