Monday, October 21, 2013
Royal News Roundup
In the Middle East the big news this week came when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia refused one of the five rotating seats on the UN Security Council. It is the first time any country has ever refused a place on the Security Council whose permanent seats are held by the former Allied nations of World War II; the US, UK, France, Russia and China. The countries elected to the rotating seats were Chad, Nigeria, Chile and Lithuania along with Saudi Arabia which shocked everyone by refusing the position. Saudi officials took issue with the inability of the UN to act against Syria thanks to the vetoes of Russia and China as well as the lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, presumably due to the staunch support for Israel by the United States. The Saudi foreign minister said, “The manner, the mechanisms of action and double standards existing in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities toward preserving international peace and security as required…” He further cited the death toll in Syria as proof of the impotence of the UN Security Council. Also cited was the fact that any of the five permanent members can veto any resolution passed by the majority of the council. Also this week, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called for Muslims around the world to put aside their difference and come together to open a dialogue between the different Islamic sects.
In Britain, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their choices for godparents for Prince George, a man was arrested for trying to enter Buckingham Palace with a knife and the Duchess of Cornwall presided over harvest celebrations at Westminster Abbey. HM the Queen also, reportedly, made a “polite protest” to the government over a Royal Charter from “Call me Dave” Cameron that will set up a watchdog group to keep an eye on newspapers. Also this week the Princess Royal was prevented from unveiling a statue of a horse that survived an IRA bombing in Hyde Park in 1982 due to her helicopter being grounded by fog. Prince William stood in for the Queen for the first time this week in investing new members of the knighthood and the Prince of Wales issued a warning about the hardship faced by British pensioners. The Duchess also played volleyball this week and lots of people were talking about how great she looked in those skinny jeans. Important stuff that. On the continent, Dutch officials are worried that perhaps King Willem-Alexander should not visit Russia as planned due to tensions between Russia and the Netherlands over a raid on the home of a Russian diplomat and the arrest by Russia of some environmentalist-save the whales type people. In Belgium, King Philip and Queen Mathilde received an appropriately warm welcome in the Belgian province of Luxembourg as part of their tour of the country.
The King of Norway visited the Oslo Youth Power Center on Thursday in Hvervenbukta. It was announced that the Crown Prince Haakon of Norway will visit Finland next week by Crown Princess Mette-Marit will not be accompanying him due to her current neck trouble. This weekend the Norwegian Crown Prince was with the navy off the Horn of Africa, inspecting the forces there standing guard against the pirates that infest the region. In the Kingdom of Sweden there was a busy round of receptions and visits for the Royal Family but it was announced that the expecting Princess Madeleine will attend the Nobel Prize ceremony alone, without husband Chris O’Neill who cited business commitments for his inability to attend. Finally, down in the Kingdom of Spain, judges in the on-going legal case involving the royal son-in-law, said that the long-time (and now controversial) friend of the King, German aristocrat Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein will not be called to testify. This is entirely appropriate as it smells like nothing more than an effort to exploit any hint of scandal involving the Royal Family, whether pertinent to the case at hand or not. On a more optimistic note, HRH the Prince of the Asturias addressed business leaders this week and said that the Spanish economy could be expected to see growth this year. Hopefully, he is correct.