Today marks 6 and a half years since you were abducted to Japan so I thought I’d post a short note to you today with some bits of news for you.
Yesterday saw Prince Harry get married to Meghan Markle. The Prince is a few years younger than me and I remember watching him and his brother grow up when I was growing up so that shows how quickly time passes. I watched part of the television coverage from Windsor. It was reported that a billion people watched the proceedings around the world and it struck me that you might well have been one of them. I well remember the time when Prince Andrew married in 1986 when I was about the age you are now.
In London it has just turned midnight on 20 November 2017.
We last saw each other at an airport 6 years ago today. I, of course, don’t expect you to remember – how could I as you were still a toddler. The date, however, shall remain with me, as your loving father, forever.
A child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents.
Article 10, sub section 2.
States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad.
Article 11, sub section 1.
These are but two provisions that can be said to relate to us but, as our experience has shown these 6 years, the reality that meets these words is very different.
Earlier this year also saw the passing, on 12 May 2017, of exactly 2,000 days from when I last saw you.
As I did last year, I will leave work early later today to visit the spot at the airport where I last saw you at the time when I last saw you. Also today, as it’s your 9th birthday in 8 days’ time, I will go to the Post Office to send you your birthday package. I will post here again on your birthday, as I always do, and also later today with a more general update about the blog.
I hope and pray that in a year’s time this will all have changed. For now, though, please remember that there is not a moment when I am not thinking about you, my beloved and now not so little boy. May God bless, protect and watch over you this day and all days.
Another summer ends. Your 6th in Japan in a row. It’ll soon start cooling down again so no more sweltering walks to the station/school until 2018.
Here is a short UK update for you.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana Princess of Wales; it made news around the world at the time and there has been a lot in the media over it this summer. I clearly remember when I found out; I was back home in Everton for the summer after the end of my first year at university. My mum told me in the kitchen when I went down to make coffee.
As I posted yesterday, our Prime Minister is currently on a trade mission to Japan. My repeated requests to the Foreign Office in the UK to lobby the Japanese government much harder and more publicly on the issue of parental child abduction have not to date been heeded and I fear that such issues will not be on Mrs May’s delegation’s visit. As such I yesterday put in a freedom of information request to find out why this continues to be the case and when this will change. I will update the blog in the coming weeks as soon as I receive a response.
I spent a couple of days with Dad up in Edinburgh, Scotland, over the late August national holiday. It is a fantastically beautiful city also with much on offer around it in the surrounding, mountainous countryside. We concentrated mainly on the city centre but did manage to get the bus out to the Royal Yacht Britannia now moored in Leith, a coastal suburb of Edinburgh.
Dad celebrates his 89th birthday next month and everyone is meeting up, as we did last year, at the Boathouse down in Hythe to mark the occasion. Plans are also being tentatively developed for his 90th birthday in 2018.
Less positively, both my aunt Diana and your Great Grandma have recently been diagnosed with cancers. Diana is responding very well to treatment as it was caught early – she is expected to make a full recovery – but Grandma is still waiting for a full medical assessment.
Your UK cousin, Olly, is doing well. He celebrated his first birthday in April and my sister returned to work at about the same time.
I have mailed you the items below in two tranches, one today and one on 24 August. These include a genuine Edinburgh/Cashmere scarf – I tried it on before sending it to you and it is very soft and fluffy and will, I trust, help keep you warm this winter.
This is just a short note to wish you a very happy Easter in Japan; I sent you some items (below) on Tuesday 4 April so I hope that you have them by now. These included a commemorative coin marking the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee, about which I posted here earlier in the year.
It is tradition for the Queen to spend the Accession Day – as the anniversary of the day she became monarch is officially known – in private at her Sandringham Estate, in Norfolk, and return to Buckingham Palace a few days later.
Other monarchs to pass the sapphire milestone:
King Sobhuza II of Swaziland reigned for 82 years – the longest verifiable reign of any monarch in recorded history. He led Swaziland through independence until his death in 1982.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand had ruled for 70 years when he died last October. He began his reign aged just 18 years old.
Franz Joseph I was Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia for 67 years until his death in 1916. His nephew was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was assassinated in 1914.
King Louis XIV of France reigned for 72 years before his death in 1715. He became king, aged four, after his father’s death.
Prime Minister Theresa May offered her congratulations, hailing the Queen as “truly an inspiration to all of us”.
The prime minister said: “I know the nation will join with me today in celebrating and giving thanks for the lifetime of service Her Majesty the Queen has given to our country and to the Commonwealth.”
Mrs May said it was “a testament to her selfless devotion to the nation” that the Queen had made clear she did not want official celebrations to mark the historic milestone.
Another first for Queen Elizabeth II
By Peter Hunt, BBC diplomatic and royal correspondent
Longevity for a hereditary head of state has brought many milestones.
She is Britain’s longest reigning monarch, having overtaken her great great grandmother, Victoria, in 2015.
Today, after 23,742 days on the throne, it’s the start of the first sapphire jubilee in British history.
For the Queen, it’s a moment for contemplation rather than celebration – as it is also the anniversary of her father’s death.
In the coming months and years, she will, inevitably, do less and other royals will take on more – most notably Prince William, once he finishes his job as an air ambulance pilot in the summer.
The 90-year-old working monarch has another significant moment on the horizon.
In November, she and Prince Philip will mark 70 years of marriage.