25 Apr 2011
Royal Wedding Dictators invite list
"William Hague approved royal dictators?" asks Peter Tatchell
Palace said it acted with FCO agreement
"Exceedingly poor judgement, an insult to the victims of royal repression"
Invitations should be withdrawn - Tyrants not welcome
London - 25 April 2011
"St James's Palaceclaims the Queen invited eight royal dictators to the royal wedding with the agreement of the Foreign Office. This approval was presumably sanctioned by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
"William Hague should come clean about the advice he gave the Queen. If he did authorise wedding invitations to these eight royal tyrants, he has shown exceedingly poor judgement and has insulted the victims of royal repression," added Mr Tatchell.
St James's Palace has defended the wedding list, insisting the Foreign Office had approved it. "Invitations are extended from the Queen following the long-held tradition of inviting other crowned heads of state; we have taken advice from the Foreign Office about their continued inclusion," a spokesman said.
"As a result of protests by human rights campaigners, Bahrain's royal autocrat is no longer attending the wedding. But seven other dictator monarchs are still on the guest list," noted Mr Tatchell.
"It is deplorable that the Queen is still inviting royal dictators from Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Abu Dhabi. All seven royal families preside over severe human rights abuses, such as detention without trial, torture, the denial of free speech, restrictions on press freedom and the violent suppression of peaceful protests.
"The invitations are a serious misjudgement by the monarch. They show the Queen is out of touch with the humanitarian values of most British people. She's putting royalty before human rights.
"The guest list displays a shocking insensitivity to the suffering of people who have been persecuted by these royal tyrants. It is an insult to the victims of dictatorship for our royal family to welcome and embrace these oppressors.
"The invitations should be withdrawn immediately, as a mark of respect for those who have been murdered, arrested, jailed and tortured," urged Mr Tatchell.
See the official royal wedding invitation list here: http://tiny.cc/rr1dk
Examples of human rights abuses by countries whose royal leaders have been invited to William and Kate's wedding on 29 April: