Great Uncle Arthur Bates And Queen Victoria

The Brexit debate reminds me of my Great Uncle Arthur Bates who, in July 1850, had the honour of meeting Queen Victoria.

As a young man Great Uncle Arthur had to leave the UK for reasons unknown and after many years travelling around the world avoiding various police forces ended up working for the British East India Company who would basically employ anyone.

The year before British forces had been at war with the Indian Punjab and because British forces had won, all of the Indian Punjab property became the property of theBritish East India Company which was effectively owned by the UK government.

Arthur somehow landed himself a job in the department that looked after all of the property that was confiscated and included in this treasure trove was the worlds largest diamond.

Arthur was quite an expert on diamonds and had somehow had acquired quite a collection for himself. After the official presentation Arthur talked himself into staying for dinner at the palace and Arthur, Victoria and her husband Prince Albert all got on very well.

It was later in the evening, when all three of them were having a glass of wine and a ham sandwich, that HM Queen Victoria admitted that the winter in England was very cold and she thought that Arthur was lucky to be living in the Indian warm climate as she herself felt the cold.

After a few more glasses of wine, the conversation tuned to politics, Europe and the troublesome French.

After more wine everyone agreed with Victoria that the UK was situated far too near to Europe and it would be better if they left Europe altogether and move further away.

It was then that Arthur put the 2 problems together and, in his eagerness to please his queen, announced that he had an amazing solution.

He would investigate how to move the UK (and Ireland) 40 miles South West by using a huge fleet of steam ships. These steam ships would physically pull Great Britain away from mainland Europe where the climate would be both warmer and further way from those foreign Europeans.

It would be a huge job but if his queen demanded it then it will be done!

Obviously, the following morning Arthur woke with a huge hangover and he regretted talking so much rubbish while sloshed which often happens in my family.

Bill Bates 2024