Starting in the UK this week, the big story of course was the passing of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Contrary to what some have said, the former PM will not receive a state funeral but it will be an appropriately ceremonious affair, along the lines of the funerals for Lady Diana or HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. It has been reported that HM the Queen will attend the ceremony, which is rarely done and a mark of the respect Her Majesty has for the late PM. Sources say the decision was taken by the Queen herself with no prompting from any quarter. Add that to the list of evidence against the silly notion that the Queen disliked her former first minister. In other news, on Tuesday the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary privately. Duchess Camilla, once a source of considerable public opposition, has over the years won over most of the British public, showing herself as a dedicated, humorous and approachable member of the Royal Family and reportedly a great source of support to the young Duchess of Cambridge as she learns the ropes of royal life. And speaking of the Duchess of Cambridge, she is set to officially name a new cruise ship in Southampton in June, only a few weeks before the due date of the newest member of the family.
On the continent, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, described as a “former party girl and single mother” has come under criticism by a sociologist and college professor for her newly found “jet-set” lifestyle and example as a role model. In quite a stretch she makes the Crown Princess the ‘poster girl’ for the nouveau riche lifestyle of Norway which has been embraced at the expense of “traditional” Norwegian values. This sociologist, of course, does not mean “traditional” in the traditional sense. She does not mean, for example, the traditional morals of Lutheran Christianity or old Norse values of marital fidelity, valor, hard work and national pride. She criticizes the Crown Princess for having no career of her own, lacking a college education and for basically being a wife and mother before all else. She claims that the Crown Princess has reverted to being a woman of the 1950’s. Now, perhaps things in Norway were drastically different, but I certainly don’t look at the Crown Princess who was a single mother, who lived with the Crown Prince prior to their marriage, who has shown strong support for the homosexual community as being reminiscent of a woman of the 1950’s. This, of course, is a blatantly obvious baseless attack by someone desperate to attract attention and nothing more. If anything, I think too much “changing with the times” has been the problem, not too little.
In other continental royal news, the King of Sweden has been touring the country, visiting with people on the local level. In The Netherlands, HM Queen Beatrix hosted a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to commemorate Russo-Dutch cultural cooperation (whatever that means) and in the little Principality of Liechtenstein, more transparency in the banking business is on the horizon. HSH Prince Hans-Adam II said in a visit to neighboring Austria, “I think that we are moving in the direction of automatic data transfer. The pressure is growing ever greater,” as the European Union has been pushing for the automatic transfer of banking data as a way to fight tax evasion. Yes, no one in Brussels will rest so long as people continue to try to keep their own money. We won’t stand for that! In Italy HRH Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Venice and Piedmont appeared in a TV commercial for a brand of e-cigarrette, which I am sure is another example of why so many monarchists prefer the Duke of Aosta over the eldest grandson of the last king but which I am equally sure is also why most Italians know the prince and have no idea who the Duke of Aosta is. Finally, there is Spain, which I really don’t feel like going into at length. It’s just too frustrating for me. Suffice it to say that more and more baseless accusations and unjustified investigations keep being tossed at the King and the Royal Family in an obvious effort by the ruling elite and their media lapdogs to keep public attention and public anger away from those who actually put Spain in such a deplorable condition.
Finally, in the Far East, HIH Prince Hisahito of Akishino, who will hopefully become Emperor of Japan one day, started his first day of elementary school this week to a great deal of media attention. This is because the little prince will not be attending the Gakushuin Primary School as has been customary for children of the Imperial Family for generations. Instead, he will be moving on with his classmates to an affiliate elementary school of Ochanomizu University. He had previously attended a nursery school affiliated with the same university. He will be called by his own name, will not use any title and will be given no special treatment. A spokesman for the Imperial Household Agency said, “Akishino and his wife think that it will be an important experience for the future Emperor to learn with children in various environments to understand the public’s thoughts”. I’m not wild about this and I’ve never been very fond of royals attending regular schools. Even more than private schools, I was always perfectly fine with the old method of private tutors in the palace. In the first place, I think private, at home, individually tailored education is best for anyone but I also object to the idea of princes and princesses going amongst the masses to be treated “just like everyone else” -because they’re not just like everyone else. In some ways it seems almost cruel to give royal children a taste of a life that can never be their own and, certainly in Europe, it seems to often lead to scandals where young royals think they can behave just like their classmates which inevitably gets them into trouble. It would be impossible to imagine such a thing happening in Japan, but still, I find it hard to view this as a positive. Still, we wish Prince Hisahito all the best in his studies.