The Queen ended her diamond jubilee year with a visit to the cabinet office and to the vaults of the Bank of England. Many would see these two jaunts as a tad ‘grey’, even anticlimactic, given the colourful spectacular essence of the Olympic Games and the royal celebrations that we all enjoyed, even proving that the wettest summer for years couldn’t dampen the British fervour and enthusiasm for a good-old-bash. What did fascinate me was the sight of our Prime Minister sitting next to our Monarch in the place where the ruling party: or parties of the day: construct policy that may affect all our lives. Not since 1781 when the then Prime Minister, Frederick North, Lord North who, incidentally was also the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had a Sovereign attended a full sitting of the Cabinet. North sat next to King George lll amidst such political luminaries as Lord Westcote, 2nd Viscount Palmerston, Sir Richard Sutton and John Buller. The talk was of the American War of Independence.
Indeed, North was soon to become known as the Prime Minister Who Lost America. The King would later suffer dementia and become the subject of the film The Madness of King George. Ironically, when the film’s title was being discussed, it’s rumoured that the original title would have to have the ‘lll’ removed for fear that American audiences would think that they may have missed two Preceding movies. The queen was then seen inspecting our gold held at the Bank of England, though the Chancellor, George Osborne, was heard telling her Majesty that some of it didn’t actually belong to us. To be honest, I was impressed. Following the demise of Gordon Brown I’d been led to believe that he would be forever known as the Prime Minister who gave our gold away – that we had no reserves at all. Granted – not quite Fort Knox – more of a broom cupboard: but it still looked like a tidy little rainy day collection.