Yesterday's wedding between two descendants of the Bagrationi dynasty which ruled Georgia for at least 10 centuries has captured the imagination of royal watchers worldwide. However, for those pondering the state of democracy in the post-Soviet country since the November 2007 unrest, the marriage between Prince David Bagrationi-Mukhraneli and Princess Anna Bagrationi-Gruzinsky has also reinvigorated talk of reestablishing the monarchy.
Last August, for example, Gerald Warner wrote on the Daily Telegraph blog that a constitutional monarchy might be the best model for Georgia to follow.
Democrats have been talking about monarchy on the British model and citing the example of King Juan Carlos in Spain to prove the practicability of a restoration. What brought things back to the boil, however, was a sermon preached by the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch Illia II, on October 7 last year, in which he publicly called for the restoration of the monarchy as the “desirable dream of the Georgian people”. That led to the question being debated in parliament.
The acknowledged head of the royal house, the de jure King George XIV, died earlier this year; but his 32-year-old son Prince Davit could be called to the throne of his ancestors as David XIII. This could be the holistic reinvention of itself this unfortunate nation needs.
Royal World agrees.
[…] While the “fairy tale” element of monarchy is important and should not be belittled, that does not mean that a restoration would have nothing to offer Georgia's very real problems. The world's remaining monarchies make a substantial tangible difference in the lives of their substance; why would Georgia not wish to emulate them?
However, also writing for the Daily Telegraph blog, Sarah Marcus is less convinced.
[…] it's doubtful that the restoration of the monarchy will become anything more than a fantasy in the foreseeable future. While one of the opposition parties, the Christian Democrats, has made some noise in support of Georgia becoming a constitutional monarchy, no one really appears to be taking the issue seriously enough to do much about it.
Although the wedding has received a considerable amount of attention here and 40% of callers to a television show discussing the marriage said they that supported the idea of a constitutional monarchy for the country, many people I've talked to seem to regard the idea as an entertaining diversion from the real issues dogging this country.
In some ways the dream of a restoration of the Bagrationis is a dream of instant escape from today's complex problems into an era when Georgia's glory days might live again.