25th Sep 2020

EU chiefs snubbed by UK royals

  • "The wedding is not a state occasion. It is a private wedding, with invitees mostly with some sort of connection to the couple," said a spokesperson (Photo: Jean Mottershead)

All three EU presidents and the bloc's foreign policy chief - one of the most senior UK dignitaries - have been snubbed by the British royal family.

While the great and the good from around the world have been invited to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, not a single European Union representative has been sent a gold-embossed wedding request to attend the occasion.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso does not feel put out, according to his spokesman, Olivier Bailly: "He's not upset. It is for the British royal family to decide who they want to invite."

"There were several royal weddings in recent years in the European Union, most recently in Sweden and Denmark and he wasn't invited to those either."

But he went on to lament how the bloc is ignored by European nobility: "It seems that royal protocol today is not to invite the EU institution leaders."

A representative for Clarence House, the official residence of Prince William, explained to EUobserver why they had not been invited.

"The wedding is not a state occasion. It is a private wedding, with invitees mostly with some sort of connection to the couple."

Beyond friends and family, prime ministers and governors general of the Commonwealth have been invited, along with nobles from across Europe and around the world, including Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, King Michael of Romania, and Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain - whose subjects are currently attempting to overthrow him.

Attendance from British government officials, from Prime Minister David Cameron down the secretary of state for sport has also been requested, but one of the most senior UK dignitaries, high representative Baroness Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief and member of the UK Privy Council, was left off the guest list.

On Saturday, it emerged that Queen Elizabeth may believe the EU is too large.

Joan Smith, a broadcaster and ex-partner of Denis MacShane, the former Europe minister, told the Daily Telegraph that at a Christmas Party, the hereditary head of state had said: "The EU is getting awfully big with 28 countries." When told that the bloc only has 27 member states, but that Turkey may enter soon, she continued: "Oh, we don't want Turkey to come in for a long time."

If Great Britain's monarchy is wary of the Union, the Holy See is more than pleased to recognise the importance of European leaders, who are set to attend the beatification of the late pope, John Paul II, in the Vatican this coming weekend.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek are all heading to Rome to witness the final step before the Polish ex-pope is transmogrified into a saint.

Barroso's spokesman said that the triple-headed clutch of EU chiefs will also "pay tribute to the historic role the late pope played in the second half of the last century. "

"The purposes and perspectives of the two events are very different. It's just coincidence that they happened to fall on the same weekend."

EU migration pact to deter asylum

The EU commission's newest pact on migration and asylum seeks to deter people from claiming asylum by speeding up procedures and sending most of them back home.

EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link

Divisions among EU governments remain between those who want to suspend EU funds if rule of law is not respected, and those who want to narrow down conditionality.

News in Brief

  1. Belgium: masks no longer mandatory from October
  2. Report: China built 380 Muslim internment camps
  3. Belgian government formation in final phase
  4. Lukashenko sworn in at secret ceremony
  5. Study: No-deal Brexit more costly than corona for UK
  6. Polish miners in underground protest against energy plan
  7. EU animal farming emits more CO2 than cars
  8. Navalny leaves Berlin hospital after poisoning attempt

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. EU migration pact to deter asylum
  2. 'Era of EU naivety ends', MEP pledges on foreign meddling
  3. Anti-mask protesters pose challenge for EU authorities
  4. EU 'failed' to safeguard civic freedoms during pandemic
  5. The corruption fuelling the Bulgaria protests
  6. EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link
  7. EU states struggle to better sync Covid-19 measures
  8. EP groups drop homophobe from Sakharov prize

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us