Strawberry tarts and red carnations this time . . .. next time a gun?
In this newsletter, there’s a report which will bring a smile . . . four teenage Swedes were hauled before a court for hitting their King, Carl Gustaf, with a strawberry tart! They had nothing against Carl Gustaf, they told the court – it was their protest against authority. And only a couple of weeks ago, a Latvian teenager hurled three red carnations in Prince Charles’ face when he was on a ‘walkabout’ in the capital, Riga. Again, nothing personal against the royal visitor, just another protest against authority and the injustices she sees in her newly liberated country . . . . not that Prince Charles had anything to do with that or could do anything about it.
Youth will have its fling, you’ll say. But the increased tension around the world following the horrific events in New York and Washington on September 11 has meant that every time any of us gets on a plane we’re looking over our shoulder to convince ourselves that airport security has been tightened. We’re all much more aware that, out there, somebody might be out to get us. Perhaps we now know something more about what it is like to be a royal in the new Millennium. We’re all potential targets now.
The British royals have had more than their share of security scares. In Royalty’s first year of publication, 1981, a man fired a starting pistol during Trooping The Colour and it took all Queen Elizabeth’s skill as a horsewoman – and the amazing temperament of her horse, Burmese – to avoid an accident. Prince Charles had shots fired at him in Australia and it’s just over 20 years ago that Princess Anne was stopped yards from Buckingham Palace by a man with gun. The history books tell us of numerous assassination attempts on royals – many successful – and we shouldn’t forget that the 20th century had hardly begun when an assassin’s bullet in Sarajevo lit the fuse to start the War to end all Wars. The contemporary media – especially the tabloids – have periodic moans about the security surrounding modern Royals. After all, they cry, this is the 21st century and the monarchies are supposed to be making themselves more accessible to the people. These two recent events in Europe should be a reminder of why royal security is more vital than ever. Ok, it was a strawberry tart and red carnations that were the chosen weapons. Some day it could be very different.
A final thought . . . months before Princess Diana died in that horrific accident in a Paris underpass, she dispensed with the services of the Royal Protection Squad who had served her ever since her engagement to Prince Charles. If she hadn’t, would she have been allowed to get into a car with a drunk driver at the wheel?
Japan’s Crown Princess Masako has baby girl
After more than eight years of marriage to Japan’s royal heir, Crown Princess Masako gave birth to a baby girl, their first child. Crown Prince Naruhito said he was happy for the safe delivery, palace spokesman Hirofumi Oka added. The birth is to be followed by a series of elaborate rituals. Hours after the event, a palace chamberlain was to present to the newborn a specially commissioned sword with a crimson case lined with white silk and embossed with the imperial seal. Later, when the baby is ready for its first bath, court-appointed officials in silk costumes will line up outside the bathhouse and pluck at the strings of wooden bows to ward off evil spirits. Under postwar Japanese law, only males are allowed to assume the throne. The last reigning empress was Gosakuramachi, who ascended in 1762. But the lack of potential heirs after Naruhito has caused considerable anxiety, and prompted some to call for a revision of the law so that women can also be in line to the throne. The Imperial Family hasn’t had a boy since Naruhito’s younger brother, Prince Akishino, was born in 1965. The last seven births, including Akishino’s own two daughters, have been girls. Naruhito, 41, is the eldest son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. Along with Akishino, the Imperial Couple also has a daughter, Princess Sayako, who has yet to marry.
Teenagers convicted of cream cake treason
Four Swedish teenagers have been convicted of high treason for throwing a cream cake at the King. They threw the cake in King Carl Gustaf’s face during a royal visit to Varberg, on Sweden’s west coast. The boys were all fined after being found guilty in the first Swedish treason case in modern times. They were all aged 16 and 17 and shouted: “For King and country” as they threw the cake at the King. The teenagers later told reporters their attack was a protest against the Swedish monarchy. The pie-thrower was fined 100 days’ wages and his accomplices were each fined 80 days’ wages. The court also convicted the boys of assault and stressed that their punishment would have been more severe if they had been older.
New TV series lifts lid on Queen’s relationship with Diana
A new ITV series is expected to lift the lid on the Queen’s troubled relationship with Princess Diana. ‘The Queen’s Story’ features interviews with Lady Mountbatten, the Queen of Denmark, and other members of the royal circle. They talk about the Queen’s most difficult relationships of her reign.The documentary is expected to be broadcast in the New Year. It stretches from the post-war years of the Queen’s birth through to the present day. Producer Leonie Jameson says she feels the Queen’s story has not been put to the media. “You can’t make a biographical documentary about the Queen without looking at the most criticised relationship of her reign,” she told the Media Guardian. “The Queen spoke to Lady Mountbatten of her feelings of helplessness because her son had made such an unhappy marriage.
Camilla joins Charles for church service
Camilla Parker Bowles has made a rare public appearance with the Prince of Wales. They attended a church service together for the first time. Mrs Parker Bowles has stayed at Sandringham House but this is thought to be the first time she has been seen on the estate in public with the Prince. Mrs Parker Bowles was one of a group of about 12 of the Prince’s house guests for a private weekend at the Queen’s Norfolk estate. They walked from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalen Church for the morning service. Flanked by female guests, Mrs Parker Bowles was not seen side-by-side with the Prince. Members of the church party also included Princess Alexandra and her husband Sir Angus Ogilvy, the Duke of Westminster, and ex-Queen Ann Marie of Greece.
Diana’s ex-butler to stand trial
Paul Burrell has been committed to stand trial at the Old Bailey accused of stealing from the Royal Family. The former butler to Princess Diana will stand trial on January 10 next year. Burrell, 43, whom Diana described as “my rock”, was committed for trial in a 15-minute hearing before Bow Street magistrates. He is charged with three counts of theft which relate to 302 items belonging to Diana’s estate, 22 items belonging to Prince William and four items belonging to the Prince of Wales. Burrell was close to tears at the end of the hearing. He was remanded on conditional bail and was told by District Judge Timothy Workman to report to the Central Criminal Court on January 10. Burrell, of Farndon, Chester, was arrested on suspicion of theft in January this year. The items are alleged to have been stolen between January 1 1997, and June 30 1998 from Kensington Palace. They include personal photographs and negatives, crockery, jewellery, CDs, hats, cards and letters. Among these, it was alleged, were letters from Diana to Prince William, signed: “Mummy”.
Queen joins bereaved families at service for terror victims
The Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair and former United States President George Bush joined bereaved families at a national service for Britons who died in the New York terrorist attacks. Some 800 friends and relatives of the estimated 80 Britons who perished were among the 1,200-strong congregation at the Westminster Abbey service, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and senior Cabinet ministers. US ambassador to London William Farish, representatives of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York firefighters were also present. George Bush senior was asked by his son and namesake, the present US President, to represent the American people at the UK national service.
Both the British and American national anthems were played at the start of the service during which Mr Blair and actress Dame Judi Dench read poems, and Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey delivered the sermon. The Union Jack and Stars and Stripes were carried, side by side, into the Abbey. The Queen, paying her personal respects, laid a posy of white roses and lily of the valley entwined with herbs, on the Abbey’s Memorial to Innocent Victims, just outside the Great West Door.
Prince Charles launches own organic milk
Prince Charles has launched his own brand of organic milk which will be sold under his luxury Duchy Originals brand. It’s produced from Ayrshire cows at Home Farm on his Gloucestershire Highgrove estate. All the profits from the milk, which can be bought at Waitrose stores for a £1 a litre, will go to charity. The packaging on the carton reads: “When HRH the Prince of Wales created Duchy Originals in 1990 it was because of his belief in the clear advantages of organic farming.” While the milk has been criticised for being expensive, a spokeswoman for Duchy Originals defended the price. She said: “For a start its organic which always boosts the price up. And it’s from Ayrshire cattle which are some of the finest.”
Duke ‘very saddened’ by death of sister
The Duke of Edinburgh is said to be “very saddened” by the death of his last surviving sister, Princess George of Hanover. Prince Philip did not attend the funeral in Germany but is expected to be present at a memorial service in January. Other members of the Royal Family, including the Earl of Wessex who was the Princess’ godson, are also expected to attend the memorial service. Princess George, 87, had remained close to Prince Philip and, in 1994, accompanied him to Jerusalem where their mother was honoured for her humanitarian work, sheltering a Jewish family in Athens, during the Second World War. The Princess was been buried in the small Bavarian town of Schlibrsee, close to the German-Austrian border, where she died .
BOB HOUSTON – Royalty’s founder and Editor at Large reads between the week’s Royal headlines (6 Dec., 2001)
RoyaltyWatcher Newsletter 2001-12-06 – Royalty Magazine