Saturday, October 30, 2010

Royal News Roundup

In Great Britain some possible good news for the monarchy has been hidden in the coverage of discontent over government budget cuts. There are still some hurdles to overcome but the conservative government has proposed giving the Queen at least a portion of the income generated by the Crown Estates, the profits of which every monarch since George III has handed over to the government in exchange for the Civil List. With that lately proving inadequate and no one wanting to increase the amount of tax money going to support the monarchy the idea is to allow the Queen 15% of the income generated from her properties. Since this amount has consistently gone up over the years this could be a very helpful way of ending the financial woes of the monarchy. If anyone doubts that this is good news for monarchists one need only check the reaction of the republican traitor crowd which is outraged that the Queen could be allowed to keep any percentage of the income from her own properties. A spokesman for the traitors called it equivalent to giving the Queen a “blank check”, which does not hold much of a sting when one considers it is coming from Her Majesty’s own check book -not that of the public.

In other Windsor news (though there is nothing much “new” about it) speculation is on the rise yet again that an engagement announcement between Prince William and longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton is imminent. Much of this speculation is due to the Royal Mint preparing a commemorative coin for the assumed future wedding. Also this week, the Queen, Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall welcomed HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, Emir of Qatar, and his wife Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned who are on a state visit to the U.K. The Emirate of Qatar had invested heavily in Great Britain in recent years and the Emir is looking for new investments on this trip. Gifts were exchanged, a formal dinner held and a tour of the Olympic stadium was also on the agenda for the visiting royals.

The King and Queen of Norway are themselves on a state visit to the Republic of Slovakia. Business and cultural ties between the two countries were discussed and the royal couple were given tours of some of the art, architecture and history of the Slovak capital. King Harald V opened a seminar on corporate responsibility while the Queen toured schools and charitable facilities for the disabled. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince and Princess are on an official visit to New York City where both attended a dinner celebrating the 99th anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

The Low Countries have been the center of some rather distressing royal news this week. Controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders of the PVV announced in Parliament that his party wants the Queen removed as the official head of government. This is a largely symbolic status by which the Queen presides over meetings of the highest government officials though of course she has no power to override the elected ministers. Wilders asserted that his party is pro-monarchy and not at all republican but that having Queen Beatrix as head of state and (nominal) head of government was going too far. Fortunately, for this to happen, it would require a constitutional change which is hard to achieve and not very likely given the current status of the Dutch government. Of course nothing was said as to why the current constitutional arrangement is unsatisfactory in the eyes of the PVV or what benefit they think will come from having the Queen removed from the governing process. The very fact that this is coming from the PVV displays how impartial the Queen is since opposition to the Orange monarchy has usually been limited to the most far left socialist parties.

Also, to the south, royal spokesman Pierre-Emmanuel De Bauw at Laeken Palace in Belgium addressed the story first raised by the Flemish newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ that King Albert II of the Belgians had intended to abdicate in favor of his son Crown Prince Philippe but that the current government (or lack thereof) crisis forced him to put off the move. The palace said the issue was “not on the agenda” and would say no more. An abdication would be rather unusual for the Belgian monarchy (it has only happened once and not under very pleasant circumstances) though given his work at mediating between the feuding parties who still have not come to an agreement on forming a government the King may well have wished the job belonged to someone else on occasion. It should also be noted that while King Albert II is seen as a non-partisan figure, some parties in Belgium have wished to remove the royal role in government altogether before the next reign due to statements Crown Prince Philippe has made in favor of a federal Belgium.

In the Far East, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand made a rare excursion from Siriraj Hospital on Saturday to honor the memory of his grandfather, the “Great Beloved King” Chulalongkorn on the one hundredth anniversary of his death. Together with his daughter Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn the beloved King laid flowers before a statue of his famous grandfather and said prayers for him, his mother and other members of the Royal Family. Large crowds lined the streets cheering “Long live the King!” as he passed. The King also briefly visited the pier, at the hospital, on the Chao Phraya River to witness the evidence of the recent flooding Bangkok has endured. The Thai monarch remains hospitalized undergoing physical therapy.


  1. Isn't Belgium already a federal state?

  2. I would have said so, but they might refer to this as something other than the 'dualism' that exists now. I've never been able to get any specifics about the "problem" with Prince Philippe but I suppose now he must have said something at some point that he wanted Belgium to go back to provincial representation like it used to be rather than the Flemings having one government and the Walloons another.

  3. The first King Albert of Belgium really did consider abdicating, claiming, on a number of occasions, that he would go live happily in the Alps with his wife and his books. And Leopold I had offered to abdicate at one point, around 1848 I believe, so it has been more of a 'theme' in the history of the Belgian monarchy than some might think.

  4. I didn't know Albert I ever considered it and only recently learned that Leopold I did offer to abdicate. At the end of the day though they did not. The only precedent is Leopold III and that was in response to a bad situation and what I imagine was a painful decision on his part to spare his people further division that his remaining on the throne would have caused (as a majority -slim, but a majority- wanted him to stay). For Albert II to abdicate out of a simple wish to retire, after the modern tradition of the Dutch, would be unprecedented in the history of the Belgian monarchy where, barring Leopold III's unique case, every king has served until death. Is there anything in the constitutional oath about serving till death (like, 'so long as I shall live'?

  5. Not that I know of. As far as I've always heard it is simply: "I swear to observe the constitution and the laws of the Belgian people, to maintain national independence and the integrity of the territory." I don't think a time-frame is specified.

  6. If I might comment on the PVV and Queen Beatrice, there is an issue of partisanship. With the election earlier this year, Her Majesty only appointed one person to explore forming a government, and explicitly ruled out any coalition involving the PVV. The present government of the conservatives and the Christian Democrats (who have been reduced to a rump by the phenomenon of the PVV) is supported by the PVV on matters of confidence and budget, but will vote by its own line.

    Basically, I think he's arguing for a system like the Westminster system, where the politicians sort it all out among themselves, rather than rely on royal mediators.

    I sincerely doubt that Wilders wants to get rid of the monarchy - he's Dutch nationalist above all else, and he wouldn't be much of one if he wanted to remove the Crown. However, the Queen hasn't been afraid of demonstrating her distaste for Wilders' party and their core position on multiculturalism and immigration.

  7. (chortle) No, no, no silly young man...that's not being partisan. Royals are NOT political these days, everyone knows that. Such is why they can only talk about environmentalism, man-caused global warming, multiculturalism being a good thing, immigration being a good thing, tolerance of Islam, tolerance of homosexuality, the glories of liberal democracy, equality and social justice. Silly, none of that's political now is it?

  8. Quite true - they're only political when they oppose abortion bills and flip off the liberals.

    Well, it is enough to say that we live in interesting times.

  9. But no one is really allowed to speak out against those things - well we are *allowed* to, but if we do we're just dismissed as "extremists" or "bigots" or "racists" etc.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...