Ugandan Royal Tombs Burned
On Tuesday night, Uganda’s 128 year-old royal tombs of the Buganda people were ablaze. This sparked outraged by the tribe who then clashed with riot police overnight. The police shot at the crowds, leading to the reported deaths of two people.
The tombs, which were UNESCO sites, were the Bugandan people’s link to their heritage. It is the latest skirmish between these people and President Yoweri Museveni.
Reportedly, crowds prevented Museveni from visiting and inspecting the tombs.
Meanwhile, the Buganda people are grief stricken over loss of the resting place of their leaders. Their King, Ronald Mutebi, is calling for a week of mourning.
“We have lost our treasured culture, this is the origin of all the Buganda culture, this is where our ancestors are buried,” said the tomb’s custodian, Fred Mukasa.
The Uganda government believes arson may be the cause of the fire.
“There are people who want to cause harm to this Kingdom. They are keen on destabilizing us and we don’t know whether they’re behind this,” Reuters quoted Buganda regional official Charles Peter Mayiga as saying.
The Buganda Kingdom is one of the four largest in Uganda. It was not established until 1993 by President Museveni, who reinstated it as a cultural institution with no political power.
Last year, there were riots in Uganda’s capital of Kampala over the Kingdom’s relations with the government.
Tough Week for Crown Princess Mary
These are not easy times for Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary, who many royal watchers believe has never put a foot wrong since marrying Crown Prince Frederik in May 2004 – until now.
Getty Images/Bauer Griffin
First, last week came the news that the future Queen attended a dinner party that included on its guest list, a socialite convicted of cocaine possession. Mary was even photographed with controversial figure, Rigmor Zobel.
Then earlier this week, a major member of one of the Crown Princess’ charities resigned after assaulting an escort worker.
The tabloid, Seg Og Hoer, claims Mary’s mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe II, angrily confronted her over these two matters. It also prompted an usual statement from the royal household.
“Generally the royals of course must be aware of who they deal with,” royal spokeswoman Lene Balleby said to reporters.
“As the future Queen of Denmark she’s not allowed to have any contact with a person convicted for possession of drugs,” editor Kim Henningsen told News Limited yesterday.
“I’ve always said members of the royal family should get closer to Danish people, but I never meant that she should go to a party with a criminal.”
As for the key member of Mary’s charity, The Mary Foundation, who resigned, his name is not being released due to legal reasons. However, his name may come out as he is dealing with serious issues. Besides assaulting an escort worker, he held her prisoner for six hours at his villa after she allegedly found child pornography on his computer.
It is ironic that such a person was a board member of The Mary Foundation since that charity focuses on preventing domestic abuse and bullying.
Princess Fadzillah Opens Brunei Special Olympics
Princess Fadzillah Lubabul Bolkiah was a guest of honor for the opening ceremonies of the 5th Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam (SOBD) on Thursday. She arrived at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex, smiling and waving to the participants.
Fadzillah was then introduced to co-chairman of the organizing committee, Dato Paduka Hj Jemat Hj Ampal, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, who gave a speech welcoming the athletes. He also spoke of his high hopes for the Games.
“For this annual event we want to raise the profile of special athletes not only on the local scene but also internationally.”
After that, the Princess stood up and officially opened the Games. She was then introduced to and presented plaques to leaders of participating teams.
For a three day period, the SOBD will showcase 200 athletes in such sports as track and field, Bocce, football, bowling and a Young Athletes event meant for those aged 8 and younger.
The SOBD is also a chance for the athletes to be chosen to participate in the Special Olympics International World Games in Athens, Greece, being held this June.
Princess Fadzillah, age 24, is the ninth of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s twelve children. Her mother is the former Pengiran Isteri Mariam, whom the Sultan divorced in 2003 thus removing her of all her royal titles.
Frederik & Mary Also in Hungary
Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are currently in Budapest, Hungary – the same time as Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are getting ready to leave. While the two couples did not meet up at one point, Budapest certainly got a taste of royalty this week.
The Crown Princely couple are in the city for its Spring Festival, where their country is the guest of honor. Running from March 19th to April 5th, the festivities include classical music and opera performances, ballets, film screenings and open-air performances.
Frederik and Mary attended the afternoon open ceremonies at the Ludwig Museum where Danish contemporary art in being showcased. Called “Power Games”, the exhibit aims to blend politics and social issues together.
As the sun set Friday, the couple visited Hungarian President Sólyom Lászó in Sándor Palace. The President also took the Prince and Princess to the Royal Ballet’s performance of “La Sylphide” and “Symphony C” in the National Opera House. Several Hungarian ministers and the Danish Minister of Culture were also there.
Frederik and Mary’s stay in Budapest would be exciting, but also brief. They are to return to Denmark Saturday.
Charles & Camilla in Hungary
Friday marks the third and final day for Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, official visit to Hungary. It was the second stop on their tour of central Europe, following Poland. While Camilla’s pinched nerve in her back caused her to sit out some engagements, Prince Charles was able to fulfill this visit.
AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky
President Laszlo Solyom officially greeted the royal couple in Budapest on Wednesday. After initial talks, Solyom presented Prince Charles with the Hungarian Republic’s Order of Merit with the Grand Cross in recognition of his environmental work.
The President then hosted Charles and Camilla at a gala dinner in the Sandor Palace later that night. It was there that the Prince of Wales praised his Hungarian ancestry.
“I have a special relationship with Hungary since I am proud to be one thirty-second Hungarian myself, through my great great great grandmother, Countess Rhedey,” he said.
The next day, the Prince and the Duchess went to visit the Dohany Street Synagogue, where Charles wore a skullcap with his emblem on the front. The two lit a candle to remember the victims of the Holocaust and received a tour of its Holocaust memorial. Dohany is the second largest synagogue in the world.
Next came a trip to the open air museum dedicated to Hungarian culture and folklore in the Danube riverside town of Szentendre. However, Charles was alone on this as his wife’s back pain continued to force her to sit out some visits. According to the Clarence House spokeswoman, Camilla is determined to make it through this tour.
“We’ll have to take it on a day to day basis,” the spokeswoman said.
After the museum, Prince Charles, reunited with Camilla, went to the head office of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe also in the town of Szentendre. He met with some students and talked to them about taking care of the environment.
But Charles also brought up one of his country’s social ills in the debate. When one student asked him if someone dropped some litter in a wooded area, would he pick it up?
AP Photo/MTI, Imre Foeld
“The difficult thing is asking them to pick it up without getting stabbed,” said the future King.
Great Britain has been plagued with anti-social behavior in its youths. Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Trust, aims to help those particular people find work and be more productive in society.
After the school, Charles returned to Budapest for a visit to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was given a pair of 3-D glasses to read ancient texts discovered by academics under the words of a 13th century prayer book. In addition, the Prince used the glasses to watch video of a frog trying to catch a fly with its tongue.
Finally on Friday, Prince Charles and Camilla met with Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, who gave the couple a tour of Parliament, one of the world’s largest in size.
Also that day, Camilla took the time to visit patients in a children’s hospital.
Tomorrow, the royal couple will fly to Prague, Czech Republic for the final stop on their tour, where they will spend three days there. It is a wonder how much the Duchess will be able to endure with her back ache, but judging from what she has done so far on this trip, she may sit out some and make it for others.