Saturday, June 4, 2011

Royal News Roundup

Starting in the Middle East, the recent remarks of one Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia caught my attention. In an interview on CNN he said that he was actually unhappy about the rising oil prices in Europe and North America. Skeptical? You probably should be. In both continents, just to get this out of the way, prices are artificially inflated. In Europe it is more due to taxes and in the US due to Obama printing more money and thus lowering the value of every dollar in circulation. That makes everything cost more. However, while I doubt Prince Alwaleed is crying himself to sleep over the high cost of oil, he went on to make a very valid point and one that is absolutely never talked about. His concern over high oil prices was that they were driving more and more westerners to look for alternative sources of fuel and when the pendulum starts to swing in that direction Saudi Arabia is going to be screwed with a capital “S”. The Prince is absolutely right on this score. Saudi Arabia has absolutely nothing else besides oil and if America and Europe started using domestic energy or renewable energy the whole Kingdom of Saudi Arabia becomes nothing more than the world’s largest sandbox. And if you think there is trouble in the Middle East now, violence and unrest, let that future become a reality and it will become clear very, very fast that, ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet’.

Moving south, in Africa the controversial absolute monarch of Swaziland, HM King Mswati III, has announced that the celebrations planned for his upcoming Silver Jubilee have been canceled due to the poor state of the already generally impoverished Swazi economy. The King and his many wives have attracted a great deal of criticism over the years for their lavish lifestyle. Supporters of western-style liberal democracy have also long criticized the King for his absolute rule and ban of opposition parties in the southern African kingdom.

In Europe, it has been a busy week for the royals of the Low Countries. Last weekend Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands celebrated her 40th birthday. Later in the week the Prince and Princess of Orange attended a special concert to benefit the people of Japan. In Belgium, Queen Paola marked the International Day of Missing Children in Brussels on Wednesday by meeting with 300 Belgian children and stressing to them the importance of safety, particular in dealing with strangers, in person or on-line. The Queen was rather shocked by how many chatted on-line with strangers. She also stressed the importance of speaking up when an adult behaves improperly toward them. Also, on a happy note, Princess Louise of Belgium celebrated her first communion on Thursday, an event attended by pretty much the whole Belgian Royal Family. Finally, the Grand Ducal couple of Luxembourg made a state visit to Norway Monday and Tuesday, meeting with their Norwegian counterparts with all the appropriate finery. There are few things better than when royals get together.

Also, Prince Albert II of Monaco has had a busy week. Sunday saw the final festivities for the annual Monaco Grand Prix with Charlene congratulating the winners for the first time as she will doubtlessly do many more times in the future. Following that, the Sovereign Prince visited Estonia on a 2-day trip, meeting with government officials and taking some time to walk the streets and meet the locals. In the meantime, Charlene has been focusing on her new role as Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics which looks to be her primary “pet” charity -something quite appropriate for a former Olympian to do. And, of course, the date for the big Princely wedding is rapidly approaching.

In Spain, on Monday, the Prince and Princess of the Asturias met with some high-ranking Catholic clerics at Zarzuela Palace on the preparations for the upcoming World Youth Day in Madrid which will be held August 16-21. However, the big news on the Spanish front continues to be concerns over the health of King Juan Carlos. The King even chided the media for focusing on the issue, wondering if some wished him dead. However, this week it was announced that the King underwent surgery to install an artificial knee to alleviate pain from some old sports injuries. The King was reported as coming through it all perfectly okay. This would explain why the monarch was seen walking with a cane in some of his recent public engagements. Of course, we wish His Catholic Majesty a safe and speedy recovery.

Finally, concerning the House of Windsor, HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Isles of Scilly for the first time in almost 45 years. The public and local officials were very happy to greet the Queen and had nothing but the highest praise for Her Majesty on the occasion of her visit. Also, far to the north in Scotland, as we have lately discussed Queen Marie d’Guise and King James V, I was glad to see that an ambitious renovation project has been completed on Stirling Castle, restoring it to its exact appearance during the time when Stuart royals like Marie d’Guise and James V lived there. From the photos of the place, it looks fantastic to me, though I am biased toward the style of the Stuart/Tudor period of British history.

1 comment:

  1. Have a look at this great Arab news re Libyan monarchists at:


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