It’s true. I’ve been royally banned from seeing the tweets by His Pomposity, “King” Drew Howe, the the self-proclaimed King of Mann. I was going through old emails, dumping many, when I saw this one that told me @JodyPaulson had tweeted, “@RL_Cherry You know what? @HoweRoyal and his lovely family have done more for tourism for the Isle of Man than you’ll ever do. #Jealous.” Obviously, I’d offended Ms. Paulson by giving the facts on KD’s bogus claim to kingship of the Isle of Man. I agree that he has done more for tourism. The best thing about the dog-and-pony show that TLC presented was that it showed some of the beauty of the Isle. I’m sure that KD getting his show helped tourism. That begs the question about legitimacy of his claim. However, before deleting the above mentioned email, I decided to check out what good ol’ KD was up to and went to his twitter account. There, I was greeted with “You are blocked from following @HoweRoyal and viewing @HoweRoyal’s Tweets.” I have officially been declared persona non grata by the pretender to the Manx throne! If KD actually did become king, likely I would be beheaded if I ventured back to the island that was legally my home for five years. I can’t tell you how much that pleases me. I must have become such a threat to him that he didn’t want me to see what he tweets. KD is still free to view my tweets, but I’m not ashamed of what I write. In honor of my new standing, I will fire my final salvo at the Faux King of Mann. Or Man. TLC can’t seem to decide which spelling to use.
After finding that I was royally banned from KD’s twitter, I checked out his “official” website (click here). I suppose KD has not figured out how to ban me from seeing it. Yet. The site has been cleaned up since I last saw it. No longer are there opportunities to purchase Manx titles of nobility for tens of thousands of dollars. No longer are there ties to the rather dubious The Sovereign Magistral Order of the Temple of Solomon. Now it has a brief outline of KD’s claim, info on “Suddenly Royal,” and contact info, plus a number of touching family photos. It still states that the “UK Barrister firm Pratchetts issued an official Barrister’s Opinion further affirming the legal use and possession of the hereditary royal titles of his ancestors in relation to the Isle of Man.” I did a little poking around. The only listing by Solicitors and Barristers for the UK is Pratchetts, 555 Lincoln Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE1 2PB. It also states “Please note: Please be aware that we are currently updating all our solicitor listings, and Pratchetts my(sic) no longer exist, may have merged with another law firm, or may have different contact details to those shown below.” Further searching reveals that it has a staff of one, Ian Pratchett, and specializes in “Injury Lawyers or solicitors, Divorce Lawyers or Solicitors, accident claim solicitors, accident lawyers, Criminal Lawyers, Conveyancing Solicitors, Immigration lawyers or wills and probate experts amongst others.” There does not seem to be a company website for Pratchetts. Obviously, this is not an old and prestigious law firm in London that one would normally contact about establishing a claim to a British throne. Yet this is the rusty hinge upon which KD’s claim swings. It would have been more appropriate if KD had sought the opinion of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, the author of the “Discworld” series of fantasy novels instead of Ian Pratchett, the solicitor.
One interesting observation is that none of those who he admits have a better claim to the throne of Mann (if there were one to claim) have stepped forward to take their place in front of him. Obviously, they realize that it is not valid. In fact, Robert Currey (apologies again for my previous error in your family tree) is one of those who appeared on “Suddenly Royal” when KD met with him and his family regarding a claim senior to KD’s. Mr. Currey commented on this site that, “At no stage has anyone in our family including my grandfather claimed Lordship or Kingship of Man. As my mother, Heather Currey stated on camera the Queen is the Lord of Man. Like many other comments, this was edited out.” Such honesty did not mesh with KD’s claim, so actual reality lost to the fantasy “reality” of TV. Damn the truth, full fantasy ahead.
I have seen online comments about “Suddenly Royal” that say how KD is such a great family man and how delightful his wife and daughter are and I agree it seems that way. What’s my beef? Although KD does come across as rather crude and rude, that’s not the issue. And if this were just a little, private fantasy of his, that would be fine since I have nothing against fantasy. I used to enjoy going to Renaissance Faires in character as a soldier of fortune. But I never thought my Renaissance Faire character was a real person. I never tried to make money from it and never forced it upon other people. Fantasy is not reality. Except for on reality TV, like “Suddenly Royal.” KD has made himself a public figure by being on the show with his pretension to the kingship of Mann and thus opened his fantasy claim to investigation.
I watched all the episodes of “Suddenly Royal.” If I hadn’t been writing about it for this blog, I wouldn’t have made it. I won’t go over old ground except to mention that he never did address the fact that, while talking about moving to the Isle of Man, KD never addressed the fact that he needed to obtain permission to do so and never did so. Big problem. He never covered the history of how the Stanleys were given the kingship of the Isle by the king of England and did not inherit it, then changed it to Lord of Mann and finally the Murrays, who inherited it, sold it to the Crown. Even if he were the heir (more than doubtful), he had nothing to inherit. Big omission. With that quick summary of my past blogs, let’s visit the last episode of the Howe saga, “Suddenly Royal.”
The family discussed moving to the Isle and what kind of job KD would find without talking about the difficulty of obtaining permission from the Manx government. Since I’ve covered so much of that already, I’m only going to talk about the “Royal Garden Party,” the swan song for KD before he flew off into the sunset. In other words, took a westbound plane back to America. In the planning, Lady C and Ms. KD do a wine tasting. Now, I’ve never known of a wine tasting with just one red, one white and one sparkling, and a full glass of each, but that’s what they did. I guess the choices were limited and they wanted a buzz. Lady C said that all the invitations had to be hand written. Not true. Even for a very formal dinner, they may be engraved. Not only that, handwritten ones should be on proper stationery with either the sender’s address or crest engraved or printed at the top. This party was neither formal (black tie) nor was it a meal, so Lady C displayed her lack of true understanding of proper etiquette. Then Lord K gave a lesson in receiving one’s guests, saying a lady offers her hand to be kissed. Rubbish! Having met titled ladies in Scotland and on the Isle of Man, I can say that this is pure balderdash. I’ve never seen the Queen do this in any movies or photos either. More unreal “reality.” But, then, neither Lady C nor Lord K are actually from Britain, nor did they inherit their titles.
The location chosen for the party was stunning, with TLC no doubt footing the bill. Unfortunately, I never caught the name of the place or where it was on the Isle of Man, didn’t see it in the credits and couldn’t find it online. Nigel Sperring, who was the gracious host/butler for the event, owns the well-rated Albany House B&B in Peel, but that was not the location. Too bad, I’d like to have known where it was. The actual “Royal Garden Party” itself was not so stunning. I counted about 25 attendees, other than the “royal family,” and, of course, none of those were in formal attire. Considering all the publicity the show has had and that there was free food and drink provided, it was not a very impressive number out of an island of eighty-five thousand people. Lady C was there, but Lord K wisely bowed out. The Manx Radio personality, Stu Peters, was the most notable of those who attended and the only member of the Fourth Estate, if you consider radio to be a part of that. The Curreys were also there, which I found a little surprising. A few ladies from the Women’s Institute came, but not their Federation Chairman for the Isle of Man. No Lieutenant Governor, no Members of the House of Keys, no Deemsters, no mayors, no bishop or rectors, no finance-sector notables no movers and shakers of any sort. And KD considered it a success. When people or events didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, I remember my mother-in-law used to tell me, “Lower your expectations.” If this were a success for his run at kingship, KD’s expectations must have been low, indeed.
Then came the king’s speech. Too bad KD didn’t learn from the movie of that name. He takes the stage, as it were, overdressed in black-tie, formal attire. After a few awkward sentences, he stands there like a deer in the headlights, much like during his Manx Radio interview. Finally, Ms. KD feeds him his lines and he stumbles through them. At one point in the series, KD had whined, “The people were mean to me. They didn’t take me seriously.” How could they? I know little of “reality” TV is real, but why let himself look like such a bumbling buffoon if there were not some truth in it? After a few seconds of silence, the crowd starts to clap. I’m not sure if it were because of Manx politeness or some TLC tech was standing in the wings with an “APPLAUD” sign. After the party was over, KD commented that he thought it went well. I suppose being delusional helps when you’re claiming something that isn’t yours. At a true Royal Garden Party, the Queen (the Lord of Mann) enters after the guests have arrived and the national anthem is played. It is a class affair. (click here) The Isle of Man anthem, Arrane Ashoonagh dy Vannin or Land of Our Birth, was not played at this affair. Odd for a Royal Garden Party. But, then, while KD has shown a lot of class during the “Suddenly Royal” series, it was all low.
I don’t deny TLC’s “Suddenly Royal” probably helped Isle of Man tourism by showing the beautiful scenery and that, by being the instigator, KD had a part in that. But that was not why he did it. He got a free vacation to the Isle for him and his family, was able to publicly air his bogus claim and, I am sure, was paid as well. It was not to help the Isle. So what, Ms. Paulson, is there to be jealous of? While my contribution to tourism has only been this blog, a few lectures and personal contacts, while I lived there, I was an active part of Manx society. I was a member of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, joined the Manx Classic Car Club, served on the Parochial Church Council at Kirk Bradden, and held the position of Chieftain of the Saint Andrews Society of Ramsey. My wife and I were also members of the Friend’s of King William’s College, where we helped raise funds for my daughter’s school by organizing events like The American Dream 50’s party and a Western line-dancing hoedown with fellow committee members. I also taught third-form history (8th grade) there for a couple of months while the teacher recovered from a mild stroke. We were invited twice to the Christmas reception at Governor House by the Lieutenant Governor, His Excellency Sir Timothy Daunt. Finally, my Master’s thesis, “The English Civil War and the Manx Rebellion: A Comparison of Seventeenth-century British Revolutions,” is in the Centre for Manx Studies. So, while I agree that I have not done a great deal for tourism on the Isle of Man, when I went there it was to live and be a part of life on the Isle. It was not to claim to rule over the Manx and exploit the Isle for my personal gain. But, if hell froze over and KD did become king, I would be sure to wear a steel collar if I visited again. However, I advise KD not to quit his day job as an “auto repair adviser,” whatever that is. The Manx are not fools.
However, I am not heartless. Poor KD is desperate to be a king, so I have a suggestion that requires no public support. Set up a kingdom like the Royal Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland [KREV] (click here). Swedish artists Leif Elggren (now undisputed King Leif) and Carl Michael von Hausswolff established the kingdoms in 1992. They are “all Border Territories: Geographical, Mental & Digital.” According to its website, the Kingdoms have a flag, constitution, citizenship, ministries, embassies and, most importantly, a gift shop. There, anyone can buy T-shirts, stamps, recordings of the national anthem, etc. Since their prices are far less than KD was asking for noble titles, he could actually sell some and make a profit. His kingdom could be where one enters when having a fantasy, an area in which he has some expertise. I would suggest Fantasia, but it’s already taken. Perhaps the Land of Drewablank? Or the Kingdom of Howeboutit? Give it a thought, KD.