Opinion |

The Queen's Royal Snub of Israel

Is there another United Nations member-state that the British Royals have so consistently and assiduously snubbed in this way?

David Landau
David Landau
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Royalty from around the world pose at a Windsor luncheon held in honour of the Queen's diamond jubilee.
Royalty from around the world pose at a Windsor luncheon held in honour of the Queen's diamond jubilee.Credit: Reuters
David Landau
David Landau

This piece was originally published on May 29, 2012 by late Haaretz editor-in-chief David Landau. It is being republished amid news of the first-ever royal visit to Israel by Prince William.

As a confirmed and life-long royalist, I rejoice in Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.

I was especially gratified, vicariously, of course, to see that almost all the crowned heads of the world responded to the Queen's invitation to join her recently for lunch at Windsor Castle as part of her jubilee celebrations.

I was sorry – and suitably offended – that the Spanish royals saw fit to boycott this regal and merry occasion because of some new blip in the endless old argument over Gibraltar. There must be something in the Iberian mindset that just cannot twig that places like Gibraltar and the Falkands are obviously British.

Particularly gratifying was the presence at Windsor, alongside the King of Swaziland, thePrince of Lichtenstein and the King of Tonga,of such wronged and forgotten royals as King Constantine of Greece and his blue-blooded colleagues from Romania and Bulgaria.

But perhaps most noteworthy of all, from our insular Israeli perspective, was the invitation to, and participation of, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia.

Alexander's career surely gives the term 'pretender' new import, in that he pretends both that the monarchy still exists and that the country itself still exists. (In fact, he is a popular figure in Belgrade where there is considerable support for a return of royalism, at least to Serbia.)

My point – again, from a trivial, Zionist angle, is that Yugoslavia, at any rate, is at peace. Permanent, eternal peace. Which was a factor, I presume, in the decision to invite their royal highnesses Alexander and Katherine to the British jamboree.

I say this because every time I've asked a British official why the Queen has boycotted the State of Israel for the entire six decades of her reign I get a muttered line about "when there's permanent peace"

There has never been a Royal Visit to this country by Her Majesty, nor indeed by her consort, Prince Philip, nor by her heir, Prince Charles, nor by any member of her family, no matter how remote from the succession.

(When Mrs. Thatcher visited as prime minister, I had the chutzpa to ask her when the Queen would come. Her inimitable reply: "But I'm here")

When the royals do come, as they sometimes have to – like when Rabin was killed or when Philip's mother was interred in Jerusalem – Buckingham Palace and Whitehall make it pointedly clear that their visits are not Royal, nor even Official.

Is there another member-state of the United Nations that the British Royals have so consistently and assiduously snubbed in this way?

The conventional wisdom, of course, is that this is the Foreign Office's spiteful work; that the Royals are mere puppets when deciding where to go and what to say.

But, as a confirmed royalist – and I mean that without cynicism – I'm not buying that any more. Just recently, Prince William disclosed in an interview that his grandmother told him and Kate to bin her mandarins' draft guest-list to their wedding and draw up their own one when they complained that it was full of people they didn't even know.

This marvelous, dedicated, 86-year-old sovereign is nobody's puppet. If she wanted to visit the Jewish state or have one of her close family visit it, she could insist on it, and get her way.

The sad but inescapable conclusion, therefore, is that she herself is part of this nasty, petty British intrigue to deny Israel that rankling vestige of legitimation that is in their power to bestow or withhold – a royal visit.

She can and should bin these sour-smelling inhibitions and end this boycott.

And the Anglo-Jewish macherocracy, as it makes its perfectly proper diamond jubilee obeisances, should be loyally and lovingly telling her so.



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