Saturday, March 3, 2012

Royal News Roundup

Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau remains comatose but has been transferred to London to Wellington Hospital, chosen by medical experts as the place he can receive the best specialized care. The Prince, Princess Mabel and their daughters have lived in London for some time so it is something of a homecoming, albeit an unhappy one. HM Queen Beatrix remains by the side of her son and is also in London keeping watch over him. Princess Mabel expressed her thanks for all the messages of support the family have received since this terrible accident occurred. Prince Friso, it seems, is out of the most immediate danger with doctors saying that the focus should now shift to rehabilitation, keeping in mind though that he has yet to regain consciousness. The media was also asked to respect the privacy of the family during so difficult a time. Of course, our thoughts and prayers remain with the Prince and the Dutch Royal Family during this very troubling period.

In Sweden, on Monday, the Royal Court released the first photos of the new Princess Estelle, whose features seem to resemble her mother. Princess Madeleine also returned to Sweden to visit her new niece on Tuesday. The royal birth has been an occasional to lift the public spirit in Sweden and a great boost to the monarchy at a time when it was sorely needed. People have waited in long lines to sign books of congratulations to the royal couple on the birth of their new princess and future queen. It was also recently announced that Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will be traveling to the United States this fall to visit the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Gustavus Adolphus College. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was in Washington DC this week for the second conference on women’s shelters. The Crown Princess was the keynote speaker at the event. Crown Prince Frederick, meanwhile, was at home meeting with the Prime Minister of Qatar.

In Great Britain, HRH the Prince of Wales was in Hounslow on Thursday, marking the feast of St David, patron saint of Wales, with the First Battalion Welsh Guards. The Prince decorated a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan and later played paint-ball with the troops. Also on Thursday, the women of the House of Windsor had a day out as HM the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge visited the newly renamed “Diamond Jubilee Tea Station” in honor of the Queen’s sixty year reign. The restaurant is in Fortnum & Mason department store which presented each of the royal ladies with special goodies as well as some high-end treats for their dogs, knowing how much all of the Windsor women love their canine companions. All appeared to enjoy themselves, the Duchess of Cornwall promised to come back for some of her favorites and the Duchess of Cambridge said she would sent her brother who is quite the tea enthusiast. She confessed her own efforts to make the perfect cup of tea have not gone well.

March 1st was, apparently, Rare Diseases Day (who decides this stuff?) and HRH Princess Letizia of Asturias was in her usual fine form in Madrid for events associated with that occasion. The Princess has a history with the project and along with other Spanish officials she met with numerous Spaniards afflicted with rare diseases yet who have managed to live productive lives. Princess Letizia thanked them all and promised she would be the “voice” of the weakest of the weak. The Princess also distributed awards to a number of organizations which specialize in caring for those with rare diseases. HM King Juan Carlos I made history that same day during an inspection and flight of a new military Airbus aircraft, taking the controls during the flight and performing a few maneuvers, making him the first reigning King to ever fly such a massive aircraft. The legal troubles for the Duke of Palma also continue with the Duke now admitting that he “defied” his King and father-in-law who had ordered him to stop his business dealings. We always think we know better don’t we…

Everyone is aware, I’m sure, of the on-going violence and turmoil in the hereditary Republic of Syria. So far, international efforts to deal with the situation have been ineffective. Western countries tried to work through the UN to apply pressure on the ruling dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to relinquish power but were blocked by Russia and Communist China. Criticism from the Arab League have also had no effect. However, perhaps the women can succeed where the men have failed in finding a peaceful solution. A London-based Arab newspaper has reported that HM Queen Rania of Jordan has spoken with Syrian First Lady, Asma Assad, expressing her concerns about the increasing violence. Mrs. Assad reportedly told the Queen everything was just fine, excellent in fact, and then (bizarrely) asked Queen Rania if she was safe and sound as they had heard that Jordan was experiencing a great deal of trouble. Okay. This is not though the first time that the Hashemite Royal Family has tried to help their struggling Syrian neighbors. Prince El Hassan, the uncle of HM King Abdullah II, also reportedly spoke with President Assad some time ago in an effort to persuade him to enact reforms but, alas, to no avail. It remains quite informative to contrast the overall peace and stability of the monarchies in the Middle East to the chaotic and bloody records of the republics in the region. People in the region and leaders on the international stage would do well to consider that.


  1. I hope and pray that the British press does indeed respect the Prince`s privacy, during this extremely difficult time. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a rat-pack who think nothing of trampling over people`s lives, in order to sell newspapers. Any breach of the Prince`s privacy, or that of his family, would be absolutely outrageous and deeply shaming for the British nation.

  2. The contrast between Syria and Jordan is amazing. Both are culturally and religiously identical, both are ex-Ottoman provinces that gained independence in the 20th century, both have had the similar economic challenges of mideast states not blessed with oil wealth, yet look how different they turned out.

    I'd say the crucial point of divergence that set the two states on different paths was when Jordan wound up under British mandate. The British backed the Hashemite monarchy, and as they did everywhere else in their empire, left the country in much better shape than they found it and much better prepared for self government.

    Syria had the misfortune to wind up under the mandate of the French, and turned out much like most other ex-French colonies in Africa, Asia, and the like. In general, markedly poorer and less stable than their ex-British counterparts. Having long been infected with the disease of republicanism themselves, one of the first orders of business was to topple the fledgling monarchy of King Faisal and thus set Syria on an unrecoverable path to republic - the results were predictable. France was so inconsistent, they followed an excellent model in Morocco and Tunisia, but messed things up so badly in Syria and Lebanon.


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