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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

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