Monday 27 January 2020

I threw Queen's tea away: Blunkett

David Blunkett admitted he has made numerous blunders on his past encounters with the Queen
David Blunkett admitted he has made numerous blunders on his past encounters with the Queen

Former home secretary David Blunkett committed a series of embarrassing blunders in the presence of the Queen, he told MPs.

During a House of Commons debate celebrating the Monarch's Diamond Jubilee he revealed a string of mistakes - including throwing away tea specially brewed to meet royal tastes.

The Labour veteran said: "Over those 60 years I have managed to achieve the dishonour of making mistakes in front of the Queen on a number of occasions."

As leader of the council in Sheffield "many moons ago" he was tasting the tea before the Queen arrived and found it "absolutely disgusting".

He had it changed "only to find out it was her favourite brew that I had set aside".

Mr Blunkett, who is blind, said: "I also made the mistake of declining Her Majesty's help at lunch when I was leader of Sheffield, when she offered to help me with a Barnsley chop.

"Had I accepted the help I would have been spared the embarrassment of being told at the end of the meal that she was 'quite used to cutting up the meat for the corgis'."

At the ceremony when he was made a privy counsellor as Labour came to power in 1997, Mr Blunkett needed the Queen's help to avoid another faux pas.

He said Cabinet colleague Jack Straw "set me in the right direction for kneeling on the cushion" but "I missed it slightly and was only put right by the Queen's gentleness in ensuring that I did actually brush her hand with my lips rather than her elbow with my mouth, which is the direction in which I was pointing at the time".

Mr Blunkett said the Queen had "touched the hearts of those of all classes and all distinctions, races, ethnicities and religions" and had held the UK together.

PA Media

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