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Not whilst I am Sovereign: Her Majesty’s plan to halt gatecrasher Idi Amin

A Royal force to be reckoned with. Her Majesty had a plan had Idi Amin gatecrshed the Silver Jubilee church service.

A Royal force to be reckoned with. Her Majesty had a plan had Idi Amin gatecrshed the Silver Jubilee church service.

Idi Amin, the despot and murderous ruler of Uganda in the 1970’s might have met his match had he arrived without an invitation to the 1977 Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. According to a new book by Philip Murphy: Monarchy and the End of Empire, The Queen had planned to knock him on the head with a ceremonial pearl sword, had he intruded upon the church service.

According to Murphy, Lord Mountbatten wrote in his diary that Her Majesty took this threat seriously and had a plan of action in place had Amin arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral unannounced.

“I asked her afterwards why she looked rather cross and worried at the time and she laughed and said, “I was just thinking how awful it would be if Amin…were to gatecrash the party and arrive after all.” I asked her what she proposed to do and she said she had decided she would use the City’s Pearl Sword which the Lord Mayor had placed in front of her to hit him hard over the head with.”

The problem truly began in 1973 prior to the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Ottawa. The British Government was not too keen on the Sovereign’s attendance “In large part because of the likely presence of the Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin.” This disdain continued until the 1977 CHOGM that was to take place in London.

It was before the 1977 meeting that the government was rather fearful Amin would make his presence known at the CHOGM. At this point the government “drew up elaborate contingency plans, involving the anti-terrorist squad and police marksmen, to detain Amin on his arrival in the UK and to eject him from the country.”

Although Amin did not appear at the London CHOGM gathering, Her Majesty still worried there was a slight possibility he would find a way to evade security and attend anyway. Fortunately, this did not transpire.

photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via photopin cc

  • indsn

    Unfortunately Amin was pretty much a creation of Britain specifically because Britain did not like the way Milton Obote handled the issue of British Asians at the 1971 Singapore CHOGM. But that resulted in a lot of suffering for Ugandans because Britain had installed the murderous Idi Amin in Uganda.
    However even today, Britain has been and continues to wine and dine with two of history’s worst dictators in East Africa. These are the two men who bear greatest responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and moved on to distablise DRC by creating , training and arming different militia groups of which M23 is fresh in many minds.
    It will be recalled that on Feb 6 1981 Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni robbed a government armoury at Kabamba. They religiously celebrate the robbery up to now. They mobilesed, trained, fought and removed governments in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo in quick succession. Granted this helped to expand the Anglophone influence to to previously exclusive Francophone territory.
    The point here is that the two 1981 robbers who went on to become presidents in Uganda and Rwanda have been responsible for so much bloodshed and human misery in the East African Great Lakes region yet Britain has not been seen to treat them like Idi Amin.In reality they are pretty much worse than Idi Amin especially considering their combined activities.
    Any time there has been trouble in this region there has always been at least the ugly hand of one of the two, The international community at large is having to deal needlessly with a large humanitarian catastrophic situation at great cost instead of using such immense resources on human development. Meanwhile the little funds channelled for human development are corruptly swindled by the two men’s government officials.
    What an irony!

  • Zebulon

    This sounds like one of those puff-up the royal bravery and stoicism stories the palace PR machine churns out through “unnamed palace insiders” and the like. Like in the Michael Fagan incident – for years we heard from unnamed palace insiders that the Queen bravely talked him down. Then last year Fagan told us what really happened; she shot up in bed, screamed, and went running for the door.

    I’m sure if Idi had shown up, ERII would have screamed, tossed the sword aside and gone running for the exit.

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