Saturday, August 3, 2013
Royal News Roundup
On the continent, the Princely Family of Monaco were out in all their glamorous Grimaldi glory for the “Love Ball” this week in Monte Carlo. The event was the brainchild of the Naked Heart Foundation which builds safe places for children to play around the world with some of the proceeds also benefiting AMADE, the primary charity of HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover. In Spain, TRH the Prince and Princess of Asturias met with survivors of the tragic train crash in northern Spain at Santiago de Compostela. The Prince said, “We want all of them to know we mourn with them, we are profoundly sad, we want to give our support in these tough times with care and love”. The royal couple along with HRH the Infanta Elena, as well as others, attended a special funeral mass in honor of the victims. Stress remains high for the embattled family of HRH the Infanta Cristina who may be moving to Switzerland soon, taking up a new position with her employer, La Caixa, but also to remove their children from the rather unpleasant atmosphere in Spain the family has been subjected to. And farther to the north in the Kingdom of Belgium, members of the Royal Family including the new King and Queen, the elder King and Queen and HM Dowager Queen Fabiola attended a special remembrance mass in Brussels for the late King Baudouin who died twenty years ago this last Wednesday.
In the Middle East, HM King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently donated SR400 million to the King Abdullah International Foundation for Humanitarian Works. The donation is going to aid in providing free medical care for kidney patients across the country. The foundation is set to provide 1,000 dialysis machines able to treat up to 5,000 people a day thanks to the generosity of the King. Another Saudi royal is also set to shell out some cash, but not to charity. Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, noted billionaire (and owner of the Savoy hotel in London, the Plaza hotel in New York, George V hotel in Paris and a shareholder in Citigroup, News Corp and Apple) has been ordered by a British court to pay a $10 million commission to a Jordanian woman who arranged the sale of the luxurious aircraft of the former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The Prince claimed the woman had little to do with the sale but the court found her case convincing and ordered the Prince to pay her the commission. There has also been trouble in the U.A.E. where Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are protesting the arrest and conviction of 69 people in Abu Dhabi. Authorities found the 69 to be a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, working to overthrow the monarchy. The group, as well as AI and HRW, say the Abu Dhabi ruling family is wrong and being a bunch of meanies. However, no one is saying that about the Emir of Kuwait who, this week, pardoned all people in custody for having insulted him in the past. It was a sign of forgiveness marking the end of the month of Ramadan.
Finally, in the lands of Eternal Asia, there is a story of justice delayed but achieved in northern India in the city of Chandigarh. The story goes like this: In 1989 HH Hardinder Singh Brar, Maharaja of Faridkot, passed away and according to his will all of his wealth went, not to his daughters, but to a “charitable trust” set up by some of his former palace employees. This was no small amount but included not only his personal fortune but extensive estates including a 350-year old royal fort and a private aerodrome. The daughters thought this was completely wrong and have been fighting in court ever since to have their father’s property given to them and, at long last, the court found in their favor. The court finally determined that the will had been written under duress, at the urging of some unscrupulous employees out to enrich themselves, at a time when the Maharaja was very depressed and nearing the end of his life. That will has now been declared null and void and his two surviving daughters are set to finally inherit what is rightfully their own. Good for them. Finally we have some news I have some mixed feelings about. A government official in Thailand has said that, according to the Royal Household Bureau, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great is set to leave the hospital where he has been staying for the last four years and will be moving to Klai Kangwon Palace south of Bangkok. I hope this means the health of the King has gotten better, however, he is 85-years old, the longest reigning monarch in the world, and has only made rare excursions from the hospital in all this time and I am a little worried that this may be a case of the hospital simply being unable to do anything more for him and moving him someplace where he will be more comfortable. I hope I am wrong about that but the great King is nearing the end of his life as everyone knows. I do worry about the King a great deal as he has been one of the most exemplary monarchs of modern times and one of the few examples, I think, of a constitutional monarch working in the most ideal way possible. God bless him and I hope he is doing well.