independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Queen 'planned to hit dictator Idi Amin over the head with sword'

Ugandan President for Life Idi Amin is seen in in military attire in this file photo taken around 1971.
Ugandan President for Life Idi Amin is seen in in military attire in this file photo taken around 1971.

QUEEN Elizabeth planned to hit Idi Amin over the head with a ceremonial pearl sword if he "gatecrashed" a silver jubilee church service, according to a new book.

The little-known anecdote was revealed by Lord Mountbatten in his diary, demonstrating how seriously the queen took the potential threat posed by the Ugandan dictator in the 1970s.

It is among the archive materials disclosed in 'Monarchy and the End of Empire'.

The archives seen by Prof Philip Murphy, the director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and author of the book, describe British government plans to minimise disruption if Amin made an uninvited appearance in Britain.

In 1972, Alec Douglas-Home, the then foreign secretary, warned of the difficulties of the queen being seen in the company of a "head of government known to be a murderer".

In 1977, when it was feared Amin would travel to join the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, documents show Britain "drew up elaborate contingency plans, involving the antiterrorist squad and police marksmen, to detain Amin on his arrival . . . and to eject him from the country".

Despite his failure to appear, the book claims the queen remained concerned about the possibility he would try to attend the jubilee service.

Lord Mountbatten said he asked the queen why she "looked rather cross and worried". He wrote: "She laughed and said, 'I was just thinking how awful it would be if Amin were to gatecrash the party'.

"I asked her what she had proposed to do and she said she had decided she would use the City's Pearl Sword . . . to hit him hard over the head with." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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