Saturday, April 16, 2011

Royal News Roundup

Starting with the royals of southern Europe, the Prince and Princess of the Asturias went on a “lightning tour” of the Middle East this week. On Monday they arrived in the State of Israel where the royal couple met with President Shimon Peres where they were also met by an enthusiastic crowd of school children waving Israeli and Spanish flags and singing a Hebrew song of welcome. The President asked them to send his thanks to King Juan Carlos I for his hospitality on his last visit to Spain and remarked on his leadership in leading Spain to democracy after the Franco era. The Prince and Princess also visited the Palestinian territories before moving on to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where they met HM King Abdullah II and the prime minister. The political reforms currently underway in Jordan were a topic of conversation as was the ever-pressing Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

It has been an eventful week in the Netherlands, starting with a tragic mall shooting in Alphen aan den Rijn that killed seven, injured 15 and left the Queen “speechless”. The murderer took his own life. The government quickly issued a statement from HM Queen Beatrix expressing her shock, sorrow and grief. Crown Princess Maxima also expressed her condolences on behalf of the Royal Family before speaking at an event in Ridderzaal. Life, however, goes on and Monday marked the first day of school for HRH Princess Ariane, the youngest daughter of the Prince and Princess of Orange who was fortunate to have helpful big sister Princess Amalia to show her the ropes. On Tuesday the Prince and Princess of Orange accompanied Queen Beatrix on a state visit to Germany. The Dutch royals met with the President and Chancellor, local schoolchildren and toured one of the former Kaiser’s palaces. This was the first state visit by the Queen of the Netherlands to Germany since 1982.

On the Scandinavian front, the Crown Prince and Princess of Norway have been on an official visit to the African Republic of Ghana, arriving on Tuesday. The visit was to strengthen ties, as usual, but also to sign an important agreement on oil development between Ghana and Norway. The Crown Princess congratulated the people of Ghana on reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS in their country. However, the big news in the far north was the christening of the Crown Princely twins of Denmark whose names were finally released. All can now refer to the tiny duo as Their Royal Highnesses Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine of Denmark. Among the numerous middle names were two taken from the Greenlandic language in a salute to the people of the largest remaining Danish possession. Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary were beaming with pride and their older children almost as much. The Mad Monarchist wishes the little prince and princess all the best.

Finally, we have the British and the city of London is preparing feverishly as the anticipation of the country and people around the world builds as the days until the royal wedding are counted down. Musicians are practicing, cavalry armor is being polished and decorations are going up. On Monday Prince William and Catherine attended their last official engagement together before their wedding, visiting Lancashire, opening a community academy and attending a foot race in a nearby park. Catherine was given the honor of starting the race and both joined in awarding the winners. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, HRH the Duke of York was visiting Indonesia in his (now controversial) capacity as trade envoy for Great Britain as the United Kingdom seeks new opportunities for oil and natural gas development in the southeast Asian nation.

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