This from Don Adamson.
The Queen is dead. God Save the King. My first thought on hearing the news was about Prime Ministers. Churchill, love him or hate him punched a hole in history. Eden is remembered for a grave error after years of respectable public service. He should have listened to the diplomats. MacMillan dragged the Tory Party kicking and screaming in the 20th century. Pity the effect was temporary. Douglas-Home was unlucky with his timing. He presided over an exhausted and accident prone government. You could say the same about Brown. Wilson, Heath, Callaghan and Major could have achieved more but for the lunatics around them who p****d in the soup. Blair tried to drag the Labour party kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Pity the effect was temporary. Cameron May, Johnson and Truss were/are worse than useless. These Tories do not learn from their experiences.
We now have Charles III. He experienced the longest apprenticeship in history and his best years are behind him. I wish him well but I cannot help feeling that if it is necessary for the monarch to submit meekly to Tory lies then the Monarchy has outlived its usefulness.
HMQ visited NZ in 1977 for the Silver Jubilee. NZ is a realm so Government House took the lead. I was tasked to approach the NZ Post Office to arrange for mail to be collected and delivered to the Royal Party. I went over there and found this old fossil with a pile of documents on his desk. He pointed at the pile and insisted the information was all there. He would have it all sorted in time for the Royal Visit. I reported this through the proper channels. It was getting rather close to the visit when I got a telegram from London saying that they really needed that schedule of postal delivery and collections. I returned to the NZ Post Office and found the same swivel eyed loon staring at the same pile of papers.
I suggested that we needed to match the visit itinerary with daily times when the Post Office closed their mail bags and sent the bags on their way. It was fussy, detailed work and easy to make a mistake. It was certainly not rocket science. All you needed to do was concentrate and check your findings carefully. According to the itinerary HMQ would be in a certain town on a certain date. Ask the Post Office to collect and deliver mail in accordance with existing schedules. It took about an hour. I made two copies of the draft, left one copy with NZPO and took the other back to my office to incorporate into a telegram. A few days later we got a reply along the lines of thanks chaps, this is what we need but may we suggest one, repeat one, very minor repeat minor amendment. I phoned the swivel eyed loon in the NZPO who went ballistic: how dare I criticise the splendid work he did. I called him down and he agreed to the one, repeat one, very minor adjustment. I later learned that the swivel eyed loon was decorated for his efforts. That is right. Somebody else got the medal for the work I did. I might have been angry if I had not been laughing so much. Besides: one hour of uncomplicated work hardly merits a medal. Such things happen. The captain of a destroyer was awarded a medal for his heroism at Dunkirk. Later investigation revealed that the captain had been on leave that week. The medal should have gone to the first mate. You expect incompetence from the army and air force but higher standards are expected of nautical types.
There were two security incidents. Cops had to intervene to rescue somebody saying nasty things about HMQ. Badmouthing the Brits was one thing but being nasty to the Queen was another. While HMQ was in Wellington we got a package for her from London. I never knew why that went through British channels rather than NZ channels. The office car took me over to Government House. There is a two tier police system in NZ. You have traffic cops who deal with vehicular crime and regular cops who deal with anything else. There were 12 traffic cops at the gates of Government House and 6 regular cops. Behind them there were three soldiers from the NZ SAS. The Kiwi SAS differs from other SAS units in that they wear the maroon beret of the airborne forces not the sand coloured beret favoured by other SAS regiments. The kiwis did wear the standard winged dagger cap badge worn by all SAS units. What I found interesting was that two corporals carried automatic rifles while the one officer wore a sword and belt. Perhaps this was to kill the bad guys quietly so as not to upset the Queen. I delivered the package to the Queen’s Private Secretary who suggested I leave by the back gate. There was no security at all on the back gate
2001 was an important centenary for the Australians. They wanted to celebrate it style. They asked that we should stop the traffic for half an hour one afternoon mid week so some Australian dignitary could lay a wreath at the Cenotaph. Some idiot of an MP had to kick up a stink about that. I felt there were two relevant points. 1. Laying wreaths at the Cenotaph meant as much to us as it did to Australians. 2. If this was only a once in a century event then it seemed churlish to disoblige the Australians.
The Australian army sent a contingent of troops to stand guard over the Royal Palaces. I passed them once or twice. They were alert and looking for trouble. I could almost feel sorry for anybody who meddled with the Queen while these guys were on sentry duty.
Nothing is as it seems in Buckingham Palace. I remember being summoned to a conference at the billiard room in Buckingham Palace. I naively wondered if I might squeeze in a game if I asked nicely. It was not to be. They had moved out the billiard table and replaced it with a conference table; Chiz!
I always enjoyed the Christmas parties at Buckingham Palace. How I wish my mother had lived to read that sentence. They were held in the Palace Mews. Traditionally the “Mews” is the accommodation for horses and horse drawn vehicles. I assumed the party would be a barn dance or a hay ride; no such luck. It was just an ordinary room where people drank wind and nibbled canapés. In the event HMQ died of natural causes and at a great age. This indicates that the officers responsible for her safety were top of the range.
We went to Welham Green for the weekend. We wanted to see Rohan and I would take the day off to join in the anti Brexit protest in London. The protest was cancelled; which was a scunner. The good news was that I got to see more of Rohan. I may need to go south again in a few weeks when they decide to hold the delayed protest. Have you noticed that Monarch’s only die when there is a Tory government in office? What is the reason for that?