Saturday, February 5, 2011

Royal News Roundup

Starting in the Middle East, where things have been in a constant fervor with the trouble in Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak has found few friends since the riots began but he did receive some moral support from the King of Saudi Arabia who is still convalescing in Morocco. King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz stated that the troubles are the result of infiltrators and that he and Saudi Arabia stand with the “government and people” of Egypt in opposing all foreign involvement and efforts to foment unrest in the region. More critical, however, is the protests that have broken out in the usually tranquil Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This week the unrest prompted HM King Abdullah II to dismiss his cabinet and call on the government to enact new, meaningful, democratic reforms. Regular readers will recall hearing about the first rumblings of this two weeks ago when the Islamic Action Front began protesting about the need for greater democracy in Jordan and calling on the King to relinquish certain powers. This group is an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which has been such a cause for controversy for their real or imagined importance in Egypt. Some have tried to take heart from the fact that in Jordan the protests have been aimed at the government rather than the King. However, it is illegal to criticize the King in Jordan and the most militant of the protesters have not been satisfied with his dismissal of the government.

HRH Princess Theodora of Greece, youngest daughter of King Constantine, had to appear in court in California last Wednesday on charges which first included drunk driving but were later reduced to simply speeding. She was fined $1,000 plus court costs for the episode but undoubtedly the highlight of the unfortunate occasion was the district attorney reading out her full name. To get around the U.S. ban on titles of nobility and recognition of royal rank, her legal first name is “HRH”, her legal middle name is “Princess” and her legal last name is “Theodora”. The acting career she has been pursuing in California is under the name of “Theodora Greece”.

In the Low Countries, HRH Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg gave everyone a scare when he was rushed to the hospital on Thursday after suffering what seems to have been a heart attack. He underwent a balloon angioplasty. All seems to have gone well as the palace has said that the Grand Duke is recovering well and should be able to leave the hospital in a few days. In neighboring Belgium HM King Albert II has appointed Francophone Finance Minister in the caretaker government Didier Reynders as the new royal mediator to try to work out a power-sharing formula that will allow for the formation of a government. Many are now taking odds on whether or not Belgium will break the record of Iraq for going the longest without a government. The Iraqi record is 289 days, Belgium now stands at 235. So far, the intransigent elements on both sides remain unwilling to compromise.

On the Scandinavian front, HM Queen Margrethe II and HRH Prince Henrik arrived Thursday in the Kingdom of Bahrain for an official state visit. The royal couple were welcomed by HM King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa who the Queen decorated with the Grand Cross of Dannebrog. The trip is intended to strengthen cultural and economic ties between Bahrain and Denmark. Meanwhile Princess Marie went solo to a visit to the European University at Florence, Italy to raise the profile of that institution where 15 Danish students are studying.

Princess Madeleine of Sweden has been turning quite a few heads in New York City. Rumors flew that she had shaken off the heartache from her broken off engagement and these seemed to be confirmed when she spent the night at the Manhattan apartment of Chris O’Neill, a financial advisor and son of New York socialite Eva O’Neill. Also this week the Princess received $540,000 from a libel case in Germany she won in 2009. The money will go to charity. The Princess has also designed two new pairs of jeans that will go on sale sometime this month with a portion of the proceeds going to the World Childhood Foundation set up by her mother Queen Silvia. On Saturday the Princess joined New York tycoon Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida for the 54th International Red Cross Ball. Her presence was said to be quite a draw for the ball which attracted some 400 people paying $1,000 a plate for the privilege.

In the United Kingdom the Archbishop of Canterbury has ruffled some feathers by stating that it would, perhaps, not be appropriate for royal bride-to-be Kate Middleton to wear a white dress on her wedding day. Traditionally the white dress has been worn as a sign of virginity but in recent times has not been taken very seriously. After Kate and Prince William have lived together for about 8 years few would take them to be pure as the wind-driven snow. Now, while I can appreciate the unusually orthodox position of the Archbishop on this issue, it does seem rather odd considering how much of traditional Christianity his church has allowed to be tossed aside. Likewise, considering that “priestesses” and homosexual “marriage” are even now dividing his church and driving entire parishes into the arms of Rome (traditionally the mortal enemies of Anglicans) I would think that the Archbishop would have bigger, more pressing issues with which to concern himself than the color of Kate’s dress.


  1. Your last paragraph was superb in so many ways. I'm always pleased with how well you write but this entire post, in general, was verbal ecstasy.

  2. Oops!
    Not HRH the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, but it was HRH the Princess Marie who has visited Italy.

  3. Thanks! And that was an oops! on my part. I don't know why that happened (where I live every "Mary" I know is a 'Maria' rather than 'Mary' or 'Marie') but it has been corrected.

  4. To be fair to the Right Reverand, not all Anglicans are for those diviations, and he may be trying to go back to some symblance of Tradition. it just seems like a Catch 22 Situation for him.

    That said, I know its unlikely to happen, and woudl be seen as a move towards Totolitarianism and Dictatorship that the world woudl denounce, but what if the King of Belgium just up and decided to rule by himself for a while, given the piculiar situation there?

  5. It seems to me that these middle eastern dictators run governments identical to those of absolute monarchs. Why do they continue to call themselves Presidents of Republics? I would also like to know why the west continues to insist on ignoring the royal traditions of these societies and tries to impose an American style democracy on those countries seeking reform. Would it not make more sense to encourage the restoration of royal families, many raised in western countries, graduates of western anniversaries to constitutional monarchies? I think this would be more palatable to societies used to being ruled by a single person and gradually ease them into a democratic governance. Perhaps the people could have their cake and eat it too. They could honour their heritage, have the apparent stability of one leader and have freedoms enjoyed by a democracy.

  6. Just so they can go through the dog & pony show of having "elections" every so often so the rest of the world can pretend that they are all on the same team. I have though heard at least once on the news recently regarding Egypt that the monarchies are in better shape to adapt to change and changes in government while maintaining overall stability than the dictatorial republics.


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