Monday, October 21, 2013

Royal News Roundup

Starting in the Far East this week, in the Kingdom of Thailand, HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, eldest child of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, Thai ambassador to Austria and a former criminal prosecutor has launched a new campaign aimed at helping incarcerated women receive “equal justice” on a global scale through the United Nations. At the first of what is hoped to be many international meetings held in Bangkok the princess said, “Without the rule of law, without a good justice system it’s always chaos. I think the rule of law is a very important pillar to development, to economic growth, and of course to human rights.” In the neighboring Kingdom of Cambodia a special ceremony was held to commemorate the anniversary of the death of King Norodom Sihanouk. The gathering was attended by leaders of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party but not the opposition which is still disputing recent election results with the CPP and who say they were banned from holding a ceremony of their own to honor the late, revered monarch. The ceremony was held at the statue of King Norodom Sihanouk near the Independence Monument which commemorates the break with the colonial rule of France carried out under then Prince Sihanouk.

In the Middle East the big news this week came when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia refused one of the five rotating seats on the UN Security Council. It is the first time any country has ever refused a place on the Security Council whose permanent seats are held by the former Allied nations of World War II; the US, UK, France, Russia and China. The countries elected to the rotating seats were Chad, Nigeria, Chile and Lithuania along with Saudi Arabia which shocked everyone by refusing the position. Saudi officials took issue with the inability of the UN to act against Syria thanks to the vetoes of Russia and China as well as the lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, presumably due to the staunch support for Israel by the United States. The Saudi foreign minister said, “The manner, the mechanisms of action and double standards existing in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities toward preserving international peace and security as required…” He further cited the death toll in Syria as proof of the impotence of the UN Security Council. Also cited was the fact that any of the five permanent members can veto any resolution passed by the majority of the council. Also this week, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called for Muslims around the world to put aside their difference and come together to open a dialogue between the different Islamic sects.

In Britain, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their choices for godparents for Prince George, a man was arrested for trying to enter Buckingham Palace with a knife and the Duchess of Cornwall presided over harvest celebrations at Westminster Abbey. HM the Queen also, reportedly, made a “polite protest” to the government over a Royal Charter from “Call me Dave” Cameron that will set up a watchdog group to keep an eye on newspapers. Also this week the Princess Royal was prevented from unveiling a statue of a horse that survived an IRA bombing in Hyde Park in 1982 due to her helicopter being grounded by fog. Prince William stood in for the Queen for the first time this week in investing new members of the knighthood and the Prince of Wales issued a warning about the hardship faced by British pensioners. The Duchess also played volleyball this week and lots of people were talking about how great she looked in those skinny jeans. Important stuff that. On the continent, Dutch officials are worried that perhaps King Willem-Alexander should not visit Russia as planned due to tensions between Russia and the Netherlands over a raid on the home of a Russian diplomat and the arrest by Russia of some environmentalist-save the whales type people. In Belgium, King Philip and Queen Mathilde received an appropriately warm welcome in the Belgian province of Luxembourg as part of their tour of the country.

The King of Norway visited the Oslo Youth Power Center on Thursday in Hvervenbukta. It was announced that the Crown Prince Haakon of Norway will visit Finland next week by Crown Princess Mette-Marit will not be accompanying him due to her current neck trouble. This weekend the Norwegian Crown Prince was with the navy off the Horn of Africa, inspecting the forces there standing guard against the pirates that infest the region. In the Kingdom of Sweden there was a busy round of receptions and visits for the Royal Family but it was announced that the expecting Princess Madeleine will attend the Nobel Prize ceremony alone, without husband Chris O’Neill who cited business commitments for his inability to attend. Finally, down in the Kingdom of Spain, judges in the on-going legal case involving the royal son-in-law, said that the long-time (and now controversial) friend of the King, German aristocrat Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein will not be called to testify. This is entirely appropriate as it smells like nothing more than an effort to exploit any hint of scandal involving the Royal Family, whether pertinent to the case at hand or not. On a more optimistic note, HRH the Prince of the Asturias addressed business leaders this week and said that the Spanish economy could be expected to see growth this year. Hopefully, he is correct.


  1. You don't have to be enamoured of Saudi domestic policies and its brand of religion (I'm not) to see that this is a bold and principled stance taken by Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Arab World. The UN is useless and unnecessary, and the Syria crisis has definitively discredited them. The Arabs are also alienated by the pathetic Obama and belligerent Putin. So we can applaud them for this very bold stance, for it shows what is wrong with the whole global system.

    1. Their points are all completely valid and I too can applaud them for highlighting UN hypocrisy, yet, it still seems odd. Syria is a civil war, not a case of one country attacking another and the Soviets once decided to boycott the UN and by doing so they were unable to veto the Korean conflict -so they promptly decided that was not a viable strategy. However, if it helps to change things, so much the better in my view. It is absurd that the old WW2 Allies are able to veto any resolution, in particular Communist China which is quite possibly the most murderous regime in human history. The idea that the Soviet Union was a guardian of world peace in its time was positively insulting to say the least of it.

    2. The situation is even worse when you realize that it was the Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that were named as permanent members of the Security Council, not the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation. By all rights, Taiwan should still be a member instead of Red China, while Russia should not have been allowed to automatically assume the USSR's seat, since they are really a new country, just like all the other ex-Soviet republics.

      The UN is as loose in interpreting its charter as the US is with its constitution.

    3. In 1945, they gave Soviet-occupied Ukraine and Belarus UN membership purely to allow the Soviet Union extra votes in the General Assembly.

      True enough MM, while it is a Civil War in Syria, it is also a war with a regional impact owing to sectarianism, tribalism, feudalism, family relationships, strategic alliances, etc in Syria and Lebanon. The Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, et al see the Assad regime and its ally in Iran as a menace to their security and regional peace, more so than to the West. Hence it is a matter that Arab states, with our support, need to deal with first.


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