|The Queen and Prince Philip welcome the Bahraini king and queen.|
What was supposed to be a celebration of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne was overshadowed by protests over the presence of the king of Bahrain.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Lunch did not go well for prodemocracy protesters, although the event graced the biggest gathering of the world’s crowned heads and royals since her 1953 Coronation.
Human rights activists were horrified that Queen Elizabeth II invited Hamad Al-Khalifa, whose regime has been accused of violently repressing prodemocracy movements in Bharain. The queen herself greeted the Bahraini sovereign, although she did not courtesy him, given that both are reigning sovereigns.
The lunch for sovereign monarchs at Windsor Castle was considered largest gathering of crowned heads of state since the Coronation in 1953. All senior members of the Royal Family were present. The seating plan detailed 24 kings and queens, one emperor, a grand duke and a sultan, along with eight princesses, an emir and an empress, reports Daily Mail.
Other guests who are under fire include King Mswati III of Swaziland, whose obscene and lavish lifestyle bordered vulgarity while his country was living in poverty. Likewise, Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia was also present. He hails from a kingdom that does recognize democracy. Not to be outdone is Kuwait’s former prime minister, Sheik Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah, who was forced to step down after charges of corrupt practices.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell declared: “Queen Elizabeth II is hosting seven royal tyrants today: Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland. Inviting these blood-soaked dictators brings shame to the monarchy and tarnishes the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It is a cruel betrayal of pro-democracy campaigners and political prisoners who are suffering under these totalitarian royal regimes.”
But the queen is not entirely to blame, but rather it’s the Foreign Office who placed her in an impossible position, claimed former Foreign Minister Dennis McShane.
“Many in Britain will regret that the Foreign Secretary, who approves all invitations sent in the Queen’s name as head of state, has decided to include a representative of the Bahraini regime which has done such terrible things to its own people since the Arab awakening a year ago,” he said in an interview with Daily Mail.