Royals prove wisdom by degrees

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The Independent Online
Been wondering what's the latest in-spot for a bit of Spanish royal-watching? Forget the Costa del Sol, or even the pages of Hello! It's the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

There's not much sunbathing done there, and even less sailing, but four members of the royal family received degrees last weekend from the Washington university - two earned, two honorary.

Crown Prince Felipe received a master of science in foreign service after completing the university's international graduate programme. So, too, did his cousin, Pavlos Glucksburg, son of the former King Constantine of Greece.

King Juan Carlos was presented with a honorary doctor of laws degree because, according to his citation, he ''has demonstrated what a king can do for his people in this democratic age'' following the death of Franco in 1975.

Queen Sofia, Constantine's sister, received an honorary degree in humane letters. "As she nurtured her own family, so too did she nurture the young Spanish democracy through its miracle of transition", her citation said.


Where's the justice when a rock star can't even get arrested? Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin's legendary founder, discovered that breaking the ban on in-flight smoking just isn't enough these days.

On a flight from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, for a recent concert, Page locked himself in a toilet and lit a cigarette. The alarm sounded and the flight crew notified the authorities in Portland. A police report said the intoxicated rocker tried to persuade officers to arrest him, admitted to smoking and acknowledged he knew it was not allowed. But going to jail just isn't an option under the smoking ban. Page could still be fined up to $1,000 (around pounds 620) if he is prosecuted after the Federal Aviation Administration investigates further.


Abdel Halim Ramadan's 72nd birthday party was supposed to have been special. Invitations were sent to President Hosni Mubarak and other VIPs to join the festivities. None of the big names turned up, though, after the Cairo lawyer, known for his legal actions against Egyptian presidents, failed to gain a court order to force the President to attend.

Mr Mubarak says he's no party animal, and can't even reply to the dozens of invitations he receives every day. "If I accepted all the invitations I would be the president of parties," said the President.


He's had Helmut Kohl in the front of his Swatchmobile. Nicolas Hayek, creator of the ubiquitous Swatch watch - and now the Swatchmobile - says his tiny car is actually quite roomy and cites as proof photographs of himself riding in one with the hefty German Chancellor.

After newspaper assertions that the Swatchmobile, to be produced by Mercedes- Benz, is too small for a driver and a passenger, Mr Hayek whipped out photos of Mr Kohl riding in the vehicle on a visit to the Hayek estate in Switzerland.

"Here is Chancellor Kohl in the passenger's seat and me driving, and Kohl is not a small guy," Mr Hayek said. No word on how the big, tall guy enjoyed the ride, though.