Saturday, November 10, 2012
Royal News Roundup
In southeast Asian royal news, the family of a man from the southern Malaysian state of Johor is rather upset that he was arrested for posting insulting remarks about the revered Sultan of Johor on Facebook. Last July a blogger was arrested on similar charges. Also in Malaysia, the Sultan of Selangor has spoken out, expressing his regret over the statement of a local politician that Malays are free to choose their own religion. The Sultan firmly rejected the idea that anyone could embrace a new religion and denounce Islam, the religion of the vast majority of the Malaysian people. Elsewhere in Asia, in the lofty land of Nepal, former King Gyanendra Shah recently gave a fiery speech, criticizing the current republican political leadership of the country whose lack of “foresight” have brought “disarray”. In a stirring call to embrace old fashioned values the King said, “Our religion [Hinduism], cultural practices and tradition are the only things to ensure our secured continuity always guiding us towards the path of truth”. He also reminded the audience that it was the royal family which, with divine help, brought the country into being.
In the Middle East, HM the King of Saudi Arabia named Prince Mohammed bin Nayef to the post of Minister of the Interior. It was this prince who led a crackdown against terrorist radicals, predominately Al-Qaeda and who himself only narrowly survived an attack by a suicide bomber. Prince Mohammed is the first of the second-generation royals of the Al-Saud dynasty to hold such a ministerial position. Meanwhile, in neighboring Qatar, the Emir had called for better public services, adopting some of the same criticisms as the protestors he has consistently opposed. Perhaps a sign that improvements can be made in a calm and deliberate fashion. And in Kuwait, HH the Emir has spoken out over unprecedented unrest and turmoil in the usually calm Gulf state. In a meeting with security officials, the Sheikh said, “We are required today to choose between the state of law and constitution…or the path to chaos and undermining constitutional authority,”. He praised the army and police for their handling of the unrest. So far the opposition has consisted of a motley collection of Arab nationalists, liberals and Islamic fundamentalists.
In Belgium, the Royal Family has been uncharacteristically combative in response to a horrible, slanderous book which accuses the Royal Family of all sorts of things. In particular the Crown Prince, Philippe Duke of Brabant, was hurt and angered by the book which accuses his marriage of being a loveless sham and his children the products of IVF. The Crown Prince, in response, said, “The day that Mathilde said ‘Yes’ to my proposal was the happiest day of my life” and anyone who has seen them and their children together should be able to see the truth of his words. I have to say, I think the Belgian crown prince has been the most grossly and unjustly maligned and derided royal heir in the world. He is a good, upstanding, intelligent man and his detractors can never point to anything concrete in their criticisms of him. Given an honest chance, I have no doubt he will prove a noble and capable monarch when his time comes.
Across the border in The Netherlands, HM Queen Beatrix swore in the new Dutch cabinet and later in the week visited the town of Sneek to open the new ‘Cultural Quarter’ and took in some demonstrations of local dances. The Dutch postal service has also saw an upsurge in business thanks to the popularity of a new set of stamps featuring the three girls of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Crown Princess Maxima. Such stamps are released each October and proceeds from their sale goes to various charities dedicated to helping children. The photographer was none other than the Prince of Orange himself. And, speaking of children, down in the Principality of Monaco, the big news was the announcement from Tatiana Santo Domingo that she and her husband-to-be Andrea Casiraghi are expecting their first child in January of next year, so Princess Caroline is set to be a grandmother. Andrea and Tatiana have been an item for the last seven years and announced their engagement in July. Andrea is currently next in line to the Monegasque throne, which could change if any children are forthcoming from TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene. Congratulations to the happy couple on their upcoming new addition. The Sovereign Prince himself has been on an official visit to Turkey this week where he has met with the Turkish President and His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I.