Saturday, May 12, 2012
Royal News Roundup
It was a busy week for royalty in Scandinavia. On Wednesday, TM King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway arrived across the Baltic in Poland for a three day visit, meeting with the First Family at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. On Tuesday, HM Queen Silvia of Sweden was in New York City for a gala dinner for the World Childhood Foundation along with HRH Princess Madeleine and her American millionaire boyfriend Christopher O’Neill, who were properly hounded by the Swedish press of course. The next day the Swedish Queen was given a special tour of the Dublin Breast Center, an institution devoted to the physical and emotional treatment of breast cancer. And, on the other side of the world, Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark began their 6-day visit to the Republic of Korea.
The British put on the pomp and pageantry as only they can this week with the state opening of Parliament and HM the Queen’s speech from the House of Peers. However, to the great disappointment of this reactionary at least, it seems the LibDems got their way in making a more thorough gutting of the House of Lords a priority. Along with some legislation aimed at helping families the government (via the Queen) outlined plans to sweep away the last of the hereditary peers, reduce the size of the house and make aristocratic titles purely honorific with no claim to a seat in the upper house included. If Tony Blair mortally wounded the bicameral legislature in Britain, it seems the Clegg-Cameron combine is putting it out of its misery. Also this week The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited Scotland and the Prince marked the anniversary of the BBC in Scotland by reading the weather on the local news. And, HRH Prince Harry was in Washington DC on Monday where he was presented with the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership Award by no less a figure than former Secretary of State Colin Powell in recognition of his work for British veterans and their families. Very well done indeed. The Prince said he felt unworthy of the honor but accepted it for himself and included Prince William in it as well and called on everyone to never forget those who have, “paid a terrible price and keep us safe and free”. Very good words.
Over in the Low Countries things have been busy too. The Prince of Orange got a tour of a new sewage plant (ah, the duties of royalty). In Belgium, TRH Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde attended the 800th anniversary of the Flemish city of Turnhout while at Laeken HM King Albert II received the credentials of the ambassadors of Poland, Serbia and South Korea. Princess Astrid was busy as well, visiting a charitable center in Liege that aids the homeless and those dealing with money problems (presumably a lack thereof). On Thursday King Albert II met with the members of the European Council and his old first minister, current EU President Herman Van Rompuy. And, down in Luxembourg the Grand Duke and Duchess attended a conference on responsible investing while the freshly engaged Hereditary Grand Duke traveled to Canada on a business trip. Luxembourg is looking to partner with some Canadian businesses and possibly take notes on how Canada has fared so comparatively well in the current worldwide economic crisis.