Coronavirus restrictions notwithstanding Saturday’s funeral for HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO GBE was a moving affair. I am not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears. He was a lovely man, with respect – a sensitive soul hid behind a gruff exterior. The limitation on mourners did not of course apply to the quadrangle at Windsor Castle and some 750 members of the Armed Forces took part.
I’m not sure that this is that the Cabinet Office had in mind when they blocked the State Funeral to which Prince Philip was entitled and insisted on Covid rules applying, which was absurd. The rules say nothing about Ceremonial Royal Funerals and were never intended to apply to them.
The problem the Cabinet Office had with Prince Philip of course was that he was a Good Guy and was on our side in World War II. Had he served in the Italian Navy, as Sky News kept suggesting last weekend, they would doubtless have gone for a State Funeral. The Cabinet Secretary in World War II, Sir Edward Bridges, was of course a traitor, who spent the whole war trying to help the Axis win and making sure that as many of his fellow countrymen were killed as possible.
The attempt to humiliate Prince Philip and the Queen has backfired. Supercilious Cabinet Secretary Simon Case will have to go, sadly. There were high hopes when he was appointed but they have been dashed. Hopefully he will be the last ever civil servant appointed to the role. Every Cabinet Secretary to date has been a failure, indeed most of them should have been hanged.
At least three of them (Bridges, Brook and Trend) committed High Treason in the war, indeed none of them could have been heard to complain had they been drawn and quartered as well as hanged. No death would have been too terrible for Edward Bridges, one of the worst human beings who ever lived, no offense intended.
I am not of course suggesting that Simon Case should be hanged. Unlike his predecessor but one Sir Jeremy Heywood, who tried to get the Queen murdered at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2012, Simon hasn’t committed a hanging offense, not yet at any rate. We need to learn from the mistakes of WWII and the tragic failure to execute Sir Edward Bridges. The next Cabinet Secretary should be a retired military three-star. The appointment could be rotated between the three Services.
Happily the Cabinet Office are currently embroiled in the Greensill Capital scandal. They’ve ordered a whitewash, sorry inquiry, but even MPs aren’t buying. The scandal is moving closer to the Cabinet Office’s Major Projects Office, which in turn could lead to the £50,000,000 bung arranged by GO2 and the late Sir Jeremy Heywood (late for a reason) in 2013 in a futile effort to block the EU referendum.
I’m afraid that I failed to persuade Sky News to stop showing pictures of Italian battleships instead of proper British battleships in their coverage of Prince Philip’s death. This wasn’t the media’s only gaffe. They kept suggesting that the Queen and Prince Philip first met in 1939, when they were cousins and actually first met at the wedding in 1934 of Princess Marina, a first cousin of Prince Philip, and HRH the Duke of Kent, later assassinated by the Abwehr in a plane crash.
The MSM also keep insisting that Prince Philip was stateless until naturalized, but that can’t be right. As a direct descendant, through Queen Victoria, of Sophia, Electress of Hanover, Prince Philip was a British Subject from birth by reason of the Sophia Naturalisation Act 1705. The Act was repealed by the British Nationality Act 1948 but without prejudice to those who had already acquired British Subject status.
Her Majesty cut a sad figure at the funeral, sitting alone, saying goodbye to her strength and stay of 73 years. The nation’s hearts were with Her. Prince Philip supported Her magnificently for nearly three quarters of a century, what ever Netflix might say. (They tried to link HRH to women he never even met.)
It is time for us all to rally around the Queen. HMY Britannia, which She loves, should be refitted and restored to service, pending the commissioning of a new Royal Yacht. Of course Britannia, commissioned in 1954, is a little old-fashioned, like most machinery 67 years old, but she should polish up a treat. I know where we can find the boys in Edinburgh a battleship to replace Britannia as a tourist attraction, so the city won’t suffer.
The new Royal Yacht should be an elegant, twin-funnelled steam yacht, capable of at least 30 knots, with a vehicle deck and a helicopter hangar large enough to accommodate two Merlin helicopters. About 10,000 tons standard displacement would be right. I know what the Duke would have said – ‘too small, Shrimpton’, but we live in an age of austerity.
As I have said many times before, ownership of the Royal Palaces should be transferred to the Queen and the income from Her estate should be restored to Her. The Cabinet Office will kick and scream, but as a nation we must wage war on the Cabinet Office, as they have waged war on us since 1916.
The most moving parts of the service, I thought, were the playing by Royal Marines buglers of the call to Action Stations, to which Prince Philip would have responded at the Battle of Matapan, where he helped bag an Eyetie cruiser, the piped lament and the singing of the Russian Anthem of the Departed (Kontakion).
The choir, although tiny, sang beautifully. It was a shame that the Royal Family weren’t in uniform, but it was good to see HRH Prince Harry close to his brother Prince William.
The Land Rover hearse was a nice touch, even if it did have a diesel engine. HRH of course contributed to the design, a stretched version of the basic Defender. The lack of a sermon was an authentic Prince Philip touch! He didn’t go in for long sermons.
The Chauvin trial
It is a matter for the jury of course, but I anticipate a Not Guilty verdict, followed by a couple of small riots. Distinguished South African pathologist Dr David Fowler dismantled the prosecution case this week with reasoned, highly rational testimony.
One thing I had not picked up was the high level of carbon monoxide in George Floyd’s blood. This was explained by his head being positioned, stupidly, near a running vehicle exhaust. That positioning however was nothing to do with Officer Chauvin, indeed it doesn’t seem that the dangers of CO poisoning are fully understood by police officers. The prosecution, shamefully, tried to undermine the blood test, but the learned trial judge, Judge Cahill, saw them coming. I’ve been impressed with Judge Cahill, by the way. He knows how to handle a courtroom.
I’ve always said that homicide was a stretch, given that Floyd had taken a fatal dose of fentanyl, which has a depressive effect on the respiratory system, plus some meth, and had serious coronary artery disease. There is no indication that Derek Chauvin obstructed his airway, or that airway obstruction played a role in his death.
American policing sometimes seems like an episode of Bates Motel, with dead bodies everywhere. There was more left-wing angst this week over the fatal shooting of a young Latino gang member, Adam Toledo, in Chicago, who was a bit slow to put his hands up. It’s a tragedy when a 13 year old is shot by the police, but what was Adam doing in a gang, let alone carrying a gun?
Maybe I lived a sheltered childhood but I never asked my mum when I was 13 ‘can I go out and ride my bike and should I take my gun?’ Adam should not have been carrying, period. When asked by police to stop and show his hands he should not have run. No doubt the poor officer was appalled when he realised how young Adam was, and that he had no other weapon than the one thrown away, but this is what happens when young people get involved in gangs. If you’re asked to join a gang join the Boy Scouts instead.
Darius the big bunny
Amongst other big news this week was the kidnapping of Darius, the cuddly giant bunny. The world’s biggest bunny, his outrageous bunny-napping set off a giant bunny hunt.
Airports are on the lookout and police up and down the land are looking for him. Sadly he’s probably not big enough for the rozzers to spot him, however.
Maybe the RSPCA could set up a specialist Bunny Squad, preferably armed? No apologies for a lighter story amidst all the sadness of recent weeks!
Anne, Lady Jaffray (1919-2021)
Mother of a good friend of mine, Anne, Lady Jaffray, sadly passed on March 15th, aged 101. A glamorous former debutante, she was one of the last survivors of the Bletchley Girls.
Highly trusted, she was in Hut 3, nerve center of Britain’s successful code-breaking operation. A late friend of mine, Lt-Col Harry Beckhough MBE was one of the security officers at Bletchley and explained the difference between the huts to me. Only the best went into Hut 3. The German spies tended to be moved to Hut 8.
I never met Lady Jaffray, who was introduced over the years to King George VI, the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge, but she was obviously a great character and a wonderful woman. She was also highly trustworthy. Even her second husband, Lt-Col Sir William Jaffray, Bt, never knew of her vital wartime role. Indeed her family only found out when the slightly dodgy (no offense intended) air intelligence officer Group Captain Frederick Winterbotham, went public in the 70s.
Amongst her many achievements was helping to sink our community partners the Nazis’ battleship KMS Bismarck. She provided intelligence which helped relocate her after Rear-Admiral Wake Walker’s shadowing cruisers, HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk, lost contact.
It was a good life, well lived, much of it in the service of her country. There surely cannot be many left who served at Bletchley Park. Rest In Peace Lady Jaffray.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.