Protocol at international events is always mystery to outsiders. One gets a flavor of this when watching a royal event in England: arrival order, seating plan, who gets to ride in carriage, a car, or a bus, etc.
I could not avoid a few minutes of the show in Rome today, when “dignitaries” from around the world showed up to have their photo taken with an old man shrouded in white. What surprised me was the order of people standing in line. The president of Argentina came first, since she has fought with the guy in the past; the president of Italy followed, since the Vatican is illegally parked in his country; the king of Belgium--Belgium--was next. I cannot figure out Belgium’s importance to the Catholic Church, a county no one would miss if it floated off into the Atlantic Ocean and disappeared. An even bigger surprise was the next supplicant: Prince Albert of Monaco. Perhaps, all the cardinals keep their fortunes in that tax haven. Who knows why this clown precedes the great nations of the world. It can’t be the number of worshippers in all those luxury apartments. The “royal” family is Catholic, but most, if not all, members have sinned in many ways. Just read the tabloids. The guy has spent a lot of time at confession.
After that, I switched off. Watching bowing and scraping is not my idea of entertainment.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.