SAUDI ARABIA: Make Way for the King

In the old days when Europe's elite took the cure at Baden-Baden, the spa's fashionable hotels were equipped to handle all comers, no matter how whimsical or wellborn. But in these days, when Baden-Baden's hotelkeepers concentrate on the methodical ranks of Germany's industrial aristocracy, who make their bookings well in advance, no one was quite prepared for the telephone call that came from the West German protocol office.

It was an urgent request for bookings. A "high-ranking personality from the Middle East," name top secret, said a voice on the other end of the line, was planning to drop in...

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