Will we ever discover who was behind the decision not to invite Her Majesty the Queen or any other member of the Royal Family to the 65th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day Landings? I've been following what has been going on in the past week or so about this and wondering what the outcome would be.
I was nonplussed yesterday when I heard that President Obama had taken up the matter; he apparently considered it highly unusual that Her Majesty had not been invited and it seems his intervention may have been at least a part of the reason why Prince Charles has now received an invitation, although according to this article Clarence House had already been in contact with the French Presidency on the matter; not a 'dickie-boo' have we heard from the British Government.
There are several possibilities I can see for this ginormous 'gaffe', some more likely than others, but I list some of those I can think of, for the record:
- The French and the Americans had intended it to be solely for their two nations (possible, but unlikely, I'd have thought);
- Gordon Brown muscled in on the invite (sounds plausible to me);
- British Prime Minister Brown had been informed by the French about their plans and had suggested as it was the 65th, rather than the 60th or 70th anniversary, a Royal attendance was unnecessary (sounds plausible to me); it's possible he may even have advised The Queen of this during one of their Tuesday-evening meetings (highly unlikely);
- Possibly The Queen Herself decided that it was not an important enough anniversary to warrant Her attendance (very highly unlikely I'd have thought); She might even have decided that She is too old to attend, specially as it's 'only' the 65th anniversary (so unlikely as to be almost impossible to imagine, but I list it here for completeness);
- President Sarkozy had wanted to make it only for himself and President Obama as a way of boosting his domestic profile (possible), and in any case there continues to be resentment amongst certain French that they were liberated at least partly with the help of their old rivals the British (possible, but probably not a major consideration in the France of today).
There are a number of other even more tortuous explanations for this outrageous omission and yes, I do believe the omission was completely outrageous. My own sickening feeling is that it was Gordon Brown who engineered the omission, as he may have thought he could use his attendance there, without any Royal, to boost his own increasingly shaky hold on the leadership of the Labour Party and on power as Prime Minister. The real story is unlikely ever to be revealed (at least within the life of this Government or perhaps the life of Her Majesty, too) and is probably only known to Her Majesty, Prince Charles, Gordon Brown and perhaps President Sarkozy. I doubt very much that the American were aware of it until it started to become a public scandal. If I were The Queen I would certainly take my revenge on whoever was responsible, possibly in Her own funeral arrangements, by pointedly snubbing the relevant people or their political successors and ensuring they are not invited; that might mean either the Leader of the Labour Party at the time, whoever that is, or the President of France, whoever that is. Personally I feel that the decision to exclude the Head of State of the country which did more than any other to ensure that Nazi tyranny would not prevail is utterly and completely outrageous, even if it did not do that on its own and particularly had need of the Americans to assist, however late, in the project. I really do not feel that the perpetrators of this decision should escape completely, however long it takes - and I hope that Her Majesty will live on for quite few years yet.
However, revenge IS a dish best served cold and I hope that She will not let the matter lie completely unanswered; no doubt Charles will be dignified on 6th June, but I hope He snubs very politely, but pointedly, and unmistakably whoever caused this gaffe.