Thursday, November 25, 2010

25-Nov-10: Royal visits and royal non-visits

On a visit to Canada, the Queen did NOT find it necessary to adopt the
hosts' style of clothing. In Abu Dhabi, it's evidently another story.
Since acceeding to the British throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has undertaken (as Wikipedia points out) a huge number of state and official visits as well as trips throughout the Commonwealth. Numbering about 250, they make her probably the most widely travelled monarch in history.

Yesterday, Wednesday, she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Abu Dhabi for a five-day state visit to the Gulf including two-days in sunny Oman ("to join the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of Sultan Qaboos's ascension to the throne").

This report, a small and - without wishing to be unkind - not terribly weighty bit of news, got us thinking about which countries the Queen has visited, and which not. Also: what those visits are intended to say to the people of the United Kingdom as well as to the people of the countries she visits.

Travel very likely has lost whatever appeal it may have had in Her Majesty's earlier years. Even if she were not 84 years old (and she is, born in 1926), these are undoubtedly tiring, boring chores. Yet the visits keep coming. And the list gets longer.

It's a long list by anyone's standards. Digging around on the web, we have found 118 countries and country-like entities. (One source we saw says 129 countries, but having researched it we think they're wrong.) Here they are in alphabetical order.
Aden, Algeria, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda , Australia , Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, British Guiana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Cocos Islands, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Grenadines , Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jamaica , Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta , Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Mustique , Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Hebrides, New Zealand , Nigeria , Norfolk Island, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda , United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vatican City, Western Samoa, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Notice which country is missing?

At a gala dinner in London a year ago, a prominent British historian said the omission of Israel from the list of royal destinations is no accident. The British Foreign Office placed a ban on royal visits to Israel "...which is even more powerful for its being unwritten and unacknowledged."

In one of the UK's leading papers today, the unwritten and unacknowledged became slightly less so. In an article entitled "British foreign policy to change reflecting Arab concerns on Middle East",  the Telegraph writes that the royal visit may be an indicator of:
"yet further withdrawal of traditional British support for Israel, with criticism of its government already more marked under Mr Hague than it was under New Labour government. In another indication of the Foreign Office's new sensitivity to Arab opinion, officials admitted to The Daily Telegraph that policies on the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006, Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2008-9, and its occupation of the West Bank and settlements policy were "motivators" for the Islamic radicalism that they confronted daily in the Gulf."
A good thing we have Her Majesty the Queen around. Makes it a little easier to understand the direction in which the British winds are blowing.


Anonymous said...

Another country missing from the list is Palestine. The Uk also has also enjoyed traditionally very strong ties there, dating back well before the Israeli state was even established.
She is a sensitive and precious figurehead of the British people and probably feels the same way William Hague and the vast majority of British people do about apartheid.

Anonymous said...

"..yet further withdrawal of traditional British support for Israel"

Pardon me??? Exactly what is that traditional British support for Israel? Does it date back to handing out guns to the Arabs while banning Jews from bearing arms, or just looking the other way while Arabs slaughtered the Jewish inhabitants of Hebron and other places?

The View from Ramot said...

Posting anonymously is not only contrary to our guidelines but confusing. The two anonymii above are two different people (we guess). So please ladies and gentlemen, give us an email address or a name.

Henry_Tree said...

To the First Anonymous:
H.M. Queen Elizabeth II has indeed visited an area sometimes called "Palestine", for the West Bank and East Jerusalem were under Jordanian rule until Jordan chose the wrong side in the 1967 war. Israel pleaded with Jordan to stay out of the war. Jordan ignored those pleas and along with Iraq, they attacked West Jerusalem.


Jordanian and Iraqi forces attacked Israel on the second day of that war. The IDF then pushed the invading Jordanian and Iraqi armies back out of West Jerusalem and as in all wars since the beginnig of time, the IDF continued pushing their enemies back until they had secure positions to defend. That is where we are today.

Suddenly "Palestine" was created in the former Jordanian lands. THERE WAS NO PALESTINE UNTIL AFTER THAT DEFEAT OF THE JORDANIAN AND IRAQI ARMIES.

However, as Her Majesty has visited Jordan, it can safely be said she has visited a place which in parts now likes to call itself Palestine. Ergo she has visited "Palestine".

Now, that still leaves Israel off her visits list. Why? (As if we don't know.)