British Prince Philip’s traffic troubles


British Prince Philip in a car, EPA photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Prince Philip on the road again shortly after collision, without a seat belt

The police in Norfolk gave the British prince Philip a reprimand because he was yesterday behind the wheel without a seat belt.

If the man behind the wheel without a seat belt shortly after causing a collision would not have been a prince, but unemployed/disabled Joe Bloggs, then I suspect police might have done a lot more than a ‘reprimand’.

According to the BBC: ‘A person caught not wearing a seatbelt could receive an on-the-spot £100 fine. If a case goes to court, the fine could increase to £500’.

On Thursday, the 97-year-old prince was involved in a car accident in which his Range Rover rolled over. Philip remained unharmed, unlike a passenger in the other car involved in the collision. She broke her wrist.

British tabloids yesterday placed photos of Philip who drove at the entrance of the Royal Estate Sandringham without a belt. Those photographs led to a storm of criticism by people who felt that the Duke of Edinburgh was irresponsible, so shortly after the accident. …

‘No apology’

The investigation into Thursday’s accident is still ongoing. Witnesses say that the prince came from a side road at Sandringham, without taking traffic into account.

The 46-year-old woman who was injured in the collision tells The Sunday Mirror that Philip has not apologized. “It has been such a traumatic and painful time and I would have expected more of the Royal Family.” …

Still, the woman wonders whether the absence of personal apologies means Philip has no regrets. ““I love the royals but I’ve been ignored and rejected and I’m in a lot of pain. What would it have taken for him and the Queen to send me a card and a bunch of flowers?” the newspaper quotes her.

From the BBC today:

Ms [Emma] Fairweather, who was a passenger in the car being driven by her friend, told the Sunday Mirror: “I’m lucky to be alive and he hasn’t even said sorry. …

She said she had not heard from the royal household but had got a call from a police family liaison officer.

“The message he passed on didn’t even make sense. He said, ‘The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would like to be remembered to you,'” she said.

“That’s not an apology or even a well-wish.”

Prince Philip ‘drives like he’s only one on road’ and is ‘notorious in Sandringham’. EXCLUSIVE After his horror crash on Thursday, a Sandringham resident has claimed to have multiple near-misses with the Duke of Edinburgh: here.

‘Prince Philip nearly ran my dad off the road – then stuck his finger up at him’. EXCLUSIVE: Rob Stevenson says his dad David was forced to take evasive action after the Duke allegedly sped around a tight corner near the Sandringham Estate two decades ago: here.

Prince Philip ‘threatened to throw Queen out of car’ after she ‘yelped’ in terror. Gyles Brandreth, a friend and biographer of The Duke of Edinburgh, spoke about the royal’s love of driving fast following Prince Phillip’s accident on Thursday: here.

Spanish royal divorce, republic?


Cartoon on Spanish royals in El Jueves

From the BBC, 13 November 2007:

A court in Spain has convicted Manel Fontdevila, cartoons editor of the popular satirical weekly magazine El Jueves, and cartoonist “Guillermo” of “damaging the prestige of the crown“.

Both men received a hefty 3,000-euro (£2,100) fine.

Their offence was to have published a cartoon last July making ribald fun of the heir to the Spanish throne, and of the government’s scheme to encourage women to have more babies by giving mothers a special payment for each new birth.

It was a caricature of Prince Filipe [Felipe] having sex with his wife, Princess Letizia, and telling her: “Do you realise that if you get pregnant, it will be the closest thing to work I’ve done in my life?”

‘More censorship’

The cartoon is funny, but the issue raised by its banning is serious. The episode has worrying echoes of last year’s frenzied and violent protests against the cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad printed in European newspapers.

Now, it is 2018, and they are King Felipe and Queen Letizia.

Today, Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws reports on quarrels between King Felipe and Queen Letizia. That may lead to divorce (a no-no for fanatically Roman Catholic Spanish royals).

Two weeks ago, when she did a working visit, Queen Letizia was ‘welcomed’ by a crowd chanting: ‘Long live the republic!’

Spanish rapper, convicted for rapping, not extradited


This 17 September 2018 video in Spanish is about a Belgian court refusing to extradite rapper Valtònyc to Spain.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

The Spanish rapper Valtònyc, who was sentenced to a prison sentence for his song lyrics and fled to Belgium, does not have to be extradited to Spain. This has been decided by the Belgian court.

The 24-year-old Josep Miquel Arenas Beltran, as the rapper really is called, was sentenced to a prison sentence of 3.5 years last year for glorification of terrorism, threats and insulting the Spanish crown in his song lyrics.

At the end of the session, lawyer Simon Bekaert told the press that the rapper, according to Belgian law, was not guilty of glorifying terrorism or lèse-majesté. “The council chamber has ruled that it is not terrorism and that there is no violation as far as Belgian law is concerned, nor was there any question of lèse-majesté.” The judge finally stated that there were no threats.

Arrest warrant

At the end of May of this year, when he had to start serving his prison sentence, Valtònyc fled to Belgium. The Mallorca rapper reported to the Belgian police two months later in Ghent after Spain had issued an arrest warrant.

The investigating judge had released the rapper conditionally, while the Belgian court had to rule on his arrest warrant.

Protest against Dutch royal hunting


Anti-royal hunting demonstrator today, photo NOS / Kysia Hekster

This photo shows a demonstrator against hunting by Dutch King Willem Alexander and his friends.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Some hundred people have demonstrated at Het Loo Royal Palace. They are against the annual shutdown in autumn of the woodlands near the palace during the traditional hunting season. A large part of the royal domain Het Loo near Apeldoorn was closed for more than three months. Until December 25, only the royal family may enter the woods.

A majority of the House of Representatives is against the annual closure, but Minister Schouten has rejected this wish and says that King Willem-Alexander is the administrator there.

Het Loo is called a ‘royal’ domain. But it is government property; the Dutch taxpayers pay its upkeep.

Driving hunt

The Fauna Protection Organisation and the Party for the Animals took action this afternoon to keep the forests open. They called on the king to be present, but he did not show up.

This morning the Fauna Protection Organisation placed a full-page letter in Trouw daily, in which the king was asked to keep the nature reserve open to the public throughout the year. The organization finds the closure unnecessary because the Royal House is said to have stopped their driving hunting for wild boar years ago. That drive hunt is also illegal. “It is a surprise to many citizens that the Royal Domain is nonetheless closed to the public every year for one hundred days”, writes the Fauna Protection Organisation.

Anti-royal hunting demonstrators today, photo NOS / Kysia Hekster

The sign on the left of this photo says, translated: Hurry up (or, in a wordplay: Stop shooting) open up (the nature reserve)! The sign on the right says Don’t let them shoot the wild boar! Party for the Animals.

Conflicts in Saudi royal family


This 24 August 2018 video says about itself:

War in Yemen: Dozens of civilians killed in Saudi-UAE bombing

Houthi rebels say at least 30 people were killed in an air raid near Hodeidah, at least 20 of them children.

The latest civilian casualties come two weeks after an aerial bombardment that destroyed a school bus, killing 40 children.

Saudi Arabia declared the earlier attack an appropriate military strike …

The charity Save the Children has estimated that an average of 140 children have been killed every day since Saudi Arabia and the UAE began their bombing campaign … in Yemen.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher reports from neighbouring Djibouti.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Saudi Arabia‘s royal feud grows with king set to remove son as crown prince

TENSIONS within the Saudi royal family continued to escalate yesterday amid reports that King Salman is seeking to remove his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince of the despotic Gulf state. …

King Salman has blocked the sale of 5 per cent of the Saudi state oil company Aramco, a deal which was central to Prince Mohammed’s plans for the kingdom to diversify its economy and become less reliant on oil revenue.

The king’s cancellation of the “Vision 2030” project has exposed deep divisions in the Saudi ruling class over the country’s future.

Prince Mohammed is seen as a central figure in the Saudi-led coalition’s three-year bombing campaign in Yemen, which has claimed at least 10,000 lives.

Global condemnation followed a recent attack on a school bus that killed at least 40 children. The United Nations launched a war crimes investigation and there were calls for the international community to stop providing arms to Saudi Arabia.

Other reports suggest that King Salman’s brother Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz is considering going into self-imposed exile after criticising the war on Yemen earlier this week.

Speaking outside his London home, the prince told protesters not to blame the entire Saudi royal family for the devastation in the Middle East’s poorest country.

“There are certain individuals who are responsible. Don’t blame anyone else”, he said.

When pressed on who was to blame, he pointed the finger at “the king and the crown prince and others in the state”, adding: “In Yemen and elsewhere, our hope is that the war ends today before tomorrow.”

SAUDI ELITE COOL ON MBS Members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are agitating to prevent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from becoming king, amid an international uproar over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. [Reuters]

Dutch public land closed for royal family hunting


This 2014 video is called Wild boar at Kroondomein het Loo.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Royal domain Het Loo [in the Veluwe region] will be closed to the public again this year from mid-September to the end of December. The nature reserve closes mostly so that members of the royal family can hunt, reports regional broadcaster Omroep Gelderland.

A majority of parliament is opposed to the closure. In April, the House adopted a proposal stating that the estate should remain open throughout the year. But Minister Schouten said that she was unable to implement that proposal. The king himself is the one who manages the royal domain and he can do so at his own discretion.

The Party for the Animals has been trying to prevent closure in the fall for years. The party thinks that the park should not be closed, because the late Queen Wilhelmina donated the park to the Dutch people in 1959. The fact that hunting at the site will probably be impossible if the crown domain remains open also plays an important role.

So, Het Loo is called a royal domain, but is in fact property of the Dutch government; which pays for its management with taxpayers’ money. “So, public property, but the public is not welcome”, a Wiesel village resident said.

This 11 September 2016 video shows a demonstration by the Apeldoorn branch of the Party for the Animals on bicycles against closing Het Loo to the public to facilitate royal hunting.

When we were at Het Loo last year, most parts were inaccessible as well.