Monday, October 7, 2013

Royal News Roundup

Starting, for a change, in the British Isles, HRH the Prince of Wales visited a new cancer research facility in Scotland, great, but for some reason some papers thought it necessary to point out that he was wearing a kilt. Is this news? He was in Scotland, his grandmother was Scottish, he does have Scottish titles and I would not have thought it newsworthy to point out that he was wearing a kilt. In Scotland. Would these people be shocked to know that the Prince of Wales has often worn a kilt even when in England? Sorry, but the fact that this was actually pointed out got to me. Better news is that Prince Philip (one of my heroes) is back on the job again and in good health. Three cheers for him, he’s one of the best things about Britain today. The Duchess of York said something unimportant, HM the Queen opened an emergency care center (or centre) in Aberdeen (wasn’t that where Scotty was from?), the Princess Royal adopted an orphan -horse, the Duke of York is being criticized for stopping in New York to have dinner with his daughter Princess Eugenie (I mean, the very idea!) but the really big news was happening far from British shores in the Land Down Under where Prince Harry arrived for an official visit. When the Australians get together with their royals, greatness always ensues. Crowds flocked to see the Prince in Sidney at an International Fleet Review and there are many more events planned for the days ahead.

Meanwhile on the continent, the rain in Spain fell mainly on the republican protestors in the street calling for an end to the monarchy -proving once again that God is a monarchist. While recovering in the hospital His Catholic Majesty had the treat of a visit from two of his adorable granddaughters Infantas Leonor and Sofia. The cute factor must have done the trick as not long after the King was released after this latest hip surgery. As usual there was lots of glamour and dazzle for the Princely Family of Monaco this week but the big event was an official visit by Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene to the Russian Federation. The Sovereign Prince met with President Vladimir Putin and the couple both met with the Russian Patriarch to talk about closer cultural relations between the biggest country in the world and one of the smallest. In the Netherlands it was announced that if, God forbid, anything should happen to King Willem-Alexander, royal business will be conducted by the capable Queen Maxima as regent. Good to be prepared I suppose. The Dutch King and Queen also visited Norway, warmly welcomed by the King and Queen there and in Belgium King Philippe is set to have a new coin commemorating his accession. Also, after the shameful display in Antwerp we talked about last time, the new King and Queen of the Belgians were given a rousing welcome in Namur. Good to see.

On the far northern front, the Queen and Crown Princess of Sweden attended the General Synod of the Church of Sweden (which is Lutheran) this week and the Queen also teamed up with her younger daughter Princess Madeleine for a World Childhood Meeting. Crown Princess Victoria became patron of the Pink Ribbon campaign (that’s cancer for those having trouble keeping up with all the ribbon campaigns) and Prince Carl Philip opened a race track for the disabled. The Crown Princess also visited the United Nations in New York and Prince Daniel visited the Swedish Companies Registration Office (and you know that was an action-packed event!). The King and Queen of Norway, as mentioned, were showing proper Norwegian hospitality to the Dutch King and Queen and in the Kingdom of Denmark the princesses Mary and Marie (it must get confusing) attended the opening of the Danish parliament. In the Middle East last week there was nothing too earth shattering, most stories seemed to involve accusations and legal cases that I have not the patience to go into detailing.

Over in the Far East, HM the Sultan of Brunei visited the remote United state and former Kingdom of Hawaii though it was unclear if the (possibly) richest monarch in the world was there for business or pleasure. Moving to the Kingdom of Thailand a political activist, the founder of the royalist “yellow shirt” movement that helped oust the corrupt PM Thaksin Shinawatra (leader of the “red shirts”) from power was put in jail for insulting the King. Odd for such a pro-monarchy man but this is an odd case as the remarks that landed him in trouble were actually those of his primary political opponent whom he was quoting in a speech. The Red Shirt activist being quoted was earlier sentenced to 15-years for the original comments. The next day a woman was sentenced to 5 years for insulting remarks posted on a website some years ago (the case has had its ups and downs between then and now), however, on Friday an activist of the Red Siam group was released from prison after serving 5 years of a 12 and a half year sentence for insulting the monarchy thanks to a royal pardon from the King himself. The real news is that this is always the only news. Of all the countries in all the world with speech restrictions, I swear the media around the world is just obsessed with the fact that you can get in trouble in Thailand for saying nasty things about the King. I am rather tired of hearing about it. And, finally, in the Land of the Rising Sun, signs are going up around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo urging joggers to display better manners (they have been getting a reputation for rudeness -at least by Japanese standards as it is a very polite country) and in a touching occasion, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress attended the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Disabled Veterans Association. His Majesty made some short remarks and I am sure there was hardly ever an audience that listened more intently or appreciated such words more than these men who have sacrificed so much out of loyalty to the Emperor. God bless them.

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