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Alexandria 11-03-2004 06:15 PM

Royals and Diplomatic Immunity
 
Based on the continuing discussion at this thread on Frederik and Mary News, found here: http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...1&page=5&pp=20, since the discussion evolved into something about beyond Mary, I thought I would start a seperate thread where we could discuss the matter as it pertains to all royals.

I have transferred some of the comments to this thread.

Quote:

Originally posted by Paulette: Even though the Royals have a higher place in any country than the ordinary citizens but they should not be exempted from the consequences of not abiding by the laws of the country over various matters. If they are stopped by the police for overspeeding they should then pay any fine if ever that is what is stated in the law. There should be no exemption because even if they are royals, they are all citizens of a certain country and they are expected to abide by the laws. They should even be examples.
Quote:

Originally posted by ennyllorac:
I agree with you. Being royal should not exempt you from abiding to laws.
Quote:

Originally posted by Britters: Paulette-you say they should be exempted from some laws, but not all, what laws do you think they should be exempt from? It seems to me that something as minor as speeding (unless it causes an accident or something of the like for others) ticket should be what they are exempted from, and the major laws (murder, purgery, etc.)* should be the ones they are expected to abide by. Otherwise what is the point of diplomatic immunity?

*These are just examples-I'm not actually saying I think any member of the Royal Family would commit any of these offenses!
Quote:

Originally posted by Alexandria:
Interesting discussion!

I personally think that as royals are above the fray of so many things (i.e. politics) they shouldn't be above the law, too.

If royals are to be role models for their citizens (and I think most of us would agree that some royals -- no names necessary -- are better role models than others), then what kind of example are they setting if they disregard such "minor" laws as speeding or parking in a no park zone?

From Britters' example (not pointing you out, just using your examples as a starting point!), to say that royals should be held accountable for more "serious" offences such as murder, but not necessarily so for "lesser" offences such as speeding -- where does one draw the line? If you and I would get a $100 fine for speeding then why shouldn't royals, too? Nobody should be above the law, whatever your social status.

And more than anybody, royals should be held accountable for their actions, good or bad.
Quote:

Originally posted by Britters: Alexandria-I totally agree with you. My question was basically, where do you draw the line. If you are going to give diplomatic immunity where do the lines lay? I don't think Royals should be above the law, it just doesn't make much sense for people in such postions to be allow to get away with things they are suppose to be representing...however if they are going to be "above" the law, then wouldn't it make more sense for those laws that aren't being enforced to be the minors ones?
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Originally posted by Napoleon: I agree in such minor matters as paying a fine they can well afford, royal families shouldn't be above the law, but I don't think that means mary should come under criticism just because by quirk of the state she does have such immunity.
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Originally posted by Julia: As Alexandria noted: this is a very interesting topic!

I agree that royals should be held responsible for all of their actions and should not be considered as being above the law. They should accept responsibility for their actions and pay their dues accordingly.

Am I correct in remembering that when Frederik and Joachim were caught speeding by the police as teenagers that QM II made them apologise on t.v.???
Quote:

Originally posted by Carlota: i agree with paulette and alexandria. that's not a good example... also, the fact that mary asked the police not to tell the press about it seems quite hypocritical.
Quote:

Originally posted by Jasl: Hmm, I suppose. But I suppose if we are going to be strict about it, then I suppose it would also be correct to say that almost nobody respects the traffic laws. Coz at some point, advertently or inadvertently, we have gone over the speed limit (especially when going down some dratted hill or not realising its school time and that school time speed limits apply), or parked illegally, or did a U turn where we weren't supposed to, or crossed a double line etc.

However when we commit traffic infringements, the whole nation doesn't focus on us and what we've done. Pay the fine, or in some cases, do some community work. But it takes much more than one or two traffic infringement for someone to question our respect for traffic laws, and even more for that "disrespectful" tag to be attached to us permanently. Royals on the other hand can be criticised more easily, and the label in most cases always stays with them.

Perhaps the spokesperson should not have said "always". But personally, I think its quite harsh and unrealistic to equate "always respect" with being perfect on the road at all times (even when its not recorded), especially as I don't think anyone here has always and at all times upheld every single traffic law.

I know this is splitting hairs, but sometimes, I choose to breach traffic laws, not because I have less respect for that traffic law, but because the other competing consideration is much more important at that particular time. Does this make sense?

Alexandria 11-03-2004 06:16 PM

Part 2:

Quote:

Originally posted by Alexandria:
While I agree that mostly everyone who drives has violated traffic laws at least once, whether it be speeding, an illegal U-turn, parking where we shouldn't or whatever, if we are caught for these violations we are held accountable for them and must pay the fine or whatever.

Just because Mary (or other royals) are the focus of public attention doesn't excuse them for making the same violations other normal people do and doesn't excuse them for violating rules. I think this is where Britter's point of "where does one draw the line" comes in. Laws are laws and every citizen of the country should follow them and be held accountable to them. We can't say that it's okay for Mary to speed a little but not okay for Citizen X. If Mary is a citizen of Denmark then she should follow the same laws as every other citizen.

As for having other considerations that are more pressing, so you excuse that speeding -- that's not right. We could all come up with 10 reasons to speed: I'm late for my doctor's appointment, I need to catch my airplane, my mom is waiting for me to pick her up, etc. But if all the other drivers on the road had the same excuses then our roads would be not only chaotic but also very dangerous. Hence traffic laws.

And as stated above, choosing to violate traffic laws is a choice one makes. I chose to speed, you choose to speed, Mary chose to speed. But that doesn't make the choice right, let alone legal.

Nobody is above the law, even royalty. We shouldn't excuse royals for some of the things they do, especially when there are clear cut rules (i.e. laws) determining what they can/can't or should/shouldn't do. We can excuse royals for not wearing an appropriate hat to an event, but certainly not for violating clear cut, defined laws.
Quote:

Originally posted by Britters: I agree Alexandria-but now I ask, if we are saying "Every citizen must respect the laws of Denmark-even the Royals" then what is the point in offering Dipolmatic Immunity?
Quote:

Originally posted by Alexandria: A good question ...

What kind of diplomatic immunities do royals enjoy? I'm not really sure about this. The same as politicians working or representing their home countries in another country enjoy?

A few years ago I heard a story on a news magazine about a foreign diplomat who was in Washington, D.C. and went out one night, got drunk and proceeded to get into his car and drive drunk. He, sadly, killed a young couple, parents of 2 children. But because he was an amabassador, he enjoyed diplomatic immunity and as such, was not charged with drunk driving or manslaughter as anyone else would've been. He returned to his country (I forget which country it was now) and carried on with his life while two little kids went on with their life with their parents. As the story went on, it was revealed that this ambassador had been caught on several occasions speeding but because of diplomatic immunity on such matters, he was never fined or even received as much as a warning. Ever since this story I've been opposed to, on the whole, diplomatic immunity for anyone, politicians and royals alike.
Quote:

Originally posted by Dennism: Good point. I agree. I think he was Russian too which might have been one of the reasons for not shaking any feathers. But I think there should be no immunity as well.
Quote:

Originally posted by Jasl: I wasn't arguing that royals should retain their immunity. I'm all for royals being held accountable for their actions like the rest of us. All I was trying to point out in my posts were (1) that we can't really know for sure that it was Mary nor can we confirm that she was travelling at 140kmh, and (ii) since I am not perfect on the road, I think its a bit rich for me to criticise another for not being perfect on the road. Hold them accountable for their actions, fine them, whatever, I don't have a problem with that - I'm all for it (so I actually do agree with your point Alexandria, except for the fact that I think you misinterpreted what I'm saying). But I don't think we ought to be too critical because someone's committed a traffic infringement, because we've committed them too.

In regards to other considerations excusing ones speeding, I'm not actually trying to argue this. What I was trying to discuss was the criticism that because you've committed a traffic offence, you don't respect traffic laws all the time. I think one's "respect" for a huge body of law such as the traffic law should be influenced by the totality of one's actions on the road, and that one or two incidences (especially unconfirmed incidences) shouldn't mean that one has to keep qualifying themselves by saying "I don't respect traffic laws all the time because I did this, did that...." I mean, I love my parents, but I don't say "I love my parents, except this one time when I shouted back at them, or when I slammed the door, or smoked when I wasn't supposed to" etc.

Quote:

Originally posted by Alexandria: Jasl, from my end, and it seems from Britters' end (though I cannot speak for her), I think we are taking the discussion beyond this matter being strictly about Mary. As you can see from both of our latest posts we refer to Mary as well as other royals, not strictly Mary. I personally would have this same reaction if we were talking about Frederik or any other royal. The incident with Mary is what started this discussion but is not limted to the actions of Mary.
Quote:

Originally posted by Britters: That was my point of view as well, I'm speaking of other Royals when we discuss this now! I would also like to point out we are no longer speaking directly about the speeding ticket (s) but about all actions and laws of a country.

Does anyone know what exactly Diplomatic Immunity incurs? What it means and what it includes? It seems it's rather unclear, and many things migh possibly fall under that catergory!
So here we are ... Any other thoughts on this discussion? And we can discuss here any royal and any offences or immunities they may enjoy. Royals from different houses may even enjoy different immunities.

bad_barbarella 11-03-2004 06:48 PM

well because they are so high up in society i think police would just turn a blind eye... like royals would never be checked for drug smuggling would they???

Britters 11-04-2004 11:40 AM

THe question is more whether the police should turn a blind eye.

I'm kind of torn on this subject as I could see how the police turning a blind eye would be helpful to the Royal in trouble at the time. When word gets out that the Royal has been given a ticket for some sort of offense, whether it be minor or not, they will be heckled in the media. I believe it was Jasl who stated the media thing first, as the common person the only people we have to worry about giving us a hard time when we commit a minor offense is our close friends and relatives. We pay the fine and it's pretty much forgotten. As a Royal, the media would pick up on it and it would be talked about and written about for weeks at a time, it wouldn't really ever be forgotten. So I can see how diplomatic immunity might be a blessing to a Royal, especially when they make a simple mistake (like speeding or something) that anyone could make.

However, it doesn't seem fair to anyone for the Royals to receive that sort of special treatment when they are technically suppose to be role models for their specific country. Their image is suppose to be that of the "Perfect Citizen" in my eye, and while we all know nobody's perfect, the Royals of their specific country are suppose to come close. They are held to much higher standards and so they should be expected to follow the rules, and when they don't, should be expected to pay the consequences.

Question: Does Britain give their Royal Family diplomatic immunity? I seem to remember something a while back about Princess Anne and her dogs and having to go to court, which would make me think there is no diplomatic immunity for them.

bigheadshirmp 11-04-2004 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Britters
THe question is more whether the police should turn a blind eye.

I'm kind of torn on this subject as I could see how the police turning a blind eye would be helpful to the Royal in trouble at the time. When word gets out that the Royal has been given a ticket for some sort of offense, whether it be minor or not, they will be heckled in the media. I believe it was Jasl who stated the media thing first, as the common person the only people we have to worry about giving us a hard time when we commit a minor offense is our close friends and relatives. We pay the fine and it's pretty much forgotten. As a Royal, the media would pick up on it and it would be talked about and written about for weeks at a time, it wouldn't really ever be forgotten. So I can see how diplomatic immunity might be a blessing to a Royal, especially when they make a simple mistake (like speeding or something) that anyone could make.

However, it doesn't seem fair to anyone for the Royals to receive that sort of special treatment when they are technically suppose to be role models for their specific country. Their image is suppose to be that of the "Perfect Citizen" in my eye, and while we all know nobody's perfect, the Royals of their specific country are suppose to come close. They are held to much higher standards and so they should be expected to follow the rules, and when they don't, should be expected to pay the consequences.

Question: Does Britain give their Royal Family diplomatic immunity? I seem to remember something a while back about Princess Anne and her dogs and having to go to court, which would make me think there is no diplomatic immunity for them.

i think her dog kinda bite or hurt someone...so they need to go to court or something....i think that dog was killed after going to court....i'm not sure.....

regarding the diplomatic immunity for royals...i would think that they should follow the laws that every single citizens follow in their country....i mean.....having a speed limit is just a very basic common sense/ law in every country..if a royal can have exception from it..then..does that mean he/she can drive 150km/h + everywhere in the city?

paulette 11-05-2004 12:46 AM

Indeed a very heated topic.

Originally posted by Britters: I agree Alexandria-but now I ask, if we are saying "Every citizen must respect the laws of Denmark-even the Royals" then what is the point in offering Dipolmatic Immunity?

In my own opinion Britters, there should have been no Diplomatic Immunity since the start. But since it is already present in like every nation so we can't do something about it for even politicians doesn't want it to be removed. That's what you call the advantage of power. Because they are leaders they have specific powers which is limited to ordinary citizens. That's why Great Power comes with Great Responsibility. (a.k.a Spiderman)

As royals, though they don't have no form of political influence. The royals have national symbolic significance, but plays no active role in the government of the country. For this reason the person concerned must be possessed of a strong character and be able to sustain his/her own integrity and the dignity of the position held. This means also that as royals they should know how to act PROPERLY not just because they are expected to do so but because that is what we also call as Human Freedom. As important persons they should remember that "the higher they are placed, the more humbly should they walk."

It isn't human freedom when you do anything you want because you like it but you do something right not just for your own self but also for the benefit of other persons. As royals or diplomats, they know that they are being looked up by other persons so they must set the examples. That's why sometimes I can't blame the media if they speculate some royals too much expecially on their behavior. Though I respect and believe in the right to privacy but that is also the price of being a royal or marrying a royal and be eventually one.

There was a time that Prince Haakon was criticized by a certain organization wherein he represented for he wasn't wearing a life jacket while aboard a speedboat? or something with Marius. In fact the organization he represented campaigns so hard on that matter and he himself didn't act it. Committing mistakes especially in the public eye is hard and controversial. And I know every person deserves a second chance. But it is different when it's only in the mouth not in the act. They can change their bad ways or habits but its already different when they don't change and only says I will change.

For there is a big difference between getting ready to act and starting to act. Many are forever getting ready to act. And this is true not only to royals but also to all ordinary citizens. So everyone should abide on all rules and regulations.

rarotonga 11-05-2004 02:28 AM

Those who are humble will be exalted, and those who are (or is it feel?) exalted will be humbled. I think this biblical passage fits with the topic.

norwegianne 11-05-2004 10:06 AM

This has become a topic in Norway from time to time, because our constitution does not grant all the royals diplomatic immunity from the legal system. It says: "The Royal Princes and Princesses shall not personally be answerable to anyone other than the King, or whomever he decrees to sit in judgment on them." It does not mention the Queen, at all.

norwegianne 11-05-2004 10:08 AM

Also, should Märtha Louise give birth to the unborn baby while she is in USA, the child will not be an American citizen automatically like others, as diplomats, or royals with diplomatic passports can choose.

Britters 11-05-2004 10:10 AM

Interesting, so Queen Sonja technically has no diplomatic immunity, and eventually when Mette-Marit becomes Queen she will lose her diplomatic immunity-as the law states it...I wonder what will happen when little Ingrid-Alexandra grows up? She will be Queen, and will have no "King"...

Alexandria 11-05-2004 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by norwegianne
This has become a topic in Norway from time to time, because our constitution does not grant all the royals diplomatic immunity from the legal system. It says: "The Royal Princes and Princesses shall not personally be answerable to anyone other than the King, or whomever he decrees to sit in judgment on them." It does not mention the Queen, at all.

I'm surprised that the Queen wouldn't have diplomatic immunity extended to her, too. I would presume that (royal) diplomatic immunity in Norway would be extended at minimal to the King, Queen, Haakon and Mette-Marit and Martha Louise.

I could understand why Marius and Ari might not qualify for immunity, and even the King's sisters and their families.

But the queen not getting diplomatic immunity is a surprise.

norwegianne 11-05-2004 11:19 AM

I would assume that should something happen it will be quite the ruckus... as the Queen is not mentioned. This also lead to the debate of whether or not Mette-Marit has immunity now, as Crown Princesses are not mentioned either, and it would be little point in her loosing it when she becomes queen.

It might be argued, though, that the queen answers to the king anyway, because of their marriage vows. Which is probably the reason she isn't included.

(Ingrid Alexandra would have immunity, though, as there is adaptions for ruling queens... and she would be the one ultimately punishing her relations... )

ILoveCristina 11-06-2004 08:00 AM

Which of the members of Spanish RF have Diplomatic Immunity? I would assume at least the King, Queen, Felipe, Letizia and the Infantas.

rchainho 11-06-2004 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ILoveCristina
Which of the members of Spanish RF have Diplomatic Immunity? I would assume at least the King, Queen, Felipe, Letizia and the Infantas.

I think is all members of the spanish royalty. Because In one spanish report they said that inaki's urdangarin fines from traffic weren't paid!

Alexandria 11-06-2004 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ILoveCristina
Which of the members of Spanish RF have Diplomatic Immunity? I would assume at least the King, Queen, Felipe, Letizia and the Infantas.

I wonder if Princess Alexia of Greece and her husband and daughters received some diplomatic immunity, too, considing that they are royal and are the niece/cousins of the Spanish royal family.

I believe that Alexia did have some protection for a time because of the threat posed by the Basque seperatists and their threats lobbied against the King and to other members of the royal family. There was a story some years ago about Inaki Urdangarin (either while he was Cristina's fiancee or in the early months of their marriage) selling his car to Alexia. The Basque seperatists had been trailing this car for a while, and apparently had plans to attack or kill Inaki, but were unaware of the businiess transaction between him and Alexia in regards to the car. On the day of the planned attack, they trailed this car (I believe it was a VW Golf) around all day, but were caught off guard when they saw Alexia get out of the car instead of Inaki.

ILoveCristina 11-07-2004 04:32 AM

Wow, that's pretty scary!

norwegianne 11-15-2004 03:56 AM

This debate has come up again, in Denmark, in view of Prince Joachim's speed driving. Several members of Folketinget (the Parliament) are calling for a change in the law, since so many members of the Royal family have been caught speeding.

norwegianne 11-15-2004 03:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alexandria
I'm surprised that the Queen wouldn't have diplomatic immunity extended to her, too. I would presume that (royal) diplomatic immunity in Norway would be extended at minimal to the King, Queen, Haakon and Mette-Marit and Martha Louise.

I could understand why Marius and Ari might not qualify for immunity, and even the King's sisters and their families.

But the queen not getting diplomatic immunity is a surprise.

Actually since the law mentions Princes and Princesses by blood, the King's sisters have the immunity.

Legal experts argue about the Queen and Crown Princess.

Alexandria 11-15-2004 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by norwegianne
This debate has come up again, in Denmark, in view of Prince Joachim's speed driving. Several members of Folketinget (the Parliament) are calling for a change in the law, since so many members of the Royal family have been caught speeding.

Thanks for the update norwegianne.

I wonder if somewhere there is a list of the special privileges and immunities enjoyed by royals of each country?

The speeding factor seems to be a major one for many princes. Some years ago (around 10 I think), the American Esquire magazine featured John F. Kennedy Jr. on the cover as the "Charming Prince." Inside was a story about him but also a chart with all the princes of other royal households and there was one section that noted some not so royal things each prince had done. I believe that Frederik, Willem, Albert and Pavlos had been noted for their speeding. I believe that at least Frederik and Willem were in auto accidents as a result of their speeding. And I thinke Felipe was noted for speeding on his boat. ;)

Alexandria 11-16-2004 08:56 PM

At the Scandinavian Royals MB, there is a similar discussion. Below are some of the facts and comments on this subject:

Quote:

I am no expert but I understand that the Dutch royals does not enjoy immunity. Only the monarch, her spouce, the heir to the throne and his spouce.

In Spain royals are not immune, as I understand it, they can only be tried, though, by a panel of High Court Judges.
Quote:

About the Spanish Royals You are right. Only the King is immune (the word in the constitution is invulnerable). Other members of the Royal Family are not, although they have the right to be tried by the Supreme Court, a privilege shared by members of Parliament or Ministers, for example.
Quote:

British royals,other then the Queen,are not immune
from the law either.When Princess Anne's dog attacked some people recently,she was prosecuted and cautioned by local magistrates just like anyone else would have been.
Quote:

Also in Sweden, only the King enjoys immunity.


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