It is a pleasure to have a royal news roundup this week that is almost totally dominated by *good* news for a change. The only possible downer comes from the Far East so we will get that out of the way first, even though I am sure most would regard it as a happy occasion as well. On Wednesday Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan attended a special ceremony in Tokyo to mark the 66th anniversary of the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. It was on August 15, 1945 that the Showa Emperor (Hirohito) father of the current Emperor issued his unprecedented radio address to the people of Japan, the first time the public had ever heard his voice, saying that they would have to bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable and surrender. The announcement was made in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the ceremony, the Emperor gave a solemn speech in which he paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the war, all those who suffered by it and expressing his sincere wish that the horrors of war would never be felt again. As usual, he also called for world peace and the continued development of Japan.
In southern Europe it has been a week of protests and celebrations for HH Pope Benedict XVI. On Monday the Principality of Liechtenstein, one of the last few officially Catholic monarchies left in the world, celebrated their National Day. However, for the first time, the traditional mass was not part of the festivities. The Bishop of Vaduz refused to allow the mass to be said out of protest to the princely government recently legalizing gay “marriage” in Liechtenstein. Church and state relations were not improved when Hereditary Prince Alois (who has mostly taken over the actual governing duties of his father, Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II) made a speech in which he announced that if the government council voted to allow some exceptions to the ban on abortion in Liechtenstein he would sign the bill into law. He did say his support would only extent to abortions done in the first trimester and that he opposed abortions done on children who would be born handicapped. Needless to say, the Church has not been impressed with this recent turn of events.
However, things were much brighter in Spain where the Pontiff arrived to open World Youth Day in Madrid. More than a million young people from around the world braved the sweltering Spanish summer heat to greet His Holiness and listen to his words of wisdom. Upon arrival in Spain, of course, the Pope met with Their Majesties King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia. After being greeted by the King and Queen the Pope later returned to Zarzuela Palace to meet the Prince and Princess of the Asturias and their children. Little Infanta Sofia (age 4) was less than impressed with the papal visit and was caught by the cameras yawning a few times. The Pope has been particularly concerned over Spain recently as the government legalized abortion and gay “marriage”, both of which would have been considered unthinkable not such a long time ago as the Kingdom of Spain has traditionally been a bastion of traditional, conservative Catholicism.
There is good news to report concerning Monaco. The cranky old blogger from southern California who has been harassing the Prince of Monaco and anyone associated with him for years (and who even took to e-stalking your resident mad man) has been slapped with judgment of tens of thousands of euros by a French court for spreading false and slanderous information. Further judgments against him are expected though making him actually pay-up is another story. The obsessive old man first made news after trying to extort the Prince for a million dollars and since then has devoted his every waking hour to accusing the Prince of Monaco of every sort of criminal activity short of being the second gunman on the grassy knoll. Although the facts remain unknown many believe him to have been responsible for the despicable rumors (now definitively proven false) which put a slight cloud over the recent princely wedding. You can read the details over at Mad for Monaco.
Moving northward, the biggest happy news came on Wednesday when it was announced that HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and HRH Prince Daniel are expecting their first child in March of next year. The Crown Princess has long been known for her love of children and has expressed before her wish to be a mother and both she and Prince Daniel, before their wedding, said they were ready to start a family of their own right away. So far the Crown Princess has not made any changes in her schedule but there is no disguising the broad, beaming smile she has been sporting lately. Due to the last changes made in the royal succession in Sweden this child, whether male or female, can expect (God willing) to be the next King or Queen of Sweden. Crown Princess Victoria has always been a super gal and The Mad Monarchist sends the Swedish Royal Family heartfelt congratulations on this most happy occasion and wishes that everything proceeds smoothly with the new coming addition. Additionally, on that same topic, it was also recently announced that HRH the Duchess of Vendôme, wife of the Orleanist pretender to the throne of France, is also expecting a child sometime in January of next year. Hopefully more information on that will be forthcoming but until then, congratulations to the happy couple!
Finally, to end on another high note, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is giving the Canadian Navy and Air Force their “royal” title back. I was thrilled to pieces to hear about this and, upon doing so, was a little shocked to realize just how long this travesty has taken to correct. I had not realized it had been so long since the change was made. It was 1968 when the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force were merged into that slimmed down and streamlined entity known as the Canadian Armed Forces. Since then the stirring title of the three elements of these forces have been known as the “Maritime Command”, the “Land Force Command” and the “Air Command”. Which many people have found rather dull and lifeless for a long time. At one point a politician suggested changing the name of the Maritime Command to something with the word “navy” in the title at least. All of this action was taken at a time when Canada was going through something of an anti-British fit, getting rid of anything that reminded them of their past place in the British Empire. The most noticeable change was in 1965 when the flag was changed, dropping the old Canadian Red Ensign in favor of the current (which, as I’ve said before, I like but still prefer the Red Ensign). Royal portraits started being the exception rather than the rule and so on. However, to the consternation of republicans, Harper (who is a politician and far from inspiring) has had an administration most regard as more monarchy-friendly; which is a good thing. So far, from all I have seen, giving the navy and air force their “royal” back has been met with overwhelming support and approval, certainly from the servicemen and women themselves. A most welcome change. God Save the Queen of Canada!