The “Disney” concept of Royalty


The American culture has influenced nations all over the world. From Hollywood going to the music, fashion, etc. A very important share of this influence can be attributed to Walt Disney. He definitely marked indelibly our lives with his movies, cartoons and, of course, his theme parks. He had revived the old Brothers Grimm’s stories adding to it a style that only Disney could, making those stories about Kings, Queens, Princes and princesses his own.

Naturally, being born and raised in the United States and America being an old British colony, it’s easy to find a strong influence of the British monarchy in his concept of Royalty and how it should be portrayed to the public.

But general people take Disney’s concept of Royalty as real. A result of a hybrid breed between fantasy and British royal characteristics is the best idea that the public, not used to monarchies in their home countries, can have of the subject.

Hence, the fact that the royal families may keep their titles forever even after deposition is completely absurd and the idea that an exiled prince might live in modesty is inconceivable.

Some of the exiled ruling families were able to get back their properties (i.e. palaces, estates, jewelry, etc.) from the usurper regime, but the great majority didn’t have this chance, especially in the Asian dynasties.

A notorious example is one of the legitimate princes of the Kingdom of Myosore (1399-1947) in current India. Even being part of one of the long lasting dynasties in the whole world, Prince Sanwar Ali Shah is so poor that he and his family are pulling a rickshaw in the streets of Kolkata.

“And so instead of lounging in palaces, three princes who should have been born retired instead earn each rupee the hard way, placing calloused hands on the rickshaw’s handlebars, taking a deep breath, then eyeing the crowded streets for the next passenger.”

In Europe, the great majority of the exiled Royal families were able to recover at least part of their former possessions. However, there are many stories of princes living out of the charity of their supporters, even today like the the Orleans and Braganza, the  imperial family of Brazil. After the deposition in 1899, the Emperor Pedro II died in misery and debt in a third class hotel in Paris after living out of charity.

“Pedro’s last couple of years was lonely and melancholic, as he lived in modest hotels without money and writing in his journal of dreams in which he was allowed to return to Brazil.” (See Carvalho 2007, pp. 237–238, Besouchet 1993, p. 595, Lira 1977, Vol 3, pp. 156–157.)

The current head of the Brazilian Imperial House D. Luiz de Orleans and Braganza and his brother and heir D. Bertrand live in a rented house in São Paulo out of donations from the monarchists. That’s even admitted publicly in interviews like in this video (in Portuguese) :

Another famous example is the Habsbourgs, the imperial family of Austria-Hungary and the ones considered being the highest House of the European Christianity. When the Emperor Karl I was deposed in 1922, the family lived in misery and the late Crown Prince Otto Habsbourg had to work as a fisherman for some time.

“When he lost his throne, his only assets were a handful of family jewels, and these were stolen by the lawyer in Switzerland to whom he had entrusted them.
So, after having been kings for centuries, the Habsburgs found themselves not only dispossessed, not only exiled, but destitute. For a time, they were actually living on charity. Karl’s health, never robust, gave way under the strain. He died in 1922, leaving ten-year-old Otto to care for his mother and seven younger brothers and sisters. At one point, the conscientious lad tried to sign on as deck hand on a fishing smack in a desperate effort to earn money.”

Also, anything that the prince might do legally or morally can affect his rights and titles, unless expressly forbidden by the dynasty’s rules, like morganatic marriages (union with a commoner), a legal forbiddance in some European Sovereign families.

Even convicted felons like Prince Vittorio Emmanuelle IV of Savoy, the disputed heir of the Italian throne, who shot and killed the nineteen years old Dirk Hammer in 1978. He was acquitted for the crime. However in 2006 he was arrested and convicted for another crime.

“On 16 June 2006 he was arrested in Varenna and imprisoned in Potenza on charges of corruption and recruitment of prostitutes for clients of the Casinò di Campione (casino) of Campione d’Italia. The enquiry was conducted by Italian magistrate John Woodcock, of British ancestry, famous for other VIPs’ arrests.
After several days, Vittorio Emanuele was released and placed under house arrest instead. He was released from house arrest on 20 July 2006, but he had to stay inside the Italian borders. He is now free to leave Italy but he is still under investigation.”,_Prince_of_Naples#Arrest_and_imprisonment_.282006.29

Even after having a morganatic marriage (against the rules of the House of Savoy), signing several legal statements renouncing his titles and being involved in all kinds of scandals he’s still considered by the majority as the legitimate Prince heir of the Italian throne.

The Royalty (or the sovereignty that inhabits the family that once ruled and its whole descent) it’s a birthright and as such, unless is formally expressed by the particular laws of succession of that family, is perpetual and inalienable, disregarding any political, social or legal conditions, hence, a prince might be poor, uneducated, a felon, an immoral person, an unsuccessful professional, unrecognized by anyone and still be lawful and authentic.

Such principles are confirmed by opinions of famous jurists, such as Dr. Ercole Tanturri, once First President of the Court of Cassation [the highest court in Italy], who was joined by Prof. Leonardo Puglionisi, Professor of canon law at the University of Rome, and Dr. Raimondo Jannitti-Piromallo, Section President of the Court of Cassation (Journal of Araldic and Genealogy n. 7-12 Dec. 1954) who also writes:

“The Sovereignty is a perpetual quality, indelibly connected and linked in the centuries to the whole descendancy of the one who first conquered or claimed it, and fulfills itself in the physical person of the Chief of Name and Arms of the Dynasty, independently from any other consideration or inquiry of political, juridical, moral or social nature which might be made about him, and which, as history teaches, can’t influence its sovereign quality.”

So, it’s easy to conclude that the “Disney” concept of Royalty is a fantasy, a fabrication from the fruitful imagination of the beloved Walt Disney that has involuntarily confused the general people with regards of how Royalty actually is. Nothing wrong with the “magic kingdom” as long as it stays in the realm of the fiction.