Saturday, November 19, 2011
Royal News Roundup
Starting with Asia, in the Land of the Rising Sun, the Emperor is still dealing with a persistent cough so HIH Crown Prince Naruhito stepped in to welcome Their Majesties the newlywed King and Queen of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan on Tuesday. The visit is to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Bhutan. The King also met with the Prime Minister and is set to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Keio and will address the Japanese parliament.
In the Middle East, HM King Abdullah II of Jordan has responded to the unrest and killings in nearby Syria by calling on the dictator President Bashar Assad to relinquish power and step down. This came at the same time that the powerful Arab League voted to suspend the membership of Syria. On Tuesday the Jordanian monarch was in London where he visited Buckingham Palace and met with HM the Queen.
In the Low Countries, HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, on Thursday, was at the 16th Foundation Ballet Gala of the Dancers ‘79 at Amsterdam Music Theater. The event is to benefit the art of dance, encouraging young people especially to take it up. King Albert II of the Belgians underwent surgery as an out-patient this week to remove a bit of skin cancer from his nose. Doctors said it was nothing too serious, that the operations went perfectly well and the King is now recovering. Tuesday was King’s Day in Belgium with several ceremonies to mark the occasion, though as per tradition the King himself does not attend these. There was a special Te Deum and a military parade attended by the other members of the Royal Family, including Prince Laurent who has been on the ‘naughty list’ lately and not seen at many official events. In Luxembourg, Grand Duchess Maria Theresa and daughter-in-law Princess Tessy and her two sons attended the Red Cross Bazaar to benefit that organization.
In southern Europe, Monaco is in full party mode for National Day today, marking the accession of HSH Prince Albert II. More on the events of today (probably more coverage tomorrow) can be found at Mad for Monaco. In Spain, HM King Juan Carlos met with representatives of the country’s leading Catholic charity, “Caritas” at Zarzuela Palace along with several other dignitaries this week. On Thursday HRH the Prince of the Asturias donned his naval uniform to visit the ‘Strategic Project Ship’ (sort of a cheaper substitute for an aircraft carrier) “Juan Carlos I” with the commanding Admiral of the Spanish navy as his tour guide. The ship will be able to carry soldiers, troop transports, landing craft and up to thirty aircraft for strategic operations. Spain may not be the naval superpower that it once was but the new state-of-the-art ship shows that the proud naval tradition in Spain continues. The “Juan Carlos I” was commissioned last year and is the second aircraft carrying vessel in the Spanish navy, the first being, appropriately, the flagship carrier “Prince of Asturias”.
In the north, on Wednesday HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attended the special Queen’s Parade in Copenhagen on honor of the Danish Royal Guard who were drawn up in all their blue and bearskin glory. Events are building up for the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s accession in January. Also, very soon, Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary are set to visit her native land of Australia. In Norway, tomorrow, a new documentary will begin airing on Crown Princess Mette-Marit. In Sweden, on Tuesday, Prince Daniel handed out the “2011 Leader of the Year Award” in Stockholm, the winner this year being Johan Malmquist, ceo of Getinge AB.
Finally, in Great Britain, the Royal Family was out in force for the official commemorations for Armistice Day/Veterans Day. The only top-tier royal not present was Prince Harry who is still training in Arizona and attended a special ceremony with his comrades there to mark the occasion. On Wednesday the Queen, Prince Philip and the Prince of Wales were at Westminster Abbey to mark the 400th anniversary of that jewel of English literature the Authorized King James Bible which, until fairly recently, was the standard Bible for almost all Protestant Christians in the English speaking world.