JOHN MENADUE. People have been rude to the Queen – again.

According to press reports, the Queen believes that some Chinese were rude during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain last year. Apparently the Queen told Metropolitan Police Commander, Lucy d’Orsi that she had ‘bad luck’ in being responsible for security for the visit and that ‘they were very rude to the (UK) ambassador’.

‘Rude’ seems to be a frequent part of palace vocabulary.

In 1974 in Kingston, Jamaica, aboard her yacht The Britannia, the Queen told me that ‘your Prime Minister had been ‘rude’ to my family.’ I was the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet at the time.

Forgive me for mentioning it but when you read down you will understand.

Prior to that meeting between the Queen and Gough Whitlam he had told me one of the matters he intended to raise with the Queen. He was concerned that some state premiers, particularly Charles Court from WA and Joe Bjelke Petersen from Queensland were making a habit of inviting princes and princesses to visit their state. These ‘lesser royals’ were only too keen to have a free trip to Australia. Gough Whitlam was embarrassed in a situation where it was difficult for him to refuse and cause embarrassment both personal and political. So he suggested to the Queen that princes and princesses should be discouraged from engineering visits to Australia via state premiers. He told the Queen that she and Prince Phillip were very welcome, but other members of the royal family should be discouraged.

That evening, the Queen said to me that ‘Your prime minister was very nice to Prince Phillip and me, but he was very rude to other members of my family’!

Some would say it is bad form to retell such stories of conversations with our Head of State. But why should we show restraint.

We now know that the Queen, the Palace and her staff were well aware of the action which Sir John Kerr proposed to take against Prime Minister Whitlam, but as far as we know she did nothing to advise against it. She did not warn her Prime Minister in Australia. John Kerr would have taken the Queen’s behavior as endorsement or at the least no discouragementt of what he was considering-dismissing a popularly elected Prime Minister and his government.

Jenny Hocking, in her recent book, The Dismissal Dossier, has examined the public records including John Kerr’s ‘treasure trove of previously unpublished papers’. She concludes:

‘‘There can be no doubt that, contrary to Kerr’s claim and the popular view, Prince Charles, Sir Martin Charteris (the Queen’s private secretary) and the Queen were aware that the Governor General was considering dismissing Gough Whitlam and that none of them had raised any concern – either about such a move or that Kerr was communicating directly with them on this. Most significantly, at no stage did the Palace inform the Prime Minister that the Governor General was communicating with them in this way without Whitlam’s knowledge or approval, and that he was considering such extreme unilateral action against him. Their failure to inform Whitlam, as Kerr himself should have done, could only have given Kerr tacit comfort and confidence that the dismissal of the Prime Minister would not meet any royal resistance.’ (Pp.21-23) 

See links to two related stories:

Jenny Hocking. The governor-General, the Palace and the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam: The Mysterious Case of ‘the Palace Letters’. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=5718

John Menadue. The Palace knew that John Kerr was considering dismissing Gough Whitlam. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4968

John Kerr was working actively to subvert his Prime Minister .The Palace and the Queen knew about it in advance. They sat on their hands.

Whilst John Kerr has tabled a large number of papers relating to the Dismissal, the Palace still refuses to release ‘the Palace Letters’ – 40 years after the event. What is being covered up?

A succession of British monarchs presided over the violent occupation of Australia, collaborated in the century long humiliation of China and the exploitation and starvation of Ireland. That was rudeness and much worse on a grand scale.

But the Queen now gets in a tiff if someone is impolite or even rude.

Give us a break!.

 

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John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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