Saturday, December 4, 2010

Royal News Roundup

Monday the Japanese National Diet celebrated its 120th anniversary with Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress attending this special opening session. The body, originally called the Imperial Diet, first met on November 29, 1890. In the House of Councilors His Majesty the Emperor addressed the members, speaking of the important part played by the Diet in helping Japan achieve her prosperity and in working for world peace as well as remarking on the growing importance of the Diet as the highest organ of state power. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, in his remarks, spoke of his hopes for the Japanese parliament to maintain the prosperity of the Japanese people and to establish peace in the world. Have I mentioned before how tired I am of the whole “world peace” mantra? In any event, I suppose congratulations are in order for the National please-do-not-say-imperial-anymore Diet for lasting 120 years but I find the 125th Japanese Emperor a representative of a more worthy institution to celebrate for its longevity. The following day HIH Prince Fumihito (Akishino), second son of Their Majesties, celebrated his 45th birthday. The Prince talked about his children, the Imperial Family and in a move clearly intended to make your humble blogger nervous mentioned that he and his brother Crown Prince Naruhito have discussed ways of modernizing the Japanese monarchy on several occasions. That aside, the Mad Monarchist wishes His Imperial Highness a happy birthday.

On Sunday HM King Abdullah II of Jordan opened the new sitting of parliament after dissolving it early to call for new elections. He called for the new members to respect the legislative process and the importance of the lower House of Representatives. He also used the occasion to call for greater cooperation between the houses of parliament citing past disagreements as being detrimental to the public welfare. The King also called for greater freedom for the media and rights and better protection for women and children. That same day, across the border in Saudi Arabia, Princess Adela, daughter of the Saudi King, spoke at the opening of the Forum on the Participation of Women in National Development, praising the progress women in Saudi Arabia have made recently but stressing that much more needs to be done in this area. On Thursday it was nothing but smiles for the royal family of the State of Qatar as this tiny gulf monarchy was chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, beating out the United Kingdom. The Emir of Qatar thanked FIFA for “believing in change” by choosing a Middle Eastern country to host the sports event.

In the Low Countries Crown Princess Maxima handed out the first annual Prince Bernhard Cultural Prize in Amsterdam on Monday; a foundation originally started by the Prince in London during World War II to raise money for the British and Dutch war effort. The Dutch media have reported on the higher profile of the Crown Princely couple and the increasing number of duties they have undertaken. This may be a sign that HM Queen Beatrix is preparing them for her future abdication when they will become King Willem IV and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. To the south, on Tuesday, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg handed out the third European Microfinance Award to a company from Ethiopia on behalf of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Grand Duchess spoke on the occasion of the need for financial institutions to loan money to the poor.

British royal news this week has mostly been dominated by HRH the Duke of York being mentioned in the notorious Wikileaks documents dump. I prefer to say as little about that as possible because of how it came about and because the news has been saturated with it. There was also nothing really controversial about any of it. An American diplomat thought the Duke of York was rude and arrogant. Big deal. Does anyone think this is the first time an American said that about a British official, diplomat or royal? When you are on a mission to champion trade and business with your country is it usual to be especially kind and gracious to your competition? There was also a mention that the Prince of Wales is not held in as great respect as Her Majesty the Queen. Again, was this really “news” to anyone? This all comes from sources very hostile to the British monarchy and western civilization in general anyway.

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