Saturday, May 18, 2013
Royal News Roundup
Elsewhere on the continent, a 44-year old man from Zwolle was arrested by Dutch police two days before the recent inauguration of King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands (it was recently announced) for making threats against the House of Orange. The threats were made via text message which prompted one recipient to alert the authorities. The man was released on Monday to await trial at his home. In neighboring Belgium TRH the Duke and Duchess of Brabant paid tribute to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne this week before visiting the Olympic Museum which is currently being housed on a boat on Lake Geneva while its building is renovated. And, down in Luxembourg Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie visited the historic town of Vianden, talking with the locals and soaking up some of the early history of the Grand Ducal Family’s ancestors. And, further south, more dead royals have returned to return to Serbia. This time it was Prince Andrej, third son of King Alexander I whose remains were taken from Illinois in the United States and arrived on Wednesday at the Royal Chapel in Dedinje. For the British and Commonwealth Royal Family most of the news this week was taken up with the minute details of Prince Harry’s recent visit to the United States. In other news this week, the Prince of Wales and HM the Queen attended the service for the Order of Merit at St James’s Palace. The Order of Merit is about the only royal honor which remains exclusively in the gift of the Queen rather than the government. And, in southern Europe, the King of Spain has had to give up his yacht (I’m rather surprised it has lasted this long) and gossipmongers have started to say nasty things about the Princess of Monaco -file that under “news” that is nothing new.
In the lands of Eternal Asia, in a colorful ceremony (sadly only symbolic these days held for the sake of tradition alone) the 9-year-old prince of Jaipur HH Rajkumar Lakshya Raj Singh was formally anointed as the Maharaja of Sirmaur, a former princely state of India in southern Himachal Pradesh. The ceremony was held at Nahan Palace on Wednesday, giving locals a chance to glimpse some of the old royal splendor of imperial India. Representatives of other princely states were on hand as were a few politicians and some Bollywood celebrities for the occasion. And there has been some very big monarchy-related news out of China recently, though, as usual, it is “too little, too late” to be very helpful. A former government official and historian, Jia Yinghua, has discovered records in the secret archives of the Chinese authorities at Zhongnanhai which explain why the imperial system came to such a sudden and unceremonious halt with the abdication of the last Emperor, acted for by the Empress Dowager Longyu. It seems she was not exactly acting freely but was offered 20,000 taels of silver (1,700 lb) and threatened with beheading by General Yuan Shikai. His efforts to threaten or bribe court officials was apparently extensive, including the Empress Dowager’s closest eunuch Xiao Dezheng and Prince Yikuang who accumulated 2 million dollars in silver in his Hong Kong bank account, mostly from efforts to buy his support for Yuan Shikai taking power and ending the rule of the Qing Dynasty. Evidence also suggests that he convinced friends in the Russian embassy to write threatening letters to the Empress Dowager warning her that the European powers were about to bring down the dynasty anyway. The entire affair was utterly disgraceful. It has also always been perfectly obvious that the agreement signed by the Qing court with the republican leaders for the abdication was never honored by the republican side and should, therefore, be considered invalid.