Saturday, April 20, 2013

Royal News Roundup

It was an especially rough week for the Spanish Royal Family, starting out with protests in the streets against the monarchy, marking the birth of the second republic and calling for a return to that late Soviet puppet-state. All of this in a country where respect for the King was once universal and even the media never spoke of the King or Royal Family in anything but respectful tones. Where the sort of bad jokes commonly directed at the royals in Britain was totally unheard of. How things have changed, and just when the politicians and their years of failed socialist policies really need a good distraction. To make things worse, the Spanish treasury has been ordered to turn over the tax returns of the Infanta Cristina in the continued effort to taint as many royals as possible with the scandal of one member by marriage who (everyone seems to forget) has not himself been found guilty of any crime as of yet. Recent polls have shown nearly half the population now favor the abdication of the King in favor of the Prince of the Asturias and of course none of this has hurt the cause of the hardcore republicans who would like to see the whole monarchy brought down. It only shows how effective the media-political alliance of elites are at directing public opinion. The King of Spain has been nothing but a dutiful constitutional monarch and every true and loyal Spaniard should rally to his support.

Elsewhere on the continent, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg celebrated his 58th birthday this week, though there was little actual time for it as the Grand Ducal couple have been on a busy state visit to the illegitimate Austrian republic, talking culture, encouraging business and economic ties and mentioning the long history between Luxembourg and Austria. The same Tuesday, the Grand Ducal couple's youngest, Prince Sebastien, also turned 21. We send our congratulations to them both. In the Netherlands, republican traitors have been calling for their soon-to-be King Willem-Alexander to take a pay cut. I can only wonder how anyone would take anything they say seriously. When your stated goal is to end the monarchy entirely, how can you have an objective opinion on anything royal-related? However, it seems the monarch to be is not entirely without taint by the republican mentality himself. In a recent interview the Prince of Orange said that when he is King he will not be addressed as "Your Majesty" and has promised a more informal monarchy and indicated that he will be a "hands-off" monarch who sticks to a ceremonial role and will not be as involved in government as HM Queen Beatrix. And if he thinks that will make a difference I'm not going to try to argue with him.

On the Scandinavian front, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway have been enjoying a ski vacation with their little family. The King and Queen of Sweden had a busy week of receptions, visits and audiences. Prince Carl Philip opened a new Neonatal Couplet Care Unit and Prince Daniel visited the "belly of the beast" at the European Union in Brussels. And, in Denmark, our beloved Daisy celebrated her birthday this week. On Tuesday HM Queen Margrethe II turned 73-years old though most of the crowd below the palace balcony thought that the royal grandchildren stole the show, winning a great deal of cheers and applause from the public. The great affection Danes have for their Queen and the oldest monarchy in Europe is a testament to how HM Margrethe II and her family have handled themselves over the years, the great job they have done and the integrity they have always displayed. The presence of so many grandchildren also presents a hopeful future for the oldest European monarchy which seems as popular and secure as any on the continent. We wish the Queen a happy birthday, congratulations on a remarkable reign and a fervent hope that she may reign over Denmark for many more years to come.

In Great Britain, the Duke of Kent made his first public appearance on Sunday since suffering a stroke. As part of Regimental Remembrance Day the Duke paraded with the Scots Guards down London's Mall. The Duke of Kent, a 1955 graduate of Sandhurst with over two decades of military service, is colonel of the Scots Guards. Of course, a more solemn occasion was the funeral for the late former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh attended the event, carried out with great dignity at St Paul's Cathedral. For some reason, someone also thought it would be okay to invite the Duchess of York and, of course, the cameras did not fail to catch her being embarrassing. It was also announced this week that Prince Edward will be in Nashville, Tennessee next month for the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Prince Edward and Countess Sophie will also be attending the upcoming wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden, representing the British monarchy. In a new twist on an old story, it was announced this week that adventurous Prince Harry will be taking part in a race to the South Pole. As before, it will be in the company of wounded British servicemen and women and will benefit their cause. We wish them all the best in the enterprise (and hope they don't freeze to death).

Finally, in the Far East, some stunning news out of Japan. HIH Crown Princess Masako is set to make her first official overseas visit in almost eleven years in order to attend, along with HIH Crown Prince Naruhito of course, the inauguration of the new King of the Netherlands. The last overseas visit by the Imperial Crown Prince and Princess was in August of 2002 when TIH visited Australia and New Zealand.  They are good friends with the Dutch Royal Family and HM Queen Beatrix invited the couple to The Netherlands on a private retreat in 2006, two years after HIH the Crown Princess was diagnosed with what has been termed an "adjustment disorder". In all subsequent overseas royal engagements HIH the Crown Prince has represented Japan and HM the Emperor on his own. This may indicate a sudden improvement in the Crown Princess' condition as, in 2009, the Crown Prince spoke of his wife's condition saying that, "It is necessary to make a cautious decision looking at travel distances, the period of stay and the events to attend". There was also a surprising but touching sight in Tokyo this week when TM the Emperor and Empress danced together in public for the first time in 20 years at a charitable gathering. TM remain as handsome a couple as ever.

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