Saturday, October 23, 2010

Royal News Roundup

Starting in the Far East the spotlight has been on the upstanding and long-serving Empress of Japan. Early in the week she had to cancel some of her appointments due to an eye hemorrhage. However, she was soon back at work alongside her husband anyway, soldiering on as she always has, welcoming the President of Botswana with the Emperor at the Imperial Palace. On Wednesday Her Imperial Majesty celebrated her 76th birthday at which time she issued a statement to the public in which she talked about feeling the effects of her age, such as being unable to find things but taking it all with her customary good humor. She also talked about her family and the concern they all have over Princess Aiko and Crown Princess Masako due to their school and health troubles. The Empress has not always had an easy time of it over the years but she has proven to be made of tough stuff and is a Japanese national treasure. The Mad Monarchist wishes Her Imperial Majesty a very happy birthday with many more to come.

In Europe, the most admirable non-reigning royal Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia is trying to convince the Serbian government to open their pockets for improvements and upkeep to the royal palace, the funds for which have been considerably cut back recently. The Crown Prince said that keeping the place in top condition will help to impress visitors, leaving them with a favorable view of Serbia and encourage investment. Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium has been in Liberia on behalf of UNICEF and UNAIDS promoting education to benefit women and children in that country and across Africa. In Italy HRH the Princess of Hanover was in Florence for a charity gala to benefit the fight against cancer, looking refreshed and at her vivacious best. Down the road in Rome His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI handed out a new batch of red hats this week and canonized some new saints, including St Mary of the Cross, the first native-born Australian saint in the Catholic Church. Up north, Crown Princess Mette-Marit spent a day in Lillehammer before she and the Crown Prince took their children to visit a new exhibit at the Nobel Prize Center in Oslo geared toward their age group. Across the border in Sweden Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel visited the western province of Västergötland of which they are the duke and duchess. They were given an enthusiastic welcome from everyone they met and the Crown Princess lamented that should couldn’t spend more time with each one they were so gracious and welcoming.

HRH the Prince of Wales spoke out recently in favor of a greater use of Gaelic in Scotland, which has caused at least a little bit of murmuring. The Highland Council recently advocated bilingual road signs in Scotland which is opposed in some quarters. Gaelic is the official language in Ireland, though English is still as widely if not more widely spoken still. This was important to early nationalists who wanted to revive Celtic traditions in Ireland, something which some oppose in Scotland which is not exclusively Celtic (of course no country is exclusively anything). I would be interested to hear other thoughts on this subject. I have a great deal of nostalgia for the Celtic, Gaelic speaking Highlands of Scotland but I also have reservations about the growing gulf between Scotland and England. Is the Prince right on this one? The Prince of Wales also caused a little controversy by saying that the slums in Bombay, India were an example the west could learn from since they make their homes out of discarded materials -a form of recycling.


  1. I would like to see Gaelic more in use in Scotland, although I think it is a bit ridiculous to make any language "official" if it is spoken only by a small minority of the population. It'd be like making Pitjantjatjara an official language of Australia. Even though I am suspicious of the nationalist advocates for this kind of thing, I think it is important that Scots take back some of their national heritage in some way. A revived national language could be a better cultural icon for Scotland than the old tartan kilt and bagpipes uniform, which were apparently more of a 19th Century national myth than anything.

    Garnering interest is better than forcing poor children to learn dying Celtic languages at school. The languages themselves are, admittedly, useless since virtually every Celtic-language speaker can speak English, but there's also the fact that making the language classes compulsory in schools, as they have done in Wales and Ireland (I think?), has only made children hate learning them. But languages have been revived before, such as Hebrew, and Welsh also seems to be catching on.

  2. In the region of northern Spain where I come from, Galicia, we have been taught the myth of the Celtic cultural heritage from the nineteenth century nationalist historiography, to generate political opposition to the centralism of Madrid, more than anything. But we tend to get rid of these exclusivity language (since we have one of 4 different languages of the peninsula, the Galician) and do not believe we are "more Celtic" or "very Celts" by the act of talking in Galician, being aware that more substrate language has latin or de facto, is neo-Latin.
    So sometimes defend the popularity of a language to assert such a differential in a matter of nationalism is sheer folly, it is not convenient or exploitation of cultural heritage for political destabilization, and of course, language.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...