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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:52 PM
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Royal couple face rogue's gallery of despots in Abbey's front row
Source: The Independent (UK)

By Jonathan Brown | Monday, April 25 2011

Sitting in the front rows, well ahead of the pop stars, sporting heroes and celebrities, will be figureheads from some of the world's most controversial regimes. While Colonel Gaddafi's representative has been officially uninvited (but only after the attacks began on citizens in Libya), diplomatic niceties dictate that the representatives of other unsavoury members of the London diplomatic corps, including those of North Korea and Iran, will be welcome.

Despite Zimbabwe having withdrawn from the Commonwealth in 2003 and Robert Mugabe being subject to a travel ban and sanctions, Zimbabwe's ambassador to London, Gabriel Machinga, remains on the guest list because the two countries retain "normal" relations. St James's Palace said that all heads of mission in London have been invited as a matter of course. Diplomats and heads of state are invited by the Queen rather than the royal couple, the Palace said. A recent report for the US Congress found that, while state-sponsored abuses were at a lower level than in 2008, Zimbabwe security forces continue to beat and torture opponents of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

The presence of Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and Princess Fadwa bint Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman is also likely to draw protests. Bahraini human rights protesters are staging weekly demos outside the Saudi embassy in London against the country's deployment of troops to help quash the democracy protests there. Last month Amnesty International highlighted the case of Mohammad Salih al-Bajadi, a 30-year-old Saudi businessman who co-founded a human rights organisation, who was arrested and held incommunicado after attending a protest.

A little further along the pew will sit King Mswati III of Swaziland. It is nearly four decades since political parties and trade unions were banned; three days of planned protest to mark the occasion were called off earlier this month after most of the leadership of the opposition was arrested by the security forces and a curfew declared. There has already been anger in his own country, where more than a quarter of adults have HIV/Aids the highest prevalence in the world over the absolute monarch's inclusion on the wedding guest list in London. The king, who has an estimated fortune of $100m, is no stranger to weddings: he has been married 13 times and stages an annual dance where he can choose afresh from hundreds of bare-breasted virgins. Seventy per cent of his subjects continue to live in absolute poverty, enjoying fewer rights than neighbours in Zimbabwe, and six out of 10 deaths result from Aids.

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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:04 PM
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1. The British royal family isn't a political entity
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 07:22 PM by rocktivity
If they're so despotic, why invite them at all?

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mulsh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:01 AM
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2. Their Queen is the head of state, that is a political office.
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