Starting in the Middle East this week, things are still far from settled in the monarchies of the region. In the embattled Gulf state of Bahrain a Formula One race was beset by problems with protestors who nonetheless failed to have an impact on the event. Clashes between police and mostly student protestors have become fairly common. The protestors claim to want democracy, the government claims they simply want to soil the reputation of Bahrain on the world stage. Crown Prince Salman told reporters at the race, “What I would like to say is let’s focus on what’s positive, let’s build upon the platform that we have, and let’s celebrate this event with Bahrainis who are really passionate”. Very sound advice in my opinion. There have been similar problems in Kuwait where a notorious opposition politician was released on bail Monday after being arrested for insulting the ruling emir. This sparked a considerable backlash and, of course, the dissidents are trumpeting his release as a great victory for their cause. At the White House in Washington on Tuesday President Barack Obama met with HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Emir of Qatar on the subject of the ongoing crisis in Syria. Also this week the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia received the director of UNICEF who praised the Saudi kingdom for their humanitarian support to the United Nations. The King of Saudi Arabia, in response to the terrorist attack in Boston recently, said in no uncertain terms that those who mislead youth deserve severe punishment. Well said. Also this week HM the King of Jordan was in the United States where he met with Jewish-American leaders and the Jordanian-U.S. Business Council. Finally, it was reported this week that HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi has given more than Dh121 million in the last two years to provide impoverished children around the world with vaccines. A worthy endeavor indeed.
In southern Europe, the Italian Republic continues to be plagued with political instability and has sought a familiar face to provide a source of calm and continuity. Sounds like the ideal job for a monarch but, of course that was not the case. Instead, after failing to agree on a worthy candidate, Italian lawmakers begged outgoing President Giorgio Napolitano (87 years old and a former member of the communist party) to stand for reelection, which he did and won handily. President Napolitano, often referred to as ‘King George’ will be the first Italian president to serve more than one term. As HRH Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Venice and Piedmont said, “we exchanged one monarchy for another”. The prince also noted that, ‘As long as Italy has no responsible political leaders there is no need to vote’ and that in this entire process, no political leader has kept his word, including President Napolitano. Which is, of course, perfectly true. Across the border in Monaco, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene took in some tennis, watching Serbia win the Monte Carlo Masters along with, of course, princely cousin Baroness Elisabeth-Ann de Massy. And in Spain, the courtroom pain continues with stories coming out that HRH the Infanta Cristina was reluctant to sign papers on the purchase of a new mansion, not seeing how it could be affordable; that her husband tried to take advantage of the friendship between the King and the last President of Mexico for his own purposes and, worst of all, a new law is set to go into effect that will make public every financial transaction on the part of the monarchy. AS IF THE MONARCHY IS WHAT PUT SPAIN IN DEBT!!!! Sorry, it just really, really, *really* annoys me…
Moving up to the Low Countries, the Grand Ducal Palace announced this week the date of the upcoming wedding of Prince Felix of Luxembourg to his German fiancé Claire Lademacher. A statement on Monday said the civil wedding will be on September 17, in Koenigstein near Frankfurt followed, a few days later, by a religious ceremony as the Sainte Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume basilica in the south of France. We wish them all the best. Up in The Netherlands, everything keeps rolling forward for the impending abdication of the Queen and inauguration of ‘King Willem-Alexander I’ (and I really wish it was “King Willem IV” but, oh well…) with HM Queen Beatrix receiving the last credentials from foreign representatives this week. The strangest story of the week involved the “King’s Song” which is to be sung by the entire population at 7:30 PM on April 30. The piece was written by Anglo-Dutch composer John Ewbank but within just a few days the song attracted considerable scorn. More than 37,000 signed a petition asking to have their citizenship revoked rather than sing the song and a Facebook page apologizing for the song attracted (as of this writing) 94,605 “likes”. After some talk of withdrawing the song, the commission in charge of finding a new piece instead defended the existing work and said it will be kept as it is. Personally, I think it’s terrible but according to most people my taste in music is deplorable and from what the King-to-be says he wants his “new” monarchy to be all about, the odd combination of crooning, hymn singing and rapping may symbolize the new reign perfectly. Yeah … I’m trying to be positive darn it!
In the U.K. there was a 41-gun salute to mark the birthday of HM the Queen on Sunday (love those), HRH the Duchess of Cambridge celebrating scouting at a special ceremony at Windsor Castle which is good, but the bill messing with the succession is in its final stages and that’s bad (in my opinion anyway). I have yet to hear any rational explanation as to why age discrimination is any less unfair than gender discrimination. Neither one can be helped after all and I just find it extremely absurd to try to inject “fairness” into monarchy. In fact, I’m pretty sick of “fairness” period anymore. Life isn’t fair, never has been, never will be, and, as my sister is fond of saying, you can either get over it or die with the problem. Anyway, in better news, two have been charged in the outrage over the photos taken of the Duchess of Cambridge and I hope justice is swift and severe. I would say I’d like for pictures of those people in their ‘natural state’ to be published all over the world to be mocked and laughed at but, that would really be punishing the public more than the culprits so we won’t do that. Up in Scotland, three groups within the Church of Scotland has called for the Prince of Wales to have two coronations if Scotland votes for independence in the referendum being called for by the Scottish National Party. If that happens, the Prince will be the first British monarch since King Charles II to be crowned in both England and Scotland. The move is expected to cause some problems for the SNP which has claimed to support the monarchy so as not to alienate more loyal Scottish voters even while their leadership remains heavily dominated by republicans.
On the Scandinavian front there was not much major news this week, though there were some adorable photos released of Princess Isabella of Denmark who turned 6-years old and is quite the little cutie pie. However, one story did stand out from the Kingdom of Sweden where a group of republican traitors have launched a new campaign claiming to want to “liberate” royal children from their life of duty and obligations. Moderate MP Andreas Norlen responded to the group, led by Peter Althin, saying that Princess Estelle is too young to respond to such a claim and criticizing the republican group for targeting her because of that. According to Norlen, the Princess would probably not be singled out if she were old enough to respond because she might not respond the way the Republican Association wishes. She would probably, for example, take exception to them claiming to know what is best for her and saying that she freely chooses to devote her life to her people and country to serve them as a princess, crown princess and queen. Very true and shame on these despicable traitors for trying to use children as political pawns in their own power-grab.
There was also not much happening in the Far East this week. HM the Emperor of Japan did make a bit of news for being among the co-authors of a new book set “Fishes of Japan with Pictorial Keys to the Species” published by Tokai University. HM the Emperor is a member of the Ichthyological Society of Japan and authored all 350 pages on the “Suborder Gobiodei” or the goby species of Japan and the section includes discussion on the species that HM the Emperor himself discovered. In the broader news of the region, tensions between Japan and mainland China have been on the increase over the new Chinese claim to the Senkaku Islands after eight Chinese ships sailed into the area after which Japanese PM Abe warned that Japan would respond with force to resist any foreign landings on the islands. Tensions also increased over a disputed area of natural gas development in the East China Sea with Japan proposing a joint-development plan with both countries participating and China proposing a cooperative-development plan with Japanese investing in the Chinese exploitation of the area, saying that the area is in their “Exclusive Economic Zone” and that China has total sovereignty over that area of the sea and all its resources.