Death of the Queen Mother

I’m surprised at how little reaction there seems to have been to a remarkable letter in The Times (London Times, that would be) of 4 April, from a Mr Michael Shrimpton. The letter described the failure to give the Queen Mother a state funeral (she only had a "royal ceremonial funeral", apparently, for which the Queen, not the taxpayer, footed the bill) as "not only an insult to her beloved memory but also to that of [her late husband] the King"; deplored "the Prime Minister’s impertinence in going ahead with a visit to the US during the official period of mourning" instead of inviting President Bush to the funeral; and called the government’s failure to send additional RAF aircraft to fetch the Princes home from their holiday in Switzerland an "irresponsible breach of security". The route of the funeral procession was too short; and if there had been no official messages of condolence from "the EU and Communist China", then "those powers [sic] must forfeit any claim on the friendship of the British people." The BBC, "having failed the nation yet again", would face renewed calls for the abolition of its licence fee. My wife remains convinced that the letter was a spoof, perhaps held over from April the 1st, although dated April 2. I have a terrible suspicion that it was probably genuine. Presumably those who might have been tempted to write replies to Mr Shrimpton’s letter found themselves understandably lost for words.

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