Saturday, June 30, 2012
Royal News Roundup
Over in the Middle East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has, for the first time, announced that they will allow women to compete at the upcoming London Olympic Games. Public sporting events for women are banned in Saudi Arabia as being immodest. HM King Abdullah reportedly pushed for the change but put off announcing the new policy due to the recent death of the Crown Prince. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei are the only countries which have never allowed women to compete at the Olympics but all three are now sending women to the games in London this year. Brunei will send one, Qatar three and Saudi Arabia (probably) one.
On the European front, the King and Queen of Sweden, as well as the Prince of Monaco, joined other world leaders at the Rio+20 UN sustainability conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil talking about the environment and all of that terribly important stuff. In Luxembourg the Grand Ducal Family was out in full force to celebrate Luxembourg National Day last Saturday, the day set aside to celebrate the birthday of the reigning Grand Duke. There were walkabouts, military parades, a church service and waving from the balcony all in true, understated, stylish Luxembourg fashion. Meanwhile, up in The Netherlands, HRH Princess Alexia, second daughter of the Crown Prince and Princess, celebrated her seventh birthday on Tuesday. We hope the diminutive Dutch darling had a dandy of a day and many more.
In the United Kingdom, there has been an historic name change as “Big Ben” (officially St Stephen’s Tower -though actually it is the bell that was called “Big Ben”) at the Palace of Westminster has, by act of Parliament, officially been renamed “Elizabeth Tower” in honor of the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. The Victoria Tower at the west end of the palace was named in honor of Queen Victoria when she celebrated her diamond jubilee. Most, however, admit that it will probably always be referred to as “Big Ben” simply out of force of habit. As we have discussed previously the Queen and Prince Philip also visited Northern Ireland this week, meeting with local officials including deputy first minister Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein, a former commander in the Irish Republican Army. All went well, the Queen even riding in an open car in a display of how secure and stable Northern Ireland is. The odd bits of anti-monarchy graffiti did nothing to dampen the occasion. The following day the Queen unveiled a new memorial to the Bomber Command in Portland which honors those who flew bombing missions against Germany during World War II.