Bad news, loyal subjects. Mrs Windsor’s husband – Phil the Greek, as he’s known in the East End bars and whorehouses he frequents – has been taken ill and won’t be attending tonights jubilee pop concert. He’s probably got at least another couple of hours in the queue at his local NHS A&E department before he gets the chance to make a racist comment about the overworked doctor who draws the short straw and has to deal with him.
Actually, I suspect it might just be a ploy to get out of going to the gig – Sir Elton John, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney [who will probably not be performing “Give Ireland Back To The Irish”], Dame Shirley Bassey, Madness shedding the last vestige of credibility – sheesh ! A line-up like that would certainly have me reaching for the medical symptoms dictionary. Hell, I’d fake bubonic plague to get out of an event like that.
An interesting point to ponder, though – what if Phil was to shuffle off this mortal coil in the immediate future ? It would certainly put a damper on proceedings, the adoring crowds being confined to waving their union jacks at the funeral cortege. And the Olympics looming ever closer too.
Or would they perhaps stick him on ice, put out a press release saying that he’s “resting after an illness” [technically true, I suppose] and delay announcing his demise until later in the year ?
A state funeral right now would be bad for business, and the monarchy is nothing if not a business, and not one that would allow sentiment to get in the way.
Just ask Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon. They were daughters of John Herbert Bowes-Lyon and his wife Fenella (née Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis). As John was the brother of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon the Queen Mother, the two daughters were first cousins of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1987, it was revealed that Nerissa and Katherine had been placed in Earlswood Hospital for the mentally disabled in 1941, aged 22 and 15 years respectively, categorised as ‘imbecile’ in the surviving medical notes.
The bizarre and rather cold-blooded fact is that although Nerissa died in 1986, and Katherine, as far as I know, is still alive , both had been listed in Burke’s Peerage as being dead since the 1963 edition. Effectively written out of history. Not good for the royal image, I suppose.
The infomation was supposed to have been supplied to Burke’s by their mother, said to have incorrectly filled in the forms due to ‘vagueness’, which is also somewhat bizarre. But considering they were first cousins of Mrs Windsor, you might have expected Burke’s to have double-checked with Buckingham Palace. Perhaps they did. Perhaps the enteries were officially approved. And they were officially written out of history.
According to a 2011 television documentary about the sisters, “throughout their time at the hospital, there is no known record that the sisters were ever visited by any member of the Bowes-Lyon or royal families, despite their aunt, the Queen Mother, being a Patron of MENCAP” (the charity for people with a learning disability).
Nurses interviewed on the documentary said that, to their knowledge, the family never even sent the sisters a birthday or Christmas gift or card. When Nerissa died in 1986, none of her family attended the funeral. She was buried at Redhill Cemetery. Her grave was only marked with plastic tags and a serial number until her existence was revealed in the media, after when the family added a proper gravestone.
It does seem rather unlikely that Mrs Windsor or her mother wouldn’t know about the fate of their cousins/neices. But I guess there’s no room for sentiment in the royal business.
This attitude towards mentally disabled members of the clan isn’t anything new, though. In 1905, George V and Queen Mary had a son, Prince John, who suffered from epilepsy and who appeared to be autistic.
John was excluded from official family photographs and was not allowed to attend his father’s coronation in 1911. In 1917, he was removed to Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate. Reportedly, he saw little of his parents and died two years later.
Interesting to speculate what might happen if Will & Kate were to produce a mentally- [or physically- for that matter] disabled offspring ? Would it be spirited away soon after birth and replaced by something a little more in line with the royal image ?
I guess the question is – do you think they wouldn’t ?
And has it happened before ?