The Queen by Ann Morrow
Ann Morrow is a royal biographer of Irish origin, her book The Queen, written 35 years ago is an incisive account of what entails Queen Elizabeth behind the scenes life. It is a profile of Britain’s monarch private life and family as well as of her majesty the queen official responsibilities, including an account of royal wedding involving Prince Charles and Princess Diana as well as the Falklands war. Queen Elizabeth II tour of Morocco in 1980 was one of those I couldn’t get enough of reading, imagine an African leader arriving late for dinner with Queen of England? When she visited the country accompanied by her spouse Prince Philip and her staff stayed in the kingdom from the 27th to the 30th of October and visited Rabat Marrakech and Casablanca. However, Ann Morrow says the four day voyage by the Queen was nothing like what she expected. Ann Morrow writes that accounts emerged that the Queen was angered by how King Hassan II treated her and her staff. Well, according to Ann Morrow, Morocco’s King Hassan II left the Queen waiting for him under the sun until 5pm. More than that, invited for a state dinner, the Queen arrived in the palace to find that it was closed and no one was there.Ann Morrow also notes Queen Elizabeth has planned to visit a British funded Leonard Cherishe centre for the disabled, which the king did not want to attend but King Hassan II told the Queen that it was too late to go to the Leonard Cherishe home and he’d take her back to the palace. The Queen refused and told King Hassan II to stop the car and that she would go by herself.
The author also writes that at Queen Elizabeth farewell banquet, Morocco’s Minister of the Court showed up and said the king would be grateful if the banquet could be delayed for a few hours but her majesty rejected to postpone the dinner and replied saying: I will perfectly understand if His Majesty is late and 54 minutes later, King Hassan II arrived to the dinner. Despite the ups and downs of this trip, Ann Morrow notes that the Queen and the British entourage left the kingdom with a positive gesture. Ann Morrow also heaps praise on Queen Elizabeth II for her tremendous efforts in making the August 1979 Commonwealth conference held in Lusaka.Back home there are loud calls for her to cancel the nine-day visit to Zambia and move the site of the Commonwealth conference because of fears that she could be threatened by the presence of Patriotic Front guerrilla forces of Joshua Nkomo who was fighting in the neighboring breakaway colony of Rhodesia for six years. The Queen trip also came at a time when British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government had made progress with plans to lift economic sanctions against the new black-led Southern Rhodesian, present day Zimbabwe government led by then Prime Minister Abel Muzorewa. Ann Morrow writes Queen Elizabeth 11 used her influence to persuade Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda to drop parts of a planned speech which could have given offence to attendants at the conference who wouldn’t have liked to hear the likes of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo referred to as freedom fighters.
The author also chronicles events of Friday morning July 9 1982 at Buckingham palace when Queen Elizabeth woke up and saw that a strange man sitting on her bed. The man, was Michael Fagan dressed in jeans and a dirty T-shirt. Fagan, scaled a 14-foot wall at Buckingham Palace, climbed over barbed wire, and then scaled a drainpipe. Fagan roamed around inside the palace including triggering two alarms when he looked at King George V’s priceless stamp collection. Ann Morrow writes that security assumed the alarms could have been accidentally tripped and shut them off. That in turn gave Michael Fagan adequate time to reach the Queen’s personal bedroom. The author notes that the Queen usually has a security guard stationed outside of her door all the time but for Fagan he was lucky that his reach to the bedroom was made easier thanks to a shift change where one guard had departed and the incoming one was outside walking the dogs.The Queen kept it cool, picked up the phone from her bedside table and asked the operator at the palace switchboard to summon the police. Even though the operator relayed the message to the police, the cops didn’t respond.Ann Morrow details how the Queen failed in her attempt to summon a chambermaid by pressing a button, but no one appeared. As a result, the Queen and Fagan continued chatting. Then reached a point when Fagan asked for a cigarette, the Queen again called the palace switchboard but again there was no response.Ann Morrow extensively writes the Queen had spent her precious ten minutes with a mentally deranged intruder when a chambermaid entered the Queen’s quarters and then after seeing the intruder ran out and woke up a footman who then apprehended the intruder.The cops apparently arrived twelve minutes after the Queen’s first call which one can only describe as gross negligence.
In 1977, Queen Elizabeth celebrated the 25th anniversary of her accession to the throne, her Silver Jubilee. A lot of festivities were held and many people were celebrating.In England, an estimated crowd of one million people waved Her Majesty on her Gold State Coach as she travelled to St Paul’s Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving. Among the congregants at St Paul’s included US President Jimmy Carter, British Prime Minister James Callaghan and his predecessors Harold Wilson, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home and Edward Heath. A further estimate of about 500 million people across the Commonwealth watched live television coverage of the events of the day, and around 12,000 street parties were held across Britain in honour of the Silver Jubilee.Notably covered by the authors were other prominent trips especially those used to celebrate her silver jubilee.To mark the Silver Jubilee, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Western Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbados. It is estimated that they travelled over 56,000 miles during the 12 months of 1977.Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Australia in March 1977 as part of the celebrations of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year. While in Australia, the Queen presided over the State Opening of Parliament in Canberra, visited all capital cities plus Launceston, Newcastle and other regional centres. However, not all the British were keen to celebrate the monarchy. At the height of the celebrations, on June 7, a rented boat called ‘the queen elizabeth’ shoved off the Charing cross Pier with artists, writers, a film crew and Sex Pistols.The trip was organized by the band’s manager Malcolm McLaren as a public relation stunt for the record “God Save The Queen” and a mockery of royal river procession which was scheduled 48 hours later. When ‘the queen elizabeth’ was making its way up and down the Thames, folks inside were drank and partying on the dance floor. When Sex Pistols took the stage, the band started playing “Anarchy in the UK” while the boat passed by the houses of Parliament. After they blasted on through several songs including “God Save the Queen” police boats surrounded the blaring music vessel. The police ordered boat return to the pier where police argued Virgin Records founder Richard Branson, who signed the rental and Malcolm McLaren who ended up being beaten by the police for his nasty language. Sex Pistols saw their sales of the new single “God Save The Queen” sell like hot cake and made the band one of the greatest in rock n roll history.