Once again, we start with the Middle East which has been the center of controversy due to the effort of the Palestinians to unilaterally declare statehood via the UN. In New York, speaking at the UN, was HM King Abdullah II of Jordan. I was not in love with what he has to say as it seems to me that he is still intimidated by the “Arab Spring” unrest and is desperately trying to stay in front of it. He said that Jordan would become a model of democracy in the Middle East, that he wants to strengthen the middle class (no problem with that) and that he wants to make the political leaders accountable to the people rather than to the King as, in his words, “There is a tendency by a lot of officials to hide behind the King”. Which sounds to this observer like someone saying, “blame them, don’t blame me, I’m not responsible”. I would prefer the King’s ministers to feel themselves responsible to the King and not the shifting moods of the mob -but that’s just me. He also said the monarchy his son inherits will not be the same as the one he inherits -and in my experience looking at the history of monarchy, when that happens, it is usually not a good thing. For some better news, HRH Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia has released documents, including his passports, to prove that he was not anywhere near the woman who claims she was raped by the prince at the time she says it happened. The Prince and his wife have stated they have plenty of evidence and witnesses that he was in Cannes in the south of France when the alleged incident occurred.
One other area that should be a cause for monarchist concern in this (rather slow) news week is the Low Countries. Tuesday was Prinjesdag in the Netherlands, when the House of Orange puts on all the pomp and ceremony they can muster, Queen Beatrix formally opens parliament and outlines the budget and policies of her government in the new legislative year. This year, however, has been particularly difficult. A gaffe by some state bureaucrat saw the Queen’s speech leaked out days in advance and due to the current economic crisis in Europe budget cuts were on the agenda and, as the Queen said, “The economic and social uncertainties are putting our stamina to the test”. As we have talked about before there are also now calls from the “far right” in the Dutch parliament to reduce or even totally do away with any role for the Queen in government. You will hear more about this in a subsequent rant about the status of those in Europe labeled as the “far right”. Also, in Belgium, where there is still no government, a recent compromise reached by the feuding political parties called for the removal of the right of the children of the King to have a seat in the Belgian senate, a practice which dates back to the founding of the kingdom. Even at a time when it should be so obvious that the monarchy is about the only thing holding Belgium together the agenda of those who wish to further reduce and diminish the role of the monarchy is continuing unabated. I think monarchists should be very concerned about these events.