The Tautalstanian Orthodox Church differs from all other churches in the world, be they Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant or which ever way Reformed. Although the original "Small Schism" , as the event of separation is historically known, happened over an argument over the correct length of beard for the ceremonial schnapps tasting during the harvest season in 932 AD, today the liturgical and philosophical differences run deep. The Tautalstanian liturgy is pretty relaxed, and the Church is open to all doctrine which is generally considered a "good idea", by the King while sober, and the Patriarch in all other cases.
The Royal Stables
Tautalstan being a modern nation, it no longer has any horses, it does however, have a State Limousine. The State Limousine of Tautalstan is a dark blue 1997 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur, affectionately known as "The Horse and Sherriage" which is probably the only state limo in the world featuring a permanently stocked champagne- and liquor-bar in the back seat. This enables the King to enact monetary easing measures while en route, and has lent him unbridled popularity among his subjects, as well as some non-subjects. The state limo was acquired second hand at a small fraction of the new price, under pressure from the austerity minded faction in the Tautalstanian government at the time. Note that the Queen Consort doubles as driver of the state limousine, again a complete first in the world of European royalty.
(Picture below: the Royal Tautalstan State Limo on a visit to Stonehenge. The King considered it an educational visit, not so much to learn about Stonehenge, but about how to get pretty much the whole world to come and pay to have a look at a collection of interestingly arranged stones of which nobody knows why they were put together, or precisely by whom, for that matter. Many such stones could also be found in Tautalstan.)
Religion: Tautalstanian Orthodox Church
Religion is not very important for Tautalstanians, although the associated holidays are strictly observed, as long as they involve opportunities to throw elaborate, boozy dinner parties. In the beginning Tautalstan was proudly Pagan and certain traditions and feasts hark back to that era. In fact, looking at the annual calendar of religious events, one might conclude that Paganism never truly died out in Tautalstan. The Advent of the Gospel was welcomed primarily because of the many feast days promised by the missionary in question, the Holy Saint Spiritus, who passed through the area in AD 432, about a century later than the rest of Gaul. The sentries of the then Royal Court of Tautalstan insisted on tasting a sample from the wine sack of the venerable holy man, and were impressed with the nose, colour, soft tannins and after taste of the contents. To cut a long story short, they let him through, he met the King, got him drunk, and the rest is history. It is likely that this course of events formed the foundation for the fact that to this day good quality wine is legal tender in Tautalstan.
Over the centuries, worship evolved and the various French Wars of Religion washed over the area, leaving a faint preference for the Huguenot side of things in Tautalstan. During this tumultuous era all churches in Tautalstan were destroyed, leaving only the current Maria grotto just outside Tautalstein. Since 1632, in an attempt to get over all these squabbles, the Royal Court of Tautalstan has appointed an official Patriarch of All Tautalstania, who has, among other duties, supreme authority over the Holy Wine Cellars. Recently, initiatives have been undertaken to convert the resident wild boar and roe deer population to the Tautalstanian Orthodox religion. It usually starts with inviting them to a dinner party. It usually also ends there.
Finally, a personal note from the King: "I welcome all visitors, nature lovers and culture vultures to Tautalstan, the whole year around, to stay in any of our happy holiday cottages. Please come and try to get lost in our enchanted forests, explore the rivers Le Cheylat and La Sumène, fathom the depth of our magic lake (hint: about 2 metres), and learn about fascinating Tautalstanian history and culture. Taste some excellent, soon to be famous Tautalstanian specialities, usually strongly influenced by the Italian, Spanish and French cooking traditions. I look forward to welcoming you hopefully personally, and - perhaps - appointing you, entirely free of charge, as one of my ministers or even Tautalstanian nobility, should the situation call for it."
(Picture: the King during an unofficial State Visit to the capital of Molvania, where a pig was slaughtered in honour of the Monarch. Note that there are villages in Molvania where the meat is so fresh, that even though the pig is already dead for an hour, it takes up to 5 grown men to subdue and slaughter it properly. Some of these pigs are known to glow in the dark.)
Tautalstan is the only country in the world where red or white wine of certain higher quality estates in France, Italy and Spain is accepted as legal tender. The value of this currency corresponds to the retail price of the bottle in question. As a result, Tautalstan is the only country in the world, which has a currency which can be exchanged pretty much in any good off-licence or supermarket in the world. Small change can also be kept in the form of good quality schnapps or eau de vie, and the majority of Tautalstan's inhabitants carry around small silver flasks for minor purchases.
Other Branches of Government
The Secret Intelligence Services of Tautalstan (SIST) are so secret, that no other government in the world has ever noticed their existence. Their mascot is the Snoring Dormouse and their officers can only be recognized by the all-white double breasted smoking jacket and trousers, worn over western boots, topped off with a black bowtie. The SIST recruits are trained by having them watch all James Bond movies produced to date, several times over. It is also a public secret that His Majesty from time to time undertakes missions himself, without using any disguise. This feat must count as one of the most daring double bluffs in espionage history: after all, who would suspect His Majesty himself to be In His Majesty's Secret Service? By and large, the world of intelligence gathering in Tautalstan remains shrouded in mystery.
(Below: picture of Laurens I, King of Tautalstania, during a recent visit to Italy where he was trying to look like just another German tourist. He adopted the pseudonym Heinz von Diemar, and practiced the double chin pose for week to make it look real. Accidentally, he almost won a prize in a local Look-Like-A-Rich-Kraut Competition, without even participating in it. Wunderbar!
Tautalstan, officially the Kingdom of Tautalstan, sometimes referred to as Tautalstania or "Tautaly", is a fictional country in continental Europe, located in between 2 villages in South-Central France. At 47 hectares / 117 acres, it has a slightly bigger surface area than the Vatican (which is 44 hectares), making it the second smallest country in the world. Tautalstan is also about a quarter of the size of Monaco, the 3rd smallest country, which measures 202 hectares. Most of Tautalstan's territory is forested with a few open spaces and several mid-sized meadows. The country exports negligible amounts of firewood, forest fruits and game. It imports everything else. Its main industry is tourism in its 2 holiday cottages, including the hosting of musical ensembles from around the world. Tautalstan is a proud non-member of all international and intergovernmental organisations. That said, it is in preliminary talks to found a lose alliance of microscopic nations around the globe. The alliance would stand up for the interests of microscopic countries under 250 hectares in size, and, more importantly, would provide an almost perfect excuse to organise elaborate quarterly dinner parties at exotic locations, inter-spaced with a few deliberately vague speeches and some nice self-promotion photo-ops, all paid for by the general population.
(Right/Below: Cate Moss posing at one of her favourite spots, shortly after being released from drug rehab. As mother or grandmother to a good part of the RTCP, she was named by THYME magazine to be one of the world's top 100 most influential felines.)
WELCOME TO TAUTALSTAN - THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD !
In November 2015, the whole of Tautalstan celebrated the arrival of the new Crown Prince and Heir Apparent to the Throne, His Royal Highness Prince Felix Emil Aurel Constantin Leopold Feleus-Von Stettner bis Tautalstein, Crown-Prince of Tautalstan and its Dependencies, Duc de la Sumène, Dauphin of Tautalstania, Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece Comforter, Personal Aid-de-Camp to the Royal Family as a Whole, Knight of the Order of the Golden Shart. This name is normally shortened to "BuBu". Please find below the first official picture of HRH Felix I, taken days from the moment of birth on 20 November 2015 at 1605hrs local time in London, United Kingdom. By Royal decree the Tautalstanian calendar restarted on that date with the year 1 AB (Anno Bubi). (For your information: yes the calendar starts with the year 1, not the year zero - as does the Gregorian calendar, which also has no year zero).
Covid Update: according to the Royal Scientific Committee of Tautalstan, a rabbit carrying the world famous virus ran through Tautalstan some time in the fall of 2019. The said rabbit inadvertently infected a dormouse, which then ate a mouse but had to throw up on the porch of Tautalstein. A peasant then stepped into his sick and started spread the disease in his family. One of his children, while in school coughed on the son of the postman of the local village, who then delivered an infected letter to Tautalstan. However, during this whole episode, nobody was living in Tautalstan. Because of this it cannot be proven that covid has been eradicated in the country, as it was never actually established that any of its inhabitants had it. The Committee hence has advised to maintain lockdown until at least the fall of 2075. A new head of the committee was appointed at the time of writing and further guidance is expected before Christmas 2022.
(Picture below: the King in a rare private snapshot of a typical homely moment in Tautalstein, enjoying his favourite schnapps and one of his "personal cut" Cuban cigars. The colourful clogs were a gift from the Dutch ambassador. A note on the empty walls: this is of course not because Tautal-Bas has no significant art collection, but because at the time of taking the picture the art was generously on loan to the world famous Museum of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby.)
Tautalstan has as yet no real air force, although a concept Royal Air Force of Tautalstan (RAFT) is in the works. Efforts are being undertaken to select and teach some of the locally abundant predator birds (mostly red kites) to drop mudbombs on cows in neighbouring fields, although so far these have met with limited success. The Royal Tautalstan Army (RTA) consists of 1 cavalry platoon which has 1 Same-Deutz tractor armed with a hydraulic pitchfork, and 1 Landrover Defender, equipped with a chainsaw and a hand-axe. It should be noted however that since the cease fire with the neighbouring Arverni tribe was signed in 313 BC, the RTA has not seen any action. Although highly regarded in military circles, it is also unlikely to see any action in the foreseeable future given the generally benign relations with France, especially since the invasion of 1979 was cancelled because the Landrover had run out of diesel (and had to be filled up in France). This allows the manpower and equipment of the RTA to be deployed almost exclusively to light forestry tasks, and mowing some of the fields once or twice a year.
(Picture left: Princes Bubu 2 attempting to stand on the occasion of the assembled staff of the Royal Household singing happy birthday on her 5 month anniversairy.)
(Pictures: the King in a casual outfit during an inspection of Bellevue Airport, the highest point in Tautalstania. On the occasion, the Monarch was ceremonially signing the contract for the supply of half a dozen disused Yakolev Yak-24 helicopters which are being scrapped by the Molvanian airforce to be used by TautalAir, the yet to be incorporated, low-cost Royal helicopter and zeppelin airline - the only one of its kind worldwide. The search is still on for suitable zeppelins which would operate under the brand "Zeppair".)
The Queen Consort's interest in music has been apparent since age 3 and hence she habitually heads the Ministry of Cultural Affairs (see below), in addition to many other important and honourable positions in the Kingdom. The Queen Consort is also, sometimes, affectionately known as "BuBu the Bach-Playing-Baroness". It is highly recommended to check with the King before using this soubriquet when meeting the Queen Consort as protocol is not entirely clear and constantly subject to change. People who break protocol could be arrested, charged with insulting the Monarchy (Lèse-Majesté) and whipped using rosemary bushes, which are grown especially for that purpose. Elisabeth is credited with influencing the Duchess of Cambridge in her choice of "Le Chameau" wellies.
(Picture: the King and the Queen Consort on a visit to the United Kingdom for a gathering of Heads of State of Extremely Small Countries with Very Big Cars, the so-called "V8" Summit.)
(Picture: Crown-Prince Felix I of Tautalstan, here aged approximately 5 days, pictured on the Ceremonial Golden Fleece Comforter, draped on the Royal Couch at the Royal Tautalstanian Embassy in London. The surprised, even startled, look on his face can be explained by the fact that he has just realised to his dismay that his daily menu will not consist of a McDonalds Happy Meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner but rather solely of small amounts of luke warm milk.
Note the couch is from Fleming & Howland's "Heirloom" collection, and the pillows are from House of Fraser's polyester filled range, while the Golden Fleece Comforter, the all-white sleepsuit and the muslin cloth are all from John Lewis's newborn collection. All these items (except the couch) can be ordered online and delivered to your front door for less than the cost of your average weekly shopping. To disguise the banality of all this, and to generate some hard currency, the Royal Family is in advanced talks with major fashion executives to launch a line of overpriced baby goods, to be showcased in official and unofficial content involving Prince Felix. This label is likely to go on sale some time in 2016 under the name "TautalStyle".)
Following the "success éclatant" of Bubu, the Royal Couple decided on a sequel, named Bubu Zwei ("Bubu 2"). Officially names Princesse Sophie Gertrude Barbara Julia Coralie Feleus-Von Stettner bis Tautalstein, Dame of the Realm of Tautalstan, Duchess of l'Etang-sous-La-Lune, Lady of the Grand Lodge of Lupus the Fluffy Leopard, Mistress of the Virginal White Muslin, Voix Royale de la Chanson de Lait and the queen of cuteness. Intimi can shorten this to "b2".
Left and Right: the Royal Couple in 2 fashionable shots, showcasing the hip yet practical slings available on the baby market today. Soon similar items will be launched on the new "Tautalstyle" label. The Prince's avant garde hairdo on the left picture is by Timmy & Gay of Mayfair, a steal at only £559 for babies under 6 months old, (£959 over 6 months), and is achieved by actually NOT washing the hair for a period of 2 months, and subsequently washing then rubbing with Babygel (™), a new product based on natural Tautalstanian roe deer fat, available soon through this website.
The capital and only dwelling of Tautalstan is Tautalstein, also known locally as Chateau de Tautal-Bas. It functions as the second home of Tautalstan's only 4 occasional inhabitants, the King of Tautalstan himself (see below), the Queen Consort, Prince Felix and Princess Sophie. Like much of the royalty of smaller European nations, the royal couple live in London in the United Kingdom, most of the time. Tautal-Bas has an international airport with a 50 by 30 metre grass and rock paved landing strip, highly suitable for helicopters, zeppelins and hot air balloons. It is locally known as "Bellevue Airport" and direct international flights to most major global cities are being planned and will be offered to the public as soon as suitable arrangements have been made with the air traffic control authorities of the surrounding country, France. Negotiations around this have been ongoing since the 1920's.
Picture: the King and the Crown Prince photographed through the prying lens of a Paparazzi photographer on the French Cote d'Azur, at the exact moment the King decided to give Prince Felix his first swimming lesson, at the age of 6 months. Of course the King threatened to sue any third party publishing this image, but it did give him a luminous and hitherto undiscovered idea: to found a Ministry of Physical Education and Sports. Prince Bubu was appointed as Minister. As a monument to this great and original idea, he decided to publish the picture himself.
The Royal Tautalstan Pussycat Corps (RTPC), are about 12 semi-wild cats living around Chateau de Tautal-Bas responsible for the folding of any rodent infestation plots. To the extend they have names, they are called Cate Moss, Cate Middleton, Struppi, Strumpfi and Schlumpfi, Flauschi, and Flauschi, Alastair.
(Picture: The original 3 of the Royal Tautalstan Pussycat Corps ready for action, in typical stealth formation. Don't be fooled by their cute appearance. Whilst consisting of young volunteers, the RTPC has already gained an enviable reputation in Tautalstan and neighbouring territories for being one of the most effective anti-rodent squads in the world. Selection for new entrants is extremely strict, and supervised by the King himself. Note that the RTPC is the only elite force in the world which increases its numbers not only through selective hiring but also through natural reproduction. This has already led to 6 new members joining the Corps, and training is in full swing!).
(Prince Bubu modelling the Autumn/Winter 2016/2017 collection of Tautalstyle, in the front garden of Tautalstein, October 2016 (Bubu aged 11 months). The scarf is by Astrid de Sologne, and can also be used to carry infants around in during long walks, or when out and about hunting wild boar with the whole family.)
Music and Languages
Tautalstan is also the only country in the world which has a Royal String Quartet, as opposed to the far more common Royal (or State) Symphony Orchestra. It is led by the Queen Consort, who is, by the by, also a world famous violinist, well known throughout Tautalstania and the surrounding French villages. The Royal Tautalstania String Quartet (RTSQ) regularly goes on international tours to the church of Valette, for example, across the border in France. Concerts in London, UK are also a regular occurrence. Tautalstan also hosts an annual music festival, "Tautal Tones".
The national language of Tautalstania is a concoction of English, French, German, Dutch, Latin and even some Classical Persian. Conversations between Tautalstanians may switch between any of these languages without notice, in order to confuse potential eavesdroppers. The names of the RTPC (below) are examples of Germanic and English influences in Tautalstan. The French influence comes mostly from diplomatic contact with the neighbours, with whom relations are cordial. (It should be noted that Dutch is dying out in Tautalstan, with only the King able to speak it.)
(Picture: current Patriarch His Holiness Patriarch Bruno the Bearded of All Tautalstania is performing a ritual blessing of the famous Bellevue Airport, from which it is said you can see more cows than from any hilltop in the world. In fact, in 1688, the then Patriarch, His Holy Hirsuteness Baldo the Bearded, climbed the hill and exclaimed "Sanctes Vaches!", using the local Occitan vernacular. This translates into modern English as "Holy Cow!" - and it is claimed by Tautalstanians that from this first spontaneous use, the now well-know expression found its way to the languages of the world.
A note on the title of the Patriarch: the nominalisation "Hirsuteness", although still largely applicable to contemporary Patriarchs, was officially dropped in 2009 following pressure from the Tautalstanian Movement Against Discrimination for General Bodily Hairiness. In a much debated case which was fought up to the High Court, it was judged that hairiness cannot as a matter of course be maintained as a job requirement or (as part of) an official title. Consequently the honorairy name "His Hirsuteness" was dropped from the official title of the Patriarch.)
Barely Armed Forces
Despite being completely landlocked, Tautalstania until recently had a functioning navy consisting of 3 commissioned ships, the Royal Navy of Tautalstan (RNT). It was the only navy in the world which was still primarily powered by sail, and which was completely unarmed. It provided mostly mental support functions to navy units belonging to allied countries. It also served as a representational tool for the Royal Family of Tautalstania. The ships were occasionally even used for sea angling. Because of the lack of access to the world's oceans from Tautalstan's territory, 2 of the 3 ships, including HMS "The Fat Duck", the flagship of the RNT, were permanently moored in the United Kingdom. However, due to a combination of austerity measures pushed through by the department for Fiscal Fashion & Window Dressing, and pressure from the Security Council of the Fictional Nations, the UK navy base was closed and the 2 ships based there were sold. Still, the UK remains the only country in the world where Tautalstan has an official embassy, close to the Houses of Parliament and the Admiralty, in Central London. The 3rd ship is on permanent patrol of the Etang de Tautal, which is a 2.5 acre lake in Tautalstan itself. (Picture below: an archive picture of HMS The Fat Duck while docked on the Kiribati Islands, on joint exercises. Note the large escape hatches, which are required for a quick retreat below decks, in case anyone in the area were to start firing while the crew are still busy having cocktails on the foredeck.)
Government of Tautalstan
The Government of Tautalstan consists of a Ministry of Interior Decoration, a Ministry of Gardening & Barbecuing, a Ministry of Culinairy Affairs, a Ministry of the Navy & Fisheries, a Ministry of Foreign Intelligence, a Ministry of Intelligent Conversation, a Ministry of Random Administrative Procedures, a Ministry of Fiscal Fashion (aka Window Dressing), a Ministry of Monetary and Oenological Affairs, a Ministry of Rodent Affairs, a Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, a Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and, finally, a (usually small and dormant, owing to its relative unimportance) Ministry of Non-Tautalstanian Affairs. Unfortunately, owing to the lack of permanent inhabitants in Tautalstan, the ministerial posts are regularly vacant. However, it is quite common that visitors and neighbours who come to Tautal-Bas are suddenly and without too much protocol appointed to be temporary ministers, of pretty much any field for which there happens to be a need at that particular time.
King of Tautalstan - Tautalstan is a constitutional monarchy ruled (on paper of course, but even more so in reality) by His Royal Highness King Laurens I, Sovereign of Tautalstan and its Dependencies, Freiherr Von Westkreuzen bis Tautalstein, Seigneur de Tautal-Bas, Knight of the Order of the Garterbelt and Stockings, Grandmaster of the Priory of Maria Dancing the Tango with Jesus, and Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Barely Armed Forces of Tautalstania.
The constitution of Tautalstan calls for regular elections for the various branches of executive power. The turn-out for these elections is typically 100%, making them the most effective elections anywhere in the world. It is admitted however, that the electorate consists of only 4 people, including 2 children under 18. One of the other 2 is the King himself. It is also true that in all elections so far, the only candidate on the ballot for all executive powers, is also the King himself.
To sidestep these issues, Tautalstan is the first country in the world which is currently drafting ground-breaking legislation to give the right to vote to all wild boar, deer and indeed other animals (except insects), roaming its forests. In anticipation of these changes in constitutional law, the King has prohibited all forms of hunting and shooting on Tautalstania's territory, with the exception of hunting and shooting organised for the King's own enjoyment and consumption. The announcement of this law has met with widespread approval of all the electorate and especially of the yet to be created electorate in the forests of Tautalstan. The King calls this form of holistic government "tautalitarianism", a term soon to be included in the world's dictionaries.
(FYI: requests for temporary or permanent citizenship should be made directly via email to the King, who has full discretion over immigration.)
The Queen Consort is Her Royal Highness Elisabeth Ute Coralie Paula Ludowika Barbara Auguste I of Tautalstan, Freiin Sybille von Oberschützen bis Unterschützen, Baroness von Stettner, Dame de Tautal-Bas, Sénéchale of the Golden Scroll and Bow, and Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bathrobe.