Saturday, May 8, 2010

Royal News Roundup

The royal news of this past week starts in the long suffering land of Cambodia where, on Sunday, King Norodom Sihamoni attended a special plowing ceremony for the new rice crop season. One of the oldest royal duties, a number of princes took part and the ceremony was held near the ancient Khmer ruins of Angkor Wat. The omens were for a good harvest this year.

In Spain the Bourbon Royal Family gathered to honor Spanish athletes. However, most of the royal news in Spain has been focused on rumors of marital problems and a possible split between HRH the Infanta Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin. The couple have four children and we can only hope there is no basis for these murmurings. On a happier note Crown Princess Letizia was honored by the Spanish press. Other Spanish royals have received the same award before but none before Princess Letizia have actually worked in the news media.

In Belgium, Crown Princess Mathilde met with business leaders on behalf of her fund to help poor children. She urged the assembled professionals to remember these unfortunates. Belgians also had to endure news of yet another bizarre death-threat made against Dowager Queen Fabiola. A number of these threats have been made in the past and the police are still trying to track down their source. Fortunately, Queen Fabiola has not let fear get the better of her and so far has kept an admirable sense of humor about the whole business. Also in the Low Countries, there was a scare at a memorial for the war dead in the Netherlands when a deranged man frightened people in the crowd, knocking over a barricade which many took to be a gunshot. Fortunately, no one was harmed and HM Queen Beatrix soon returned to carry on with the ceremony.

On Tuesday Prince Henrik of Denmark, son of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, celebrated his first birthday. Princess Martha Louise of Norway has been making the rounds plugging her latest book “Meet Your Guardian Angel” which is supposed to instruct readers on how to get in contact with their spiritual protectors. A fairly controversial figure in Norway the book has nonetheless reached #4 on the bestseller list and the Princess credits conversations with her angelic guardian with allowing her to come to terms with her part as a member of the Royal Family. Across the border in Sweden it was announced that the state of Washington will miss out on a visit from the lovely Princess Madeleine. She was to be guest of honor at “Sweden Week” in Seattle, Washington but with all the drama she has had to endure recently big-sister Crown Princess Victoria will help out by taking her place, so Seattle is certainly not going to be neglected.

The tiny Principality of Liechtenstein has been makings its presence more known to the international community. As part of the World Expo in Shanghai, China a replica of the Liechtenstein pavillion was put up in Vaduz so that Liechtenstein natives and visitors can get a taste of what is going on in Shanghai along with some Chinese cultural exhibitions. HSH Prince Hans-Adam II also met recently with the President of the Czech Republic at Prague Castle. The sovereign’s consort, Princess Marie, was born in what is now the Czech Republic and the two countries established diplomatic relations only about a week ago. There has been tension due to Liechtenstein family property being seized by the Czech government. Positions have not changed on that front though the Prince has said he will no longer make any effort to press for its return. The Prince of Liechtenstein brought several pieces from his impressive art collection to display in the Czech Senate.

In the English-speaking world the two major royal events have happened in just the last couple of days; the military advancement of Prince Harry and of course the hotly contested election. Prince Harry recently qualified for his “wings” by graduating from the pilot course in the British army. The insignia was pinned on his uniform by an obviously proud Prince of Wales while a similarly beaming girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, looked on. Talk has been that Prince Harry could now train to pilot the formidable Apache attack helicopters. A very noble undertaking as it takes the very best, brightest and toughest soldiers to be Apache pilots and the fact that one of my cousins has flown Apaches in both Gulf Wars has nothing to do with that opinion of course. The bigger news, however, is the recent elections which resulted it a hung Parliament with David Cameron of the Tories winning the most seats but not enough to form a solid majority. The last time this happened was in 1974 when Queen Elizabeth II intervened and asked the Labour Party to form a minority government. Whether that will happen this time remains to be seen. As has been previously stated The Mad Monarchist found all three candidates lacking and did not endorse anyone (where is the party that favors restoring the powers of the House of Lords, making them all-hereditary, allowing the Queen to actually exercise her own powers and favors a policy of withdrawal from the EU and restoring the British Empire?) and in all honesty nothing would make me happier than to see the Queen dissolve Parliament and rule in her own right -she could only do a better job than the current gaggle of incompetents in Westminster. But of course that is something totally unrealistic and the sort of thing only a mad man would say -or a Mad Monarchist.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, wanting the powers of the Lords and the Crown restored is probably the only sensible way to reform the political system in the UK. Since the Lords cannot block supply, it cannot properly scrutinise the annual budget. Having been so emasculated from the 1910s, and the Crown basically from the Glorious Revolution, all power has gravitated towards the Commons. And as Lord Acton observed, power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. While he only noted a tendency, it is a very strong one, and one which few among the Commons have been able to resist.

    Restoring powers to the Lords and the Crown is the only way to rebalance this iniquity. The replacement of the Lords by a British Senate would not help - it's all about the power, and any hypothetical Senate would be as toothless as the present Lords. Thus, a "reform" there is nothing of the kind - it's a simple rebadging.

    Not to mention that I feel that the UK electoral system is broken anyway, and I know that proportional representation is not the way to fix it (the way to fix it is to clean up the gerrymandering so that one's proportion of the vote reflects one's portion of seats in the Commons).


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