There have been republican rumblings in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica lately with the new Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announcing that she would like to cap the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence this summer with the abolition of the monarchy. Former PM Bruce Golding had made the same sort of treasonous statement and, as usual had tried to play the nationalism card saying, “I have long believed that if I am to have a queen, it must be a Jamaican queen.” Which is disingenuous to say the least considering that, legally, the current Queen of Jamaica is just as Jamaican as he is. PM Portia Simpson Miller was nice enough at least to say, “I love the Queen. She’s a beautiful lady,” and then added, “But I think time come.” Recently a bone of contention has been the issue of capital punishment. With one of the highest murder rates in the world Jamaica has tried to make use of the death penalty only to blocked by the privy council in London where, like the rest of the EU, executing criminals is considered terribly unthinkable. Unfortunately, political observers believe that the popular leftist PM has the political support to make good on these threats. Goodness knows there are more pressing issues for the government to deal with but the issues involving the privy council as the final court of appeal (and having simply more “European” view of crime and punishment) has allowed republicans to get their foot in the door. Hopefully, Jamaican affection for the Queen will override other issues and not allow traitorous politicians to divorce them from their monarchist history.
In the Netherlands, HM Queen Beatrix has come under a degree of criticism from one of her increasingly persistent politicians concerning a visit this week to the Arabian peninsula. On Sunday, the Queen, Crown Prince and Princess visited the United Arab Emirates where the ladies of the House of Orange, out of respect for the traditions of their host, donned headscarves when visiting a mosque. Not exactly a huge deal one would think but Freedom Party agitator-in-chief Geert Wilders decided to make an issue of this saying it was tantamount to displaying approval of the treatment of women in Islamic societies. This is so frustrating. I can, to some extent, sympathize with Wilders about the volume of Muslim immigration into the Netherlands and his opposition to the multi-cultural soup western Europe has become these days -but give me a break! The Queen was a guest in an Islamic country and observing local customs on such an occasion is hardly a legitimate cause for controversy. Unless Mr. Wilders wants the Netherlands to attack the UAE, conquer them and forcibly convert them to his brand of atheism he needs to shut his mouth, focus on his own country and let the Arabs handle theirs. Recently, Wilders has also called for an end to the role of the Queen in the Dutch government and I am not ashamed to say that has influenced my view of the man. Any enemy of the monarchy is an enemy of mine.
Meanwhile, over in Denmark there has been a much more celebratory mood about the oldest kingdom in Europe as HM Queen Margrethe II prepares to celebrate her forty years on the throne. Danish Parliament leaders saluted the Queen for her responsibility, devotion to duty and leadership of the monarchy as an asset to the nation. Only a few left-wing radicals failed to join in the celebration but they are, thankfully, very much in the minority. In a press conference the Queen displayed her linguistic talents (speaking in four languages), reflecting on her forty years as Queen and expressing her faith that the Kingdom of Denmark will be in good hands when her son Crown Prince Frederick someday succeeds her. Sunday was also an occasion for happiness for the Danish Royal Family as Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine celebrated their first birthday. Special photographs were released of the adorable duo with their siblings and proud parents Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary. Of course, we wish a happy birthday to them both.
The year has been off to a busy start for the Spanish Royal Family. There were the holidays, a new government taking office and the start of the new political year. Last Friday there was the annual military parade in Madrid which saw the Bourbon royals out in force, led by the King in his army uniform and Prince Felipe in his navy blues. After the march-past and a review of the Royal Guard there was a reception at the palace for the military officials, representatives of the defense department, military organizations, veterans organizations and so on. HM King Juan Carlos paid tribute to the Spanish soldiers who had given their lives in missions around the world as well as their families who carried the burden of national service with them. He spoke of the role of the armed forces to, “uphold the principles of discipline, hierarchy and unity” which was music to my ears. This week, Prince Felipe of the Asturias has been on a tour of the Central American republics. On Thursday he was in Honduras where he met with government officials as well as attending to some cultural duties. On Friday he was off to Guatemala to attend the inauguration of the new President-elect of that country as part of the on-going effort of the Spanish monarchy to maintain close ties and foster unity between the countries of the Spanish-speaking world.