Controversy over Jubilee lunch

The Queen shook the hand of the King of Bahrain at her Jubilee lunch for foreign monarchs at Windsor Castle. His invitation attracted criticism because of alleged human rights abuses in Bahrain.

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Foreign Office defends Bahraini King's invitation

Responding to criticism about its decision to allow the King of Bahrain to attend the Queen's Jubilee lunch, a Foreign Office spokesman said that maintaining a close relationship with Bahrain allowed it to "have a full and frank discussion on a range of issues". He continued:

On human rights we support the reforms already under way in Bahrain and we want to help promote that reform. We have consistently encouraged the Bahraini Government to take further urgent steps to implement in full the recommendations of the Independent Commission of Inquiry as the his majesty the King has committed to doing. This includes bringing to account those individuals responsible for human rights abuses.

'Foreign Office should not allow Queen to dine with a despot'

A former Foreign Office minister has criticised the decision to invite the King of Bahrain to a lunch hosted by the Queen today.

Denis MacShane said that the Foreign Office should have intervened to prevent his presence at the lunch in light of recent allegations of human rights abuses:

Arab nations must let their citizens vote in free elections and let them speak without fear of arrest, torture or death. For too long we have turned a blind eye to the repression carried out under the rule of royals in Arabia. The FCO should protect the British Queen rather than expose her to having to dine with a despot.

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King of Bahrain included on Queen's guest list

Buckingham Palace has released the full list of guests for the lunch in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee later today. It includes, controversially, the King of Bahrain.

Here's a selection of the other guests:

  • Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain
  • The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei and Raja
  • The King and Queen of the Bulgarians
  • Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
  • The Emperor and Empress of Japan
  • Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein
  • The Prince and Princess of Monaco
  • The Emir of Qatar
  • The King and Queen of Tonga

Foreign Office accused over Jubilee lunch guests

The Foreign Office was accused today of putting the Queen in the position of having to dine with despots as the row over a royal lunch with foreign monarchs intensified.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee lunch will take place at Windsor Castle on Friday.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee lunch will take place at Windsor Castle on Friday. Credit: Christopher Furlong/PA Wire

Denis MacShane, a former Foreign Office minister, criticised the guest list for apparently including the King of Bahrain, Hamad Al-Khalifa - whose regime brutally suppressed pro-democracy protests last year.

The Labour MP said many would regret Foreign Secretary William Hague's decision to approve the inclusion of the Middle East ruler.

His comments come after it emerged Queen Sophia of Spain was ordered by her government to turn down an invitation to the lunch.

The last minute snub was in response to a reported trip the Earl of Wessex will make to Gibraltar, a UK overseas territory which Spain wants returned to its sovereignty.

King of Swaziland's invitation to Jubilee lunch sparks protests

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee event has triggered protests as it is expected to include some controversial monarchs.

King of Swaziland King Mswati III's invitation to Jubilee sparks protests
King of Swaziland King Mswati III's invitation to Jubilee sparks protests Credit: Toby Melville/ Reuters

Guests are expected to include Swaziland's King Mswati III, who is accused of leading a lavish lifestyle while his people go hungry.

Another controversial figure expected to attend is Bahrain's King Hamad Al-Khalifa, whose country is in a state of civil unrest.

Yesterday, a group of Swazis living in the UK protested outside London's luxurious Savoy Hotel, where King Mswati is said to be staying.

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