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.

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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.