Saturday, January 13, 2007


The Queen's visit to Corsica

Lat year Corsica and the British monarchy celebrated a rather strange anniversary - the 50th anniversary of the visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to the island - a event that took place on 10th March 1956.

I was reminded of the event when I received through the post last week a copy of the March/April1956 issue of of a magazine called "La Corse - Touristique et Hoteliere" which recorded the event in some detail. Many thanks to Roger Snook - son of the Hon. British Consul to the island at the time - for sending it to me.

I rang Buckingham Palace to get the background to the event, but was told very firmly that if the event had taken place at all it would have been a private visit and therefore they couldn't provide any information. I think the folk on the island, however, regarded it as very important, unofficial or not. She was greeted by M. Marcel Savreux, Corsica's Prefect, in full uniformed splendour, and a host of other island dignitaries.

The magazine contains some fascinating photos. The reception committee, unsurprisingly, look stiff and nervous; the young Queen on the other hand looks relaxed, happy and very elegant.

Could it happen again? I doubt it. I'm impressed that Her Majesty had the good taste to choose Corsica for a prvate holiday but doubt whether either the French or British authorities could cope with the security arangements these days. But it would be great for Corsica, and would add a new twist to the development of Anglo-French relations.

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