Saturday, June 9, 2012

Royal News Roundup

It has been all about the Queen this week, meaning of course HM Queen Elizabeth II of the UK and Commonwealth and the celebration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. The only other time this milestone has been reached, back in the days of Queen Victoria, the Diamond Jubilee was a celebration of the British Empire, a time to showcase the imperial splendor of that vast realm from North America to Africa to Asia and Australia where the Union Jack waved. There was none of that this time of course but just imagine colorful colonial subjects being replaced by colorless, blockheaded celebrities and you should get the picture. Not to fear though, there were still celebrations that even the horrendous coverage of the BBC and typically soggy English weather could not dampen. The Queen and Royal Family sailed down the Thames in a colorful river parade, street parties were big and loud and British rail was swamped by people traveling to attend it all. The London Philharmonic Orchestra gave a special performance but when it came time to wave from the balcony at Buckingham Palace the Queen, unfortunately, had to go it alone as HRH the Duke of Edinburgh had to be taken to hospital for a minor malady (we hope he recovers soon). Beacons were lit all across the Commonwealth from Tonga to New Zealand and Australia and around the world and there was a picnic in the garden at Buckingham Palace. HRH the Prince of Wales also paid a touching tribute to his mother. The Queen herself gave a special message to thank those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make all the celebratory events possible. Which is exactly the sort of thing she would do. God Save the Queen!

Other royal news for the House of Windsor seems pretty minor in comparison to all of that. The Queen visited her prince consort in the hospital, the Duchess of Kent (who no longer uses her title) made a rare public appearance at the Jubilee celebrations because of her great affection for the Queen. The Duchess converted to Catholicism in 1994, dropped her “HRH” ceased carrying out any royal duties and became a music teacher. HRH the Duchess of Cambridge said that Prince William is working on his dance moves in preparation for an upcoming visit to the Solomon Islands. The Cambridge couple met with the Governor-General of the islands at the luncheon prior to the Jubilee service at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Duke of Cambridge also officially qualified this week to command a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter. Previously he had been restricted to the role of co-pilot and HRH the Princess Royal Anne became the first chancellor of the newest university in the UK which is the University of the Highlands and Islands. Her installation was held at Inverness Cathedral.

In other news, HM King Juan Carlos of Spain tried to spread some optimism on Monday during a royal visit to Brazil saying that Spain still had “solid” economic foundations and that the measures being taken to deal with the current economic crisis “will not take long to bear fruit”. He also noted that the public debt in the Kingdom of Spain is smaller than in some other EU countries and he assured the President of Brazil that, “Spain is working with its European partners to stabilize financial markets, cut public debt and bolster the euro”. He also stressed the importance of the economic ties of his country with Brazil with the Spanish being the second largest source of foreign investment to the Portuguese-speaking country.

Also some sad news from Japan this week as the Imperial Palace announced that the Emperor’s cousin, HIH Prince Tomohito, died on Wednesday at the age of 66. The Prince admitted in the past to struggling with alcoholism and passed away from complications after a long battle with cancer of the larynx. Amongst the very silent and serene Japanese Imperial Family, HIH Prince Tomohito was known for being comparatively outspoken when the subject of changing the rules of succession came up, the Prince zealously defending the existing rules of male preference even if that meant resurrecting the practice of having concubines. He was also known for his love of sports and promoting sports for those with physical and mental disabilities. Our condolences go out to the Imperial Family on his sad passing.

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