Saturday, June 11, 2011

Royal News Roundup

Starting in the Far East, Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako were out last weekend in Miyagi prefecture inspecting damage done by the 9.0 earthquake in the devastated city of Iwanuma. Ever since the earthquake and tsunami disaster in March the Imperial Crown Princely couple have been visiting evacuation centers in and around Tokyo, meeting with refugees and families but this was the first time they actually inspected the devastation at the scene of the crisis. The mayor met with them and the Crown Prince prayed for the victims of the terrible destruction. Many were surprised to see Crown Princess Masako accompanying her husband as she had lately been attending school with their daughter Princess Aiko after she took time off due to bullying. However, Princess Aiko was not in school at the time so the Crown Princess decided to go along with her husband. Ever since the teasing or bullying incident last year the Crown Princess has been accompanying her daughter to school. Given the trouble the Crown Princess had in having her daughter, a little over-protectiveness would be natural, but all of this certainly does nothing to allay concerns that the female members of the Crown Prince’s family are made of glass and may not be ‘up to the job’ required of the Imperial Family.

In the far north, on Monday the Bernadotte family was out in force for the celebration of National Day in Sweden. Even Princess Madeleine flew in from New York to take part, despite the fact that most Swedes these days do not mark National Day at all anymore. However, the royals did their duty as always, the women looking particularly charming in their blue and yellow national dresses and with Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel opening the gates to the palace, as is done every year, so the public can be given a tour of the place. It has been a rough few weeks for the King of Sweden lately with lots of allegations floating around of past bad behavior, virtually none of it backed up by actual evidence but which has caused his popularity to decline due to the incessant media attention on the subject. More Swedes are now favoring the King to abdicate in favor of his very popular daughter. I hope the monarchy emerges unscathed and while I am not a fan of abdications (I prefer the ‘till death do us part’ royal tradition) if the King does so the monarchy will be in good hands I think with Crown Princess Victoria of whom I have always had a very favorable impression. For the record though, I am not a fan of gender-neutral succession either.

The House of Windsor had perhaps the biggest royal news of the week though. A truly historical event as His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh turned ninety years old on Friday. For a very long time the media has made a great deal of sport about Prince Philip but he is one of my very favorite members of the British Royal Family. It was just another ‘day at the office’ for Prince Philip (who has long kept one of the busiest schedules of any Royal Family member) as he hosted a special luncheon for a charity devoted to helping the deaf. However, around the world there were honors as well. The Queen appointed her husband, a naval veteran of World War II, to the rank of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada appointed the Prince to the highest rank in the combined armed services of Canada, in London there was a 62-gun salute and the Grenadier Guards band at Buckingham Palace played “Happy Birthday” at the changing of the guard in his honor. Prince Philip is the oldest royal consort and the longest serving royal consort in British royal history. Reportedly, his schedule will be cut down now and, at the age of 90, perhaps it would be best to slow down just a little. Of course The Mad Monarchist wishes His Royal Highness a very happy birthday with many, many more to come. And, since today is the day that the birthday of the Queen is officially celebrated in the U.K. (with my favorite ceremony, the Trooping of the Colour, taking place among others) we can add to that our best wishes and congratulations to Her Majesty and a heartfelt shout of God Save the Queen!

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