Thursday, 30 September 2010

Prince Charles to open the Commonwealth Games – not another politician

At the beginning of this week, Prince Charles’ office sought to play down the reported row over whether the heir to the throne or Indian president Pratibha Patil would open the Commonwealth Games saying at both would have “a prominent role” in the opening ceremonies.

“The Prince of Wales will read out the Queen’s baton message, ending by declaring the Games open," it said in a statement. The reference to “declaring the Games open” left it open to interpretation, according to observers.

There is no row. Both the Prince of Wales and the president of India will have a prominent role in the opening ceremony in Delhi. The Queen has asked the Prince of Wales to represent Her at the opening of the Commonwealth Games.

Earlier The Daily Mail quoted an anonymous Indian “official source” as saying: “Although there has not been an official announcement, we have decided the president will open the Games.”

Why is it that politicians always try to set themselves in the first fiddle, when they obviously have no right to do so? There is no doubt that The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and therefore the one and only person to open the Commonwealth Games. Her heir and successor is Prince Charles – also as Head of the Commonwealth - and he will be sent to represent Her Majesty. She did not ask the Indian president or any other politician to be her representative. India may try to override the shortcomings in the preparations to this year’s Commonwealth Games by setting new rules. But being the second biggest nation on earth does not give India the right to embarrass the heir to the throne and all other Commonwealth nations who are loyal to the principle of this free association of nations.

The only acceptable compromise could be that His Royal Highness and Ms. Patel will both proclaim the Games open simultaneously.

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