Monday, June 2, 2014

Royal News Roundup

The royal news in the English-speaking world last week that gained the most attention, undeservedly or not, was the German (and now Australian) media which published pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge snapped at an instant when the wind blew her skirt up, exposing a flash of the royal gluteus maximus. The British media have so far refused to publish such pictures and there is talk of a lawsuit on the part of the Cambridge couple. Many, in the more respectable media, have condemned the German paper for overall sleaziness in trying to profit by an accidental, embarrassing moment that could happen to anyone and which should just be ignored. Others, however, having been critical of the Duchess, pointing to the fact that this is not the first time this has happened and basically taking the line that she should take measures to prevent such “wardrobe malfunctions”. Much ado about nothing I say! Should the pictures have been published? Probably not but this sort of thing is really unavoidable -somebody would have published them no matter what. Should someone be sued over this? Again, probably not. Just laugh it off would be my advice and I would say everyone should stop making such a big deal about it. A little, accidental flash of a cheek is hardly scandalous and for those saying the Duchess should go to greater lengths to cover up or take measures to prevent this from happening again, sure, some weights in her skirt would probably be the smart thing to do but on the other hand, this is not Iran and the occasional exposure of a bit of the back porch doesn’t seem earth-shattering to me. I’m rather grateful to see a prominent woman wearing dresses at all as opposed to nothing but pantsuits. I also wonder how much of this is secretly being driven by derriere envy. As I said at the time, American Vice President Joe Biden is a legitimately embarrassing bum, the Duchess has nothing to be ashamed of. In other news, the Prince of Wales caused another slight stir in remarks he made at group meeting called “Inclusive Capitalism” in which he again warned of a looming environmental apocalypse and placed at least some of the blame for it on capitalism. The Prince, it seems, is not for changing and while I’m sure his remarks pleased socialists and environmentalists, I doubt they converted any of them to monarchism while they undoubtedly turned off people who could be won over.

On the continent, the King and Queen of The Netherlands paid a visit to their neighbors in Germany while in Luxembourg, Princess Stephanie threw her support behind a science lab for teenagers (I wonder if they will dissect any?) but some more interesting news came out of Belgium. In spite of his own preferences I am sure, King Philip has been obliged to have Bart De Wever over to the palace to talk about forming a government. De Wever is the leader of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) which is a Flemish nationalist party that advocates for the secession of Flanders and thus the break-up of the Kingdom of Belgium (though their ardently professed Flemish nationalism does not stop them from being very pro-European Union). As the Belgian monarch is bound to keep Belgium together and the N-VA is committed to ending it, this has obviously meant that the King has been extremely reluctant to deal with them. However, their support in Flanders has steadily increased and while the Walloon population remains more politically divided than their Dutch-speaking neighbors, the electoral weight of the N-VA has become increasingly impossible to ignore, forcing King Philip into a rather uncomfortable position. In this anniversary year of the start of the Great War, Belgians would do well to remember how much their ancestors have sacrificed to preserve the Kingdom of Belgium and adamantly oppose those who wish to tear it apart.

Further south, HM King Juan Carlos met with journalists and HRH Infanta Elena cut a colorful figure at the Press Association bullfight at the Las Ventas Bullring in Madrid. Pope Francis made a splash with his visit to the Middle East where he met with the Jordanian Royal Family and later with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It marked the fiftieth anniversary of the meeting of Pope Paul and Patriarch Athenagoras. In a joint statement the Pope and Patriarch spoke of being on a journey toward reunion and full communion as well as expressing concern for the Christian community in the Middle East. However, the biggest, happiest news from the royals of the Mediterranean area was the official announcement from the Princely Palace that HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco is with child and expected to be delivered by the end of the year. This is the first pregnancy by a Princess consort of Monaco since Princess Grace was carrying Princess Stephanie. The hope for the continuance of the Grimaldi-Polignac line shines anew and it will be very good to hear the guns of Fort Antoine firing again. Congratulations to the Sovereign Prince and expecting Princess.

In Asian royal news, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great of Thailand officially gave his sanction to the military authorities who recently declared martial law and assumed responsibility for running the country. There is now no question as to who is in charge or who should  be. Recently, one of the military leaders said that it could take a year to bring the two feuding sides together and that there will be no elections until then. Many, mostly outside of Thailand, have expressed shock at this, but having one year without elections would not seem like the absolute worst thing that could have happened. There was sad news in neighboring Malaysia with the passing of the Sultan of Perak, Azlan Shah, at the age of 86 at the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur. The following day, just before the funeral, his son, the Raja Muda Dr. Nazrin Shah (age 58) was proclaimed the new Sultan of Perak. And, in Japan, the Imperial Household Agency officially announced the engagement of HIH Princess Noriko of Takamado. The 25-year-old princess will be married to 40-year-old Kunimaro Senge, one of the chief priests of Izumo Taisha grand shrine in Shimane Prefecture where there future wedding ceremony will be held. That will take place sometime this fall according to the Imperial Household Agency. Of course, as per the rules, the Princess will lose her imperial status because of her marriage to a commoner. We wish Her Imperial Highness every happiness in her married life.


  1. 1. Resurrecting the suffix "Imperial" before the name of state's organs (including the military) and,
    2. Resurrecting the old Kazoku (Peers) & cadet branches system. Under this system, the future husband of Princess Noriko would be automatically bestowed an aristocratic title.

    These are the long overdue tasks for the japanese politicians.

  2. The King of Spain, King Juan Carlos abdicated.

  3. I happen to agree entirely with the Prince of Wales' criticisms of capitalism and warnings of "looming environmental apocalypse." It seems to me that it makes perfect sense that a future monarch, who is almost certainly a small-c conservative by instinct, would want to preserve the United Kingdom's (and the world's) natural heritage as well as its cultural heritage. But the environment is one topic on which I disagree with a great many right-wingers, conservatives and monarchists. Rest assured, MM, there is plenty more I agree with you on wholeheartedly.

    I also agree with Ignatius Masayuki above. Japan should really move back towards the Meiji era constitution; although perhaps with greater oversight of the military and more transparent parliamentary system. An increase in the power of the Emperor is a must, beginning with the official recognition of his status as Imperial Sovereign. Re-establishing the Kazoku would also be a move in the right direction. But sadly, I don't see Japan taking any actions to become more monarchical and conservative any time soon, no more than in Sweden or the UK.

    And of course, Petrus Augustinus is correct; His Catholic Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain has abdicated- or rather, declared his intention to abdicate- today. The King of Spain is a man I deeply admire, and I am sad to see him go, but the Prince of the Asturias is a fine man to succeed him and I am sure King Felipe VI will be a much loved and capable monarch. I imagine we'll be getting a post on the abdication soon-ish, I guess the news broke too late to make it into this Royal News Round-up.

    As always, I look forward to the Mad Monarchist's perspective.


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