Monday 29 November 2010

Two setbacks for republicans
This weekend saw two considerable backlashes for republicans.

Kingdom of Spain
The Spanish autonomous region Catalonia voted against the incumbent three party coalition government. While the Socialists (PSC) lost nine and the former Communists/Greens (Iniciativa Verds-Esquerra ICV-EUiA) two seats, the Republican Left (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya - ERC) was more than halved: from 21 seats it could retain only ten. Or in actual figures: In 2006 414,067 Catalonians had given their votes to the ERC, this time 218,046 Catalonians thought it to be a good idea to vote for the republican left.

The new government will be built by Covergència i Unió (CiU), a conservative and moderate separatist oriented party that had been in power for most of the time after Catalonia regained its autonomous status and became one of the autonomous Communities within Spain in 1980.

Victoria went to the polls on Saturday and although not all votes are counted yet, it is most likely that the Australian Labor Party’s eleven years in government will come to an end. Premier John Brumby will be replaced by the Liberal Ted Baillieu. Mind you, this replacement is not the reason, why the RadicalRoyalist calls this electoral result a defeat for the republicans, though John Brumby loved to be called an "avowed republican". John Brumby’s record as a Premier of Victoria may have been appalling, when the transport system is at its worst since privatisation took place and the continuation of stupid and expensive, taxpayer strapping PPP (public private partnership) projects became a trademark of this state government, but since there is no guarantee that the incoming government of Liberal and National Party will perform any better, the main focus of this posting is on the fiercely republican Rob Hulls, Attorney General and “Labor’s attack-dog-in-chief, Brumby’s closest mate in caucus ... the man Brumby ensured became his Deputy Premier when others wanted the job after the abrupt departures of Steve Bracks and John Thwaites in mid-2007” (The Sunday Age on 28th November).

It was Hulls who accused opponents of his decision to replace the Queen with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from New Year's Day 2010 as "rabid Monarchists".

His possible replacement as Victoria’s Attorney General, Robert Clark MP, stated in a letter to the RadicalRoyalist, “that what the Attorney-General [Hulls] has announced is beyond his powers and usurping the role of judges. It is also in direct conflict with the rules made by judges about criminal court matters, which still provide for the use of The Queen’s name.”

It has to be seen, if the taking office of Mr. Clark will make a change to the better. The RadicalRoyalist will remind the new Attorney General of his words.

On a more reconciling note, it should be said that on the personal level, Mr. Brumby had an excellent relation with his Queen. After meeting the Queen of Australia in October 2009 he said: “I was so impressed by how informed she was about Victoria and about Australia. . .she was particularly interested in the recovery, how people were faring and the status of the temporary villages.

“She's a remarkable person. She's extraordinarily well informed and deeply concerned about what's happening in Victoria and Australia. That's what so impressed me and this is something she has personally felt and personally experienced.”

Sunday 28 November 2010

Monarchy versus Republic

A reflexion on the pros and cons of a Monarchy in today's Portugal, exactly one century after the implantation of a republican system:

Saturday 27 November 2010

Queen Elizabeth holds talks with Sultan Qaboos on boosting Britain-Oman ties

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II met Sultan Qaboos during a visit to Muscat marking the 40th anniversary of his rule, on her second and final leg of a Gulf tour.

Dressed in light pink with a white bag, gloves and shoes, the 84-year-old monarch who arrived from a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, to the Sultan’s Al Alam Palace.

Omani artillery fired a 21-gun salute to the Queen upon her arrival at the palace, Oman’s official ONA news agency reported.

The Sultan, the Queen and Prince Philip discussed “the historical relations binding the two friendly countries (and) aspects of the existing close co-operation between the two sides in all fields,” it said.

The visit “is an opportunity to celebrate our thriving relationship” with Oman “which has been transformed since Her Majesty last visited in 1979 ... and to look forward to even stronger ties,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement posted on the embassy’s website.

More photos on Queen Elizabeth's visit to the Sultanate of Oman at Noblesse et Royautés.

On 6th and 7th March 2011 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will pay a visit to Oman on the invitation of Sultan Qaboos. The Dutch Queen will be accompanied by Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife, Princess Maxima.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Message from The Queen of New Zealand to Prime Minister John Key

I am deeply saddened by today's news that there is now no hope for the men trapped in the Pike River mine.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of these 29 brave miners and to all who have been touched by this national disaster.

I send my thanks and deep appreciation to everyone who has worked so hard to attempt a rescue and also to those who will have a part to play in the task of healing the pain that is being felt throughout New Zealand and around the world.

At this sad and difficult time my thoughts and prayers are with you all.


In memory of the Pike River miners
The Queen’s visit to Oman

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom begins a four-day state visit today to mark the 40th anniversary of the reign of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the local British residents hope that the tour will boost relations between the people of the two countries.

The Queen, arriving in Muscat from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a two-day tour, last visited the Sultanate in 1979. She will have the privilege of seeing major changes that have happened in the Sultanate, from state-of-the-art technologies to international standard infrastructure.

The Queen’s arrival in Oman will delight over 7,000 of her loyal subjects who are living and working in the Sultanate, the largest western expatriate community in the country. All of them hope the visit will boost UK-Oman trade relations.

Stephen Thomas, CEO of Renaissance, cited the trade treaty of 1800 that cemented commercial activities between the two countries. An earlier one dates back even further to the year 1645, according to archives available with the Ministry of National Heritage.

In the context of this enduring friendship, it is entirely appropriate that Queen Elizabeth should want to pay a state visit to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the people of Oman at the time of the 40th National Day celebrations. This reflects the highest standing of the relations between the two countries,” the Renaissance CEO, said.

Ross Cormack, CEO of Nawras Telecommunications, says he is proud, as a British national that the relations between the UK and Oman stretch back centuries and the bond is still strong today.

British businesses and citizens have contributed in many ways to the development of Oman over the years and will enjoy the fruits of the Queen’s visit to mark the 40th anniversary of His Majesty’s rule. Relationships flourish on many levels and not only between nations but also to touch the hearts of individuals,” said Cormack.

Kevin Hasler, General Manager of ZEENAH PR, said the visit will be one of the highlights of the 40th anniversary celebrations and the British expatriate community is already buzzing with excitement.

The Sultanate and the UK have enjoyed exceptionally close ties for the past 40 years. The fact that the Queen and Prince Philip will spend so long in Oman is a clear testament to the continued strength of the special relationship between the two countries. A visit of this length will also enable both the countries to build even stronger economic ties and enhance trade and prosperity between the nations,” Kevin Hassler, said.

But the Queen’s arrival is also about acknowledging the increasingly influential role His Majesty has prominently played in the international arena. His Majesty is considered by many in the West as a powerful figure in the Gulf region and also seen as the most progressive leader as well, foreign diplomats based in Muscat, said.

His Majesty the Sultan has become a major peace arbitrator in the regional political affairs. The Queen’s visit is a direct recognition of this fact,” an European diplomat, said.

Times of Oman

The historical relations between the two countries date back to the time of the Ya’aariba Imams in Oman. During the reign of Sayyid Sultan bin Ahmed (1792-1804), the two countries signed an agreement on 12th October 1798, under which Sayyid Sultan pledged his support to the British government on issues of global concern. On 18th January 1800, another pact was inked between the two countries, which intended to beef up the 1798 agreement. According to an agreement in 1804, signed on behalf of the British government by John Malcolm, assistant to the British Resident at Hyderabad, India, Sayyid Sultan bin Ahmed allowed Britain to set up a British agency in Muscat.

The British consulate in the Sultanate was established in 1800 during the reign of Sayyid Sultan Ahmed bin Said. It is also a fact that Sultan Said bin Taimour attended the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

13 percent of the Germans want a Monarchy

This Wednesday the German magazine stern published a new representative opinion poll, which brought a surprising result: 13 percent of the 1,000 Germans asked on 18th and 19th November favour a Monarchy. 67 percent oppose it and 20 percent could not make up their mind.

Surprisingly high was the positive Monarchist response among the young Germans between 18 and 29 years. In this age group 19 percent wish to see a Monarch ruling in Berlin.

The online news site Monsters and observed that Germans have an "obsessive interest in the royals of other European countries. ... The poll came in the wake of the announcement of the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton - which has made the front pages in Germany."

Though 13 percent may seem insignificant, but considering that Germany lost her Monarchy in 1918, 92 years ago, practically no German alive had first hand experience with their Monarchy. The last German who shook the Kaiser's hand must have passed away a long time ago.

And by the way: The German people have never been given the chance to decide in a rair and free referendum on their country being a republic of a Monarchy.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Support for Swedish monarchy increases

A new opinion poll, published in the Swedish newspaper Expressen, showed increased support for the Swedish Monarchy.

The internet news site The Local reported, the recent publication of a controversial biography on Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf does not appear to have affected the level of support the monarchy receives among Swedes.

A Demoskop poll published in the Expressen daily on Tuesday showed that 69 percent of respondents said that Sweden should continue to be a monarchy. The survey questioned 1,381 Swedes from November 13th to 17th.

The result is an increase from the 63 percent support polled in the spring ahead of Crown Princess Victoria's wedding to Prince Daniel on June 19th. The previous measurement was conducted on April 21st with 615 interviews.

On both occasions, respondents were asked, "Do you think that Sweden should continue to be a monarchy with a king or queen as head of state or should we become a republic with a president as head of state?"

The unofficial, tell-all biography "Carl XVI Gustaf - the reluctant monarch" ("Carl XVI Gustaf - Den motvillige monarken") went on sale on November 4th, providing details of supposed "wild parties" and "affairs with young women".

Despite worries that the book would damage the royal family and confidence in the monarchy, it appears the opposite is the case, Expressen reported on Tuesday.

"There is no doubt that support for the royal family strengthened after the wedding. However, no wedding in the world could have saved the King and his popularity if it were not for him. The Swedish people's new record support says it in clear language: The King, you did it," Johan T Lindwall, the newspaper's court reporter concluded.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Accession Day: King Juan Carlos I
35 Years on the Spanish throne

On 22nd November 1975 Don Juan Carlos, the Prince of Spain, was proclaimed King of Spain in the Spanish Cortes. Spain had been a Kingdom without King since 1947, when a referendum approved the Monarchy that had been toppled by republicans in 1931.

For 35 years King Juan Carlos of Spain has enjoyed the unquestioning loyalty of his subjects and the discreet respect of the media. The King's role in helping restore democracy in Spain after the dictatorship of Franco won him the enduring gratitude and respect of a majority of Spaniards.

Born in Rome on 5th January 1938, the King returned to Spain at the age of ten, where he studied and was groomed as the successor to Franco. He was proclaimed King after General Franco's death, but steered the country toward a parliamentary system and now has little actual power.

During an attempted military coup in February 1981, the King went on television to denounce the putsch and urged the Spanish people to support the democratically elected government.

The Royal Family remains popular among Spaniards, who in May 2007 voted King Juan Carlos the greatest Spaniard of all time, beating out Christopher Columbus and Miguel de Cervantes, the author of "Don Quixote."

Thursday 18 November 2010

70th Birthday of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos of Oman

Sultan Qaboos ibn Said Al Said (Arabic: قابوس بن سعيد آل سعيد‎;) was born on 18th November 1940. He ascended to the throne of Oman on 23rd July 1970 deposing his father, Sultan Sa‘id ibn Taymur.

Since 1962 the Dhofar Rebellion, a Marxist rebel group supported by the neighbouring South Yemeni’s Marxist regime threatened the country. Since his father seemed unable to fight back the Marxist terror, Sultan Qaboos had to act. He introduced major social reforms to deprive the rebellion of popular support and modernised the state's administration. The rebellion ended in 1975 with the intervention of Iranian Imperial ground forces – the last time a Monarch gave assistance to another Monarch in need - and major offensives by the expanded Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces.

Sultan Qaboos is the only son of Sultan Said ibn Taimur and Princess Mazoon al-Mashani. He is one of the 8th generation of the Al Bu Sa‘idi dynasty. He received his primary and secondary education in Salalah and at Pune, in India, and was sent to a boarding school in the UK in 1956. At 20 he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduating from Sandhurst, he joined a British Infantry regiment, The Cameronians, and served in the 1st Battalion in Germany for one year. He also held a staff appointment with the British Army.

After his military service, Sultan Qaboos studied local government subjects in Britain and, after a world tour, returned home to Salalah where he studied Islam and the history of his country. Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id is a religious liberal Muslim of the Ibadi school of jurisprudence, which has traditionally dominated Oman.

His Majesty’s rule has made Oman one of the best administered countries – not only in the Middle East. In November 2010, The United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) listed Oman as the most-improved nation in last 40 years from among 135 countries worldwide. On the Index of Economic Freedom, Oman is ranked third freest among the seventeen countries in the Middle East/North Africa region; its economy overall is ranked forty-second freest in the world, reflecting a score higher than the regional average

Despite Oman’s economic liberalization, the Sultanate remains dependent on the oil revenues that account for 75 percent of the country’s export earnings and 40 percent of its gross domestic product. But oil production is declining and is bearing on the country’s economy, which His Majesty tries to counter by diversifying Oman's economy. In recent years Oman became a popular tourist destination.

The future of the Monarchy

Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id has no children and has three sisters. There are however other male members of the Omani Royal Family including several paternal uncles and their families. Using primogeniture the successor to Sultan Qaboos would appear to be one of the children of his late uncle, His Royal Highness Prince Tariq ibn Taimur Al-Said, the former, first and only Prime Minister in Oman's history.
Republicans catch a cold, while the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is in royal wedding fever

Once again The Age demonstrated its mediocre journalism. On day two after the news of the engagement of Prince William and Katherine Middleton The Age’s Europe correspondent Paola Totaro’s report A match fit for the times was placed on the front page, while yesterday’s Age had the news hidden on page 12 as “World News”. Today’s page 14 was exclusively dedicated to “the Royal Wedding”.

Tony Wright, not the usual royal editor of The Age, wrote:
“Julia Gillard could hardly looked more radiant ...: ‘The world awoke this morning to happy news,’ Ms Gillard beamed to the House of Representatives, delivering the glad tidings of a new betrothal.

"No sooner had Ms. Gillard finished gushing and offering the nation’s best wishes than
Tony Abbott was on his feet, declaring himself ‘Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition’. “I rise also to congratulate Prince William, our future king and Miss Kate Middleton on their engagement,” he said. ‘Every Australian should rejoice at their happiness.’

”Malcolm Turnbull, once the most prominent republican in the land, peered into the middle distance.

“Mr. Abbott was so swept away that when Speaker Henry Jenkins childed him a little later for interjecting when normal political combat had resumed, he pleaded ‘royal wedding fever’.”

The Age’s editorial “Here’s to William and Kate” had the usual republican rants like: “The Age, which believes in a republican Australia, can also believe in fairytales. Congratulations!

The printed version contained an opinion piece by Monica Hesse from The Washington Post. Why The Age had to fall back on an American writer remains a mystery. Was an article from the Guardian newspaper not available? What about the usual suspects from the republican Australian journo camp, didn’t they want to spread their well-known hatred of the Australian Monarchy?

It could be asked why The Age did not find a Monarchist columnist who could comment of the good news from Buckingham Palace, but gave space to an article of Klaas Woldring, convenor of Republic Now Association Inc., "Time to breathe life into an archaic constitution". Although he admits that “the republic has been removed from the public policy agenda”, he calls the Australian Constitution “this costly, undemocratic and inflexible document”. And he also states: “A sovereign people can rewrite its Constitution at any time. That is the essence of its sovereignty.” Did he forget that in 1999 the sovereign people of Australia said NO to a republic?

Message from the Governor-General
Your Royal Highness,

on behalf of all Australians, Michael and I send our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to you and Miss Catherine Middleton upon the announcement of your engagement to marry next year.

Australians were delighted, earlier this year, to have the opportunity to welcome you to Australia. Our time with you in Sydney was memorable and thoroughly enjoyable. [Did the Governor-General forget that HRH was also in Melbourne and country Victoria? RR]

Your genuine fondness for Australia and Australians shone through in all your interactions, and I know that these feelings are very much reciprocated.

I am sure that Australians look forward with anticipation and excitement to hearing of your wedding preparations as they unfold. It is a unifying time of much joy and celebration. And, naturally, we will take immense pleasure in welcoming you both on the occasion of your first visit to Australia together some time in the future.

Your Royal Highness, your announcement has warmed our nation’s heart.

Friday 12 November 2010

The Duchess of Cornwall attends a service to commemorate journalists

The Duchess of Cornwall joined families of British journalists who have died over the last decade reporting conflicts around the world, in a memorial service held in their honour on 10th November 2010.

Attending the service at St. Bride’s church on Fleet Street, which is often regarded as the spiritual home for journalists throughout the world, were also a number of well-known media figures.

Addressing the congregation rector David Meara, said: "As consumers of news in a fast-changing world, we demand a great deal of our journalists and foreign correspondents.

"We expect them to keep us informed about difficult and complex situations in the trouble spots of the world, often at great personal risk, and sometimes, tragically, they pay the ultimate price.

"Their families, many of whom are with us today, know only too well that bearing witness to the truth has a personal cost.

Among the congregation was Helen Garston, the widow of Sunday Mirror defence correspondent Rupert Hamer, 39, who was killed in January in Afghanistan. He died when a vehicle he was travelling in was hit by a bomb while he was embedded with the US Marine Corps.

After the service, The Duchess attended a reception where she met with the families and those who attended.

Thursday 11 November 2010

The Queen met Australian Victoria Cross and George Cross holders

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Australia, met Australian Victoria Cross and George Cross holders (left to right) Michael Pratt GC, Mark Donaldson VC and Keith Payne VC, at a reception for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association on 10th November 2010.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Rare Species
Panda bears are a rare species, but equally rare are real Monarchs.

Here Queen Sofia of Spain meets a baby Panda bear in Madrid's zoo. At the Madrid Zoo & Aquarium a pair of twin pandas were born on 7th September 2010, conceived through artificial insemination in a joint effort by Spain's National Research council other scientiests. The cubs are the first of their species to be born in Spain since 1982 and only the third litter to be born in Europe.