Saturday, May 7, 2011

Royal News Roundup

Last weekend royals gathered in Rome for the beatification of HH Pope John Paul II. Among those on hand at the Vatican for the event (which attracted record crowds not seen since the funeral of the late, beloved pontiff) were representatives of most of the Catholic royal houses of Europe such as HSH Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, Their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias, Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians and Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. A notable absentee was HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco (one of the few remaining officially Catholic monarchies in the world). Perhaps wedding preparations are taking up all of his spare time. Also on the Mediterranean front, America had an Italian royal visit. On Thursday, April 28, HRH Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Venice and Piedmont was in the United States, showing up in Hollywood, California at GraumanĂ¢s Chinese Theatre for the TCM Classic Film Festival opening night gala and the world premiere of the newly restored movie “An American in Paris”.

California is a hot place for royals this year it seems. HRH Princess Madeleine of Sweden visited San Francisco, California recently in connection with her charity work. St James Palace announced that the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be visiting the Golden State July 8-10. In June HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and HRH Prince Henrik will visit the United States, stopping at Washington DC and New York City. And, German royal fans can take cheer that the invitations to the August wedding of HIRH Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia and HSH Princess Sophie of Isenberg have gone out which promises to be a very happy event. Some 1500 people have been invited.

April 30 was National Day in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and HM Queen Beatrix and the rest of the Royal Family turned out, as did much of the country, for all sorts of celebrations. The Dutch public was awash in Orange as the crowds celebrated the official birthday of their Queen. There were also events on May 5 to commemorate the liberation of the Netherlands by American and Canadian Allied troops from Nazi occupation at the end of World War II. The Dutch underground, inspired by Queen Wilhelmina, played a key role in the Allied offensive on the continent and Prince Bernhard (father of the current monarch) was also heavily involved in the conflict as a wing commander in the Royal Air Force and later as commander of the Dutch armed forces in the liberation campaign.

This week, new problems arose for the monarchy in the troubled Kingdom of Belgium when journalists from a Flemish and a Walloon newspaper put out a new book (“King Without a Country”) revealing confidential discussions between the King and high-ranking politicians. The most controversial issues have been the claim that HM King Albert II told party leaders he would not allow new elections and the King taking sides on certain issues. The Royal Palace quickly denounced the publication saying that the breach of confidentiality could have disastrous consequences. A statement said, “Some excerpts contain manifest untruths, in particular accounts of conversations on 16 June and 8 October 2010”. They also stated that such a breach of confidentiality undermined the capability of the King to be an effective, neutral, head of state. The authors said the King was refusing to call new elections out of fear that Flemish nationalists would gain even more support. Personally, I don’t see what is so outrageous about that; the King must swear to maintain the nation and so will obviously be opposed to those who wish to break it up. However, the issue was quickly taken up by those enemies of the monarchy who wish to see the King removed from any political role at all. If that happens, I think it is safe to say, the total loss of the Kingdom of Belgium would not be far behind.


  1. In regards to Belgium, two things.

    1: Why is it so scandalous that the King would take sides in a debate?

    Yes I know, its suppose to be his role to dutifully do whatever the Politicians say but, come on! lets let him have some say in his own Government.

    2: We use to call those who wanted to abolish their Monarchy or dissolve the nation traitors. Why can't we do that now regarding the separatists? Simply declare them illegal.

  2. I don't know, it makes no sense to me. I can understand wanting to keep the King out of politics as is the tradition in Belgium but each Belgian king must swear the following oath at the time of their accession: "I swear to observe the Constitution and the laws of the Belgian people, to maintain the national independence and the integrity of the territory." So, obviously, a group which openly advocates diminishing the territorial integrity, as the seperatists would, must be in conflict with the King whose duty it is to maintain the territory and unite the people. It should come as no surprise that the one figure who stands for unity would be in conflict with those who stand for division.

  3. The best way to save belgium from the separatist in my opinion is a belgian nationalist coup d'etat leaded by the king and ban the dutch and french nationalist parties and of course increase the royal power.

    Hi from Argentina

  4. Zarove, I also don't understand why the separatist movements are not simply declared treasonous and illegal! What government can tolerate such constant questioning of the very existence of the nation? The nation ought to be a given, the basis of any further political discussion. Enough of this nonsense.

  5. Another thing- it's interesting that the authors of this book are already anticipating matters with the title "King Without a Country". Oddly enough, this phrase was mockingly used of the current King's grandfather, Albert I, by his German enemies during the German occupation of Belgium during World War I.

  6. This is atrocious but the people are not being fooled and they see this for what it is: a shameless attack on the monarchie and effort to undermine the country. If you are Flemish and care more about that than Belgium, move to Nederlands! If you are Walon and care more about that than Belgium, move to France! Tolerance is great but there should be no reason to tolerate someone wants to destroy you!


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