Saturday, May 19, 2012

Royal News Roundup

The big news this week was an historic royal gathering in Britain with the Sovereigns’ Lunch at Windsor Castle in honor of the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Among the royal attendees were the Kings of Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Bahrain, Jordan, Tonga, Malaysia, Lesotho and Swaziland, the Queens of The Netherlands and Denmark, the Sovereign Princes of Monaco and Liechtenstein and the former Kings of Romania and Greece. The Emperor of Japan also visited for the occasion. Almost every other reigning monarchy in the world was represented by other royals. Thailand was represented by the Crown Prince and I doubt anyone would have expected the King to attend to his frail condition. About the only current monarchies not represented were Cambodia (not that surprising), Oman, Bhutan and Spain. The absence of any Bourbon royals from Spain was rather noticeable, particularly given the family ties with Prince Philip via the Royal Families of Greece and Denmark. HM King Juan Carlos is still recovering from his broken hip but Queen Sofia had accepted an invitation to attend on behalf of the Spanish Royal Family, that is until politics intervened. Perhaps in an effort to divert attention from their many domestic problems, the Spanish government decided to take exception with a planned visit by TRH the Earl and Countess of Wessex to Gibraltar in June as part of the Jubilee celebrations. The colonial enclave in the south of Spain has long been a bone of contention between London and Madrid and although the Spanish government first said the Queen would be free to attend in a purely private capacity they later “ordered” the Queen not to attend at all.

This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. At the instruction of the government in 1981 the King and Queen of Spain declined to attend the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana when it was announced that they would start their honeymoon in Gibraltar. The important thing to keep in mind is that, despite the sensationalist headlines of many newspapers, the Spanish royals did not “snub” the British monarch. The King was unable to attend and the Queen would have been more than happy to but was forbidden by the government. It was not her decision. There has also, sadly not surprisingly, been some moaning and groaning over the presence of the King of Bahrain and the King of Swaziland. The King of Bahrain has become a recent focus for feigned liberal outrage after he used firm measures to suppress riots during the so-called “Arab Spring” and the King of Swaziland is constantly being criticized by pro-democracy groups as the last absolute monarch on the continent of Africa. Funny how these “principled” defenders of democracy roar like lions when dealing with tiny tribal states like Bahrain or Swaziland but make barely a peep about the People’s Republic of China. Funny how they’re principles seem to stop when the country in question has a million-man army, the bomb and holds a great deal of the rest of the world’s debt. After all, how could so many countries maintain their lavish welfare states without China to borrow from?

On other fronts, Thursday saw the Norwegian Royal Family out in force celebrating Constitution Day in that Scandinavian monarchy. There was a special parade of school children followed up by the band of the Norwegian Royal Guard (who are always a spectacular sight to see). The King, Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess were all on the balcony to wave to the assembled crowds, the men looking quite dapper in their tails and top hats. The holiday marks the day that the Norwegian constitution was signed in 1814, declaring Norway an independent nation. Of course, at that time, in an effort by the Allies to punish Denmark and reward Sweden, Norway came to be in a personal union with the Crown of Sweden and the Swedish King was often reluctant to allow celebrations on May 17 in Norway for fear it would encourage a movement toward separation. Later, however, it became a more or less recognized holiday, became official after Norway established its own monarchy and was made all the more significant in 1945 when the German surrender at the end of World War II fell so close to that special date.

In Italian royal news, funeral services for Donna Rosanna Bellardo, mother of HRH Princess Silvia of Savoy (wife of the Duke of Aosta) were held on Monday in Turin. The Princess, her brother, Prince Amedeo, Prince Aimone and Princess Olga were all in attendance. Donna Bellardo was later laid to rest in Tuscany. Also, in a recent interview in Rome, HRH Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (who is partial Greek ancestry himself) was asked about the current chaos in Greece. He said there were too many parties and too many factions unwilling to put aside their own differences for the good of the country. He also noted the long history of instability in Greece because of this, the loss of Greek independence because of it and that Greece should not be a part of the Eurozone but also noted that 70% of Greeks do not want to leave. A lot of road maps but no direction was one way he put it. Of course, it probably does not bode well for the chances of a royal restoration in Italy or Greece that such common sense is something those in power today are not prepared to tolerate.

1 comment:

  1. The attitude of Spain towards British sovereignty over Gibraltar is all the more idiotic when one considers that Spain continues to occupy the Morrocan territories of Cueta and Mellila, refusing any discussion over their sovereignty. British sovereignty over Gibraltar was recognised under the treaty of Utrecht, in 1715, and was`nt this the same treaty which established Bourbon rights to the Spanish throne? As you say, MM, this "row" is merely an attempt to distract public attention from the escalating economic crisis, in Spain, rather similar to the Argentinian ploy over the Falklands.


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