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  #261  
Old 01-04-2012, 01:08 PM
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She has looked amazing the whole of 2011 IMO and even that boring dress at the Menningtis Trust looks lovely on her now. Like that she has recycled her "wedding" outfits.
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  #262  
Old 01-04-2012, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiggersk8 View Post
Thanks to one and all for the links to the articles and pictures of the Wessexes, literal, flying visits to the Troops over the Holiday period. That one picture of the two of them where Edward is signing the Visitor's Book is one of the most gorgeous pictures of the two of them I think I've ever seen.
Is is a lovely image, isn't it? They both look very happy and healthy and Sophie looks very beautiful in it.

I look forward to 2012 for these two, and the Jubilee outfits from Sophie. I am also looking forward to their Royal tours, as hopefully it will receive press because it's for the Diamond Jubilee. I hope, however, that they do not go at the same time as William and Catherine do any of their visits as ANY other Royal Family member doing anything will be overshadowed by Will and Catherine's tour.
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  #263  
Old 01-06-2012, 07:10 PM
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The Countess of Wessex has accepted two lavish sets of jewels from one of the Arab region’s most bloody regimes.
Sophie, wife of Prince Edward, was handed the fabulous ‘suites’ of gems in December by the Bahraini royal family.
The jewels, revealed in a list of royal gifts obtained yesterday by the Daily Mail, provoked furious criticism.


Read more: Sophie's gems from despots: Countess faces questions after accepting lavish jewellery gifts from bloody Bahrain | Mail Online
  #264  
Old 01-06-2012, 07:16 PM
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Yes,it's a real controversy here or either the Countess just wanted to be polite...
  #265  
Old 01-06-2012, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Lenora View Post
Yes,it's a real controversy here or either the Countess just wanted to be polite...
I'm going to say that Sophie probably just wanted to be polite and accept the jewels. Also, I wonder if rejection would have been seen as taking a political stand, and royals aren't allowed to venture into politics. I think that it would be very awkward in this type of situation; you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
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  #266  
Old 01-06-2012, 07:48 PM
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Yes, damned if you do an damned if you don't. Also given difficulties with Iran the UK needs all the friends it can get in the Gulf and insulting those friends you have would not be a good idea.

Visits by members of the Royal family to foreign countries are arranged with the guidance of the Foreign Office.
  #267  
Old 01-07-2012, 02:36 AM
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From what I understand, Arab countries are known for their hospitality and generosity. As much as I dislike the idea of members of the BRF accepting gifts from despots, I realize that these things happen in international diplomacy. For the Wessexes not to have accepted the gifts would have been interpreted as the UK's spurning of Bahrain's strategic support in that area of the world. There are greater things at play here than whether or not a couple of people accept expensive gifts. I feel badly that there's such an "uproar", because the Wessexes do good work on behalf of the Queen and IMO don't deserve this attack. As for the politician who seems to be leading the charge, we don't know what his motives are.
  #268  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:14 AM
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Didn't Camilla get jewels from Bahrain as well?
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  #269  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:20 AM
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Yes Camilla I think did with that ruby necklace.

I don't see the big deal with Sophie and the jewelry.
  #270  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:29 AM
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I think the ruby, sapphire and diamonds necklaces came from Saudi Arabia. But if Sophie's jewels are being called into questions, surely all of the royal jewels should be as well.
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  #271  
Old 01-07-2012, 07:11 AM
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It is up to the Brittish royal family to set the rules on what gifts their members can receive. I wonder if so many royals would spend time in the arab countries if the gifts were less opulent. The US president and perhaps also other countries ruler does not received such expensive gifts no matter how important the relationships between the countries are. Royal families should revise their acceptance policy. Relationships between hosts and guests are a two-way street.
  #272  
Old 01-07-2012, 11:18 AM
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It is impossible for us to determine what gift US Presidents and their spouses or any other President get because it is not widely publicised.
It is fair to say that Countess of Wessex could not refuse the gift. The refusal to take a present or presents could have been viewed as a disrespect and/or a political stance on the current situation in Bahrain.
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  #273  
Old 01-07-2012, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al_bina View Post

It is impossible for us to determine what gift US Presidents and their spouses or any other President get because it is not widely publicised.
It is fair to say that Countess of Wessex could not refuse the gift. The refusal to take a present or presents could have been viewed as a disrespect and/or a political stance on the current situation in Bahrain.
In the U.S. Presidents are not even allowed to accept gifts worth over a certain value without approval of Congress. That safeguards them from this type of faux pas.
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  #274  
Old 01-07-2012, 01:48 PM
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All the affair is very strange. Britain is dependent on the friendship and goodwill of those oil rich despots, hence its close links with them and the many royal tours the BRF are send to do in the ME.

Now one could criticize this direction of the British foreign policy but it's very bizarre and hypocritical to criticize a very small and insignificant detail in it.
  #275  
Old 01-07-2012, 03:02 PM
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US Presidents can accept gifts over a certain amount of money, but they cannot keep them for their own personal use. They are put in storage somewhere. They are often found later in displays in Presidential Libraries. There was some talk at one time of establishing a kind of "foundation" of jewels from these gifts for the use of the First Lady. I don't think anything was ever done about that. I know the Nixon ladies received jewelry from I believe Saudi Arabia, and they occasionally wore it, but whether they actually kept it or not we don't know. Once a year, I believe, a list is published of gifts received by the President and/or his family. They do occasionally give gifts of serious monetary value, but are barred from accepting for personal use any in return.
  #276  
Old 01-07-2012, 03:28 PM
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OK, the visit was arranged by the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office is well aware, or should be, of the type of gifts Arab rulers given to visiting members of the BRF so none of this should come as a surprise. If they saw the potential of receiving gifts as a problem they should quietly have advised the Bahranis that the couple would not be allowed to accept any gifts.
Sophie only has the right to use the jewels during her life and then they go into the Royal Collection which is essentially a national trust.
To refuse the gift would have been insulting to a nation that regardless of their internal problems is a friend and ally of the UK. There are problems in the gulf with Iran, so the UK needs to keep the friends it has.
This issue being drummed up by the DM is a storm in a tea cup.
  #277  
Old 01-07-2012, 04:17 PM
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It is always nice to read a sensible view on the situation. All this hysterical overreaction is nonsensical. I can't help, but wonder who leaked the information to the mass media outlets and why it was done.
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  #278  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
OK, the visit was arranged by the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office is well aware, or should be, of the type of gifts Arab rulers given to visiting members of the BRF so none of this should come as a surprise. If they saw the potential of receiving gifts as a problem they should quietly have advised the Bahranis that the couple would not be allowed to accept any gifts.
Sophie only has the right to use the jewels during her life and then they go into the Royal Collection which is essentially a national trust.
To refuse the gift would have been insulting to a nation that regardless of their internal problems is a friend and ally of the UK. There are problems in the gulf with Iran, so the UK needs to keep the friends it has.
This issue being drummed up by the DM is a storm in a tea cup.
It's apparently a former foreign office official who is stating that Sophie should auction the jewels and give the money to charities in Bahrain. I've read the same story in other papers, so it's not just the DM reporting.

Countess of Wessex 'should return bloodstained' gems to Bahrain | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Quote:
Countess of Wessex 'should return bloodstained' gems to Bahrain.
Labour MP Denis MacShane and activist Peter Tatchell call on Sophie to return jewels after crackdown on democracy protests.

"Given the appalling suffering and repression of the Bahraini people, it would be a fitting gesture for the Countess of Wessex to auction these trinkets and distribute the proceeds to the victims of the regime,"
Countess of Wessex criticised for accepting jewels from Bahrain - Telegraph

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  #279  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumutqueen View Post
Didn't Camilla get jewels from Bahrain as well?
She probably has but i think the very large rugby necklace was from Saudi Arabia. I think the press are making a bigger deal out of it due to the recent events in the middle east.
As has been said before in my opinion Sophie had no choice but to accept the gifts when presented to her. I think Sophie could rightly assume if the Foreign Office (who arrange or at least have part in all such visits) didn't want her to accept the gifts the FO could have found some way to prevent them being presented to her. As far as Sophie was probably concerned she thought it must have been approved by the powers that be. At least as far as we can tell Sophie hasn't worn the jewels (i think the press would have found such pics by now if they could).
  #280  
Old 01-07-2012, 07:00 PM
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I think that the real problem with gifts when it comes to the British Royal Family is that the Queen is head of state but is not a politician.

Presidents are almost always politicians or at least policital to some extent even if they have not had careers as professional politicians. They are also usually [or certainly so far as the Western World is concerned] not President for their lifetime. It is therefore I suppose far easier for such heads of state to turn down 'inappropriate gifts' with a straightforward 'we can't accept personal gifts', which gets round the problem without giving offence [i.e. they don't have to get into a 'difficult area', just repeating the 'blanket ban'.

The Queen's position as lifetime unelected non-polical head of state has caused difficulties both with the giving and receipt of gifts over the years.

As well as receiving gifts from 'inappropriate donors' over the years, the Queen - although she acts on the advice of politicians - has found herself being criticised when honours in her name have been awarded to - I don't know how to phrase this exactly - 'inappropriate' heads of state.

From memory, Nicolae Ceauşescu and Robert Mugabe both received honorary Orders of the Bath from the Queen. Both dictators ultimately had to be stripped of these honours. Although the Order of the Bath is awarded on the advice of the government, in practice it in the Queen who ends up tainted [for want of a better word] when things go sour.

As to personal gifts to the Royal Family, there was huge controversy a few years ago when Prince Charles' then-valet Michael Fawcett was asked by the Prince to sell [secretly] surplus (!) but valuable unwanted (!) gifts from foreign donors. This led to huge controversy when the sales were discovered. Some were treasures from Middle Eastern Crowned Heads or their families.

There is also the fact to contend with, as NGaltizine so rightly says, that refusing gifts causes offence, particularly where the donors come from traditions where 'priceless' gift-giving is closely bound up with custom and practice.

I suppose that it would have been totally impractical for the jewels to be returned [political outcry in Bahrain etc at a time when one does not want to upset anything in the Middle east] and so I suppose that all Sophie can really do is not wear the jewellery. Which I suppose is a pity in one sense, because like royal jewel-watchers here, I do love looking at beautiful things even though this is an area of royal information that I know nothing about.

IMHO, the issue this time is wider than just 'bashing by the Daily Mail' - there are numerous British Policiticans who can use this sort of 'gifting' to cause 'trouble', thincluding those politicians hostile to both the BRF or the Coalition government.

Difficult situation.......

Alex
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