Not much “new” in the news this week, other events tending to drown out royal activities and, on the monarchy front, the impending birth in Great Britain has taken center stage. The media besieged the hospital where the blessed event is expected to take place (St Mary), though one paper decided it would be humorous to send a couple of ‘look-alikes’ to the hospital for a few laughs. Then, after some confusing movements, some in the media began to wonder if the royals, particularly Prince William, might be trying to pull one over on them and have the Duchess of Cambridge have the baby somewhere else. Panic! Media outlets had to divide their forces to cover every possible avenue of escape. Even without what happened to his mother, is it any wonder, given the invasions of privacy the Cambridge couple have already faced, that Prince William and Duchess Catherine might be inclined to have a rather hostile attitude toward the media? On the one hand, everyone really should just calm down a bit. It will happen and it will not be kept secret. The public will be informed. Let the family have their private, family time and the public will be told everything in due time. Having said that, it is also heartening that so many people are interested in what is a happy occasion. It is a time of joyful unity, or at least it should be. And, as usual, in America at least, the media is once again talking about how much they don’t want to talk about the impending royal birth. They love to put on their ‘holier-than-thou’ pants and moan and groan about how silly it all is -and yet they still cover it and still talk about it. Fewer people are talking about royal granddaughter Zara Phillips, who is also pregnant but who has slipped under the radar thanks to the Cambridge baby feeding frenzy. She called a halt to her equestrian jumping this week because of her advancing state of pregnancy. We wish both mothers all the best of course.
On the continent, the Kingdom of Belgium continues to prepare for the abdication of King Albert II and the swearing-in of “King Philippe”. This week the outgoing King of the Belgians took a last tour of his small country, saying goodbye during his last week on the Belgian throne. Crowds came out to see the monarch who has reigned over them since the early 90’s though in Ghent at least there were some loud traitors of the Flemish-separatist variety of republicans making noise and waving flags. The Royal Family also met for a meal with government leaders in preparation for the change in royal leadership. The event will be very low-key according to the government, due to the less than ideal economic situation and the hyper-sensitivity some people seem to have about any pomp and ceremony when it comes to the monarchy. Some have been surprised that no foreign royalty have been invited, having just seen the large number of royals who turned up for the swearing-in of King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands, but this is typical for Belgium. They like to keep it a purely Belgian affair and the government said there would not be time to invite foreign royals anyway, it is too short notice to make plans and would be an added expense. Signing some papers, swearing the oath, an artillery salute and waving from the balcony may be expected but not much more than that.
Finally, down in Spain, the monarchy continues to have a rough time at the hands of rude, treasonous rabble-rousers. HM Queen Sofia was recently booed while presiding at the opening of a new hotel, which is rather alarming considering in what high regard the Queen has traditionally been held and the fact that I can well remember the days when no Spanish media outlet ever criticized the monarchy nor would have been tolerated if they had spoken of the King or Queen in less than respectful terms. The campaign of misdirection on the part of the socialist politicians seems to be working well thanks to the useful idiots on the Iberian peninsula. The signs are not encouraging. This week embattled royal son-in-law Urdangarin had to run a gauntlet of insult-spewing traitors on his way in and out of court, many of them waving republican red-yellow-purple flags and carrying signs denouncing the Royal Family. The King himself, however, was not in Spain to see it all this week. His Catholic Majesty was on a visit to the neighboring north African Kingdom of Morocco to strength Spanish-Moroccan ties. During this, mostly symbolic, visit, the King of Spain called the Kingdom of Morocco “an example of openness” and visited the Mohammed V mausoleum in Rabat, the resting place of the former kings Mohammed V and Hassan II.