A petition to ban Donald Trump’s state visit to the U.K. has been signed by more than a million people who believe the U.S. President’s presence would embarrass Queen Elizabeth and her family.
The ban on Trump visiting the U.K. petition is something of a knee-jerk reaction to Donald’s controversial plan to ban people traveling to America from a list of selected countries. As Darth Vader would say – “The irony is strong in this one.”
Here’s the rub. No one really knows what Queen Elizabeth thinks, if anything, about Trump.
If being the monarch of a country plagued by an antiquated class system, an epidemic of homelessness, and a mass inequality of wealth doesn’t bother her too much, why would an official visit by a bluff American get her all hot under the collar?
Besides which, the royals, including Kate Middleton, have a long history of entertaining the sort of dictators and despots, which would make Trump look like a Girl Guide.
In 2012, the Mirror reported that the Queen and Duchess of Cambridge quaffed drinks, nibbled on niceties and entertained such characters as Bahrain’s King Hamad Al Khalifa at the taxpayer’s expense.
Was there a petition? You can bet your bottom dollar there wasn’t, despite the King of Bahrain being internationally condemned as a despot, whose favored pastimes included violently suppressing pro-democracy protests.
Former Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane said at the time, “Given the amount of blood on the hands of the royal regime in Bahrain it’s a shame [King Hamad] will stain the white linen of Windsor Castle at this event.”
And then there was King Mswati III of Swaziland, who lives a life cocooned in the lap of luxury while vast numbers of his population starve.
And who can forget when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Buckingham Palace for a state banquet in 2015?
The Chinese president, who rules over a country where human rights abuses are at their worst in a quarter of a century, was welcomed in a red dress by Kate Middleton.
Taking pride of place at the head of the table next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Queen, Kate appeared to honor the controversial Chinese leader by selecting something from her wardrobe that appeared to resemble the flag of the People’s Republic of China.
Red is often seen as the color of blood, fire, anger, and wrath, and not usually the hue associated with the restrained and soothing blue that the Queen normally favors. However, the Duchess of Cambridge ploughs her own furrow, and if she chose to honor the visiting Jinping by flying China’s flag, one can only wonder if Kate is aware of the abysmal human rights record of the man they call “Big Daddy Xi.”
Liu Feiyue, the founder of China’s Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, could probably have told Kate a thing or two beforehand about her dinner guest, but it may have ruined the enjoyment of her meal.
Liu has explained, “The stability maintenance regime is getting stricter and stricter; you could say it’s getting more and more brutal, more and more inhuman.”
Since Daddy Xi has stepped up to the plate and led the charge, there have been more than 1,800 cases of arbitrary detention and torture of human rights activists. Amnesty UK have claimed that 245 lawyers have gone missing or are in custody as part of a campaign to silence criticism.
Kate may have been interested to learn, when she was busy toasting Xi Jinping and his wife, that according to Human Rights Watch, torture methods in China range from electric shock, sleep deprivation, starvation, freezing, and even the spraying of chilli oil.
Over the serving of Balmoral venison, Kate and Daddy Xi could also have debated China’s severe restrictions on the internet, which are so extensive it has been nicknamed the Great Firewall of China. Under Jinping, China also has a policy in place to detain and imprison activists whose internet postings are viewed more than 5,000 times or re-posted more than 500 times.
Instead, Kate and Daddy Xi probably exchanged pleasantries over the Fillet of West Coast turbot and smiled civilly at one another across the vintage port.
Kate, who was wearing the delicate Papyrus tiara, also known as the Lotus Flower and was kitted out in what the Daily Mail described as a “Jenny Packham dress in a fitting shade of red,” listened earnestly as the Queen told the guest of honor how much the visit meant.
“Your visit to the United Kingdom marks a milestone in this unprecedented year of co-operation and friendship between the United Kingdom and China, as we celebrate the ties between our two countries and prepare to take them to ambitious new heights.”
Following the communist leader’s arrival at Buckingham Palace in a gold carriage, he was gifted with a collection of Shakespeare sonnets from the Queen and, in return, presented Britain’s sovereign with two of his wife’s Madame Peng Liyuan’s rock albums.
The Chinese president appeared to dismiss all criticism of his visit by snarling that China’s system of government was thousands of years older than Britain’s.
Prince Charles, who is a friend of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, pointedly missed the state banquet. An unshaven Prince Harry appeared to attend the event but, bizarrely, in a black puffa jacket.
The question is, who amongst the royals will turn out when the Trump touches down on the shores of that green and pleasant land?
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
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