Thursday, March 05, 2009

Is Senator Kennedy’s knighthood legal?

It is difficult to know what Senator Edward Kennedy has done to merit such an honour - albeit honorary - other than to be the brother of John F Kennedy, or simply one of the Kennedy clan. Yet Her Majesty has seen fit to bestow a knighthood upon the veteran senator ‘for services to the US-UK relationship and to Northern Ireland’.

Northern Ireland is, of course, part of the United Kingdom. But sensitivity had to be shown to Senator Kennedy’s assertion that it is not and never should have been.

Cranmer is not remotely persuaded that Senator Kennedy has contributed much at all to the ‘US-UK relationship’, other than to be a convenient Democratic peg upon which Gordon Brown can hang this tawdry honour, bestowed in honour of his honour of meeting President Obama and the honour of being able to flatter and laud the honourable Democrats.

But Cranmer wishes to focus on the Senator’s ‘services to Northern Ireland’, which have been utterly dishonourable.

Senator Kennedy is a descendent of the Irish-Catholic Kennedy clan and has been closely linked to the Republican movement for decades. Throughout these years, he has berated the United Kingdom, poured scorn upon British interests, and accused the British Government of an illegal occupation. He once called for Britain's immediate withdrawal from Northern Ireland, declaring that Protestants who could not accept a united Ireland 'should be given a decent opportunity to go back to Britain'. A unified Ireland under Dublin rule has been his political raison d’être, and he established the Congressional Friends of Ireland to that very end.

All of this was perpetual succour to the IRA. He annually fêted Sinn Fein during St Patrick’s Day celebrations – even at Capitol Hill – and helped them to raise millions of dollars to finance their murderous cause.

It beggars belief that a knighthood is being bestowed upon a man whose words have justified and whose actions have facilitated the murder not only of hundreds of innocents, but of the Queen’s uncle(-in-law), Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

But why would Senator Kennedy accept it at all?

It is a little incongruous for an Catholic Irish(-American) Nationalist to accept an honour from the Protestant Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Unless it is simply a question of vanity, the Senator must have resolved in his conscience all of his long-held historical objections and his strongly-held religio-political beliefs. One can hardly conceive of Sir Gerry Adams or Sir Martin McGuinness.

Secondly, it is not clear at all that an American senator can legally accept such an honour.

Article I, Section 9, U.S. Constitution: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Insofar as this clause is to ensure allegiance to the United States and the supremacy of its legislature, it must surely include any honourary titles bestowed by a ‘King, Prince or foreign state’. Under this provision, those US citizens who served as high-ranking military officials in the Iraq War and who received British honours are also constitutionally barred from serving in the federal government - unless Congress specifically exempts them from this limitation and retrospectively grants consent.

A proposed amendment to this clause in 1810 went further, declaring that ‘If any citizen of the United States shall Accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honor, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.’

It was clear that by virtue of these titles and honours, it was assumed that recipients enjoyed political and economic advantages over the majority of citizens, and this was antithetical to the egalitarian spirit of the Constitution. The prohibition of titles of nobility have been a corner stone of republican government, for so long as they are excluded, there can never be serious danger that the government will be any other than that of the people.

Sir Edward Kennedy is no longer of the people, for he has been elevated by a foreign prince to a status which is above the people. And let us not be deceived by this 'honorary' deflection. A knighthood is a knighthood: what on earth is an honour if it is not honorary? This knighthood both dishonours the British honours system and contravenes a founding principle of the US Constitution. It is not only immoral; it is illegal.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A knighthood for Kennedy?
Surely this is a bridge too far!

(Actually, Reagan and Cap Weinberger had knighthoods too. But they were 'honorary'.)

5 March 2009 at 07:05  
Anonymous miserable sinner said...

Gen. George Patton received a number of foreign military awards and was very proud to wear them. Maybe the rules are different for military ribbons, etc., awarded by foreign governments.

5 March 2009 at 07:18  
Blogger The Lakelander said...

Of all American politicians, Ted Kennedy is the one who most seems to divide opinion...between those who despise him and those who hate him.

5 March 2009 at 07:22  
Anonymous proudgeordie said...

I was under the impression that foreign nationals couldn't receive royal honours? This is evidence, if any were needed, that the looney-left government and their opposition cohorts are either lying to her majesty or she is complicit in the destruction of our history, heritage and traditions.

Browns speech was nothing but condesending fawning and this 'honourary' knighthood was part of it. Browns application for the World Government was sweetened by a gift from the Queen. Either she is under government control or complicit in the destruction of this country, both of which are cases for the removal of the monarch and the government forthwith.

5 March 2009 at 07:24  
Blogger Gnostic said...

It's not only immoral, it's illegal

Since when has a little thing like that ever stopped New Labour? I would have thought Her Majesty would know better but then she's been quietly signing off on our eventual national death. Makes you wonder what successive prime ministers have on her doesn't it?

5 March 2009 at 07:28  
Anonymous bella gerens said...

without the consent of Congress

So Kennedy can accept it; he just has to ask permission of Congress first. And I doubt they'll say no.

5 March 2009 at 08:24  
Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

.... don't mention the War

.......... or Chappaquidick .....

Christopher Marlow's Jew of Malta :

"Thou hast committed Fornication
.... but it was in another Land
......... and the Wench is dead"

wv = evolerha

5 March 2009 at 08:27  
Blogger Timothy Belmont said...

It is disappointing that Senator Kennedy has been offered an Honorary Knighthood; especially given his tenuous connections with the UK.

Lord knows why he has even accepted it, mighty Irish-American icon that Kennedy is.

That said, the Labour government has bestowed peerages and knighthoods on a formidable array of dubious and ignoble characters.

5 March 2009 at 08:55  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

All it says to me is that it has been deemed necessary to court the American public because the American government is getting a bit scary and detached.

5 March 2009 at 09:01  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

We have to hand it to ourselves, we are the most cunning, deceptive and kniving nation in the whole universe. There is nothing to match it, nothing.

Can someone lend me some money, my MOT has run out and I am potless? I suppose I should be grateful that my car has not yet been blown up with me in it.

5 March 2009 at 09:20  
Blogger Gnostic said...

We are talking about a system that gave odious people like Ahmed and Mandy life peerages. Honours have become so sleaze-ridden and devalued they might as well be given away in Lucky Bags.

5 March 2009 at 09:32  
Anonymous Solici said...

moral issues don't always run parallel ot he rules of law. Tricky subject without being bias.

5 March 2009 at 09:57  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

This is a real slap in the face to decent servants of this country who have been bestowed with deserved Knighthoods, as it devalues the title. It's all a part of the destruction of our values by this shameful government. Alas, there does not seem to be a savour waiting in the wings and it appears that my generation will witness the death of our Nation.

5 March 2009 at 10:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Knighthood for someone who supports ethnic cleansing?
Says it all really.

5 March 2009 at 10:56  
Blogger Theo said...

We have a dishonoured and dishonourable system of giving baubles to the dishonoured and dishonourable and calling them "honours". They have become a joke since successive governments started handing these to entertainers of dubious talent and morality; politicians of Machevellian persuasion and businessmen whose only business seemed to be to make themselves wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.

Senator Kennedy is welcome to his knighthood and I'm sure he will not mind being leaf-frogged by Lord Adams and Lord McGunniness whose contribution to the Irish cause has been greater than his but less than that great turncoat Blair.

5 March 2009 at 10:59  
Blogger Jabba the Cat said...

If terrorists like Mandela and Mugabe are given gongs and various other imperial trinkets then vocal IRA supporter, fund raiser and general Dimocrat useful idiot Kennedy is small potatoes in the scheme of things. It should however be articulated that here we have a further example of the enlightened modern world where the crooks and criminals are praised and showered with honours whilst the innocent victims of their actions are swept under the carpet and muzzled in case they dare speak the truth about past events.

5 March 2009 at 11:25  
Blogger DP111 said...


Understanding Obama: The Making of a Fuehrer - By Ali Sina

5 March 2009 at 12:05  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

His Grace is particularly incandescent today. His Grace should understand that Mr Kennedy got his knighthood for services to the underwater automotive swimming industry and his parsimony with skin, and the saving of it.

And anyway, give 'im a break, 'es gone mental.

5 March 2009 at 12:14  
Blogger the ink slinger said...

Hasn't the treacherous old goat hopped the twig yet?

Can't be long now.

5 March 2009 at 12:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's because he has a brain tumor. Let's Knight the Fat Bastage.

5 March 2009 at 13:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"should be given a decent opportunity to go back to Britain" - it was the implied consequence of declining such an offer that got me upset, as Protestant Irish man loyal to Her Majesty.

Fear not, Change is coming.

5 March 2009 at 13:30  
Blogger Microcosm said...

The Corporation known as the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and now under the name HOMELAND SECURITY and GREAT BRITAIN is responsible for financing ISREAL. We are all subject to the Queen Mum who gets her Divine Right from the Vatican.

They all piss in the same pot.

5 March 2009 at 14:09  
Anonymous E. J. Thompson said...

The only possible reason to bestow a knighthood on Senator Edward Kennedy would be on his work in support of the British drinks industry.

5 March 2009 at 15:03  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Having returned from the USA only this morning I had a few hours notice of this matter having watched the news where inevitably the Brown Crew had leaked the announcement in advance. I was incandescent and resolved to bring it to Your Grace's attention, forgetting in my jet lagged state that an incorporeal presence was already ahead of me!

Presumably a knighthood for General Gadaffi cannot be too far off for similar reasons.

We cannot stress too much the inconvenient truth that the IRA was defeated by a combination of our splendid security forces, coupled with the arrival of a US President of honour and straightforwardness who, when declaring a "War on Terror" mean no more not less than his word. In such a post 9/11 climate Kennedy and his IRA friends knew their vile game was up.

Far better to have honoured Dubya. Perhaps we will someday.

For those too young to remember can I add some detail about Chappaquidick where the "moral conscience of America" drunkenly drove his car off the bridge leading to the death of Mary Jo Koppechne.

She did not drown. She was found in an air pocket where she had suffocated. It was in Kennedy country, there was no inquest. The suffocation evidence came from the undertaker who had experience of such deaths. The noble senator whom we honour had not only escaped but had walked to his hotel room, showered, and called his lawyer before raising the alarm. One can only imagine what the poor girl went through.

Unlike today where the likes of Cindy Sheehan emote and secure press attention for no real grievance, the Kennedys had the clout so that the parents kept quiet to save his career.

Subsequently Kennedy was in the vicinity when one of his nephews got into similar trouble with a rape allegation but I do not have the full details to hand

Can you imagine the reaction of the media of today if President Bush had a small part of a similar scandal of immorality, obstruction of Justice and cowardice?

This is an absolute disgrace.

5 March 2009 at 15:15  
Blogger the ink slinger said...

Lord Nelson, England's greatest naval hero, had four orders of knighthood and commanded the 100 gun ship of the line, HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. He died there.

Sir Teddy the Soak, now Ireland's greatest naval hero, attempted to drive the 8 cylinder submersible, USS Oldsmobile under the Bridge of Chappaquiddick. He ran away.

5 March 2009 at 15:58  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

This is also a slap in the face for Ulster and Scottish Unionists from the Son of the Manse ( when he's back from begging the pope to give him some good press ).

I think the way round the title issue is that the title will be honorary. I think Caspar Weinberger and Bill Gates have something similar.

But is a disgrace and shows utter contempt for the people American Irish republicans helped have murdered.

But then Brown has no honour.

5 March 2009 at 16:46  
Blogger Jomo said...

The honours system has been used by politicians of all parties to reward their friends and cronies since time began.

Look at some of the foreign examples (Sir) Terry Wogan, (Sir) Bob Geldorf - (Sir) John Doe and any other American you want a favour from.

No doubt when the Irish are daft enough to elect Mr Adams as President he will put himself in line for a bauble from the government of the day.

If you want to stop this nonsense looks like you might have to stop defending the protestant succession and agitate for a republic.

As your article illustrates, we don't even have to write a constitution, we only have to adopt the sensible proposals in the American one.

Sadly, as the country heads for Carey Street we become more Ruritanian by the day.

The odious Boston machine politician Kennedy looks like he is being succeeded by the even more odious Chicago trained Obama.

5 March 2009 at 17:20  
Blogger Theo said...


The subject of your posting and the web site appeared a bit off thread but link you gave was brilliant and should be required reading for every American voter. It should also be recommended reading for every Brown watcher - just to show what sort of people Brown mixes with.

Just to repeat:

5 March 2009 at 17:45  
Anonymous len said...

A knighthood these days is a very dubious honour, something akin to an asbo I think.

5 March 2009 at 17:53  
Blogger it's either banned or compulsory said...

Senator Kennedys special service to Northern Ireland was probably to shut-TFUp following 9/11. America then abandoned its' romantic " when Oirish eyes are smoiling " view of 'the troubles' as an extension of their own rebellion against the Crown.

No problem with a foreigner being granted an Honorary Knighthood, it is quite normal but thank you, Your Grace, for pointing out the Americans own prohibition on its' public servants accepting such a thing.

5 March 2009 at 18:24  
Anonymous bugs bunny said...

Jomo, have no fear; Adams will never be elected President. Out of 166 seats in the southern Irish Lower House (Dáil Éireann), Sinn Féin are only capable of mustering a mere 4.

As for Kennedy's comment on Irish Protestants; yes it is unfortunate and regrettable, but the quote given is taken slightly out of context. He's talking about what in theory would happen if a majority in the North voted for a united Ireland. It is clear that were such a scenario to arise, the more intractable Unionists would probably leave voluntarily. He's simply suggesting that no legal impediments be put on them.

Either way it's clear that Protestants are leaving Northern Ireland, united Ireland or not. According to Bob Osborne Bob Osborne, Director of the social and policy research institute at the University of Ulster:

" ... the proportion of Protestants who leave for study is twice as high as for Catholics. This factor, together with the younger age profile of the Catholic community, helps explain why the two Northern Ireland universities are predominantly Catholic. About 55 per cent of students at Queens and 60 per cent at the University of Ulster are Catholic. [...]

Major employers such as the Northern Ireland civil service show Catholics forming the majority among younger age groups while Protestants have a much higher representation among the 50-plus age group. This trend is bound to produce major change over time.
So, the exodus of some of the best and the brightest from the Protestant community is shifting the balance in the graduate labour market and ultimately to the jobs profiles of the two communities. [...]

Whether unionist politicians will admit it or not this exodus from the protestant middle class looks like a vote of no confidence in Northern Ireland.
Allied to anecdotal evidence of Protestants reaching retirement and moving to Britain where their graduate children (and grandchildren) now live add further to the sense of desertion. A community which exports such a substantial proportion of its most able students over such a long time risks losing the dynamism and energy for renewal in political leadership and civic life."

Catholics are already a majority among the population under 22 years of age, while Protestants account for almost 80% of those above 70 years of age. Expect this trend to keep continuing.

Personally I regard a united Ireland as a legimiate political aspiration, and would support it in any referendum. Lord Mountbatten, so tragically killed in Sligo, also supported a united Ireland, as do most people living in Great Britain.

5 March 2009 at 20:19  
Blogger ZZMike said...

It's only an honorary kighthood, so nobody has to call him Sir Edward.

"Brown said Kennedy had helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, expand health care for Americans and improve access to education for children around the world."

Based on your history, "helping bring peace" is an odd claim.

"Gen. George Patton" ... yes, none of those decorations and awards were "titles of nobility", which is what our COnstitution prohibits.

proudgeordie: "I was under the impression that foreign nationals couldn't receive royal honours?" In a rational world, that would certainly be the case. Wiki says that

"Citizens of countries which do not have the Queen as their head of state sometimes have honours conferred upon them, in which case the awards are "honorary". In the case of knighthoods, the holders are entitled to place initials behind their name but not style themselves "Sir"."

The UK "Monarchy Today" site says

"Foreign citizens given knighthoods over the years include Chancellor Kohl, President Mitterrand and Mayor Giuliani of New York."

The BBC reports that Mr Brown said

"And so today, having talked to him last night, I want to announce that Her Majesty the Queen has awarded an honorary knighthood for Sir Edward Kennedy."

... which disregards the rule about the "Sir" style. But then, Mr Brown probably isn't real big on British pomp, ceremony, and ritual.

Gnostic and Maturecheese, among others, recognize that a knighthood isn't what it once was. And len especially. asbo indeed! Now, at least, that's one he deserves.

Several years ago, I was visiting distant relatives in New Zealand. He had been given an OBE - which he deserved. He said that about the only time it mattered was when getting luggage on and off a cruise ship.

5 March 2009 at 20:30  
Anonymous John Knox said...

Will Northern Ireland become another St George's Island?

Incredible the way British subjects are denied to please foreign nationals. Sure shows what the Queen thinks of her subjects. But isn't this happening all the time now, in all respects of British society? Non European faiths and immigrants are treated with preference, while most that is authentically British, including the Christian faith faces disdain and outright discrimination.

5 March 2009 at 22:49  
Blogger DP111 said...


I was aware that the "Obama" topic was OT, but just couldnt wait till His Grace came up with an appropriate one.

6 March 2009 at 00:08  
Anonymous bugs bunny said...

Some of the newspapers have misattributed a quote to Kennedy effectively stating that Lord Mountbatten got what was coming to him. Gerry Adams said this, not Kennedy. Kennedy was implacably opposed to the IRA. My father worked in Cois Gleann when a meeting between the parties had been arranged; Kennedy refused to even talk to the Shinners.

BTW, Lord Mountbatten himself supported Irish nationalism. The Irish Public Records Office released documents a few years ago documenting a letter he sent to Donal O' Sullivan (Republic's representative to UK) stating that a united Ireland was the 'final' and 'only eventual solution'. He also offered his help 'in any way possible' to materialize a unitary Irish state. Smart lad man with any sense would willing fork out 6 billion pounds per annum to placate a dying herd of ungrateful inbred Anglo-Scotch sheepshaggers.

6 March 2009 at 01:05  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Having debased the currency, New Labour is further debasing the honours system. What next - an honour for Gerry Adams?

I wonder whether the Queen made any comment at all to Flash, Saviour of the Universe - or is she just a cipher? Maybe the monarch could be replaced by a computer. It would save some money in these straitened times. I could write the programme easily enough - just echo back 'yes' to whatever you say.

Have you noticed Your Grace how politicians and now knights are called by a matey title 'Sir Fred', 'Sir Tom'; now presumably it will be 'Sir Ted' or maybe 'Sir Ned'

The only exception seems to be Gordon - why isn't he 'Flash Brown'?

And in harmony with the times, why don't change your blog to 'Tom Cranmer'?

6 March 2009 at 10:01  
Blogger Cranmer said...

And in harmony with the times, why don't change your blog to 'Tom Cranmer'?

Mr Ultramontane Grumpy OLd Catholic,

Facebook attempted to enforce this unacceptable over-familiarity.

His Grace prevailed.

6 March 2009 at 11:28  
Anonymous Sir Edward Carson redivivus said...

--Personally I regard a united Ireland as a legimiate political aspiration, and would support it in any referendum. --

So do I: here's for a United Ireland in a United Kingdom!

6 March 2009 at 11:57  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

I have sympathies with Sir Ted Carson etc but the best comment I have seen so far is that posted on by 'bonhomey'

"...I'm thinking that the good senator accepted this because he thinks it will give him a shot at Helen Mirren"

Sums him up perfectly I think

6 March 2009 at 14:03  
Blogger Viator Catholicus said...

I am grateful to the Queen for bestowing this honor, because as your research proves, she has technically attempted to save the American people from this hypocritical senator.
Now, if only the United States would again be governed by the Conbstitution! It is spit upon by both the left and the right.

7 March 2009 at 03:39  
Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Catholic Felon "... It is spit upon ..."

Your Grace

Some may think Inclusive Ecumenism may be very laudible .... but ...

= GrammAr = @£$%^&

ScHocking - Sciocchinghissimo, for your Italian readers

Ladies, Children & erudite Animals thirsting for kNowledge frequent this Bloggum Interestingissimum and should be protected from Syntactical eccentricities

It is spAt upon

Your Grace's obedient servant etc


wv = slyphi

7 March 2009 at 07:47  
Anonymous Spike said...

When you are the king of hypocrisy, who needs a knighthood?

7 March 2009 at 11:37  
Anonymous Paul Power said...

Here's the Unionist newpaper The Belfast Telegraph commenting (

"The award of an honorary knighthood to Senator Edward Kennedy in recognition of his support for the peace process in Northern Ireland and for services to the US-UK relationship is richly deserved.

As probably the most influential politician among the Irish-American community, over many years he used that influence to press for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in this province..."

But how would they know better than all the well-informed commenters here?

10 March 2009 at 15:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much as Sen. Kennedy is a despicable tosser, plenty of US citizens and officials have received honours from the British government, including Colin Powell, Cap Weinberger.

Eisenhower also served as a General of the Army (on the active list for life) and President despite having been awarded the Order of Leopold by the King of the Belgians, and taking similar gongs from the UK and Norway.

Kennedy is not worthy of this award, but it is as legal as many other awards.

Also, the proposed amendement you refer to was not passed. It is therefore not the law.

24 March 2009 at 20:42  

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