Monday, May 19, 2014

Royal News Roundup

A rather routine week for the House of Windsor, my favorite story will come first because I’m the autocrat around here and I can: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attended the rededication ceremony for HMS Alliance, the only surviving British submarine of the World War II era, at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport. The Duke had a good look over the proud old Acheron-class boat, probably with some pride as he was the patron of the organization that restored it as it is today. The Duke is also the Commodore-in-Chief, Submarines which I am very upset that I didn’t know about until this story made the news. Though, for some reason, the media coverage seemed more concerned with the Duke taking the traditional tot of rum than with the magnificent old submarine on display. The Duke toured the boat, talked to some proud veterans of undersea service and received his Dolphins badge, the insignia of submariners (in both Britain and America actually). There was a humorous moment as well when the Duke said, “It’s great that younger generations can really see and feel what it is like to be a submariner. I wouldn’t let George in here. A nightmare George is - too many things for him to pull and hit”. My favorite story of the week, hands down. In other news, the Prince of Wales said he is set to attend the D-Day commemorations this summer, HM the Queen spent a day at the horse races (which I’m sure HM enjoyed thoroughly) and Princes William and Harry did battle on the polo field to benefit charity. And, last but not least, the grand, old Duke of Edinburgh appeared at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, even driving a carriage (he used to race them) and not appearing in the least to be 92 years old.

On the continent, King Harald V of Norway served up some herbs grown on his own farm, Princess Martha Louise said she will miss be able to live life anonymously after moving back home from London and Princess Ingrid Alexandra (age 10) made her debut at parliament as part of the constitutional celebrations on Thursday. The Swedish Royal Family had a busy week of presenting awards, making visits and so on. Crown Princess Victoria spoke at the 7th Global Forum on Migration and Development. As for the Danes, Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary had a busy week, visiting Poland, celebrating their wedding anniversary (congratulations there) and posing for a new portrait as well as taking in the Eurovision awards (but the less I say about that the better). In the Low Countries, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands attended the opening of a national campaign to collect instruments for music classes and dazzled onlookers in a ruby-tiara at the Annual Diplomatic Corps Gala Dinner on Wednesday. The Belgian Royal Family attended a 20 kilometer race and in Luxembourg news Prince Guillaume landed in America, visiting California and Utah. However, it was not all good news as Prince Jean (brother of Grand Duke Henri) felt obliged to hold a press conference to refute rumors that he was involved in a string of bombings in Luxembourg in the 1980’s, describing such rumors as absurd and hurtful. Also this week the new film about Princess Grace of Monaco was first seen and the Princely Family is now not alone in denouncing it as the film critics have panned it as an atrocious movie, aside from the inaccuracy of it.

In non-Euro royal news, King Abdullah II of Jordan was in London for the 90th annual Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Association Parade in London on Sunday, in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Light Dragoons. He was not the only Middle East monarch in town last week. The King of Bahrain also came to the UK for a visit, sparking some controversy over relations between the two countries, not because of anything the King did but because the chattering classes have taken issue with his rule of his country and accusations of suppressing democracy. This mostly involves the activities of the so-called “Arab Spring” which King Hamad of Bahrain took zealous action to oppose, supported by Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent the US and UK. One wonders if these people would consider the case of Egypt something better? Charges have also been brought against the King and his son Prince Nasser in the UK by a Bahraini citizen based on allegations of torture. The legal immunity of Prince Nasser is currently under judicial review in the UK. Also, the Emir of Qatar is in preparations to transform the uninhabited Greek island of Oxia in the Ionian Sea into a massive luxury resort. Under current circumstances, it is hard to imagine any Greeks being able to afford to go there. However, they may perhaps have an African visitor as the controversial King Mswati III of Swaziland recently had his annual household budget increased by 10% to $61 million which is itself being criticized due to the poverty of most people in Swaziland and because such increases are not debated in parliament, Swaziland being an absolute monarchy where such debates would be seen as a challenge to the King.

In East Asia this week, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his wife on Tuesday. The PM also met with the Foreign and Defense Ministers and made remarks highlighting the similar difficulties faced by Israel and Japan because of ‘rogue’ regimes, comparing the threat Japan faces from North Korea to the Iranian threat to Israel.

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