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Briti-Quette Rule #1: Don’t Dis the Queen!

January 6, 2010

Queen Victoria: Don't cut her mic.

Ho ho ho? With the on-air comment, “Two words: Bo-ring,” a Birmingham radio presenter Tom Binns cut off Queen Elizabeth mid-sentence after he accidentally started airing her annual Christmas speech two weeks ago, the Guardian recently reported. Recalled the unrepentant Binns, “I then went into an old riff about how people say the royal family are good for tourism but the French beheaded theirs and people still visit France.”

To top it off, in what he considered a parody of “cheesy” dj’ing, Binns sniped, “from one queen to another,” as he segued to a track by Wham!

Then, wham! He was sacked.

Even salacioius British tabloids and independent biographers like Kitty Kelley, thanks to their country’s strict libel laws, tread lightly or avoid England all together when revealing royal secrets and innuendo. On a casual basis, too, deference to the monarch and kin remains a longstanding rule — one that has withstood, with only a few nicks and dinks, even the Windsors’ own best efforts to tarnish their image through decades of marital and behavioral turmoil.

Back in August 1954, the U.S. Defense Department offered its servicemen with a firm reminder of the Windsors’ untouchable status in its handy Pocket Guide to Great Britain [price, 25¢; coded, for you archival types, as “DA Pam 20-175”]. The 47-page booklet’s single use of all-caps lettering, appearing on page 37 admonished, “NEVER criticize the Royal Family.”

Are you listening, Mr. Binns?

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