Saturday, December 15, 2012
Royal News Roundup
Down in the Low Countries there was happy news this week from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as the Palace announced that HRH Prince Felix is engaged to be married to Miss Claire Lademacher, a native of Germany who spent much of her childhood in Georgia (the one with the peaches, not the one in the Caucasus). We send them our congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life of wedded bliss. And, in The Netherlands, Princess Mabel made her first foray back into official royal duties on Wednesday since her husband, Friso, was injured in a skiing accident. Mabel joined HM Queen Beatrix and TRH Prince Willem-Alexander and Prince Constantijn (along with their significant others) at the presentation of the Prince Claus Awards. And, in southern Europe, TSH the Prince and Princess of Monaco hosted their traditional Christmas party and Princess Charlene formally opened her own foundation dedicated to promoting sport as a way to change lives, with an emphasis on rugby and swimming, highlighting her own interests. And, in Italy, this week HH Pope Benedict XVI “tweeted” his first message on Twitter. Then the seas began to boil, the stars fell from the sky and the moon started to bleed. I know, I know, I’m hopeless…
Anyway, Princess Charlene is not the only royal fond of sport. HH the Emir of Qatar, speaking at the Doha Goals Forum, said that “Sport has the ability to transcend cultural and ideological barriers and forms of disparity,”. A noble sentiment, but I have a hard time agreeing with that considering how being politically correct seems more important than physical ability in so many cases involving sports these days. There was relief across the border in Saudi Arabia when, on Thursday, HM King Abdullah (age 89) returned from the hospital four weeks after undergoing back surgery. Oil markets are always nervous about the health of the King of Saudi Arabia and there is more to be concerned with lately considering that some of the reforms the King has enacted recently have not been well received in some quarters. In the North African Kingdom of Morocco, an AFP journalist had their accreditation revoked after the reporter wrote that the “Authenticity and Modernity Party” was “close to the palace”. The Prime Minister said this was unacceptable, that the King is totally apart from politics and that no one would be tolerated who tried to connect the King to a particular party. The AFP is pouting about it.
Finally, in the Far East, HIH Crown Princess Masako of Japan celebrated her 49th birthday last Sunday. On that occasion Her Imperial Highness also said that with help from her doctors and the people she is continuing her efforts to recover from the stress-induced illness she has been dealing with for most of the last decade and which has kept her largely out of the public eye. In a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency (shudder in fear!!) the Crown Princess said, “As the treatment has lasted for a long time, I suppose that I have caused so much worry,” which I thought was very touching. She continued saying, “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the people in the country for their continuous warm support”. She spoke with pride about the accomplishments of her daughter and expressed her solidarity with the earthquake and tsunami victims. The Grand Master of the Crown Princely household said that the Crown Princess is steadily recovering, is taking a small amount of medication and sees doctors as needed.