Friday, 14 August 2009

Buckingham Palace goes Health and Safety Mad

No idea how I missed this one, but a few days ago, the Daily Mail, among others was aghast over Buckingham Palace discarding one of the traditions relating to the Royal Family. So, what tradition was this that has ended up on the scrapheap due to our Politically Correct Loony Left overlords? Maybe the rising cost of stamps has led to the Queen scrapping the sending of letters to people who are celebrating their Hundredth birthday? Have those bonkers bureaucrats in Brussels killed off the changing of the guard due to the Working Time Directive? Are animal welfare groups demanding that Ravens be allowed to leave the Tower of London?

Well, no. The tradition that is being scrapped is the tradition of walking backwards away from the Queen. It's Health and Safety gone mad! Well, maybe. The Mail states that the tradition has become "the latest victim of Health and Safety regulations". Now, it's probably apt for me to admit my interest here. I work as a Health and Safety Officer. As part of my job I have to keep an eye out for any new regulations that may affect the company I work for and make sure we act on them. The best place to find them tends to be here. Although meeting the Queen doesn't really fall under my remit, I'm sure I would have noticed regulations coming through mentioning not walking backwards away from the Queen. So it's not a regulation then. It's a recommendation. Possibly. There's no direct quote anywhere in the piece from anyone described as being involved in the decision, except for a Buckingham Palace "spokesman", who states that "there was no major decision made...the tradition just melted away".

The decision to stop the practice is apparently to stop people bumping into things as they exit and suing the Palace if they get injured or something. Now, I would think that you've got to have balls the size of the Commonwealth to sue Buckingham Palace, but let's be fair, meeting the Queen isn't something that happens to you every day. No matter if you're a fervent royalist, or a republican, you're going to be quite nervous about meeting the Queen. There's a possibility that you may be concentrating so much on walking backwards, you could crash into something and break the antique vase that was a gift to George II from Louis XV. Which would obviously be quite embarassing. So I can see why it might be thought sensible to do away with it.

As any seasoned Daily Mail reader will know, the last couple of paragraphs of a story will often contain the kernels of truth following the foaming hyperbole of Mail reporting. As is the case here. Robin Cracroft-Brennan, from the Heraldry Society, states

"The present Queen has always hinted that she's not particularly fussed by it... I think she takes the view that it's far better for someone to walk normally than to fall over."

Which sort of makes you wonder why the Mail gets that bothered, really.

1 comment:

  1. I always thought you didn't turn you back to the Queen because she is a mischievous little cow that will stick a 'kick me' sign on you at any given opportunity.