Wednesday, 25 May 2016

70 Years The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

On 25th May 1946 - to this day 70 years ago - a new Kingdom was born. H.H. Emir Abdullah of Transjordan (1921 - 1946) proclaimed the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and he became His Majesty King Abdullah I.

King Abdullah I bin al-Hussein

Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, was born in February 1882 born in Mecca, Hejaz, which then belonged to the Ottoman Empire, and he was the second of three sons of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah. He was educated in Istanbul, Turkey and Hijaz. From 1909 to 1914, Abdullah sat in the Ottoman legislature, as deputy for Mecca, but allied with Britain during World War I. Between 1916 to 1918, working with the British guerrilla leader T. E. Lawrence, he played a key role as architect and planner of the Great Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule, leading guerrilla raids on garrisons.

When he assumed the Throne of Transjordan in 1921, he established the first centralised government out of a mostly tribal and nomadic society in this territory. Over the next 30 years, he focused on nation building and developing the institutional foundations of modern Jordan. He is also remembered for promulgating Jordan’s first Constitution in 1928 and holding the country’s first parliamentary elections in 1929.

During these three decades, King Abdullah I presided over a series of Anglo-Transjordanian treaties, culminating in the 1946 Anglo-Transjordanian Treaty, ending the British mandate and granting the new Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan full independence. He laid down the basis for democracy in the Kingdom and called for political pluralism. The first political party was formed during his reign. A poet himself, he used to meet with poets, writers and scholars and discuss the country’s affairs.

On 20th July 1951, King Abdullah, while visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, was shot dead by a Palestinian from the Husseini clan. He was succeeded by his son King Talal bin Abdullah (26th February 1909 – 7th July 1972). Under the reign of King Talal the country prepared a new liberalised Constitution in 1952, which introduced a culture of Arab unity by declaring Jordan part of the Arab nation. During the short reign reign, Jordan concluded important agreements including a pan-Arab collective security agreement and announced compulsory free education. The introduction of compulsory free education, the first of its kind in Jordan and the Arab world, had a positive impact on the country’s future development.

King Talal bin Abdullah
Born in Mecca in 1909, King Talal studied at the British Military Academy, Sandhurst, and in 1929 became the first Jordanian officer to graduate from the institute. As an officer of the Arab Army, he participated in battles between Arab and Israeli forces in Jerusalem, Ramallah and other Palestinian towns. In 1934, he married Zein Al Sharaf, the late Queen Mother, who died in 1994.

He was King of Jordan from 20th July 1951 until forced to abdicate in favour of his son Hussein due to health reasons on 11th August 1952.

Hussein ibn Talal was born on 14th November 1935, in his parents' villa in Amman, in what was then the Emirate of Transjordan. His family's circumstances were modest. Though heir to the throne, his father, Talal ibn Abdallah, supported his family of three sons and a daughter on an allowance of pounds 1,000 a year. Hussein received his primary education at schools in Amman and then at 13 was sent to Victoria College, Alexandria, an Egyptian boarding school on the British model. He recalled repairing his school uniform with a needle and thread to spare his parents the expense of replacing it. 

Prince Hussein was standing only a few feet away when his grandfather was murdered, and saw the king's bloodstained turban roll across the floor in front of him. The 16 year-old only escaped death himself by what seemed a miracle: a bullet aimed at him struck a medal on his uniform. He was thrown backwards but otherwise unhurt; his grandfather had given him the medal only the day before.

At the time of his coronation, on 2nd May 1953, Hussein was just 18 (by the Islamic calendar). His cousin Faisal II of Iraq  was crowned King of Iraq on the same day. Having ascended the throne as a teenager, he was as a young king the target of numerous attempted coups and assassinations. Later, two Arab-Israeli wars and a civil war threatened the existence of his throne and the state itself. He was under threat as much from political enemies among his Arab neighbours as from a militarily superior Israel.

The result of King Hussein's determination to safeguard his position is a country which enjoys a degree of openness, stability and prosperity not widely achieved by other Arab states. The King also secured the prize that had eluded his predecessors: a peace treaty with Israel.

King Hussein was motivated by a strongly mystical, if sentimental, belief in his own destiny as the only remaining Hashemite king. His dynasty traced its ancestry back to the Prophet Mohammed and beyond, and had ruled Mecca for seven centuries until it was seized by Saudi forces in 1925.

King Hussein and Princess Muna with their sons, Prince Abdullah and Prince Faisal, later followed the twins Princess Aisha and Princess Zein.

But in King Hussein's mind the ideal of a universal Hashemite monarchy persisted, taking the form of a benign authoritarianism that drew legitimacy from Islam and the traditional values of the desert Arab.

At the end of July 1998, it was made public that King Hussein was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. On 7th February 1999, King Hussein died of complications related to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was, at the time of his death, one of the longest-serving leaders in international politics. He had been the King of Jordan for over 46 years. His successor was his eldest son, Crown Prince Abdullah.

Just present and fourth King, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein was born on 30th January 1962 and has been the King of Jordan since he ascended the throne on 7th February 1999 upon the death of his father.

King Abdullah II and Queen Rania with their children, Princess Salman, Prince Hashem, Princess Iman and Crown Prince Hussein.
He was born to King Hussein and his second wife, the British-born Princess Muna al-Hussein. Abdullah was named Crown Prince shortly after his birth. King Hussein transferred the title to his own brother, Prince Hassan, in 1965, only to return it to Abdullah in 1999. King Abdullah is married to Queen Rania of Jordan, who is of Palestinian origin.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Republics divide ...

... Monarchies unite.

Here is a photo of King Faisal II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq, in 1957 clergy of all spectrums of Iraq's Christian, Muslim and Yazidi communities.

A year later King Faisal II and many members of Iraq's Royal Family were hacked to death.

Since the military putsch on 14th July (!) 1958 Iraq has been in turmoil.

The loss of the Iraqi Monarchy cost millions of people their life. The murder of King Faisal was only the beginning. The Christian churches of the East are disappearing in what was Mesopotamia; the century old community of the Yazidi are on the brink of extinction and the muslim communities are bitterly fighting against each other.

It would be the start of a healing process to bring back the King of Iraq. He is living in neighbouring Jordan.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Camilla and The Night Manager

The Daily Telegraph reported the first meeting of HRH Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Tom Hiddleston who won fame in the BBC's great thriller success The Night Manager, which was on air in March in the UK, on Foxtel in Australia and is presently shown in the USA.

The Duchess didn't mind Tom Hiddleston's arm on her shoulder.
Obviously the Duchess watched the five-part mini series as this dialogue proves:
"After [BBC Radio 2 host Chris] Evans greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, he introduced the Duchess to Hiddleston, saying: 'Your Royal Highness, The Night Manager.'

"The Duchess said: 'Hello Night Manager, how are you? Sunday nights just aren't the same without you.'

"'Well I can only apologise unreservedly for that,' said Hiddleston

"'But you might come back again?' the Duchess asked hopefully.

"'Well you never know,' he replied. 'We will have to ask John Le Carré [the writer].'

"'Well it was brilliant, the Duchess said. 'Everyone sat gripped.'"
Once again Her Royal Highness showed her good taste.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Yehudi Menuhin believed in constitutional Monarchy

The Right Honourable The Lord Menuhin OM KBE
Yehudi Menuhin, one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, was an American-born violinist and conductor, who spent most of his performing career in Britain, where he became a monarchist. He received a knighthood in 1985 and in 1993  Sir Yehudi was bestowed a life peerage by the Queen as The Right Honourable The Lord Menuhin OM KBE. He was born 100 years ago on 22nd April 1916 and died on 12th March 1999.

In its 1975 summer edition The Monarchist - Journal of the Monarchist League published the following letter to the editor by Yehudi Menuhin:
Thank you for sending me a copy of The Monarchist. Having read it, though, I would like to take this opportunity to point out a fundamental weakness in your proposition.
Constitutional monarchy is the genius of the British nation whose people understand what your philosophy has failed to realise, viz., that the very heart of the system is ineluctably welded to democracy. It is palpably obvious that the highest position in the land is utterly without power, and by this very token our responsibility for the weaker, courtesy for principle, and pride in the sharing of power between all citizens, from Palace to Pub, upheld.
I believe that constitutional monarchy is the best defence of democracy.
Yours sincerely,
Yehudi Menuhin,
London N6

Thursday, 21 April 2016

90th Birthday of the Queen of Australia

Anyone who would have thought that Queen Elizabeth II's birthday would be used to push the dwindling circulation figures of the Fairfax media were wrong. In today's print edition of The Age there was not a single line on the significance of this 21st April that marks the 90th birthday of Australia's longest serving Monarch.

This was today's front page:

The front page of The Age, 21st April 2016

On page 2 a report of drugs in Melbourne, a crumbling wall (very common in Melbourne), page 3 a case of child snatching of an Australian woman in Lebanon and on page 4 and 5 a "special report" on Muslims in Australia, followed by petty articles on domestic items. Nothing of great interest to anyone outside the suburbs. World news on page 14 had the inevitable report on the US primaries in New York and the retired Cuban dictator "Ailing Castro" who is quoted with saying: "I'll be 90 years old soon." He is not the only one, one is tempted to tell The Age.

However, in the Comment section this time no nasty editorial, no vicious letters to the editor, no guest writer telling the unwilling audience, that in his or her opinion Australia should become a republic.

The total ignorance is a replica. On 2nd August 2000, when the Queen Mother celebrated her 100th birthday, every single newspaper in the UK had front coverage on her life. Not so The Independent, which ignored the Monarch's anniversary. That was certainly not the only reason for dropping sales figures, but an indicator how out of touch The Independent was. In March 2016 it was not longer printed. The Independent can be read only online these days.

The Age's development from a broadsheet to a tabloid newspaper to an internet news point may go faster. It will take not 16 years for The Age to stop the printing machines forever.
To be fair to Fairfax, it has to be mentioned that Mark McGuinness wrote Queen; Happy birthday to our time-share monarch, which lacks to usual attacks on the Australian Royal Family and admits:  
Her family, in particular her heirs, have visited regularly and kept the flame alive. The Prince of Wales' affection for the country that (it has been said) made a man of him, is genuine and undimmed and he will make a good king.

Oh yes, and  o n e  photo in the editor's choice photo section, however,it is the same is in Mark McGuinness' article.

An extraordinary poor coverage on Her Majesty's milestone birthday, but typical for avowed republicans.

Queen's Birthday stamps 2016
It is in stark contrast to Australia's Queen.

In 2011, when she returned to Australia, a Palace spokesman said the tour did not have the atmosphere of a final farewell.
It's almost a coming home for the Queen she has a huge fondness for Australia, a lot of Australians have worked in her household
And during her visit David Marr wrote in The Age: "She hasn't been around for years, but we don't feel neglected. If anything, absence has made us a little fonder of this bent figure in a big blue hat."

Former soldier Arthur Pembroke first met the Queen in 1953 when he was decorated for heroism during the Korean War. The former officer, who received the Military Cross from the Queen during a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony, said: "She impressed me a great deal and has right from the time I [first] met her. Her dedication and loyalty and determination to carry out her duty as she sees it, I think it is the sort of thing we have always admire."

The Queen made her first visit to Australia in 1954, when she became the first reigning monarch to set foot in the country and covered so much ground that an estimated 75 per cent of the entire population saw her at least once.

When she finally arrived, stepping ashore at Farm Cove on February 3, 1954, a crowd of one and a half million people had gathered to watch. Waiting media described it as Sydney's biggest party since Victory over Japan day with female editorialists gushing over the young monarch's youth, beauty, poise

The 1954 Royal Visit, particularly given the communications and transport facilities of the day, set a high water mark that has never been matched. It lasted two months from 3rd February to 1st April and, for the duration, dominated the front pages of the nation's newspapers. The Queen's travel schedule involved 33 flights taking 57 hours and covering 16,000km. This paled into insignificance when compared to the airlift required to keep the show on the road. Described as the largest individual civil air operation in history, this involved 257 flights covering more than two million kilometres and carrying over a million pieces of freight. Then there were a further 363 flights by the RAAF.

During her stay in 2006 she met Her Australian Prime Ministers who were still alavive then, even the promoters of republicans did not decline the invitation.
When she last came to Melbourne in 2011 crowds flocked to Federation Square to get a glimps of their Monarch and her husband. Flinder Street Station was blocked.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Time to get rid of Malcolm Turnbull

When 54 Liberal MPs and senators abandoned Prime Minister Tony Abbott on 14th September 2015 (44 remained loyal to the elected PM) the winning Malcolm Turnbull had claimed that "the [Abbott] government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need. ... We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott's leadership."

Today he faced the same situation: The polls as published in The Age are against him. "Labor and the Coalition are fifty-fifty in the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll, as Malcolm Turnbull's once-soaring approval rating continues to decline. Voters have reacted savagely to the reality of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister when measured against their own expectations, sending a clear warning to the Coalition that the election will be close and victory cannot be assumed. A massive 25 per cent drop in his ability to make things happen headlines the decline. This seems to sum up the sense of disappointment in voterland at the slow pace and performance of the Turnbull government and a disturbing tendency to set out ambitious policy goals and then retreat from them.

"The Prime Minister's net approval rating has dropped by 10 points since March and his preferred prime minister rating has also fallen by seven points over that time.

"Mr Turnbull's disapproval rating has jumped up six points as voters marked him down severely on a range of 11 leadership characteristics including a staggering 25 per cent drop in his ability to make things happen, a 20 per cent drop in his perceived strength as a leader, a 17 per cent drop on his authority over his party, and a 13 per cent drop in his perceived competence."

The wake-up of the voters as well as of Malcolm Turnbull should not come as a surprise. It is a déjà-vu of his tenure as Leader of Her Majesty's [Loyal?] Opposition, which was ended by Tony Abbott and it deserved this comment, written on 2nd December 2009:
The past fifteen months have shown, how a darling of the media, a republican messiah even, fell from grace and is now seen - even by his republican mates - as a disaster!
Nothing has changed. Turnbull started as the darling of the media and the public, but everybody soon realised what a dud he really is. Time for the Coalition to dump him and send him to the Cayman Islands, where his money is parked.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A glitzy republican can't handle Queen's Birthday

Ask your local MP a simple question and be surprised about a complicated answer.

The Radical Royalist happens to be a resident of the Melbourne constituency of "Higgins". For many years former federal treasurer Peter Costello was the member of Parliament for "Higgins" and he received a couple of letters and blog entries from the Radical Royalist since the wannabee successor of former PM John Howard was an avowed republican. But Peter Costello is long gone and his seat was inherited by Kelly O'Dwyer.

With the approaching birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, the Radical Royalist asked Ms O'Dwyer, what kind of celebrations for the Australian monarch will take place in the constituency of "Higgins".

The MP Ms Kelly O'Dwyer sent this reply:

"I am a great admirer of Her Majesty, despite being a Republican, and I gave a speech in her Honour which you can read here.

"As you might be aware, the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove have accepted an invitation from Her Majesty to be present in London for official commemorations on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June and, again as you might be aware, Australia Post will mark this significant occasion by releasing commemorative stamps".

It is rather odd to refer to a speech held on 9th February 2012, when being asked about events in 2016. And although it is a great honour that the Australian Governor-General and his wife have been invited to London, that does not solve the problem that obviously Ms O'Dwyer does not intend to do anything in the constituency of "Higgins".

May be she is too busy to prepare a celebration for herself. Today The Sunday Age published a report on the Fundraiser for Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer to be sponsored by NAB amid banking firestorm. 

The authors James Massola and Heath Aston gave a revealing insight into the real interests of the local MP for "Higgins":
"A major bank will help foot the bill for a glitzy pre-election political fundraiser to be fronted by Treasurer Scott Morrison and his deputy Kelly O'Dwyer at the same time as they are resisting calls for a royal commission into the scandal-plagued banking sector.

"The $1200 to $2500-a-table breakfast, scheduled for 10 days after Mr Morrison delivers his first budget, will be held under the banner of co-sponsor National Australia Bank.

"NAB is one of two corporate sponsors for the May 13 event organised by the Higgins 200 Club, a fundraising body that supports Ms O'Dwyer, the federal member for Higgins.

"Tickets for the fundraiser start at $150 per head and a table of 10 at the event starts at $1200 for Higgins 200 Club members and $1350 for non-members, while "premium corporate tables" at the event cost $2500.

"Based on the capacity of the Palladium Room, which has hosted the Logie Awards, the event could raise $100,000 to $150,0000 before venue hire and catering is subtracted."
In her newsletter for the local residents Kelly O'Dwyer MP has no space left for the Queen of Australia.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Anzac Day 2016 London

Ticket applications for the Cenotaph wreath laying ceremony, and the Westminster Abbey service will close at 5:00pm on Tuesday, 12th April (UK time).

Applications for tickets opened on 25th February. You will need to provide details of ID (passport or driver’s license) for all applicants, so please ensure you have this information handy when you apply. To apply for tickets, please click on this link.
Monday, 25th April 2016

5.00am: Dawn Service, Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner

The main service will take place in front of the Royal Artillery Memorial on Hyde Park Corner. The service lasts approximately 45 minutes and is a non-ticketed event open to the public.

In 2016, the only entry point for the public will be at the Green Park/south-east corner. Access to the site will be from 3.30am onwards. There will be a search regime in place, so please do not bring large bags with you. We recommend you arrive early in order to secure the best viewpoint.

9.30am: Gallipoli Association Service, St Paul's Cathedral

A short service and wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Gallipoli Memorial in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral at 9.15 am for 9.30am on Monday 25 April. Wreaths will be laid by a representative of Her Britannic Majesty's Government, by senior representatives of the Royal Navy and the Army, and of the High Commissions of Australia and New Zealand, and other high-ranking officials from France and Turkey. Tickets are not required for this event.

Please note this service is not organised by the High Commission, but by the Gallipoli Association – enquires can be made to:

11.00am: Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade, The Cenotaph, Whitehall

Following a march onto Whitehall, a requiem is read, and at 11.00am the High Commissioners for New Zealand and Australia lay the first wreaths. They are followed by representatives of other countries, as well as representatives from various service and ex-service organisations. Arrival by 10.30am is recommended. This service will conclude at approx 11.20am, allowing time for the short walk to Westminster Abbey for the Commemorative Service.

If you are Service, ex-Service Personnel, or a relative interested in marching in the Parade, please click on this link (external link) to apply for tickets.

If you wish to observe the service, you will be able to watch from the east (Richmond House) side of Whitehall without a ticket.

12.00 noon: Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving, Westminster Abbey

On completion of the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Cenotaph, there is a Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark Anzac Day at Westminster Abbey at 12.00 noon. Guests need to be seated at the Abbey by 11.45 am. The service is approximately one hour.

Complimentary tickets are required to attend this service. They may be requested from the High Commissions of New Zealand or Australia and are allocated on a ‘first in, first served basis’.

ANZAC100 Commemorative Coin.

Last year Her Majesty's representative in New Zealand, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, presented the Commemorative Coin at an official launch at Government House in Wellington.