Baroness Thatcher Is Dead

Britain’s formidable former Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, died peacefully at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke. She was Britain’s first (and, to this day, last) female Prime Minister.

Baroness Margaret Thatcher

Baroness Margaret Thatcher

Baroness Thatcher will not have a state funeral, in accordance to her wishes. However, she will be given a Ceremonial Funeral with full military honours, which will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral. It will be similar to the funerals accorded to the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales. As a tribute to Thatcher, the Union Jack flags above the Westminster, the Buckingham Palace, and 10 Downing Street have been lowered to half-mast.

The Iron Lady was a polarising figure in British politics and society, as indeed most remarkable politicians are. Some consider her one of the last eminent politicians and among the greatest Prime Ministers of the country. The others consider her decisions had a profoundly negative long-term effect on the country’s development. It is easy to see why: this was the woman who successfully led Britain at the height of the Falklands Crisis of 1982, whose unyielding policies earned the “Iron Lady” nickname. Yet Margaret is also remembered for privatising several state-owned industries and her year-long stand-off with unions during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-1985.

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Don Juan Gomez-Acebo y de Borbon and Winston Carney welcome a child

His Excellency Don Juan Gomez-Acebo y de Borbon, Viscount de la Torre and his girlfriend Winston Carney welcomed a boy on April 4. The couple had announced they were expecting a child back in January.

Winston Carney and Don Juan

Winston Carney and Don Juan

The baby was born in the United States – where the couple primarily reside – and named Nicholas. The name has no strong family connections, although it is one of Viscount de la Torres’s middle names (his full name is Juan Filiberto Nicolas). Both mother and child are said to be doing well.

Don Juan is the eldest son of Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz and Don Luis Gomez-Acebo y Duque de Estrada. Infanta Pilar is the older sister of King Juan Carlos of Spain: baby Nicholas is her 9th grandchild. Winston Carney is an American heiress who works as an interior designer.

Many congratulations to the happy couple and their families.

Inaki Urdangarin Scandal: Infanta Cristina officially named a suspect

Infanta Cristina – the younger daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain – has officially been named a suspect in the corruption case of her husband, Inaki Urdangarin. She now has to testify at the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca on April 27.

Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca

Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca

Judge Jose Castro, who presides over the case, was quoted saying the Infanta was imputed as co-owner of Aizoon – a company that directly benefited from Inaki’s fraudulent actions. Interestingly, naming Cristina a suspect was the judge’s decision, and not a petition from the prosecution.

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Day in History – May 1: Acts of Union 1707

The Acts of Union 1707 took effect on 1 May 1707, finally uniting the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into one, united country – Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Flag of Great Britain. Created by James VI and I, it symbolised the union of England and Scotland first under one Crown, and then as one country

The Flag of Great Britain. Created by James VI and I, it symbolised the union of England and Scotland first under one Crown, and then as one country

The counties were at the point de facto united for over a century, ever since James VI of Scotland ascended to the English Throne as James I on 24 March 1603, after the death of Elizabeth I. However, back then, the two countries merely entered into a Personal Union of Crowns – a situation when two or more countries share the same Monarch, while remaining, separate, sovereign states (not unlike, say, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom now).

There had been previous attempts at unification through the 17th century. Indeed, when James VI became King of England, he announced his intention to unite the two Kingdoms so that he wouldn’t be “guilty of bigamy”. He styled himself as King of Great Britain and declared the country should be viewed as “presently united, and as one realm and kingdom, and the subjects of both realms as one people’.

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Death of Prince Badr bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

The Saudi Royal Court announced today that Badr bin Abdulaziz Al Saud died today, April 1, at the age of 81. A statement issued by the court states funeral prayers for the late Prince will be performed after Asr prayer tomorrow, April 2, at the Imam Turkey bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.

Prince Badr was born in 1932 to King Abdulaziz (the first Monarch of Saudi Arabia) and his 12th wife, Haya bint Sa’ad al- Sudairi (a member of the powerful Sudairi family). Prince Badr had well over fifty half-siblings and three full brothers, Princes Abdul Majeed and Abdul Ilah.

Badr bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Badr bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

In his youth Prince Badr, together with his brothers Prince Talal and Prince Fawwaz, participated in the Free Princes Movement. The movement lasted from 1962 to 1964 and was aimed at political reforms and adoption of a constitution. Because of his participation in the movement, Badr had to live in exile for a while, mostly in Egypt and Syria. Badr’s brother King Faisal (King from 1964 until his assassination in 1975) later pardoned the Princes.

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