Monday, February 17, 2014
Royal News Roundup
In other continental news, despite some recent tensions between their two countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands sat down for a beer together at the Sochi Olympic games. Nice to see some world leaders behaving like adults, pretending to ignore the other side never made sense to me. Further south, Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg visited the “Family of Man” exhibition along with Princess Margaret of Liechtenstein in a rather rare public appearance for the elderly former monarch. In the Kingdom of Spain, there was outrage from the presiding judge in the case against the Duke of Palma de Mallorca over secretly recorded video footage of the testimony of HRH Infanta Cristina which was then passed to the media. The judge called it “unspeakable” and an investigation into that breach of security is underway. Also, the prosecutor in the case announced last week he is seeking a 17-year prison sentence for the Duke if found guilty of corruption. Just contrast that, for a moment, with the 3-year sentence handed down to the man who was conspiring to assassinate Prince Harry. Who says royals receive preferential treatment?
On royal news from the continent of Asia King Abdullah II of Jordan was in Washington DC last week meeting with Arab-American leaders and politicians, calling for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem and praising the Muslim community in the United States for their support of Arab causes. In the Gulf states, authorities are stepping up their policing of on-line media for potential threats to their security from dissidents which made the international busy-bodies howl (as usual) but which cannot be said to be uncalled for as last week police in Bahrain clashed with anti-monarchy protestors on the anniversary of their previous Arab Spring-inspired uprising which was put down with assistance from the King of Saudi Arabia. Across the continent in the Kingdom of Malaysia, on a related note, police arrested a woman at 1 AM for sedition based on remarks she made on-line against the Sultan of Selangor. In Thailand there was a minor uproar in the government also caused by the internet as Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol posted photos of herself wearing the Thai national colors. Government partisans took this as a show of support on her part for the anti-government (but pro-monarchy) protestors that have been demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister with some calling it a “declaration of war”. The Princess, of course, made no statement of the kind but it says something that a simple patriotic display is being cited as an attack by the current government. Finally, in a deal worked out between the Kingdom of Norway and the People’s Bandit Republic of China some marble columns that were looted by European troops from the Summer Palace in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion will be returned to China later this year. China and Norway have had rather frosty relations ever since a Nobel Prize was given to a prominent Chinese dissident (in this case meaning one who has called for democracy with more than one party to choose from).