A highly impressive collection of the worlds Royals and other Heads of State, have come together today to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle. This kind gathering is a rare event. The guests started to arrive at the castle from 12:30hrs (BST) via a convoy of black chauffeur-driven cars.
However, amid the guests are two controversial leaders that are stirring questions as to why they were invited. The first being Mswati III of Swaziland – who, according to his opponents, uses state funds in a poor African country to support a lavish lifestyle for himself and his thirteen wives. Forbes magazine rated him as the 15th richest monarch with a personal fortune of $100m (£62m), yet his people starve and live in poverty.
The second, and perhaps most controversial is King Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain who has shown himself to be brutal towards his people over the past year after protesters have stated they want more democracy, freedom of speech, an elected government and more transparency.
Peter Tatchell criticised the Queen on his site, for inviting “royal tyrants to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee”.
“It is outrageous that the Queen has invited royal tyrants to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. She should not host the monarchs of countries such as Brunei, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and United Arab Emirates. All of them preside over regimes that abuse human rights,” said Mr Tatchell, who is Director of the human rights campaign group, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Inviting blood-stained despots brings shame to our monarchy and tarnishes the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It is a kick in the teeth to pro-democracy campaigners and political prisoners in these totalitarian royal regimes.
List of guests attending The Queens Diamond Jubilee Lunch:
Clockwise from HRH Queen Elizabeth II
- King Letsie III – Lesotho
- King Mswati III – Swaziland
- King Tupou VI – Tonga
- King Bhumibol Adulyadej – Thailand
- King Abdul Halim – Malaysia
- Emperor Akihito – Japan
- King Norodom Sihamoni – Cambodia
- Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – Brunei
- King Jigme Khesar Namgyel – Bhutan
- President Khalifa bin Zayed – United Arab Emirates
- Emir Hamad bin Khalifa – Qatar
- Sultan Qaboos bin Said – Oman
- King Mohammed VI – Morocco
- Emir Sabah al-Aad – Kuwait
- King Abdullah bin Abdul’aziz – Saudi Arabia
- King Abdullah II – Jordan
- King Hamad ibn Isa – Bahrain
- Pope Benedict XVI – Vatican City
- King Carl XVI Gustaf – Sweden
- King Juan Carlos I – Spain
- King Harald V – Norway
- Queen Beatrix – Netherlands
- Prince Albert II – Monaco
- Grand Duke Henri – Luxembourg
- Prince Hans-Adam II – Liechtenstein
- Queen Margrethe II – Denmark
- King Albert II – Belgium
Queen Sofia of Spain refused the invitation due to The UK’s ownership of Gibraltar that Spain wish returned. The Spanish government statement said it was “hardly appropriate” for the 73-year-old to attend the lunch.