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August 16, 2004
Maybe The Windsors Should Take Up A New Hobby

The London Guardian reports today on what appears to be an ongoing albatross for the Royal Family -- their prized art collection. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure it's lovely, and they have every right to it, but it just seems to attract the worst luck these days:

They have survived Cromwell, the Blitz and the close attentions of a Soviet spy. But now one of the Queen's prized paintings has fallen prey to an unexpected danger: a policeman determined to protect the Royal Collection.

The unnamed officer was attempting to close a window in St James's Palace when he tumbled from a chair, pulling down curtains and tearing a sizable hole at the heart of a large oil painting. ... "To get leverage he stood on a chair, but it collapsed, sending him flying. He flung out his arm, grabbed the curtains and landed in a heap of drapes," the source said.

"He then saw the hole in the canvas. He still doesn't know how he did it. He either stuffed his hand through or a curtain hook ripped into it."

So not only did he tear a hole in one of the Queen's paintings but he also managed to smash a chair as well. Doesn't anyone own a stepladder at the palace? The Queen has graciously allowed for the mistake and have no intention on disciplining the constable responsible, not even docking his pay for the repair, which should be completely restorative.

About that Soviet spy? The Guardian saves that for last with typical Fleet Street snark:

The Royal Collection has been amassed by kings and queens over five centuries, and contains armour, jewellery, books and furniture as well as more conventional artworks.

Cromwell disposed of many of the finest works amassed by Charles I, but subsequent royals - including George III and Queen Victoria - boosted the collection again.

The eminent art historian Anthony Blunt oversaw it for many years, until he was exposed as a still more accomplished Soviet spy.

Oh, dear. Good help is so hard to find these days. Perhaps they should concentrate on polo.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 16, 2004 6:02 AM

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