It has been a busy week of visits and openings for many royals. Starting in the far north, HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway was in Germany on Wednesday to open a special exhibition in honor of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (one of my favorites) called “The Modern Eye” at Schirn Kunsthalle. The Crown Princess praised Munch for putting “the individual on the center stage” and, “Who showed us what it means to be human in all our complexity. A painter who has inspired artists all over the world with his timeless work.” The exhibit will run until May 13 when it will move to London. The same day, at the Cirkus in Stockholm, HRH Prince Daniel of Sweden (who will very soon be a father) was special guest at the Ernst & Young 2012 Entrepreneur Award ceremony and gala. He presented the top prize to a Swedish pharmaceutical company. That company, Meda AB, will later represent Sweden in the entrepreneurial “World Championships” in, of course, Monte Carlo, Monaco. In Denmark this week HM Queen Margrethe II participated in the “Danish Defense Select” of the Queen’s jubilee year on Tuesday. The Queen inspected forces of the Danish army, navy, air force, home guard and the Danish Emergency Management Agency. Denmark has quite a long and varied military history and Danish armed forces have most recently participated in the campaigns in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and the intervention in Libya.
And speaking of the military, on Wednesday Britain’s Prince Harry completed his 18-month training course to fly Apache helicopters (which a cousin of mine will tell you is no small accomplishment) and he even took home the prize for best co-gunner pilot. There has also been increasing chatter about the possibility of the Prince being sent back to Afghanistan later this year. As readers will surely recall Prince Harry has served in Afghanistan previously with his army unit but had to be pulled out after the media went public with his presence in the war zone, endangering his life as well as the lives of the other men in his unit. Prince Harry was quite upset at having to leave his comrades-in-arms as any dedicated soldier would be. In any event, he is still more likely to see combat that his older brother Prince William who is currently deployed to the Falkland Islands. Despite increasing tensions and exchanges of insults the Argentine government has shown itself quick to bark but hesitant to bite, recalling the pasting they took from the British the last time they tried to force the islands to accept Argentine rule. That fight will most likely be confined to the UN.
In the Low Countries, Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands was at the Hague on Wednesday to receive the 2011 Machiavelli Prize. What could this prize be fore? Cut-throat political campaigning? Italian nationalism? ‘The ends justify the means’ republicanism? Evidently not. The Machiavelli Foundation was started in 1987 to recognize those who “promote communication in the public eye”. I never would have guess it but Princess Maxima gave a very gracious acceptance speech dressed in a very royal purple outfit. One of the reasons cited for her honor were her role in “strengthening the support for the monarchy as a symbol of national unity” which is music to the ears of any monarchist. The Princess of Orange said that he love for the Netherlands grew from the examples of her husband and her mother-in-law saying that the work she and the Prince of Orange are able to accomplish is based on the example of royal leadership provided by the Queen in all her years on the Dutch throne. She also spoke of authenticity as being a vital trait for modern royals. Congratulations and well done to her I say.
Down south in Madre España, on Tuesday HM King Juan Carlos I met with Spanish companies leading the way in the project for a new high-speed rail line at Zarzuela Palace. Sounds perfectly fine. The name of the new rail line is “La Meca-Medina”. Huh? Maybe I missed something… Anyway, over at Montehermoso Palace in Vitoria HM Queen Sofia joined the “Environment Minister” (an essential post in any modern government) for the opening of the “Vitoria-Gasteiz European Green Capital 2012” and HRH Prince Felipe of Asturias participated in a special meeting on economics in which he spoke about the current economic crisis and the importance of education. On Wednesday HM Queen Sofia was on hand for a special meeting of the Foundation Mujeres por Africa at the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid. Also in attendance were Foundation President Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, the Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality Ana Mato; former PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and other government officials as well as representatives from a number of African countries. The foundation is geared toward “sustainable economic and social development, human rights, peace, justice and the dignity of persons, and in particular of women and girls in Africa”. Considering that every country in Africa is independent now, would it be cold hearted of me to observe that they seem very dependent on foreign charity? Probably. Moving on then, HRH Infanta Cristina is reportedly “worried” about her husband who is facing a corruption trial. Only natural I suppose. And on Thursday TRH Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of the Asturias attended the opening of the recently restored Catedral de Santa Maria de la Huerta in Tarazona.