Saturday, January 15, 2011

Royal News Roundup

The big royal news this week was, of course, the birth of twins in Copenhagen to Crown Prince Frederick and Crown princess Mary of Denmark last Saturday. On Sunday little Prince Christian and Princess Isabella were brought to the hospital to meet their new little brother and sister. The Queen and Prince Consort also stopped by to visit the new arrivals. After a rest the proud mother and the twins were able to leave the hospital with a beaming Crown Prince on hand to show the bundles off to an eager press which had been besieging the hospital all week. The Crown Princess said the daughter was the more vocal of the two but that the little prince demanded the most attention. She looked a little shocked when Crown Prince Frederick said that more children were a possibility. The longer than usual stay was to treat the baby boy for jaundice -a common affliction that even your humble blogger had to deal with in my earliest days. Once again, we send congratulations to the Royal Family of Denmark and the proud parents.

This week HRH the Infanta Cristina, younger daughter of Their Majesties King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, visited St Petersburg, Florida (formerly a Spanish possession) to open the Dali Museum, the largest collection devoted to the Spanish artist outside of Spain. The Infanta and her husband have long been associated the project and after a celebratory gala on Monday night the formal ribbon-cutting was held on Tuesday. In Rome, HH Pope Benedict XVI met on Friday with Their Imperial Highnesses Grand Duchess Maria and Grand Duke George of Russia. The head of the Imperial House of Romanov brought the Pontiff a message from the Patriarch of Moscow and the Pope commended the Grand Duchess for her efforts in uniting the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and in exile. The Grand Duchess presented Pope Benedict with a painting showing the visit of a son of Tsar Alexander II to Pope Leo XIII. The final step was also taken this week toward the beatification of His Holiness Pope John Paul II who will soon be declared blessed.

In Belgium, loyalist groups are closing ranks and planning mass demonstrations to demand an end to the political stand-off that have kept the Belgian parties from forming a government for seven months. Recently, the royal mediator, exasperated by the refusal of Flemish nationalists to come to an agreement, offered his resignation. Belgian King Albert II finally refused to accept the resignation and urged the mediator and the parties to come to an agreement quickly. The parties agreed to resume negotiations but there are still no hints of an impending compromise. The only up side to this on-going trouble is that parties which agree on so little would seem unlikely to agree on the division of the country and it seems more people have lately begun to appreciate the part of the King, the only figure in Belgian national life to stand above parties and regional divisions. In neighboring Holland, HM Queen Beatrix along with the Prince and Princess of Orange received HM the Sultan of Brunei in The Hague on what the Queen called “an exceptional visit”. The Dutch Queen has never been to Brunei and this was the first official visit by the Sultan to the Netherlands. The Sultan, who controls the vast oil wealth of Brunei, was in the Netherlands to visit Dutch oil companies.

While Great Britain continues to be all a-buzz with wedding plans, HRH Prince Harry has also made some news this week over a potential trek to the north pole. The Prince has expressed his desire to join a group of British soldiers, wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (some even missing limbs) who will be making a 200 mile journey to the north pole from March to April. That, of course, could conflict with the marriage of his brother Prince William and there are also reportedly military obligations Prince Harry might have to prevent his participation. Prince Harry is patron of the Walking with Wounded charity that is organizing the expedition. A Clarence House spokeswoman said that Prince Harry, “would still very much love to join the expedition, and if he can he will, however his military training commitments mean he will not know for some weeks whether this is going to be possible, so in the meantime he is following preparations closely”.

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