Monday, June 16, 2014
Royal News Roundup
Apparently, some time ago, one of the palaces owned by the Prince was rented out for a meeting. Later it was made public that the people attending this meeting included Alexander Dugin of the Eurasian Movement, a representative of the French National Front, neo-Carlist front man Prince Sixte-Henri of Bourbon-Parma, the Chairman of the Austrian Freedom Party and the founder of the Bulgarian Ataka (Attack) party -all of whom are on the official “naughty” list of mainstream European politics and most of whom have been labeled as racists. When this was made public it brought down a good deal of criticism on the Princely House of Liechtenstein, enough that Prince Hans-Adam II himself addressed the issue in a letter to the editor. The Prince said that he nor his family has anything to do with the people who rent out the palace, they had no foreknowledge of who would be attending and that, even if this became policy, it would be impossible to check the political opinions of everyone attending a certain event before the space was rented to them. All quite true. The Prince also wondered if this much emotion would be displayed if the space had been rented to a meeting of radical leftist groups. The fact that he would asks causes me to suspect that the Prince doubts it would be so. As do I.
Finally, in Spain, everything continues to build-up for the official installation of the Prince of Asturias as King Felipe VI. Republican traitors continue to cause a stink in the streets, demanding a referendum on the monarchy (after all, they have to act know before Felipe VI has a chance to prove himself). King Juan Carlos I attended his last military ceremony as commander-in-chief of the Spanish armed forces and the whole Royal Family hosted a visit by the President and First Lady of Mexico. The bill allowing for the King to abdicate and Prince Felipe to succeed him was approved with 299 votes in favor, 19 opposed and 23 abstentions. King Felipe VI will be sworn in and officially proclaimed on June 19 but King Juan Carlos I will not be attending the ceremony, though Queen Sofia will. The King said he did not want to take any attention away from his son but he will appear with the rest of the family on the balcony to wave to the crowds. Somewhat distressing though is that, unlike the inauguration of King Juan Carlos, this ceremony will not be followed by a mass. My greatest concern is that the same radical leftist parties that made a stink at the vote on the abdication may try some stunt to spoil the inauguration, along the lines of what was done in Belgium to King Baudouin and King Albert II. Hopefully, such will not be the case.
In Africa, King Mswati III of Swaziland has been under criticism in the foreign media yet again. This time taking advantage of a music festival to talk about how terrible his absolute monarchy is and how bad conditions in the country are. Does the King have anything to do with the music festival? No, but, hey, it’s in Swaziland so it is used by the media as a pretext for attacking the monarchy. Also, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu helped publicize things by signing on to an open letter demanding that King Mswati III give up his absolute power and adopt more liberal policies. Further north in Nigeria the Emir of Kano, Ado Abdullahi Bayero died of cancer after a 51-year reign. He was the second in the hierarchy of sub-national monarchies in Nigeria and was, by all accounts, a highly regarded figure. The “kingmakers” got together to choose his successor and the man chosen was Nigeria’s former bank chief Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. He was removed on charges of corruption and supporters of the eldest son of the late Emir took to the streets in violent protest, calling the appointment and act of political cronyism on the part of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso. Some advice: get rid of the “kingmakers”. Also, in London (I presume as many “journalists” these days leave out basic facts) Prince Harry and Zulu Prince Buthelezi attended a special screening of the film “Zulu” on its 50th anniversary. The Prince played his own great-grandfather in the film, King Cetshwayo, which told the story of the battle of Rorke’s Drift in 1879 in which 150 British soldiers successfully defended the tiny mission station from a massive army of 4,000 Zulu warriors. Proceeds from the event were given to aid wounded soldiers and African children.
Finally, in East Asia, things in the Kingdom of Thailand have mostly settled down under the watchful eye of the Thai army but foreign media sources have been unrelenting in their speculation as to what the protests and political struggles have “really” been about. An article this week from the Washington Post (which contained a number of inaccuracies) portrayed it all as being centered on the monarchy with the two factions feuding over who will take power when the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great passes from this life to the next. They point out that the current military ruler, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, is a staunch monarchist and may be planning to hold power until the death of the King so as to be able to oversee the transition and of course make the usual point that the Crown Prince is not nearly so popular as his father. Which is true, but it would not hurt to at least give him a chance first. As King, he may prove to be a great success.
And, in Japan, some sad news to report as last Sunday HIH Prince Katsura, a cousin of HM the Emperor, passed away at the age of 66. This leaves only 21 members of the Imperial Family since the post-war constitution restricted membership considerably from what it had been in the Empire of Japan. After HIH Princess Noriko renounces her status to marry a commoner there will be only seven unmarried female members of the Imperial Family and only five male members who are in line for the throne. Recently, some ceremonies formerly closed to women of the Imperial Family have been opened to them, such as Oharai no Gi, because there are so few members of the Imperial Family left. The previous leftist government was talking about making changes, at least to the succession law, but the more conservative Abe government has been stood firm on the side of tradition when it comes to the monarchy. However, some changes may be necessary though they will not be easy such as restoring those members of the Imperial Family to their rightful status which they lost with the post-war occupation. It would also help if the current members had more children. That, however, is an example of something I have talked about here before; royals are not immune from the societies that surround them whether in Europe or in Japan and it is, I think, no coincidence that both the Imperial Family and Japan as a whole are suffering from a demographic problem. Having more children should be a priority for everyone.