The 90th birthday present that the Queen really wants

Also in Robert Hardman’s diary: the future of royal walkabouts, and the return of the airship

23 April 2016

9:00 AM

23 April 2016

9:00 AM

The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations start this week with the real thing and barely stop until her official birthday in June. What should a grateful nation give Her Majesty? It’s said what she really wants is a thing that has eluded every reigning monarch bar Edward VII: a Derby winner. If the government cannot arrange that, then it can do this. In this midst of this birthday ‘season’, on 18 May, is the state opening of Parliament. I’m told Westminster is considering changes to make the ritual easier for the main player. Politicians could start by excising their jargon from the Queen’s Speech. Last year, people winced at her talk of ‘psychoactive drugs’ and ‘metro mayors’. It was worse under the previous regime, as Tony Blair has admitted. ‘The poor Queen was reading out New Labour twaddle,’ he told me in an interview. ‘It was so embarrassing listening to that “New Labour, New Britain” stuff.’ Indeed it was. Just imagine having to recite it.

The Queen has had a daily reminder of this birthday for almost a year: a documentary crew trailing her for the ITV film Our Queen at Ninety. As its writer, I have been struck by how little the royal pace has slowed over the years. But the crowds are only getting bigger and HM does not want to disappoint. So the Palace has come up with a solution. When long walkabouts became impractical for the late Queen Mother, her chauffeur procured a golf buggy. She loathed it until someone had the idea of painting it in her racing colours. While that was very ‘her’, it’s out of the question for the Queen. Ditto a Popemobile. Too sedentary. She hates to sit while others stand. Hence the latest addition to the Royal Mews wheeled out this week. Range Rover has created a new open-top ‘State Review’ vehicle. It’s designed for standing up and has an electric motor, so it can move silently and very slowly through crowds without belching fumes over them, and can thus go indoors (it made its debut recently inside the Millennium Stadium). Wisely, it has been painted in the same royal claret livery as the State Bentley.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s successful trip to India has been hailed for drawing a line under that image of a solo Princess of Wales at the Taj Mahal in 1992. For British diplomats, it also helps to draw a line under the last state visit to India in 1997. Shortly before the Queen’s arrival, the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, had said in Pakistan that Britain stood ready to resolve the issue of Kashmir — intolerable meddling in the eyes of the Indian government. The Queen landed in Delhi, accompanied by Mr Cook, to be greeted by one snub after another. The tour swiftly became toxic and the British High Commissioner left the Foreign Office soon afterwards. Mr Cook tried to blame everyone but himself. Only later did it emerge that he had abandoned the Queen midway through the tour to nip home and see his mistress.

The royal birthday has eclipsed another anniversary a fortnight later. Despite trade unionists’ pledges to mount a ‘militant and imaginative’ campaign in honour of the 1926 general strike, the only event arranged so far seems to be a fancy-dress TUC rally in Swindon. Maybe someone is planning a surprise.

The luvvies of Hampstead are petitioning against yet another supermarket. Last year, Emma Thompson and the gang saw off plans for a Tesco. Now locals are fighting a new Sainsbury’s. But to get what they really want, they should adopt the Hyacinth Bucket strategy used elsewhere in the capital. It was in 2012 that angry residents in Sidcup created an action group and a petition against plans to not open a Waitrose. The Sidcup branch is now booming.

We are obsessed with faster trains — HS2, Crossrail and so on. So why is aviation going in the other direction? It’s more than a decade since we scrapped Concorde (I was on its last flight, wedged between Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson as they threw food, drink and insults at each other across the Atlantic). Nothing since has come close. The new Airbus is no faster than the Boeing 747 (born 1969). Now an enterprising company in Bedfordshire is regressing one step further with the largest aircraft in the world — a luxury airship which will cruise at just 90mph. It is an astonishing sight. And being filled with fire-retardant helium, the ‘Airlander 10’ will never go the way of the Hindenburg. Its main challenge, PR-wise, is its bulbous shape, which causes endless comparisons with a celebrity’s fundament. Fed up with the ‘Kim Kardashian’s bum’ tag, the company has now tried to raise the tone by naming the vessel ‘Martha Gwyn’, after the chairman’s wife. Mrs Gwyn says that she is ‘both shocked and delighted by this honour’.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Robert Hardman writes for the Daily Mail and is author of Our Queen.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • victor67

    A truly archaic institution belonging in the middle ages.
    The monarchy represents inherited and unearned privilege and power and as the Panama papers highlighted the corruption and elitism at the heart of British society.

    • wibbling

      Be silent, whelp.

      You’re an imbecile without a brain to use.

      • victor67

        How dare I question our ruling elite and their “God Given” right to rule over us.

        • PetaJ

          The Queen doesn’t “rule”.

    • Mary Ann

      Yes it is archaic, but most people enjoy it, about 70% of the population want to keep the monarchy, you will be outvoted. Besides the newspapers like them, they make good copy.

      • victor67

        At the moment but after a few years of Charles?

        • IainRMuir

          Well we kept the post of PM after years of Blair and Brown.

          The EU is starting to look archaic after only a few decades. It’s more expensive, far more powerful, and barely democratic.

    • Cyril Sneer

      The monarchy is actually very popular here. You represent the minority.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        The Crown is popular. The incumbent Royal family are by and large a ridiculous ,dysfunctional bunch. The Queen being a notable exception.

    • Lawrence James.

      from this, I assume you considered punctuation as elitist.

      • gunnerbear

        I thought you had to start with a capital letter……. 🙂

        • Lawrence James.

          Mea culpa/Luddite incompetence.

    • “A truly archaic institution belonging in the middle ages.”

      The head of the Church of England (or protector before the schism with Rome) is not dependent on any time period, and can only be ended with Jesus’ approval, upon Jesus’ return. What a day that will be!

      • Marian Hunter

        Hi Dean. Jug Ears Head of the Church of England? With the non-negotiable CPB as Queen?

  • James Chilton

    Would the Queen be happy with a Brexit for a (late) birthday present?

    • Mary Ann

      Judging by her reaction to the Scottish referendum I think she would prefer unity. I know the anti EU press tried to stir things up, but did anyone actually believe them.

      • Cyril Sneer

        Bizarre how you conclude that because her majesty wanted to keep the union with Scotland this somehow means she would like us to stay in the EU.

    • Nick

      When I was chatting with the Queen just lately,she said she favoured Brexit.

  • wibbling

    The roads this morning were delightfully clear. Then I remembered that civil servants get the Queen’s birthday as a privilege day.

    Planes won’t go any faster because EU regs prevent it. Trains are being built that will be too expensive, inefficient and loss making, unable to run on other UK track because the EU mandates it. It is yet another example of the Eurocrats telling us to build what we don’t want or need.

    Happy birthday your Majesty. You are an example of everything Britain should be and a mirror of what it is not. You deserve better.

    • Mary Ann

      Trains won’t run on other UK track, what are you talking about?

      • Rush_is_Right

        It’s about technical stuff like Structure Gauge. Don’t worry yourself about such things.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      The Queens birthday for Civil Servants is her official birthday in June. They must take the privilege day on the Friday before or Tuesday after the late May Bank Holiday. The day was given many years ago in lieu of a pay rise. One working day per year is equivalent to 0.4% .

  • davidofkent

    Elsewhere in the Press, somebody remarked that we had had very few queens but their reigns covered periods of expansion of Britain’s importance and her economy. Perhaps that is because Queens, unlike Kings, tend to keep out of it and let the country get on with business. That will not be the way of King George VII, of course.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      We have had more Queens than Kings. Henry VIII had six on his own. We have only had six Queens regnant, if you discount Boadicea.

  • Pretty_Polly

    HMQ – The lady who signed away the nation..

    • Migru Ghee

      There is no gold in the vaults after all?

  • Suriani

    The last monarch of the UKGBNI. End of empire indeed.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      I don’t know. We still have the shabby little network of Crown dependency tax havens laundering the loot of sundry foreign criminals and despots.

  • JabbaTheCat

    Now we have fixed term parliaments the general election ballot paper should always have a section at the bottom where all UK citizens can decide if Windsor plc should get a further fixed term or be replaced by an elected president…

    • Cyril Sneer

      I don’t think you would like the result of that election.

      • JabbaTheCat

        I might not like the result but at least there would be an election encompassing that point…

    • IainRMuir

      “or be replaced by an elected president…”

      You mean like Jean-Claude Juncker, that sort of elected president?

      The European Commission – a new institution by royal standards but, for some reason, its architects forgot to include the quality to which all countries are supposed to aspire – democracy.

    • Lawrence James.

      Such as Trump, Nixon, Putin or the anodyne, boring political time-servers that are thrown up across Europe. Or a Mr Fixit figure such as proliferate across the Third World. Keep your dreary men in suits or bullies in comic-opera uniforms.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Or replaced by our rightful King Francis of Bavaria.

  • 1234567890

    Happy Birthday, Your Majesty:

    Your faith, dedication and courage are sterling.
    Here’s to hoping the British people give you a real birthday present by voting to leave the European Union.

    Many Happy Returns, ma’am.

  • Migru Ghee

    What happened to Gove’s Royal yacht bidding/a*selicking?

  • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

    Herzlichen Glueckwunsch zum Geburtstag Elisabeth.
    Beste Gruesse und ein landes Leben wuenschen Dir der erweiterte Klan von Kontinent.
    Moege Junior Goldschmidt die Buergermeisterwahl gewinnen.

  • Discuscutter

    A Bath filled with Gin?

  • “The 90th birthday present that the Queen really wants”

    As the head of the Church of England (which was long ago co-opted by Marxists, hence the institution’s refusal to alert its flock to the hilarious botched USSR ‘collapse’ operation) naturally the Queen wishes for not one but two things:

    (1) the revival of Christianity throughout the globe, which is in the works; and

    (2) the end of the Marxist era, where since the failed 1848 Marxist revolutions that swept Europe, Marxists initiated a subordination operation of the West, infiltrating and taking over the West’s (in fact, globe thanks to Western colonization) institutions.

    The following are two discoveries (discovered in April 2015) regarding the Yugoslav ‘civil wars’ and ‘collapse’ of the USSR, and what they prove regarding the Marxist co-option of the West’s political establishments*…

    (I) Communist control of Yugoslavia ‘civil wars’…

    Secessionist Yugoslav Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim factions waged dirty wars against each other, neglecting to first wipe out the 9% of the population that attempted to do away with religion in Yugoslavia, proving the wars were orchestrated and controlled by the communist faction. That 9% constitutes members of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia…


    …the Marxist party that subjugated Yugoslavia from 1945 until the party’s dissolution in January 1990. Before any religious sectarian strife, first there would have been massive reprisals against the reviled Communists who implemented policies to wipe out religion in Yugoslavia. The fact that no such reprisals took place proves that the breakup of Yugoslavia, during the Yugoslav Wars (1991-2001), was manufactured and controlled by the Communists; and

    (II) Not one celebration throughout the USSR when the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union…


    …dissolved the USSR on December 26, 1991…

    When Soviet citizens were liberated from up to 74 years of horrific Marxist-atheist oppression on December 26, 1991, the day the USSR officially ended, there were zero celebrations throughout the USSR, proving (1) the ‘collapse’ of the USSR is a strategic ruse; and (2) the political parties of the West were already co-opted by Marxists, otherwise the USSR (and East Bloc nations) couldn’t have gotten away with the ruse.

    Zero celebrations, as the The Atlantic article inadvertently informs us…


    Notice, however, the Kremlin staged anti-government demonstrations that took place in Russia (and other Soviet republics) in the years immediately preceding the ‘dissolving’ of the USSR, yet zero celebrations after the USSR was ‘dissolved’. Also notice that there’s not one picture in The Atlantic retrospective of the celebrations that took place when individual Soviet republics broke away from the USSR throughout 1991, declaring their independence from the USSR. That’s because such inclusions would make one wonder where’s the celebrations for the ‘dissolving’ of the USSR.

    For more on these discoveries, see my blog…


    The above means that the so-called ‘War on Terror’ is an operation being carried out by the Marxist co-opted governments of the West in alliance with the USSR and other Communist nations, the purpose being to (1) destroy the prominence of the West in the eyes of the world, where the West is seen (i) invading nations without cause; (ii) causing chaos around the globe; and (iii) killing over one-million civilians and boasting of torture; (2) close off non-Russian supplies of oil for export, thereby increasing the price of oil, the higher price allowing oil exporting Russia to maintain economic stability while she modernizes and increases her military forces; (3) destroy the United States Armed Forces via the never-ending ‘War on Terror’; the ultimate purpose of the aforementioned to (4) bring about the demise of the United States in the world, opening up a political void to be filled by a new pan-national entity composed of Europe and Russia (replacing the European Union), a union ‘From the Atlantic to Vladivostok’;** which will (5) see the end of NATO.

    The fraudulent ‘collapse’ of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Marxists, which explains why verification of the ‘collapse’ was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    It gets worse–the ‘freed’ Soviets and West also never (1) de-Communized the Soviet Armed Forces of its Communist Party officer corps, which was 90% officered by Communist Party members; and (2) arrested/de-mobilized the five million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Union’s Ministry of the Interior and police control the populations of the cities during the period of ‘Perestroika’ (1986-1991)!

    There can be no collapse of the USSR (or East Bloc nations) without…

    Verification, De-Communization and De-mobilization.

    The West never verified the collapse of the USSR because no collapse occurred, since if a real collapse had occurred the West would have verified it, since the survival of the West depends on verification. Conversely, this proves that the political parties of the West were co-opted by Marxists long before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR, since the survival of the West depends on verification.


    The West will form new political parties where candidates are vetted for Marxist ideology, the use of the polygraph to be an important tool for such vetting. Then the West can finally liberate the globe of vanguard Communism.


    * The failed socialist inspired and controlled pan-European revolutions that swept the continent in 1848(1) taught Marxists and socialists a powerful lesson, that lesson being they couldn’t win overtly,(2) so they adopted the tactic of infiltration of the West’s political parties/institutions. In the case of the United States…(continue reading at DNotice)…


    ** ‘Russia is an inalienable and organic part of Greater Europe and European civilization. Our citizens think of themselves as Europeans. We are by no means indifferent to developments in united Europe.

    That is why Russia proposes moving toward the creation of a common economic and human space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean – a community referred by Russian experts to as “the Union of Europe,” which will strengthen Russia’s potential and position in its economic pivot toward the “new Asia.”’ – Vladimir Putin (2012).


  • PetaJ

    I’m curious to know how it was possible to be “wedged between” Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson on Concorde when all the seats were only two abreast with the aisle between them?

  • mikewaller

    Regarding his comments on the Robin Cook vs India episode, this guy is so wide of the mark I thought he was Charles Moore. There is no doubt that Cook, like all of us, had very serious flaws, particular in his case an inability to control his libido. However, Indian reaction to his offer to arbitrate over Kashmir reflected far more badly on the then India government than it did on Cook. They showed exactly the same childish arrogance as did Britain in declining repeated offers from the USA to help in Northern Ireland. In our case the power relativities were such that in the end we acquiesced, something which lead on to what now passes for peace in that area of violent conflict. In contrast, the Indians chose to react to his good – if somewhat naive – intentions by showing crass ill manners, for example, by very publicly declaring that they would be seeking neither help or advice for a third rate power. As a result, Kashmir spins on in its blood soaked way, constantly available as a trigger point between two nuclear powers. One day they may grow up; but, sadly, it is much more likely that, like us, you have to come down in the world somewhat before you start to show some degree of sense.