From your Royal Correspondent
+Many people have declared that the UK no longer has a special relationship with the United States. This is palpable nonsense, and the proof? Well, President Biden is going to be one of the few world leaders allowed to travel to the late Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey in his own car, the admirably named explosion-proof ‘Beast.’ The planners I hope will find parking spots for his 20-car convoy, which apparently includes a ‘Beast’ double, for security purposes. Other world leaders will soon find out where they are in the pecking order, it has been reported that most of them will have to be bussed in. In this regard, I would recommend the 88, which goes right past the Abbey and can accommodate 60 or so passengers. I’ve always found London bus drivers to be quite affable, so they should be OK if their bus gets stuck in traffic. Of course, Joe Biden could always give a couple of hitchhikers a lift, perhaps the Emperor of Japan? This could cement some needy relationships. State occasions such as this always encourage a few friendly off-the-cuff bilaterals.
+Now this may be in poor taste (by definition) but to make the televised service a bit more accessible to ordinary people, wouldn’t it be great if Elton John could do a reprise of his song ’Candle In The Wind?’ I guess there could be some protocol issues here, but I think a spirit of generosity would unite the nation. Say no more.
+More countries are considering ditching the monarchy and declaring themselves republics. By all accounts Jamaica will be next. There’s always been a rebellious mood in Australia too, to the extent that they once held a referendum on the subject. We’ll soon see how strong the monarchist glue is in the Commonwealth. Of the 60 or so Commonwealth countries, only 14 currently have the Crown as head of state. I wonder how long this will last. I can’t imagine if I lived in Montreal that I would care less. One Commonwealth country I visited, Kiribati in the South Pacific couldn’t be further removed from its old colonial masters. Indeed, I recall a certain sense of disdain for the UK government’s general lack of concern for the place. (When I say ‘place’ this is a bit of misnomer—by sea water area, with its widely dispersed islands, Kiribati is one of the largest ‘territorial’ areas on the planet.) Anyway Charles, get your skates on, so much to do and so little time left to do it!