Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Great Royal Reveal

I'll be the first to admit that I don't really like surprises. I have an unerring ability, through no real effort of my own, to find out what my birthday and Christmas gifts will be. I also, quite by accident, found out the sex of my first born. My seeming desire to spoil surprises for myself includes wanting, deliberately this time, to find out the sex of my second child. Yes, I only have to wait a few more weeks, but in the interim I could have been deciding on names, color schemes and buying the right clothes. Unfortunately, I was foiled as the ultrasound technician, who for whatever reason, did not write down the sex.

Anyways, I was very happy when I read that the Crown Prince of Spain would reveal the sex of his second child prior to its birth. Today we've learned that the couple's second child is a girl, thus continuing the possibility that their first daughter, the adorable Infanta Leonor, could become the next Queen of Spain. No longer do we have to wait on tender hooks until May 2007, when this second child is due to arrive, to find out whether the laws might be changed to allow for female succession. Who would want to deny Leonor the right to the throne based on her sex? Many people, as we've seen in Japan with the recent birth of a male heir to the throne to displace the daughter and only child of the Crown Prince and Princess.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to know, in advance, what the sex of each expected royal child? Especially when so much is riding on it? We could have been knitting blue booties and baby blankets to send to Japan months ago. The traditionalists could have kicked back and relaxed. Princess Masako could have prepared herself for the onslaught of unfair comparisons to her sister-in-law for producing a male heir instead of her own. No such surprise awaited the arrival of the first born heirs to the Norwegian, Dutch and Belgian thrones. As they've already changed their laws, we could concentrate on the new arrivals (all girls), being healthy instead of on their sex.

Ultrasound technology for gynecological use has been around since the late 1950's, early 1960's. In 1971 we could have known the sex of Princess Märtha Louise, eldest child of the then, Crown Prince and Princess of Norway, who was displaced in the line of succession by the birth of her younger brother, the present Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. Or in 1977 when the now Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the first born child of the King and Queen of Sweden was born. Could the laws have been changed way back then? We'll never know. But today we could be looking at Crown Princess Märtha Louise and Victoria could have had her right to the throne acknowledged early on instead of having to displace her younger brother when the law was eventually changed in 1980. Diana, Princess of Wales knew the sex of Prince William, probably one of the most anticipated royal arrivals until the births of Prince Christian of Denmark and the new Prince Hisahito of Japan. Had Diana announced she was expecting a boy in advance, we could have all breathed a sigh of relief at maintaining the status quo or made plans for change.

Regardless of the sex of her siblings, my personal preference would be for Leonor to maintain her right to the throne and to not be displaced because she's a girl. Women have shown they are just as capable of being great leaders as men and no law can change that fact.

© Marilyn Braun 2006


Gramercy Riff said...

"Women have shown they are just as capable of being great leaders as men and no law can change that fact."

So true, just look at all the female monarchs throughout history!

Anonymous said...

I`m a gread admire of Her Majesty the Queen and I live in Germany. At the time of the Queen's visit to Germany in 1978, I was 14 and happened to be watching television when the festivities were broadcast. It made a deep and lasting impression on me and it turned out that this moment would quite literally change my life.

Ever since then, I have been fascinated by everything connected with Great Britain, including its history, its people, its way of life, its royal family and especially Her Majesty (though I am not interested in the gossip invented by the tabloid press).

People do not always understand my passion for decorating both my home and my office with pictures of the Queen, since it is more emotional than rational. But I see it as more than just a hobby and it brings me a great deal of joy.

Even though I cannot always be personally present at royal events in the UK (I have been to Britain countless times and even managed to get hold of a place in the stands at the "Trooping the Colour" in London in 1984), I never miss them if they are on TV. For many years now I have written to the Queen and sent her small, home-made presents (e.g. pictures) at Christmas and on royal birthdays and anniversaries. The lady-in-waiting always sends a nice, official reply to every letter.

Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to meet the Queen personally, not even when she visited Mainz in 1978. But I do remember that visit very well. Jockel Fuchs, who was Mayor at the time, got his chain of office tangled up with the Queen's pearl necklace, which caused a bit of a to-do!

Over the past 50 years she has been, and still remains, the best advertisement for her country and is always very welcome here in Germany.

I`ve seen many sides in the internet of groups in the UK/Canada/Australia & NZ who want abolish the monarchy. I hope the people of this countries preserve this unique and fine institution for the future.

I live in Germany and work as a local consultant on theological matters in the Diocese of Mainz