Saturday, December 31, 2011

The sad case of an erstwhile friend's inappropriate use of Wikipedia to advance his career; or Rafal Heydel-Mankoo a.k.a. Harpal Rafal Mankoo chastened?

Over the last few years, my long-time friend (well, sadly, until about 21 July 2011, from sometime in 1994), Rafal, has been building himself up as a self-styled "writer, commentator and pundit" on matters royal, chivalric, genealogical, heraldic, social, cultural, etiquette-related, etc. Well and good, I suppose; a fellow needs an outlet/career after all.

Now, before I go into the down side, don't get me wrong: I am not unaware of my former friend's good points. He speaks well. He's got a good baritone voice which he's polished up rather nicely. After my twitting him about it years ago, he stopped saying Ealink (his home town), and now says Ealing. He dresses to match an urbane, some say suave, fireside manner, and has a good sense of humour (provided one keeps off certain pet subjects, such as the lesser known aspects of his background, which, alas for him, I am about to delve into.). He has a charm and a warmth, which he has honed to perfection over years spent on the international gay pick-up scene, where he sported a rather more youthful, dare I say, randier, nahrstier, scally-lad, persona complete with bovver boots. Like so many gay men, he's a social chameleon who knows how to play horses for courses, and does so very well indeed. He's an excellent, if rather ruthless compartmentaliser (woe betide you if he wants to protect his street cred or pursue some waif in the bar, then all bets on a friend's loyalty are off!). To be successful at this takes brains and drive, both of which he has in spades, particularly when he has certain personal interests, shall we say, in mind.

He's got two history degrees and a law degree, and has an impressive command of the language, and a solid public speaking presence. He acquits himself well in the public eye, and, as far as I have observed, has not committed any gaffes or howlers when commentating (dreadful word!) on radio or television about the shared Crown of HM The Queen's 16 Commonwealth Realms or related royal matters. I say bully for him in speaking up for the Monarchy, and for using his abundant skills to state the facts which are so often misrepresented elsewhere.

[How did he get to be a royal commentator, you ask? Well, he started young as a member of the Monarchist League of Canada, eventually rising to chairman of the Ottawa branch while still in his 20s. He led a successful campaign to retain the royal insignia associated with the City of Ottawa's coat-of-arms when they fell under attack from various quarters. He started to get a public profile, and cannily built on it. He began to be heard from in newsprint and on local and national t.v. and radio. Yet, as recently as the funeral of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, when CTV couldn't immediately locate Rafal, they called round the country looking for another qualified "royal commentator", and, after speaking to a friend of mine who's a Vancouver member of the League, ended up contacting me (I'd won a royal trivia contest at a League event to which he'd invited me as a non-member guest. I still have the jolly royal teacup to prove it!). I agreed, reluctantly, to speak through the night of the coverage, and was relieved when, a while later, CTV called back and said they'd finally heard from Rafal, and that he was prepared to do the job. All this to show, that it doesn't take that much to get to be a "royal commentator." Frankly, I am glad I didn't have to do the commentary back then. I'm far less presentable, and might even have run out of things to no doubt this blog entry indicates!]

So, I have no problem with Rafal's burgeoning career as a "royal commentator". Long may he reign in that capacity on the airwaves, etc.

Most "royal commentators" have done their work in a fairly self-effacing way. If one speaks of the Crown, there is a certain gravitas that might be expected of someone associated, if only by comment, to the institution that sits at the apex of our society. If a commentator falls from their perch (as with John Aimers, founder and first dominion chairman of the "Monarchist League of Canada"), then, to some degree, this reflects badly, not so much on the institution of the Crown itself, and even less so our Sovereign Lady Herself, but on the often beleaguered band of devoted monarchists, royalists, constitutionalists, parliamentarians, and loyalists who support the Crown. (That band of older ladies and gents, young enthusiasts, and various others, including intellectuals such as Andrew Coyne, and the late Canadian Senator Eugene Forsey, royal wedding boosters, and even a perhaps disproportionately high number of male homosexuals, Rafal and myself included. My late friend and fellow monarchist, Alan Alvare, NDP supporter, social activist, and some-time Roman Catholic priest who returned to the Anglican fold at the end, and was also a gay man, held the view that one of the first things a revolution in Canadian society would do was abolish the Monarchy which he believed to be one of the greatest bulwarks supporting our freedom and variedness, our national and cultural and personal colourfulness; whose profusion many a utilitarian would-be social engineer of our society loathes and wishes to suppress. This view echoes the words of one of Britain's great current-day publicly "out" actors and writers, Stephen Fry, expressed about the shared institution of the Monarchy on the CBC a few years ago.)

So, it behooves a loyal subject of Her Majesty who appears in the public eye as a supporter and booster of HM to conduct himself (or herself) in a truthful and modest manner unlikely to become the source of disbelief, disaffection, embarrassment, or ridicule. And by ridicule, I don't mean old-fashioned homophobia, since the equal rights of gay people are recognised in Canada and other of the Queen's realms, the U.K. included (just as Denmark and The Netherlands, both monarchies currently under sovereigns who are queens-regnant, have also been in the forefront of gay liberation), but instead mindless snobbery and playing the sort of silly buggers (excuse the pun!) I am about to describe.

For, unfortunately, there is an aspect of my former friend which runs entirely counter to his otherwise sterling qualities.

Far from pursuing a course appropriate to someone who has taken upon himself, to some extent, in the public eye, the position of a presenter of our shared Crown, if not an actual representative thereof, Rafal has allowed himself to become seduced by the trappings of supposed exclusivity to such an extent that he has taken to playing fast and loose with the truth in his own biographical details, and of receiving and sporting "honours" appropriate for inclusion among any "Berk's Worst Ordure of Tripehood and Twaddletwit", and of inflating his achievements.

Back in the days when he first made the move back to London from Canada, he managed to fall in with a group of people interested in orders of knighthood and so on. He firmed up a pre-existing online chatroom friendship with Guy Stair Sainty, and was selected to serve as deputy editor under Sainty's editorship of "Burke's World Orders of Knighthood and Merit", which duly appeared in 2006.

Rafal, who is a unilingual anglophone, even asked me to take on the article on the modern German state orders, because his doesn't even have the smattering of German I do. Fair enough, and thank you for the work. But then he went on to claim that he was variously "the" or "an" editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry, a much more famous series put out by the publishing house of the same name which also happened to publish "World Orders...". And unhappy with being a deputy editor of the latter, he called himself co-author with Mr Sainty of that two-volume work, whereas, as the list of contributors here ( shows, Rafal was deputy editor and contributor to a work authored by a long list of 45 fellow contributors, some of whom are recognised authorities on their subjects. So, to call oneself co-author of a work, with one other, and to demand that it be so written elsewhere, is a neat trick when one knows that the work owes its content to a long list of co-authors, some of whom are the most learned contributors to the work (here I do not include myself), and who yet gain no such credit of co-authorship so far as Rafal would have us believe!

But not only was Rafal prepared to put one over on so many estimable writers, he was also quite happy, even eager, to accept gongs (awards) from various other folk prepared to give a hungry deputy editor a bone (to mix my metaphors). He became a "knight of merit" (*) of one of the three competing versions of an "order" conferred by three rival heirs to one long defunct Italian duchy (The Constantinian Order of St George; the precise one being in the gift of the pretender Mr Sainty supports - you get the connexion.). One of Rafal's merits, apart from being deputy editor of WOKM, being that he is, nominally, a Roman Catholic; another being that he is descended on the distaff side from various members of the titled nobility of eastern and central Europe (something I helped him explore years ago). No doubt hoping to have a little of Rafal's increasing glory reflected on itself, one shadowy African group, Rwandan in origin, I think, went on to grant him membership in some otherwise off-the-radar order handed out to friends and supporters by a former long-deposed king or one of his heirs. Rafal doesn't publicise this particular award so widely because, well, as you will see later, he is not as keen on Africa as he is on Europe, though he happily flourishes the insignia of this African bone on his lapel, like a real swell.

Now, what is the British and Canadian Crown's (or its officialdom's) view of accepting such "honours" from foreign powers, you may well ask? Well, there is a long history of the Crown's dislike and outright hostility to those who do so. Certainly the Crown takes exception to those who do so without express royal permission. Here is the first Elizabeth twice on the subject:

"My dogs shall wear no other collars but mine own" (Lord Grimond citing Queen Elizabeth I's views in a House of Lords debate on allowing qualified British veterans to wear a Russian Commemorative medal for World War II service from Lords Debates, Hansard, 26 April 1993)

and explaining this view on another occasion:

"Between Princes and their Subjects there is a most Straight Tie of Affections. As chaste women ought not to cast their eyes on any other Prince than him, whom God hath given them, I would not have my Sheep branded with another Man's Mark; I would not that they should follow the Whistle of a Strange Shepherd" (Queen Elizabeth I quoted in "The Orders of Knighthood and the Formation of the British Honours System", by Antti Matikkala, p. 229).

The Virgin Queen actually had one English nobleman (Thomas, Lord Arundell of Wardour) sent to the Tower for allowing himself to be made a count of the Holy Roman Empire by then Emperor Rudolf II. She had other Englishmen imprisoned, questioned, and forced to return the insignia of a French order they had received without Her permission.

And following Gloriana's lead, successive British and Canadian governments have adhered to a policy which reflects this initial reasoning, still officially frowning on those who would accept foreign orders without permission (and many other governments, including the American one, are of the same opinion).

For, while it may not matter much that Rafal has accepted some silly orders from some rather dodgy sources whose existence is so tenuous as to render their acceptance beneath the sort of official recognition described above, the underlying reasoning remains the same: one cannot serve two earthly Masters or Sovereigns. One cannot claim to be Her Majesty's loyal subject, much less loyal "royal commentator", and then fail to wait on H.M.'s pleasure and seek or accept supposedly Sovereign orders from some source other than one's own Sovereign, and certainly not without the express permission of H.M. (or a Crown official acting on H.M.'s authority) as this is part of the Queen's Royal Prerogative, a Prerogative any good constitutional monarchist readily defends.

Moreover, to do so, is to invite not only prosecution (if done with a properly recognised foreign order), but, in the case of these orders given out like birthday cards as friendship baubles by dubious would-be, yet never-in-all-likelihood could-be rulers, it serves to invite deserved ridicule on the recipient, and thereby cast aspersions on one's other involvements, especially near-parallel interests such as that surrounding Rafal's support and promotion of the cause of his own legitimate Sovereign, EIIR.

And - let me amplify while I am on the subject - it is a similar case with claiming, brandishing, or using foreign titles in the Queen's realms, and for similar reasons. One needs a licence from the present or a past Sovereign of these realms to use a foreign title in Her Majesty's 16 Commonwealth realms. Yet, for many years, such permission has no longer been forthcoming. Given foreign wars and anti-monarchical revolutions, the former role of these titles is greatly diminished, and their validity, moot in the extreme. So, logically enough, our Crown and its governments have recognised these changes in the old order, extending recognition of the new status quo (however reluctantly in certain cases, and no doubt with private regrets in many instances) and so the apparatus of recognising foreign titles has been mothballed. If, like Count Nikolai Tolstoi-Miloslavsky, you belong to a family licensed when times were different, you are within your rights to use your title in the Commonwealth realms. But, if not, you aren't. And while some may argue that these titles are recognised socially, at least, which indeed they are, still these titles are not recognised officially by the Person from Whom the official table of precedence, and table of ranks, titles, honours, awards, etc., in these realms, flows, i.e. Her Majesty The Queen as the Fountain of All Honour. So essentially, if you employ them, you fly in the face of your Sovereign and Her government, hardly a situation a loyal monarchist wants to get into! Really this amounts to a form of lèse-majesté, where ignorance may be the cause of the offence, but is no excuse (and anyway, it is hardly a plea a supposedly well-informed royal commentator should be caught dead using).

So, if one uses these titles outside of the most private circles (and the internet isn't private!), it is really, at best, a case of ignorance or bad manners, which is another reason why Rafal's mother is not actually a baroness in Canada or Britain (not that she insists on it by any means, and, in any case, is far too sensible to do so), despite the fact that she would have an excellent genealogical claim to do so if the the Empires of Austria-Hungary, or Russia, or, indeed, the Kingdom of Poland, still existed, for she clearly stems via legitimate descent from bearers of the baronial rank, by a patent of nobility that conferred the title of baron (or baroness) not just on the head of the Heydel family but on all his male line descendants, male and female, born within lawful wedlock.

Yet, Rafal is hardly the only Canadian or Briton who descends from someone with a foreign noble background, but the vast majority of them don't use them even in the rare cases where they have a licence from the Sovereign to do so. They are far too modest and sensible, and are often much too grateful for their enjoyment of the far greater REAL and EXTANT honour of living in a free society presided over by our own beloved constitutional monarch, to be worried about being officially recognised as being heir to some foreign (and often officially abolished) title of nobility granted to an ancestor (after all, no one expects them to give up their ancestors or to alter history! But it is one thing to honour one's forebears, and quite another to swan about using titles that may not be strictly pukkah any more. After all, did Michael Ignatieff go around calling himself "Count", even though most of us are quite aware that his father was actually born one, and, had the Russian Empire continued Prof. Ignatieff would doubtless be one, and, may, even be entitled (!) to call himself that? There may be occasions where he gets called that, some social, and others to draw attention to his paternal bloodlines and family history, but he doesn't insist on such usage, no doubt, far from it!).

But this sort of honour of being a free citizen and faithful subject of H.M. is not enough for Rafal. It is not enough for him to glory in the pride of being a Canadian and a Briton. His three degrees do not suffice to slake his thirst for distinctions. And it is not enough for him to bask in the praise he has received (which he has from many fellow monarchists at home and abroad) as a commentator on matters relating to our own Royal Family. He feels the need to puff himself up and accept strange and dubious honours or to misrepresent and overblow the legitimate Canadian honours he has received (such as the Queen's Jubilee medal, which he is unwilling to enjoy in the open company of its other 46,000-odd recipients). No, he has sought more fame, more favour, etc., and worked to shape those distinctions he has, or claims, into ever more elaborately serried ranks of impressiveness.

He even went so far as to list all his minor speaking engagements at various institutions as though he were addressing the entire body, university faculty and students assembled, when, in fact, he was likely speaking to groups ranging in size from a handful to a moderate roomful, and on one or two occasions. Thousands of people world-wide make similar appearances, and engage far larger audiences, repeatedly in many cases, but for Rafal, speaking once to a group of any size where the venue is some well-known and possibly impressive institution is all that it takes. Phew!

Is it surprising then, that to this end, at some point, in 2005 or so, a wikipedia article about him appeared (created by some alleged 70-year-old fan of his if the talk page was any indicator) under his new guise, Rafal Heydel-Mankoo. Whether it was initially created by him, I do not know, but since then it has been edited (often anonymously) to reflect an increasingly elaborate picture of the fellow I had first known for many years simply as Rafal Mankoo, or to give him his full name as it appeared on some-or-other diploma from high school or whatnot, he'd once shame-facedly acknowledged to me after I'd spotted it on the wall of his room in Ottawa, Harpal Rafal Singh Mankoo.

For a few years, I don't think I even noticed this wikipraise article was there. Then, when I did come across it (I forget how), I was not all that taken aback by its rather self-congratulatory tone. The Rafal I knew was never slow to sing his own praises. So, if it was somewhat inflated; for a long time, I let it go, thinking, well, he's a friend, and generally a decent chap, and I know he has a weakness for self-adulation, but I expect that eventually he'll realise that he's getting too big for his britches, and, at some point, scale things back.

Alas, I was wrong. The page kept getting more elaborate, as it made out that Rafal's doings, interesting as they might be to himself, and to a select coterie of his friends and fans, were on a very much grander scale than a reality check might reveal (as in the case of the 46 thousand Jubilee medals).

His many orotund, even Churchillian, achievements and memberships were cited in great detail so as to display to their best advantage the implied exclusivity, pomp, and splendour thereof, and the wikipedia page, Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, became rather a parody of the sort of thing one reads about the fictional Sir William Elliot in Jane Austen's Persuasion. There, the finest thing in all of English literature that the inestimably snobbish baronet could find to read was his own family's entry in Debrett's Baronetage, a copy of which he always kept on hand for regular readings aloud to himself, his family, his household, and any hapless callers below his own lofty rank ( either in his drawing room at home, or in his well-appointed apartments in the fashionable places he frequented, such as that well-known favourite watering hole and fun fair of the nobility and gentry, the spa town of Bath). How the boastful baronet would have liked to see his name up in lights in wikipedia one can only guess, though he might have found it a tad plebeian to be in there cheek by jowl with hoi poloi and hosts of relative parvenus. Not so, Rafal. He is much more of a technophile self-promoter in the American style than I fancy the quintessentially English Sir William could ever have been, and, in any case, Rafal could not make it into the Baronetage, much less "Burke's Peerage and Gentry", for he is neither.

No, unlike Sir William's notional present-day counterpart, Rafal has been blogging and webpaging for years. Sometimes his web presence's long pedigree is even a source of annoyed embarrassment to him as happened in the case of which he only recently managed to delete (but which I found via the excellent wayback machine, so you can read it in a separate article).

Along with his increasing internet presence, Rafal's transformation from an Ottawa and Toronto history and law student who dressed like a young punk type in Doc Martins and jeans to a Jermyn-street-clad, young fogey who'd become a leading light on London's not-so-crypto-catholic, Jacobite, and antiquarian social scene had been effected by a subtle change of name from Rafal [too ethnic and impossible for the British to pronounce, dontcha know?] to Rafe [with its nice allusions, or is it illusions (?), to Ralph, pronounced Rafe, Fiennes, and other tony figures not unconnected to the titled aristocracy.] The process was made complete with the convenient ditching of his true name beginning with "H", his East Indian/South Asian, first name, Harpal, in whose role, if not precise place, was substituted his mother's Polish baronial maiden name of Germanic origin also beginning with "H", Heydel, to give him a double-barrelled handle as Rafal, just call me "Rafe", Heydel-Mankoo. Eh voilà, or hey presto!, as the magicians say. Another excellent sleight of hand. Ecce homo novus; Behold the new man, come to join Burlington Bertie, and Lord Haw-Haw,, no doubt.

Once coined, this newly-minted moniker began to proliferate on his various webpages and in messaging groups devoted to esoterica of a genealogical, heraldic, chivalric, flavour, etc. (well, you get the picture), though the odd, old reference to plain, old Rafal Mankoo still turns up occasionally via the use of a web search engine, even today, if one knows of his former persona and cares to look for surviving evidence of it.

Along with this, to complete the transformation from ordinary to posh, came the subtle alteration of his likeable Ottawa computer technician father's East African South Asian Sikh identity as Kulwant Singh Mankoo, nicknamed "Tony" (presumably somewhere along the line in the course of his life or working career) to Anthony Mankoo, scion, my bad, merely "son of an industrial family" (Rafal, this makes them sound "industrial strength" like a cleaner! Surely you meant industrious? Or did you mean they were industrialists? not, gasp, trade!) from Kenya, whose origins were changed from honest hard-working, high-achieving descendants of one or other of the waves of indentured servants, and their compatriots, who travelled from British India to British East Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, into post-WWII dispossessed Polish landowners who migrated to Africa from their former homeland to escape the loss of their estates to Communist regimes who'd taken power in the lands where they themselves had once held sway.

As Rafal himself grew grander on the London social scene, and advanced his world-wide career as a self-anointed guru of all matters related to bloodlines and other socially select arcanae, so too the wikipedia article about him, often "tweaked" (his word) anonymously by him, or by one or other of his loyal band of followers, grew more and more distant from the neutral realm of strict truth, and ventured into the often lamentable and sometimes laughable land of fantasy, falsehood, and fetish.

Here was what the page looked like at the height of Rafal's romp (this version still appears at

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo (born 1 June 1976, London) comments on royal affairs in the media and is an expert on heraldry, aristocracy and the British honours system. He was born in the United Kingdom and educated in Canada.[1] After the war his father's family settled in British East Africa (modern day Kenya), where, along with Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, many Polish landowners settled after the Second World War.[2] Heydel-Mankoo is a dual national, holding both British and Canadian citizenship and is now primarily resident in the United Kingdom.[1]

He has been the "Royal correspondent" for the Canadian morning news show Canada AM[3][4] and CTV News Channel[5] and has provided live television commentary on CBC TV, Global TV, BBC and Sky News for various royal and honours-related events including the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the funeral of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the engagement of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton and various royal news stories.[6][7] In 2009 Heydel-Mankoo appeared in a comedy sketch on British Channel 4's comedy-variety programme The Sunday Night Project to judge the dining etiquette and social skills of pop singer Lily Allen.[8]

Heydel-Mankoo is an editor of Burke's Peerage & Gentry[9] and has appeared as an expert before the British House of Commons Select Committee tasked with studying reform of the British Honours System.[10] He was the deputy editor and co-author of Burke's World Orders of Knighthood and Merit.[11] The grandson of Baron Adam Heydel and HSH Princess Karolina Jablonowska (see Jablonowski), he is also an expert on Polish nobility and is the author of The Titled Families of Poland.[12]

A lecturer and after-dinner speaker, Heydel-Mankoo has spoken at various institutions in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, including the University of Cambridge,[13] the University of Toronto, the Durham Union Society at Durham University,[14] and the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House (London).[15] For his work educating Canadians about the role and function of the Crown and the Monarchy, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.[16] He is also a Knight of Merit of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.[17]

Heydel-Mankoo, who has previously worked at Deutsche Bank in London as an analyst [no pun intended], is the former Ottawa Branch Chairman for the Monarchist League of Canada and a past director of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.[18] He is a Trustee of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust,[19] a Council Member of the Royal Stuart Society,[20] a Committee Member of the International Churchill Society,[21] a Commissioner of the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry,[22] and a Committee Member of the Polish Order of Malta Volunteers (UK).[23] He studied history and law at the University of Ottawa, graduating with a B.A.(Hons) and an LL.B., before completing a master's degree in history at the University of Toronto.[1]

External links
■Heydel-Mankoo's personal blog "Reflections of a Young Fogey"
■Almanach de Polska

1.↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Campbell, Murray, "Her Majesty's loyal spin doctor The Monarchist League of Canada admits it has suffered in the past decade as the Royal Family showed it could be as dysfunctional as any other. But John Aimers believes it's time for a comeback", Globe and Mail, October 21, 1999
2.↑ Jacek Kozak, Polacy w Kanadzie ("Who's Who of Polish Canadians"), Biogram Publishing, Mississauga 2006
3.↑ Camilla may become Queen after all, Canada AM, March 22, 2005
4.↑ Queen not to attend wedding of her son Prince Charles, Canada AM, February 23, 2005
5.↑ Prince Harry Will Go To Iraq, CTV News Channel (Canada)|CTV News Channel, April 30, 2007
9.↑ Fionnuala Bourke, "Stop lording it up, says earl", Daily Mercury, August 1, 2004
10.↑ Eleanor Cowie, "MPs call for an end to empire in shake-up of honours", The Herald, July 14, 2004
11.↑ World Orders of Knighthood and Merit
12.↑ Chris Horan, "A family tree for the Czartoryski family (Czartoryska for female members) shows that Prince...", Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, March 5, 2002
16.↑ Database search
17.↑ NEWS - Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George
18.↑ Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, "Up in arms", National Post, December 27, 2000
19.↑ Friends and Directory of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust
20.↑ Activities
21.↑ FH 127q5
22.↑ Patrons and Members

And if I was increasingly dismayed about my friend's transmogrification from earnest acolyte into incorrigible self-promoter, it seemed I was not entirely alone: some wikipedia editors and users had begun to have their suspicion that the article on Rafal Heydel-Mankoo had surpassed the bounds of reality and entered that twilight world that lies somewhere hard to pin down along the fringes of the legitimate territory occupied by these high-falutin' matters, and areas, well, not to put to fine a point on it, decidedly less so...

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, the wikipedia article, fell under scrutiny, and was even nominated once for deletion in 2007, a matter that escaped my notice at the time. But despite surviving the deletion debate on that occasion (due to insufficient information to decide the case, apparently), the days in which Rafal's new name and enhanced identity enjoyed an unrestrained virtual romp through cyberscape, courtesy of an article about him on wikipedia dedicated to his advancement, were nonetheless drawing to a close.

On 26 December 2011, the wikipedia article labelled "Rafal Heydel-Mankoo" was finally deleted by a wikipedia administrator, having been nominated for that honour twice.

As just mentioned, I had no part in the first failed attempt to achieve this, but I was, perhaps, instrumental in exposing the factual evidence that led to the decision to delete the article on its second nomination for oblivion.


Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Rafal Heydel-Mankoo (2nd nomination)

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo
AfDs for this article:
Articles for deletion/Rafal Heydel-Mankoo Articles for deletion/Rafal Heydel-Mankoo (2nd nomination)

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo's main claim to fame is that he was the Assistant editor of World Orders of Knighthood and Merit. The article on that book was deleted on 2 September 2011, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/World Orders of Knighthood and Merit. Reviewing the previous nomination for deletion, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, the main reason given for keeping the article was that his role as assistant editor of World Orders of Knighthood and Merit made Heydel-Mankoo notable. As World Orders has been deleted for not being notable it seems logical that being its assistant editor can not longer justify the claim that Heydel-Mankoo is notable. Google News did not find any articles on Rafal Heydel-Mankoo. A regular Google search returned primarily references to World Orders or to websites created by Heydel-Mankoo. The remainder of the article is a list of organizations to which Heydel-Mankoo belongs, schools he attended, and his periodic appearances. There is nothing here that makes him stand out as more notable than several thousand others with the same list of accomplishments. It was his role in World Orders that constituted a claim to notability and since that book has been deemed not notable, I suggest that its assistant editor be removed as well. Johnwilliammiller (talk) 03:25, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Weak keep. He appears to be the editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry. Google News shows frequent references to him as a "royal expert" and "constitutional expert". Pburka (talk) 04:35, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
DELETE. He does not appear to be the editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry. The editor is, instead, William Bottrick. Please see Heydel-Mankoo was once a deputy editor for a publication, World Orders of Knighthood and Merit, by the firm which appeared in 2006. He no longer works for the firm, and has not done so for several years. Occasionally, Heydel-Mankoo has appeared on the television in the capacities described, and there are sundry references to his achievements on pages also written by him. If one examines the history page for this biographee, one will discover that Heydel-Mankoo has used this page for self-promotion and has compiled and edited it for that purpose. Indeed, he has altered the contributions of others to make it appear that they have written otherwise than is the case. This amounts to a form of vandalism or behaviour hostile to the promotion of accuracy and impartiality. This runs counter to wikipedia policy, and is inimical to the spirit in which wikipedia articles are meant to exist. For more about this episode, please refer to:" Vancouveriensis (talk) 02:44, 21 July 2011 (UTC). Vancouveriensis (talk) 12:10, 19 December 2011 (UTC)vancouveriensis
Weak keep. if he is a regular commentator on the Canadian crown. Abstrakt (talk) 04:40, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Note: This debate has been included in the list of Authors-related deletion discussions. • Gene93k (talk) 16:42, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Delete Not the editor of a major publication ; not the editor of Burke's which would be notable. And even the article claims him merely an occasional , not a regular commentator. No notable accomplishments, no significant coverage. Usually they go together. DGG ( talk ) 15:22, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
These reliable sources [1][2][3][4][5][6] all describe him as "the" or "an" editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry. He may be inflating his resume a bit, as I suspect that "an" is more accurate, but WP:TRUTH is not our mandate. Pburka (talk) 21:40, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
While the sources may be reliable to a greater or lesser extent (N.B. the last in the series the least so), they are subject to occasional factual error as much as any other large organisation. In the instances cited, all of which I have examined, the references to Heydel-Mankoo's being "the editor" of Burke's Peerage and Gentry are incorrect, and are likely to have derived from the man himself inflating his employment credentials or from his wikipedia page which he has frequently edited (read sculpted) for the purposes of his own personal vanity and self-promotion, or indeed from one of his own websites. At no point was Heydel-Mankoo ever anything more than a deputy editor working on one of the lesser known, one-off titles put out by the publisher known by the name of its more famous publications, Burke's Peerage (and Gentry). Heydel-Mankoo is not an expert on the bloodlines of the British peerage or landed gentry. He was merely associated with one publication, Burke's World Orders of Knighthood and Merit, whose separate entry has now been deleted, and there only in the capacity of a deputy, or sub-editor. It is misleading and inaccurate to claim otherwise. vancouveriensis.

How did things reach this pretty pass?

There ladies and gentlemen, lies a sad but perhaps salutary tale about human vanity and the perils of self-vaunting tendencies which o'erleap themselves and fall upon the vaunter, in this case, the architect of his own wikipedia destruction, Harpal Rafal Mankoo (the former third name, Singh, is apparently only used by avowed, practising, or baptised Sikhs, and Rafal, an atheist who was brought up a Roman Catholic, but has flirted with converting to Anglicanism if politically expedient, and who is now, once again, a nominal Roman Catholic due to its social cachet and the ticket of entrée it affords into the world he has penetrated with increasing depth, has no desire to retain any obvious ties to the religion so long espoused by his father's people, any more than he wishes to be associated publicly with any of his Indian subcontinental origins) also known as Rafal Heydel-Mankoo.

He finally got hoist on the petard of his own ever increasingly elaborate claims whereby he had let the world know that he was a legend in his own mind (and should be in ours!).

You see, ladies and gents, from building up a somewhat vain portrait of himself, he went so far as to insert blatantly misleading items that were tantamount to falsehoods. Akin to the straw that broke the camel's proverbial, I couldn't stand by and watch it any longer. Indeed, I saw in this departure from truth and reality the even greater danger that a harmless 'Burlington Bertie' would, unchecked, arrive at a monstrous state not unlike that occupied by the traitor, 'Lord Haw-Haw'.

My earlier tactics had not worked; it was time for outright exposure. The gentle teasing I had engaged in with him for a few years over the phone, in person, and via facebook, had gone unanswered, and, indeed, had been entirely erased from the lattermost (as when I had posted to him the details of his elder brother's U.K. birth registration which showed that his actual name was Nikki, rather than the edited form, Nicholas, that Rafal had put about to add more ton to his genealogy, and make his mixed-race birth family sound posher). But finally things had gone too far. He had become "the editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry", a role he never enjoyed, and had taken in CTV and other news organisations, etc., with his claims of world-wide pre-eminence, if not virtual Heydel-Mankoonian hegemony, in the select areas in which he deigned to show interest. Sadder still, and inherently pathological, was the fact that, in a feat as blatantly fabricated as it was unfilial, he had divested himself of his true paternity - East Indian Sikh from Kenya - and laid claim to post-WWII Polish settlers in Africa instead!

So, fed up with the outright falsehoods, I stepped in on the talk page of wikipedia and supplied an answer to someone else's justifiable query as to the relevance of one segment of his entry there. Then dash me, if Rafal didn't perform an unauthorised editing of that very post making it seem as though I had written something I never did, viz.:

"The relevance demonstrates his family's movements before coming to the UK -- important elements in his background, which shaped his character. There was one specific sentence that needed some clarification and so I have tweaked it for greater accuracy."

(which he put under my wikipedia pen-name, vancouveriensis, but which I never wrote, nor authorised him to write.)

relevance of East Africa and Polish landowners
Could someone explain in the text the relevance of Polish landowners having gone to East Africa? Thanks. --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 22:45, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

The relevance demonstrates his family's movements before coming to the UK -- important elements in his background, which shaped his character. There was one specific sentence that needed some clarification and so I have tweaked it for greater accuracy. The Polish family of Heydel is derived from a male ancestor who immigrated to Poland from Germany's Thuringian region in the 17th century in the suite of one of Poland's elected Saxon kings. He became a naturalised Pole. A number of Polish families, including many of Rafal's relations later settled in Africa (as they did elsewhere) following the imposition of a Communist regime on post-war Poland, and the loss of large parts of the territory of the interwar Polish republic to the Soviet Union (including many of the areas containing the landed estates of these post-war Polish immigrants to Africa). vancouveriensis (who has known the subject since subject was 18) The foregoing has been altered by someone else since I wrote it, and does not accurately state what I wrote.Vancouveriensis (talk) 07:07, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

[After discovering this, I was incensed. What a liberty! What an affront!! What an outrage to decency and friendship, not to mention conduct unbecoming in an historian and a graduate in the Law!!! What a revelation of his true character!!!! I went back in and found my original post and added to it the following clarificatory comments. RC-Z, ed.]

It turns out that the subject himself altered my original comment on this page. He rang me from London to explain this saying he had tried to contact me via email asking me not to edit this page as it is valuable to [him] and his life in Britain personally and professionally. It, however, contained inaccurate information meant to mislead (incorrectly linking his South Asian Sikh father, Kulwant Singh Mankoo, from Kenya, with the post-WWII movement of the old Polish landowning class to various parts of Africa). Rafal has attempted to edit what he refers to as "my page" (meaning his) in wikipedia anonymously. His attempts to use wikipedia for the promotion of his pseudonymous career contravenes wikipedia policy. That he plays fast and loose with the truth only compounds this unacceptable activity. Vancouveriensis (talk) 02:36, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

I have now retrieved what I originally wrote in reply to the enquiry about the relevance of the Polish landowning classes in East Africa before it was altered by Harpal Rafal Mankoo a.k.a. Rafal Heydel-Mankoo using my wikipedia nom-de-plume without my permission, viz.:

This reference is actually inaccurate as it implies that the subject's father's family moved to British East Africa from Poland. It is his mother's family who are Polish, and they never moved to East Africa. His mother, Maria, moved to London from Poland as a young woman. His father's family, Sikh from India, moved first from British India to British East Africa, at a date unknown, but quite likely decades before World War II (in the 1890s to 1920s is likeliest), and then, as a teenager or young man, his Kenya-born father, Kulwant Singh Mankoo, along with some other members of his paternal family, moved to Britain in the 1960s from Kenya. His parents met and married in London (viz.: GRO indexes: "Name: Maria Heydel; Spouse Surname: Mankoo; Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1970; Registration district: Ealing; County: Greater London; Volume Number: 5b;Page Number: 185; Spouse: Kulwant S Mankoo"). He was born there in 1976 and his parents gave him the names Harpal Rafal Singh Mankoo (see also Birth registrations for England and Wales. General Register Office, London, viz.: "Name: Harpal Rafal Mankoo; Mother's Maiden Surname: Heydel; Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1976; Registration district: Hammersmith; County: Greater London, Middlesex; Volume Number: 12; Page Number: 1827"). He later stopped using his first and third given names and was known in Canada for many years as Rafal Mankoo. At some point in his adulthood, he started to hyphenate his mother's maiden name, Heydel, in front of his original surname, to become Rafal Heydel-Mankoo (He most often calls himself Rafe in England, and Ra'-fal' in Canada, whereas his baptismal name is, of course, pronounced differently in Polish because of the w-like sound of the terminating 'l'. It corresponds to English, Raphael, but is difficult for many anglophones to pronounce correctly.).

The Polish family of Heydel is derived from a male ancestor who immigrated to Poland from Germany's Thuringian region in the 17th century in the suite of one of Poland's elected Saxon kings. He became a naturalised Pole. He, or one of his descendants, was granted the hereditary title of baron, so Rafal's mother's family along with his maternal grandmother's yet grander Jablonowski family (non-royal princely), carries a certain social cachet. This, in turn, is appreciated in many of the social circles in which the biographee moves, certainly those which are the focus of this article.

While the bulk of Rafal's mother's paternal, Heydel, family remains/ed in Poland (including her brother, the baron), it is true, however, that some of her Polish aristocratic relations, bearing other surnames (some of the counts Cielski, for example), later settled in Africa (as they did elsewhere) following the imposition of a Communist regime on post-war Poland, and the loss of large parts of the territory of the interwar Polish republic to the Soviet Union (including many of the areas containing the landed estates of these post-war Polish immigrants to Africa). vancouveriensis (who has known the subject since subject was 18)

Retrieved from "" Vancouveriensis (talk) 02:44, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Retrieved from ""

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Afterward, Rafal began to complain, and I got fed up and let him see how the wikipedia entry he had so carefully groomed about himself could be edited far more deeply to reflect a truer, fuller picture. One of resulting versions (there were several) of Rafal Heydel-Mankoo was as follows:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo (born 1 June 1976, London, and registered there as Harpal Rafal Mankoo [1]) is the professional alias (see stage name and/or nom de plume) of a London-based free-lance correspondent on royal affairs in the media and on heraldry, aristocracy, and various honours systems. He was born in the United Kingdom, and after primary school there [2], was educated in Canada, completing grade 12 at Immaculata, a former Ottawa-area girls' school.[3] Via his computer technician father, Kulwant Singh "Tony" Mankoo[4], who immigrated to England from Kenya in 1961[5], he descends from the industrial[6], South Asian, Sikh Mankoo family which settled in British East Africa (modern-day Kenya) from the Punjab, Sikhism's heartland in British India, in the late 1800s[7]. His translator mother, Maria Mankoo, is a native of Poland, who settled in London as an adult in 1968[8]. She belongs to the Heydel family whose baronial title was formerly recognised by Poland's pre-Communist authorities. Immigrating to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada from England at the age of 11, Mankoo is a dual national, holding both British and Canadian citizenship, though he is now primarily resident in the United Kingdom.[3]

He has been an occasional "royal correspondent" for the Canadian morning news show Canada AM[9][10] and CTV News Channel[11], and has provided live television commentary on Fox News Channel[12], ABC News, CBC TV, Global TV, BBC and Sky News and TV Polonia and TVN Poland[13] for various royal and honours-related events including the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the funeral of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and the engagement of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.[14][15] In 2009, Mankoo appeared in a comedy sketch on British Channel 4's comedy-variety programme The Sunday Night Project to judge the dining etiquette and social skills of pop singer Lily Allen.[16]

Mankoo is a former deputy editor of one of the lesser-known titles, World Orders of Knighthood and Merit, published by Burke's Peerage & Gentry[17], and once, while sick[18], made a presentation before the British House of Commons select committee tasked with studying reform of the British Honours System.[19] Maternally, a grandson of baron Adam Heydel and (non-royal) princess Karolina Jabłonowska (see Jabłonowski family), he is also an expert on Polish aristocracy, and is the author of The Titled Families of Poland.[20]

(N.B. due to sheer self-restraint, or was it coyness, in this version, I even left out the bit where I mentioned the awkward fact that he scarcely speaks a word of Polish (something I already knew, but one can see clear evidence of this when he is interviewed on Polish TV in English because he cannot speak Polish!, and cannot read the language of the people about whose titled nobility he is a soi-disant world authority, and veritable fount of all knowledge! It is hardly surprising, then, that far from being either comprehensive in any meaningful sense, or definitive, the "Almanach de Polska" he created [the title itself is a reflexion of his command of the Polish language!] is largely a catalogue of the bare surnames associated with the various ranks of titled Poles separated into their various rankings, and, in most instances, little more.)

A lecturer and after-dinner speaker, Mankoo has spoken at various institutions in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, including the University of Cambridge,[21] the University of Toronto, the Durham Union Society at Durham University[22], and the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House (London).[23] For helping to educate Canadians about the Canadian Crown, he was one of only 46,000 Canadians who received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.[24] He is also a knight of merit of the one of the three rival versions of the dethroned Italian Bourbons' Constantinian Order.[25]

Mankoo, who briefly worked at Deutsche Bank in London as an analyst [no pun intended], is a former chairman of the Ottawa branch of the Monarchist League of Canada, and a past director of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.[26] He is a trustee of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust,[27] a council member of the Royal Stuart Society,[28] a committee member of the International Churchill Society,[29] a commissioner of the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry,[30] and a member of the U.K. auxiliary committee of the Polish knights of the Order of Malta.[31] He studied history and law at the University of Ottawa, graduating with a B.A. (Hons), and an LL.B., before completing a master's degree in history at St Michael's College in the University of Toronto.[3]

External links
Heydel-Mankoo's personal blog "Reflections of a Young Fogey"
Rafal Heydel-Mankoo's YouTube Channel
Almanach de Polska
his personal website, at


[RC-Z note: unfortunately due to the number of html errors caused, I suppose, by the difference between wikipedia and this blog's way of treating them, the source numbers here do not lead to the actual sources indicated]

Then the real squawking began! First, Rafal rang me up from London (so urgently that he woke me before 8 a.m. P.S.T.) and begged and pleaded with me to remove the corrective changes I had made to "HIS" entry in wikipedia. When I expressed little interest in doing so, he sent me a message via email, which led on to further correspondence (which see below:...).


[My] Inbox

Rafal (Rafe) Heydel-Mankoo
20 July 2011 09:47
To: Richard Carruthers-Zurowski

Dear Richard,

If you do not want to deal with the hassle of reverting the edits, and if you would be willing, please provide me with your Wikipedia password and I can make the edits for you and you can then re-set your password in, say, 24 hours so that I can no longer access your account.
[How did I ever resist such a tempting offer? How did I ever deny the busy little elf the opportunity to do so much under the guise of me once again? Could it be that I was not born yesterday, or perhaps the good fairies failed to endow me with the gene for sado-masochism?!]

If you would prefer to do this yourself I would be grateful if you could please remove the following (although you will of course already know the list):

1. Harpal Rafal Mankoo (privacy issue -- I do not want this on the Internet and I do not want it connected with "Heydel-Mankoo" as I use them separately for different purposes and I do not want them linked [I bet you don't!] -- this is the only page that links them) [non commodum est!]
2. My father's name and job (not relevant)[read not wanted on the voyage of the S.S. Heydel-Mankoo!]
3. My mother's name and job (not relevant) [your mother, excellent woman, is one of the best things you have going for you, and, no doubt, will stand by you come hell or high water. And it is by dint of her hard work keeping the family together, etc., that you had the luxury of indulging in your current pursuits! Not to mention the fact the she is your gateway to the land of aristocratic milk and honey, as it were!!]
4. South Asian Sikh Mankoo family reference (not relevant and you know my views) [oh yes I do, how sad to be so ashamed of half one's heritage that one essentially gives it the deep six!]
5. Arriving from India (not relevant and you know my views.)
[absolutely relevant to giving the lie to the falsehoods you were giving out in the wikipedia article carrying your nom-de-plume about your family's settlement in post-WWII Africa from Communist Poland, which never took place!]

My maternal grandparents are relevant as it relates to my expertise in Polish nobiliary matters (and of course I like the reference!) [Oh really, and here I thought you were the soul of modesty!].

I'm not sure why you needed to insert "occasional" before "royal correspondent" when I am CTV's principal royal commentator. I am also not sure why you changed "presented evidence" to the House of Commons select committee to "once made a presentation"? Was this really necessary? Why the need to insert 46,000 GJ medals or to mention the three competing branches of the Constantinian Order? Was there a point to this? Did you need to lower case "baron" and "princess" when they appear immediately before my grandparents' names? And why remove "HSH" from my grandmother? Was it really necessary to insert "lesser known title" for WOKM? [This part is particularly rich as unbeknownst to me before the brouhaha about the deletion of the wikipedia article, Rafal Heydel Mankoo, the wikipedia article on Burke's World Orders of Knightage and Merit had been deleted due to its lack of notability, a dreadful blow to the Mankoonian ego, no doubt! How prescient I was to see that it was perhaps one of Burke's lesser known titles, and that despite the fact that I had even written some bits of it myself - which I somehow managed to do in spite of my having to labour without the benefit of a personal wikipedia article devoted to me!] What point do these particular edits really serve? This is not an edit to an anonymous stranger's entry but to that of an old friend who has feelings and whose sensitivities you know [too right! ed.].

I also do not know why you would feel the need to remove "is an expert" from my biography when I am a commissioner for the ICOC [what's that you ask? well, it's a self-appointed body full of self-appointed experts, dontcha know!] and I have been formally consulted by the Canadian government, the government of Quebec, the British government, the Polish government, the Brazilian government, an IGO, a think tank and a handful of non-reigning royal houses [what only a handful, egad!] and private organisations -- not to mention numerous print & broadcast media. I think my credentials as an expert are pretty well established.
[well, all I can vouch for is that you have used wikipedia to establish and promote them as best you can...]

My Wikipedia page has been extremely useful to me professionally [oh really, now we're getting down to brass tacks!] and socially [well, Hooray Henry, oops, I mean, Harpal!] and these edits are going to make life very difficult for me [boohoo, will they really? Why so? Do your new friends all despise who you really are that much? Won't they feel you have misjudged them if they read this? Might they not even feel a tad insulted perhaps? Or will your memberships in the all the right clubs immediately be withdrawn? Will you be black-balled - well I know you are already dear - but I never thought your public exposure would reach that level of revelation! My my...]. The only person who is in any way affected by this matter is me -- [a tad solipsistic and hyperbolic even for you, Harpal!] and I really do not see what I have done to deserve this nor do I see the problem in reverting back to the way things were yesterday [oh, if only we could turn the clock back to the day before the porkie teller's sweet dreams were popped!]. At the moment I am going through a rather rough time physically/medically and this is a further strain I would really prefer to do without [oh, no doubt, but I understand the Lourdes water is an excellent tonic!].

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated [Right back at ya, mate. Have a nice day, and all that! ed.]



Read my blog here:


Rafal (Rafe) Heydel-Mankoo
20 July 2011 19:28
To: Richard Carruthers-Zurowski
Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Delete | Show original
Why are you messing with my life?!
[Well, well, I didn't realise that the west coast of Canada had such an influence on the town life of a London bon vivant! I thought you said the page had no relevance to me or to Canada! OK, I remember, you want your cake and to eat it too, Marie-Rafalette] The entry as it currently reads is entirely accurate [well, that my dear, is because I have edited it that way, no thanks to you, kicking and screaming all the way.] There is not need for extraneous information [one man's extraneous is another man's wonderful turn up for the books. Indeed, I have rather a taste for what you describe as extraneous information, and which other people commonly call the TRUTH. Funny how folk differ, eh what?] Why are you doing this to me? [Oh, but my dear, you really asked for it yourself, now, didn't you? I am sure there is a nice Order of Papist Pederastic Flagellants that might take you on when this no longer suffices to meet your predilections! They might even have the odd victim about the place for you just like Wytrobka the dwarf back in the old Jablonowski glory days!] What have I done to you to deserve this treatment? Leave me alone. Let the edit stand as it is. Stop interfering in my life. It now [funny that! but I know whistle-blowers are rarely appreciated] clearly states the basic information, which is correct and succinct, without need for any elaboration. Leave it be!

[Oh but alas it was not to be.(: By 29 December 2011, Rafal managed to get the same wikipedia administrator who deleted the offending article (only three days earlier) that Rafal had so lovingly shaped to meet his particular needs to blank as a courtesy [courtesy to Rafal only of course. Politesse to the perpetrator, that's our motto at wiki-editorial High Command!] the two debate pages re the deletion thereof because he felt they were too awkward, um, disparaging, so I am afraid that I felt compelled to give the matter a more public airing, because, really, in the end, I just couldn't quite manage to spurn my horrid capacity for getting to the nub of the matter, or the rub in this case, by reaching the jugular as one Oxford don once wrote of me, when I was but a wee lad at boarding school. No, I simply couldn't let sleeping dogs lie when a world quite unprepared for the hijinx Harpal aka Rafal likes to get up to was to be unfairly deprived of learning the full details of the modus operandi of the Heydel-Mankoo while the miscreant himself was rewarded for all his naughtiness by having it once again indecently obscured by an all too cooperative wikipedia aider and abettor! And why did I bother to be the one? Well, my dear Rafal, you young fogey after my own heart, my darkling Harpal, I remember you when you were still in short trousers, or was it Doc Martins, and you looked like Mr Bean. Indeed, I even introduced you to the term "young fogey" (or was it your childhood minder, Mrs Gribble?), but now you have exceeded that bounder Zoltán Karpáthy in "My Fair Lady", by not only teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, but by going out of bounds while doing so!]
Read my blog here:

Rafal (Rafe) Heydel-Mankoo
Royal Commentator &
Burke's World Orders of Knighthood and Merit

Richard Carruthers
20 July 2011 20:37
To: "Rafal (Rafe) Heydel-Mankoo"

Dear Harpal Rafal a.k.a. Ralph or Rafe,

Wikipedia is not an appropriate vehicle for the promotion of your
career, or for the gratification and aggrandisement of your apparently
insatiable vanity and social-climbing objectives; nor is it the right
place to demonstrate your tendencies to play fast and loose with the
truth, practices which are inimical to your degrees as an historian
and a student of the law.

Nor, dare I point out, is the sort of yellow journalism you
demonstrate on your vanity page on wikipedia exactly what bona fide
broadcasters require in Britain, Canada, or elsewhere, in an
occasional royal correspondent (pace, your telephone comment to me
today that you were their designated royal commentator, as the fact
that you are not was much in evidence during their recent coverage of
this year's Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey).

I would have thought that the salutary examples of Jeffrey Archer and
Rupert Murdoch in Britain, not to mention Canada's own Conrad Black,
would be lessons in hubris you had not failed to read, mark, learn,
and inwardly digest, and, indeed, count yourself fortunate to be
chastened and reined in by. Alas, it seems not.

Since you seem to have so enthusiastically re-embraced the sort of
convenient nominal membership in the now-waxing Roman Catholic Church
that a well-placed avowed atheist and enthusiastic bugger can profit
from in modern Britain*, you might like to reflect on the careers of
some of the more self-effacing of your soi-disant co-religionists
(some of whom it might serve you to acquaint yourself with, as you
seem to move in circles confined to fellow social climbers, Jacobites,
hangers-on, wearers of questionable Orders, hypocritical hidden
pope-hugging homosexuals, and zealously ultra-montane
socially-motivated converts, with similar delusions of grandeur,
etc. [see separate post about this from another group of people's viewpoint elsewhere in this blog]). You could do worse than to reflect on the modest and admirable piety and realism of your excellent mother. She I am sure would be sorrowed and embarrassed by all that is ignoble, shabby, and immodest in your behaviour.

For someone who revels in the name of Briton, I would have thought
that such self-promoting wiki-ostentation would be distasteful to you,
as being contrary to the traditional British national character, but
it seems that much has changed that was once great in Britain, though
I hope not entirely in you.

Yours ever in all true friendship,


*=while privately, no doubt, not being required to rule out entirely
any lingering fond wish you may entertain of making good on your
erstwhile scheme to become an Anglican the better to promote your
ambition to stand for Parliament if the current modish Romish London
fog clears (or perhaps you could play the person-of-colour card again
as you did so successfully to get into law school, or better yet
please your paternal physician uncle and turn true Sikh, and try new
Labour or the Lib-Dems or even the Cameron Tories).

Richard Carruthers
20 July 2011 21:03
To: "Rafal (Rafe) Heydel-Mankoo"
Bcc: leliwite

Moreover Rafal, What is so terrible about telling the truth of who you
are to people? The truth will set you free and make you impervious to
its revelation from another quarter acting outside of your own
schedule. Just a thought, R.:)

Rafal (Rafe) Heydel-Mankoo 21 July 2011 02:22
Richard Carruthers
21 July 2011 03:40
To: "Rafal (Rafe) Heydel-Mankoo"
Bcc: leliwite


It's quite appropriate for me to reflect accurately on your family's
African origins, when, after all, you were quite prepared to tell
porkies about them in your version of the vanity page you have been
foisting on your unprepared world-wide wikipedia reading public.

You cannot say the page is of no importance and then go ringing me up
every time I repair some of the damage you have caused to the truth.

By the way, touching on a subject you raised in your last trunk call,
the relevance all this of this to Canada and me as a Canadian audience
member (not to mention as someone who knows you and the truth about
you) is quite clear from the article you wrote, and remains so in the
corrected version's inclusion of references to your Canadian t.v.
work, etc. Do try to remember what drivel you've written. It will help
you to keep up when people query you. Perhaps it's a case of " Oh what
a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive."

My version of your
wikipedia article [i.e. the one deleted on 26 December 2011, entitled Rafal Heydel-Mankoo] is neither spiteful nor untruthful and is documented (sometimes even by wikipedia itself). Occasionally, of course, the truth has its funny side. Perhaps some of your devotees will find some amusement in reading the article when they recover from the shock of seeing you unmasked for who you really are.

Since you regularly delve into matters related to what I have written,
in an effort to puff yourself up, you can hardly cry foul and claim
unfairness about my including some inconvenient truths about your
fabrications out of whole cloth.

As to your own personal "Out of Africa" origin: I learned it from
[Rafal's father] himself when I lived in Ottawa. I expect he would enjoy reading the page. He always thought you were supercilious and unfilial in your bias against your perfectly respectable East Indian paternal origins. Moreover, genforum's Mankoo postings reflect the truth of
what I have written.

If you told the truth more often, you might not suffer from any
psychosomatic illnesses either. I thought hybrids were supposed to be
vigorous and superior. Well, at least you've got the last part down...

If your feined illness is not psychosomatic, I am sure the Order of
Malta and other Roman Catholic friends you have in London can
recommend any number of folk remedies, relics, and saints you can
employ to overcome your present malady (by which I mean the arthritic
pain, not the lying and blatant disregard for the standards of a
scholar and a ... [well I really can't bring myself to use a word
clearly foreign to your real way of thinking]).

Don't talk to me about bias. Yours is so blatant I am sure that you
have convinced yourself that the truth is a lie.

Ever yours in a spirit of collegial upbraiding,


Alea iacta est. When you had the temerity to edit my signed comments
on the talk page you erred mightily. I still haven't heard the hint of
an apology about this. Can you be so self-regarding that you failed to
consider the offence this might cause?

Don't mention past kindnesses. I remember how difficult it was to get
my 50 quid out of you when you'd already spent it [he got me to write a piece in "World Orders of Knighthood and Merit" and owed me the money for it]. As for Wall to Wall (He introduced me to this BBC production company as a Canadian genealogist); after the way they treated me, and you turned stumm to my enquiries about what was going on there, I wasn't about to pursue any more of your favours, lady bountiful. As for
[David] Lumsden [of Cushnie] : he was a narrow-minded papist zealot bugger who insulted my late father to my face [after I had told him that my father was originally a Roman Catholic who had married my mother in an Episcopalian ceremony without a Roman dispensation, Lumsden told me in all seriousness that my father would rot in hell {hence my remark about his going to blazes later in this passage!}) and he never did give me any of the promised work he wanted to give to me as someone he called "a man of memory" [he got that right! and it's a good and long one too!!]. I expect he's Hades bound. Stick that in your pipe for filial piety!

BTW, while you're swanning about London perhaps you'd do me a kindness
and find me a copy to replace my Baedeker's Austria-Hungary (1914).
You know, the one that you expected me to hunt for at U of O after you went and lost it.
[I had lent my copy of this hard-to-find work to him very reluctantly, and then, somehow, he lost it, or so he claimed; and after keeping this sorry news from me for months, he suggested I go and look for it at the Library of the University of Ottawa, where he claimed he'd taken it for photocopying and he had lost it. Then, when I didn't immediately rush off to do so, he said it was my fault for leaving it so long...! Eventually he tried to fob me off with a lot of rubbishy old used books that he didn't want! Since then, because of my occasional reference (harping to Harpal) to this unfortunate incident, he tried to sweeten me up a bit by passing on or recommending me work to me from time to time. Also, "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", can, I suppose, provide a degree of insurance (hence the whatever have I done to deserve this? remark above) at least for a time.].

*=knight of merit. This is a lower class of knight in certain orders. It refers to the fact that the person so knighted has received the honour because they did not qualify as a knight of honour because their ancestry wasn't up to scratch. In Rafal's case, however much he may prefer to expatiate on his noble descent via his mother, his male-line descent was judged ignoble, that is non-noble. In European heraldry and orders of chivalry, a person's noble descent must be complete back to 16 great-great-grandparents (hence nobility of 16 armorial quarterings or "seize quartiers") or to all 32 greatx3 grandparents (for "trente-deux quartiers"). In Britain, the "English proof" of nobility is descent from an armigerous male ancestor dating back at least 200 years. By neither formula does Rafal qualify. Moreover, his mother probably wouldn't either due to her having untraced Greek origins on her own distaff side which do not appear to have been noble either. To achieve 16 or 32 quarters is not easily done in this day and age. It's a matter of maintaining a careful marriage and breeding programme of five or six generations on all lines. So though merit sounds wonderful to our modern ears, by chivalric standards, it is really the mark of a lower order of being. In reflexion of this older attitude, Lord Melbourne, speaking of the Order of the Garter, then given out only to Royalty or members of the Peerage, once remarked that the only good thing about the order was "that there was no damn merit in it". And, of course, far from being a total fossil of a former age, Lord M. was revealing his frustration with those for whom merit was the only route of advancement, for then, as now, there is a down side to merit. A merit system can encourage people to tout their advantages, their merits, engage in social climbing, and inflate their true merits, just as much as a caste or nobiliary system can cause people to falsify their pedigrees (as a certain knighted Canadian herald was accused of when trying to get his son-in-law into the blue-blooded side of a Roman Catholic order). Something to ponder!


  1. Jablonowski Palace, Warsaw-built between 1773-1785 by D. Merlini for Prince Antoni Jablonowski. Became property of City of Warsaw around 1817. Renovated for use as Warsaw City Hall 1817-1819 until--Damaged in uprising 1944, destroyed in 1952-Rebuilt in 90's as Bank Headquarters. Jablonowski has not owned property for 196 years. Appeares to be represented in Mr. Heydel-Mankoo's self promotion as something lost during WWII?

  2. An interesting and enlightening read. I have known and corresponded over the years with good Rafe since 2000. I always like to see 2 sides of a coin.

    Kind regards;
    Capt Stephen T. Chledowski, KM, CD

  3. Just seen this rafe chap on TV. I didn't need to read this entire article to work out he's a fake.

    Anyone with an accent that prescribed has spent time working on it. He reminds me of a calvary officer friend who before joining was a regular north London boy sent to boarding school. By the time he left and filtered through Sandhurst I couldn't understand a word he said due to the new accent acquoted. Pompous beyond belief.

    So unfortunately the world is full of people like this. Living a life of others in constant denial and wishing to be someone else. Poor chap.

    And as a royal commentator. I thought he was appalling. If I need a commentator I shall ask my friends who are acquainted personally with the royal household. Much easier to get news first hand.

  4. Just seen this rafe chap on TV. I didn't need to read this entire article to work out he's a fake.

    Anyone with an accent that prescribed has spent time working on it. He reminds me of a calvary officer friend who before joining was a regular north London boy sent to boarding school. By the time he left and filtered through Sandhurst I couldn't understand a word he said due to the new accent acquoted. Pompous beyond belief.

    So unfortunately the world is full of people like this. Living a life of others in constant denial and wishing to be someone else. Poor chap.

    And as a royal commentator. I thought he was appalling. If I need a commentator I shall ask my friends who are acquainted personally with the royal household. Much easier to get news first hand.

  5. I think before calling other people down, we need to look at how we present ourselves and how going on and on and on about someone else reflects on us.