CANADA was plunged into a constitutional dispute yesterday when John Manley, the Foreign Minister, called for a break with the monarchy.
Mr Manley, whose remarks are likely to embarrass the Government of Jean Chrétien, said that the Queen did not represent Canada and that an elected Canadian should be the next head of state.
“I do believe when most people think about it and realise our head of state is foreign — when she travels she does not represent Canada, she represents Great Britain — I think they kind of realise this is really an institution that is a bit out of date for Canada to continue with,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Mr Manley has a history of voicing republican views. In 1997, when he was Industry Minister, he proposed that Canada break its links with the Crown. He was later forced to back down, but this time it could be more difficult. As Foreign Minister, his department has frequent contacts with Buckingham Palace and the Commonwealth.
The Queen is still popular in Canada and remains Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Nevertheless, Mr Manley said that it was time to change and he was particularly critical of the Prince of Wales, who was greeted only last month by cheering crowds during a visit to Ottawa.
Mr Manley was sidelined during the Prince’s visit. Sheila Copps, the Heritage Minister, escorted the Prince around the city, including Mr Manley’s constituency.
“Having the oldest son inherit the responsibility of being head of state — that’s just not something in the 21st century we ought to be entertaining,” Mr Manley said. “It ought to be a person who is Canadian, who reflects Canadian diversity and who is chosen by Canadians.”
While angering Canadian monarchists, his remarks are also likely to upset Mr Chrétien, who on Thursday night spoke fondly about his latest meeting with the Queen, his sixth since coming to office.
John Aimers, the chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, said that Mr Manley had not learnt any lessons from his previous assault on the monarchy. He also lamented that the Foreign Minister had decided to attack the monarchy just before Victoria Day, on Monday, when Canada celebrates the Queen’s official birthday.
He said: “It is bizarre that Mr Chrétien, who otherwise runs a pretty disciplined Cabinet caucus, allows people to ruminate on this.”
A spokesman for Mr Chrétien said: “Canada has a constitutional monarchy and Canada has no intention of opening up a debate on the future of the monarchy. The comments that were made were the personal views of Minister Manley.”
British officials refused to comment yesterday, saying that the debate over Canada’s head of state was a matter for the Canadian people.
King denies he visited strip club (UK Times)
FROM DAVID LISTER IN BRUSSELS
THE King of Sweden is considering legal action against an American lawyer who has named him in court as a customer of a strip club that allegedly was also an upmarket brothel and hotbed of organised crime.
King Carl XVI Gustaf faces questions from the press this weekend after the lawyer identified him as one of a number of celebrities to have patronised the Gold Club in Atlanta.Others included the billionaire Donald Trump, the former basketball player Michael Jordan and the pop star Madonna. The Gold Club’s owner and six others are accused of pimping dancers to professional athletes and paying protection money to the infamous Gambino family in New York.
According to prosecutors in the trial, which opened in Atlanta last week, the club arranged for girls to perform lesbian sex shows for celebrities and to sleep with patrons.
Witnesses in the trial are expected to include a former boyfriend of Madonna, the American football stars Terrell Davis and Jamal Anderson, the basketball player Patrick Ewing and former mafia hitmen.
The Swedish King, 55, visited Atlanta in 1996 with his family for the Olympics. He is alleged to have visited the strip club after the American secret service telephoned to alert the management to his arrival.
Nick Lotito, attorney for Roy Cicola, a manager at the club, told the court that the monarch spent an hour watching nude dancers in a VIP room while secret service agents stood guard outside the door. He later told Sweden’s Aftonbladet: “According to my information, the King was watching dancers.”
Although the Royal Family has strongly denied the allegation, the normally deferential Swedish media has refused to let the story die. “Lawyer in American trial: King went to porn club” ran a headline in the Expressen newspaper.
A spokeswoman for the King said: “It is said that security guards were outside the door. That’s not how it works. Security is always present in the same room as the King.”
Rothschilds in deal over Tsar's love letters to mistress(Electronic Telegraph)
By Geraldine Norman
THOUSANDS of previously unknown love letters written by Tsar Alexander II to his mistress are to be given to the Russian government in exchange for documents detailing the origins of the Rothschild banking dynasty.
The remarkable deal has been negotiated between the Rothschild family and the Russian government over a four-year period. About 4,500 letters chart the 14-year affair between the 19th century reformist Tsar and Princess Catherine Dolgoruky which ended in morganatic marriage.
The Rothschild Archive, housed at the Rothschild Bank in London, bought them for about £180,000 two years ago in the hope of tempting the Kremlin into making a deal. They reveal almost every detail of a passionate relationship which affected the course of Russian history, and describe the pressures on a Tsar who was absolute ruler of a vast empire at a critical stage of its development.
Last week the new Russian Interdepartmental Commission on Restitution met in Moscow, in the first case it has considered, and agreed to return the Rothschild archives. The documents date from the banking dynasty's earliest days. They include a paper recording the appointment of Mayer Amschel as Hoffactor or Crown Agent to Prince William of Hesse in 1769, described by Victor Gray, the Rothschild archivist as having an "almost totemic significance in family history".
Many of the papers had been collected by Salomon Rothschild in Vienna in the 1840s and had vanished from Austria during the Second World War. Their survival only became known to the Rothschild Archive in 1993 when Russia's archives were opened to Western researchers after the fall of communism.
They had been seized by Hitler after the occupation of Austria in 1938. He planned to use them to justify the Holocaust. At the end of the Second World War they were captured by Russia. Bettina Looram, the senior survivor of the Austrian branch of the Rothschild family, explained yesterday that the "rich French and English families" had "chipped in" to buy it.
Japanese prince visits UK(BBC News)
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito has arrived in the UK for a seven-day official visit.
The 41-year-old prince, whose visit follows a personal invitation from the Queen, is staying at Windsor Castle for the week.
Prince Naruhito's wife, Crown Princess Masako, who is pregnant, is not accompanying him on the week-long trip.
Following afternoon tea on Saturday, the Queen showed Naruhito, the son of Emperor Akihito, around the state apartments at Windsor as well as the magnificent St Georges Hall.
The main reason for the Crown Prince's visit is to launch Japan 2001, a year-long programme of Japanese cultural events in Britain, of which he is joint-patron with the Prince of Wales.
It will begin with the weekend-long Matsuri carnival, a traditional Japanese festival.
The two princes will visit the festival on Sunday in Hyde Park, London.
On Sunday evening the heir to the Japanese throne will attend the Japan 2001 Philharmonia Concert, with the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, at the Royal Festival Hall.
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, will host a dinner for Prince Naruhito at Lancaster House on Monday after the Japanese heir has visited the Chelsea Flower Show, accompanied by Princess Alexandra.
The Crown Prince will on Tuesday travel to Oxford where he was a student at Merton College from 1983-85.
On Wednesday, he will visit Henley-on-Thames, where he will sign a copy of his thesis, held at the River and Rowing Museum.
Prince Naruhito will tour Kew Gardens on the final day of his visit on Thursday, to see the Japanese gardens created to commemorate the Japan 2001 festival.
The prince last visited Britain in 1991.
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