Saturday, March 9, 2013

Royal News Roundup

Beginning in Asia, at least one monarchy stands to be impacted in a big way if the communist regime in North Korea makes good on threats to launch military attacks if joint U.S.-ROK military maneuvers go ahead on Monday. Such threats are not exactly new but, as ever, it is rather like those people who predict the end of the world. Someday, they're going to be right. In Southeast Asia, Malaysian authorities are still looking for Filipino gunmen, employed by the Sultan of Sulu, in the aftermath of the shootout in Sabah last week. Filipino Muslims have been holding rallies in support of the fugitives and the Kingdom of Malaysia is also facing criticism at home for not having dealt with the issue more quickly and firmly. On the other side, the government of the Philippines is considering what legal action they may take against the Sultan of Sulu and his followers, saying that sending an armed party to Malaysia was the wrong way to press their claims to the area. The President had earlier offered not to file any charges against them if the gunmen were withdrawn peacefully, an offer the self-proclaimed Sultan did not accept. In the Middle East, the Emir of Qatar has reportedly purchased six Greek islands at a cost of $11 million. Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has cut all ties with Forbes magazine over his ranking in the list of the wealthiest people in the world, claiming they undervalued his fortune at a paltry $20 billion. And, over in North Africa, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (United Arab Emirates) made a two-day visit to Algeria.

On the continent of Europe, while the princes of the Catholic Church gather in Rome for the upcoming papal election, royal heirs gathered in The Netherlands, posing for a rare group photo in Apeldoorn. Not everyone attended the meeting, called by the Prince and Princess of Orange but, along with Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima were Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of the Asturias, Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. That group will not be seen again as, before another such meeting is likely, Prince Willem-Alexander with be King of The Netherlands and an heir no longer! Also making news among the younger royals was Sofia Hellqvist, the current girlfriend of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. She responded to the rumors that she was the cause of a rift between the Prince and his younger sister Princess Madeleine. Sofia said the stories were not true and she has been warmly received by everyone in the Swedish Royal Family. In Spain HM King Juan Carlos was in the hospital again for spinal surgery but, along with his government, still managed to send a message of condolence to the Republic of Venezuela following the death of President Hugo Chavez. The two made news in 2007 when the bombastic president went on an insulting tirade against the previous Spanish government, prompting the King to famously ask, “Why don’t you shut up?”. The incident went viral in the media and the King later presented Chavez with a t-shirt featuring the famous phrase. Hugo Chavez will have his corpse preserved and put on display, following the fashion of other communist dictators from Moscow to Hanoi.

In the United Kingdom, HM the Queen was released from the hospital after a bit of stomach trouble. A week of events were canceled for the Queen, including a high-profile visit to Rome but she has had plenty of help to step in while she recovers. Prince Philip, still going strong at 91, filled in by hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace for 150 UK politicians. The Duke of Edinburgh was also assisted by his daughter-in-law the Countess of Wessex, making up for the absence of the Queen between the two of them. The Prince of Wales was busy with his own schedule but did mention that he is also happily preparing himself to be a grandfather soon. The expecting parents, along with Prince Harry, took a little skiing holiday in Switzerland but the big news was on the potential of the Cambridge couple having a baby girl. The speculation arose after the Duchess, when speaking to some well-wishers at an event, seems to start to say the word “daughter”. However, too much should not be made of it as the Duchess quickly denied that was what she was going to say and insisted that neither she nor Prince William know the gender of their future addition.

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