Saturday, January 29, 2011

Royal News Roundup

From the Far East, the Japanese Imperial Family has been on the move this week, visiting the west. Prince Akishino (younger son of the Emperor) and his wife Princess Kiko arrived in Costa Rica on Tuesday for a five-day official visit to commemorate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Costa Rica and Japan. Arriving on a commercial flight in San Jose they were met by the Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Roverssi and later visited the National Museum. On Wednesday the couple met President Laura Chinchilla who hosted a dinner in their honor and there were visits to hospitals, gardens, universities, the “National Biodiversity Institute” and of course a special ‘hello’ to the local Japanese community. Perhaps a bit more sensitive was the visit this week by HIH Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan to Germany to commemorate 150 years of diplomatic relations between Berlin and Tokyo. His Imperial Highness met with the President, visited the National Art Center and spoke of the close and strengthening ties between Germany and Japan. Tokyo will even be holding an Oktoberfest later this year. It was in 1861 that the Shogun of Japan and the King of Prussia signed their first political and trade alliance. In short, there is a much longer history of friendship between the two countries aside from the ‘unpleasantness’ of that period in the 1940’s. Moving along then! …

The 87-year-old King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, arrived in Casablanca in the Kingdom of Morocco this week where he was greeted by HM King Mohammed VI. Having just come through a two-month stay in the hospital at New York and therapy elsewhere for an operation to treat a blood clot and a slipped disc, the Saudi monarch is in Morocco for some rest and recuperation. It has not been disclosed how long the King will stay but his brother, Crown Prince Sultan, spent the better part of a year in Morocco under similar circumstances after being treated for cancer in 2009.

In Eastern Europe, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Romanov Imperial Family, released a special message concerning the terrorist attack on Domodedovo airport in Moscow on Monday. Her Imperial Highness said, “New terrible news about the awful terroristic act at the airport Domodedovo plunged me into deep sorrow. I am praying, that the Lord will rest the souls of innocent victims and will ease sufferings of wounded. My condolence is to close people of the killed persons.
I am sure that no disgusting murderer of peaceful citizens will escape just and severe punishment. Our unity and solidarity in struggle against godless and inhuman terrorism (which is aimed at all and each of us) shall be the answer to the attempts to spread panic.” Also, on Saturday, a special Church service was held to honor the memory of the heroic Cossacks of Russia in the Don Cloister of Moscow and to remember the more than 100,000 victims of the Bolshevik repression against the Cossacks. Singled out for special recognition were Cossack leaders Piotr Krasnoff and Anton Denikin who were both leaders in the White army during the Russian Civil War. Obviously many monarchists and representatives of Russian monarchist organization were present to honor these heroic Russians and all those who suffered for loyalty to their Tsar.

HM King Simeon II of Bulgaria, who served as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2005, may, it seems, make a run for the presidency in this year’s elections. That is according to the leader of NMSP, the party he founded when he started his first campaign for political office. He has made no announcement as yet, the only statement being that it is a possibility and that a potential running mate has been more or less decided on should he choose to. The NMSP has pointed out what a relatively more peaceful time his term as PM was compared to today and that his international profile (being a former monarch with experience going back to World War II) would be a benefit to him as President of Bulgaria. All of that is true of course, but it is also true that by getting involved in politics he has alienated some people who may have been neutral regarding the monarchy. His promises to wipe out corruption in the government and raise the status of Bulgaria sounded good (and I do not doubt his sincerity) but were really unrealistic to make, impossible to accomplish in one term and the result was a slip in his popularity. Since serving there have also been allegations of corruption made against the former King himself (which should always be expected in politics) with some saying that he used his position as PM to give ownership to his family of certain properties that had not previously belonged to the past Bulgarian Tsars.

Moving west, on Saturday HH Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Rota which deals with investigations of marriages. Like his predecessor, the Pontiff has been alarmed at how many people seek and are granted annulments, particularly in the United States where Catholics in 2006 had more marriages annulled than the whole rest of the world combined. Concerned at the growing perception that an annulment is simply a Catholic word for divorce with no difference between the two, the Pope urged greater counseling of would-be spouses before a marriage is performed. Although he recognized that not everything can be foreseen, he stressed that the goal is to stop an invalid marriage before it occurs rather than seeking an annulment after the fact. In a phrase which quickly set off the homosexual activist crowd the Pontiff also stated that marriage is not an absolute right for anyone.

In the Low Countries, Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands attracted some attention she probably was not planning on when she attended the Dutch opening of the musical “Tango” on Monday. The combination of a thin black outer garment and white undergarment surely caused some embarrassment when the camera lights flashed, showing off the assets of the Princess in the mammary department. Yet, like a trooper, the Princess of Orange took it all in stride, enjoying the show, congratulating the stars and executive producer all with a smile. The news, however, was not so light-hearted in neighboring Belgium where King Albert II has finally accepted the resignation of the royal mediator who has been trying to negotiate a power-sharing agreement between the Dutch and French speaking parties that would allow a government to be formed. The mediator had tried to resign previously but the King did not accept it and urged everyone to try harder to come to an agreement. However, it seems to have done no good, nor did a massive rally in Brussels in which tens of thousands of people showed up to shame their politicians and demand that they form a government. Most identify Flemish nationalists and the Walloon socialists as the main obstacles to an agreement. Belgium now holds the record for going longer than any European country without a national government.

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