It has been a rough week for the image of Middle Eastern royals. The State of Israel has been more isolated and more alarmed recently after the storming of their embassy in Cairo, border incursions and a threat from Turkey to send Turkish warships into Israeli waters as well as the severing of diplomatic relations. The King of Jordan, usually seen in the west as a voice of reason and moderation, has been cast in a very different light lately. The King said, “Jordan and the future Palestine are stronger than Israel is today. It is the Israeli who is scared today.” The King went on to stress that Jordan would not be ceding any territory for Palestinians and that they adamantly supported the ceding of Israeli territory for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Saudi Arabia also criticized Israel for the growing tensions with Palestine, Turkey and Egypt. Palestinians have said they will declare statehood through the United Nations this week and it is not impossible that such a declaration could result in a regional war. For her part, Israel said that the comments from the King of Jordan should not be taken seriously, implying that they were intended only for local consumption and that Jordan would not want to ruin the good relations they have with Israel and the United States at such a precarious time as this. Also, there was more bad news for Saudi Prince Alwaleed, nephew of the King of Saudi Arabia, as a Spanish court reopened a rape case against him filed by a young model in 2008. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence in 2010 by a court in Spain has reopened it. The lawyers for the lady in question want the Prince to take a DNA test to settle the issue once and for all. So far, the Prince has denied everything, even being in the vicinity when the alleged rape occurred.
Across the canal in Africa, probably the most controversial king south of the Sahara is having money troubles. HM King Mswati III, an absolute monarch frequently criticized for his refusal to allow democracy in his small kingdom and for the lavish lifestyle of his court and his reported 13 wives, each of whom has their own palace and household staff, was asking for money. This came after (guess who) labor unions brought the struggling economy to a standstill with a near solid week of protests. The King said he has asked the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for a “bailout” for Swaziland (bailouts being all the rage these days) only to be turned down unless he complied with some severe “austerity measures”. South Africa did authorize a $343 million bailout for Swaziland but no payments have, as yet, been made and it is assumed the money is being withheld until the King adopts a more liberal position such as South Africa has been urging. The King seemed to think it was rather unfair that Greece and Portugal get bailouts but Swaziland does not -which is either a result of racist colonialist bigotry or the fact that those countries were bailed out by the European Union and Swaziland, being in southern Africa, is not a member -one of those two. The King also complained that the multitude of advice coming in from so many different international organizations is bewildering. In any event, it probably did his reputation no good when the “town hall meeting” (for lack of a better word) with union members included rules forbidding them to speak in any but a personal capacity and to which the King arrived in a luxury limousine. Again, probably not the best picture for a monarch accused of being lavish and intolerant.
Moving considerably north, in Italy, a delicate meeting was held in Rome between the leadership of the Society of St Pius X and HE William Cardinal Levada representing the Supreme Pontiff. The Vatican offered the traditionalist group a personal prelature of its own if it would accept certain key points of the Second Vatican Council and come back into full obedience to the Holy See. This is a significant outreach to the SSPX which has long been an embarrassing problem for the Catholic Church. The two sides agree on very little, even the nature of their disagreement and the status of the SSPX in regard to the Roman Catholic Church. Because of that, many thought that such a meeting would never occur (and many remain skeptical of a reconciliation) however, since coming to the throne of St Peter, HH Pope Benedict XVI has become well known for his more traditional tastes and styles, seen in everything from his choice of attire to his order to make the pre-Vatican II Latin mass available to all Catholics (though many bishops have been dragging their feet in this area) as well as such things as having everyone kneel to receive communion at a papal mass. The Pope has talked a great deal about the weakened position of faith in general in modern times and has urged for greater Christian unity, and this fits in with that goal, particularly with strengthening good relations with the Eastern Orthodox (a cause The Mad Monarchist vehemently supports).
The royals of Scandinavia have had a busy week. The (somewhat controversial) Princess Martha Louise of Norway was in Copenhagen for a seminar on ‘channeling’ your guardian angel, talking to the spirits and that sort of quaint stuff. Later she attended a book signing for her book “Meet Your Guardian Angel”, a bestseller. As I have mentioned before, I have never understood the negativity some people have toward Princess Martha Louise. I think some of her ideas are silly but certainly no more silly than some of those secularists and “Christians” in name only who feign such outrage over what she is doing. I don’t go into the “medium” stuff (in fact, I think that can easily become dangerous) but I do believe in guardian angels and if someone wants to talk to their guardian angel, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. Meanwhile, her brother Crown Prince Haakon has been in Dalian in the People’s Republic of China attending the World Economic Forum/Global Leaders Summit. The gathering was held at the Dalian World Expo and was attending by numerous world leaders including Premier Wen Jiabao of the communist bandit government in Peking.
Over in Sweden, Crown Princess Victoria attended a seminar on the Baltic called “Sustainable Seas” which dealt with the usual environmental stuff, the need for greater education, more awareness etc. concerning the state of the Baltic Sea. The Crown Princess said she cannot think about the environment often enough -it’s that important. With that done, it was on to government business as the Royal Family gathered on Thursday in Stockholm for the official opening of the Swedish parliament. There was a service at the local church before the Royal Family moved over to the parliament building. On hand were Their Majesties the King and Queen, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip and even Princess Madeleine managed to pull herself away from New York high society to fly in for the occasion. The King opened parliament by giving a speech on tolerance, among other things (it seems he’s for it) and the political season was underway. After sitting through the first session of parliament, it was time to take in a night at the opera where, it seems from the press, Princess Madeleine turned even more heads than her just-barely-starting-to-show older sister. I’m not sure exactly why, as far as fashion goes she’s been much more daring on a few past occasions.
Last but certainly not least, turning to the British Commonwealth, on Thursday HRH Prince Harry of Wales celebrated his 27th birthday. Now, as with almost any royal one can name, I have not always approved of every single decision Prince Harry has made, but I’ve always liked him. He does a great deal of good for many people and he has done his country proud carrying on the proud tradition of royal service in the armed forces. I have been especially impressed with his recent work on behalf of his fellow veterans. He has not always been treated fairly but, sadly, that is to be expected these days. Yet, none of it ever seems to get Prince Harry down and good for him. The Mad Monarchist joins all loyalists of the Anglo-Saxon world in wishing Prince Harry a happy birthday with more to come. Long live the royal spare!