Monday, October 14, 2013
Royal News Roundup
Moving northward to the Low Countries, on Friday in Luxembourg retired Grand Duke Jean along with Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Princess Stephanie attended a special concert by the Paris Orchestra at the Philarmonie in honor of the late Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte. Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte was the wife of Grand Duke Jean, the daughter of King Leopold III of the Belgians and mother Princess Marie Astrid, Grand Duke of Henri, Prince Jean, Princess Margaretha Prince Guillaume. In the Kingdom of Belgium there was not much ‘major’ news. A story came out on VTM that in the 60’s when the marriage of (then) Prince Albert and Princess Paola was on the rocks, HM King Baudouin had their phone calls monitored in order to keep certain people from contacting them and hopefully save their marriage. When the couple decided to make amends and stay together, no one was happier than King Baudouin who knew his younger brother would be succeeding him. In more light-hearted news, Queen Mathilde turned heads in Liege when she wore a very bright, fuzzy yellow coat and skirt that caused many people to have memories of the Sesame Street character “Big Bird”. However, everyone seemed to agree that the lovely Belgian queen made it look good. In the neighboring Kingdom of The Netherlands, most of the royal talk was on events yet to come. The new King and Queen of The Netherlands will soon be going on a round of foreign visits and will also be visiting the Dutch islands in the Caribbean. It is also being discussed whether or not, while they are in the neighborhood, they might pop in on Colombia and Venezuela. I suppose Royal Dutch Shell would have reason to take an interest in oil-rich Venezuela but, a word of warning to the royal couple, if you go there, you might want to bring along your own supply of toilette paper -just to be on the safe side.
On the British Isles, we actually begin in Australia where Prince Harry visited the HQ of the Australian SAS (special forces) during his quick trip ‘Down Under’, lamenting that his military duties did not permit a longer visit. At Buckingham Palace Prince William hosted (and participated in) a football match (that’s soccer for the American readers) between two of Britain’s oldest amateur teams, joking with the players about having a game on his grandmother’s lawn saying, “One warning, though: if anyone breaks a window, you can answer to her.” Also this week, the grand old Duke of Edinburgh was back on the job, visiting a retirement home where he was older than many of the residents. Prince Philip spotted a little girl sitting on a beach ball a group had been kicking around in an ’activity class’ and asked, “Do you get bonus points if you knock her off?” which caused a round of laughter, even from the tot’s great-grandmother Florence Crisp (hmmm, a royalist relative?). The Duke was also cracking a few jokes at the 500th awards presentation ceremony for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. With all the humorless leftists and politically correct authoritarians in control of things, it sometimes seems that Prince Philip is the last man in Britain with a sense of humor (or humour). The Countess of Wessex was in top form for an official visit to South Africa and Prince Harry managed a few words in Arabic while attending a fundraiser for Sentabale in Dubai. HM the Queen presided over the launch of the Commonwealth baron ceremony with a message from the Queen that was placed in the baton to be carried to the Commonwealth Games which will be read by the Queen, to all the athletes, at Glasgow’s Celtic Park on July 23. The baton was carried to Buckingham Palace for the start of the relay by Scottish cycling star Sir Chris Hoy. HM the Queen also expressed her concern this week at an MBE ceremony that children may be giving up books in favor of technology. The Queen made the remarks to author Joanne Harris who received the MBE (that is Member of the Order of the British Empire) for ‘services to literature’.
Finally, on the Scandinavian front, the royals of the Kingdom of Denmark have been turning heads. Pretty Princess Marie was sporting a new ‘do’ at the opening of a new internet portal for Danish schools. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Frederik went on a bicycle tour of Vilnius while on an official visit to Lithuania, today one of the Baltic republics, formerly part of the Russian Empire and even more formerly a Grand Duchy that was ‘married’ to the Kingdom of Poland. It was also announced that in the near future Crown Prince Frederik will be visiting the State of Israel. And, not let the youngsters get all the headlines, HM the Queen and her Prince consort attended a special exhibition in which both read some poetry. The exhibit features painting by the Queen herself and poetry and some sculptures done by the Prince. Denmark -home of ‘renaissance royalty’. News was a bit thin on the ground for Norway this week. Crown Princess Mette-Marit has gone on sick leave over a neck prolapse for the next two weeks and possibly longer. We wish her a full and speedy recovery. Meanwhile, HM the King gave his speech from the throne, outlining the goals of the outgoing government though everyone understands most will not be implemented. In the neighboring Kingdom of Sweden, Princess Madeleine and Crown Prince Victoria teamed up for some “retail therapy” in the elite shops of New York City, before the Crown Princess went on to visit the United Nations. At home, HM the King met with the leaders of the Swedish Order of St John (Protestant) and Order of Malta (Catholic) before joining with the Queen to welcome an official state visit from Portugal. On the other side of the world, Prince Carl Philip was in the “Land of the Morning Calm”, the Republic of Korea (that is the south of course) with the Prince telling the Koreans about how Sweden had improved road safety in the hopes that South Korea will be able to do the same. He also met with Swedish and Korean business leaders in the country, took in some artistic and cultural type stuff before zooming back to Sweden to visit some Rural Economy and Agricultural Societies. Sounds like fun.