Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Supreme Court: my confidential memo to HRH

To: HRH The Prince of Wales

Subject: Loyal

The packed courtroom is silent for the final three minutes before the justices enter. Is this the sound made by an unwritten job description within the unwritten British constitution?

This silence is far more dramatic than anything I saw at the play King Charles III which I left in the interval, beaten about the ears by cod Shakespeare. If you want to know about kingship, read the real thing. And on a different but relevant note, read Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing.

The justices file in. What a relief. We are in The Queen's symbolic presence. The Supreme Court has opted not to display the royal coat of arms in its courtrooms, but if you look up, Your Royal Highness, you will see a portrait of Lord Bingham in the robe of the Order of the Garter (founded by Edward III).

And there's Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington, with his Garter robe slung on a chair. It reminds us of the Lady Jane Wellesley episode in your agonisingly documented romantic life. Goaded by photographers, she rounded on them: 'Do you really think I want to be Queen?'

So, sir, are your confidential memos to government departments a necessary and protected part of your role as, an Arthur without a Merlin, you prepare to be a king of 'heartfelt intervention'? R (on the application of Evans) v Her Majesty's Attorney General and another is examining whether they can be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, following a request from Rob Evans of The Guardian.

I leave at dusk. Over the weekend, the tide of Occupy was lapping at the walls of the Supreme Court in a protest about democracy. I assume the crimson paint on the wall is theirs. At Occupy I met the man who'd attended every day of the six-month Diana and Dodi inquest with DIANA AND DODI written on his forehead.

I head for the monthly gathering of Laydeez Do Comics and a talk by Jill Gibbon who draws covertly at arms fairs disguised as an arms dealer, wearing a suit and pearls as an act of subversion. My own fancy dress pearls express admiration, recognise what was good about 1963, and acknowledge that The Queen's life of exemplary service has intervened in more than one heart.

In The Queen's Jewels, Leslie Field describes the funeral cort├Ęge of King George V: the Maltese cross on top of the imperial state crown, placed on the coffin, fell to the ground and was retrieved by a Grenadier Guard. "Two Members of Parliament, Walter Elliot and Robert Boothby, who were watching from the pavement, heard the King [Edward VIII] mutter, 'Christ! What will happen next?', and Elliot remarked to his companion: 'A fitting motto for the coming reign.'"

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