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|Royal Family threatens strike action
19 Jul 2003 by Malcolm Drury
Still fuming at the Bean Report on the British monarchy, the Royal Family is threatening strike action unless some of its recommendations are withdrawn.
Family spokesman Prince Charles revealed this threat in a statement to reporters earlier today: "One is deeply disturbed at many of the recommendations," he said. "They sit like some monstrous carbuncle on the very fabric of British history and society, and one feels that unless they are withdrawn, one must regretfully withdraw one's services."
Reporters turned to Prince Edward, who has a more natural conversational style.
"It's true," he said. "Mummy is furious that we weren't properly consulted. We're not closed to change but there are some of the recommendations that we find unacceptable. So unless they are taken out of the report by midnight on Friday next week, we walk. We're called The Firm. Well, we'll show you how firm we can be."
The Prince went on to list the principal recommendations that the Family finds objectionable. They include having to pay inheritance tax, stripping the title of head of the Anglican Church from the monarch, changing the rules of succession, and requiring each member of the Royal Family to appear in public dressed up as a cartoon character once a year.
Describing what strike action would entail, Prince Edward said: "No more public appearances. No opening factories. No garden parties. No more ‘Carry On' films or television appearances for Aunty Barbara. And pickets at each building that has the word ‘Royal' in its name, like the Royal Albert Hall."
Asked about the latter, given the apparently limited number of royals available to man picket lines, the Prince merely smiled enigmatically and murmured "You'd be surprised how many of us there really are."
A highly-placed Palace source told DeadBrain that as another possible tactic the Queen is considering copyrighting herself and requiring that a royalty be paid to her each time her image is used until the Family's demands are met. That would have a devastating effect on anyone who wanted to post a letter, use banknotes or visit the office of a Conservative MP.
DeadBrain asked constitutional expert Professor Douglas Ramsbottom of the University of Bootle for his take on the precedents and implications of the threat.
"There is only one precedent in recent history," he said, "when Queen Douglas of Bulgaria cut short several public engagements until her demand that a better quality of gin be served at state functions was met, but that was more of a work to rule than an outright strike. If our Royal Family were to go on strike it would break new ground constitutionally and that would keep pundits like me very busy on the telly for some time. Very lucrative. I'm all for it."
Mr. Bean, the author of the report, has apparently gone into hiding.
The Queen has reportedly been watching events at Heathrow's Terminal One, where BA staff have gone on a "wildcat" strike, very closely. According to a Palace source, Her Majesty is considering adopting such methods for her own use, and may suddenly stop turning up at events without giving notice, leaving attendees no option but to sleep on the floor and complain bitterly to the nearest TV camera.