A senior Government minister has refuted reports that insurance has been obtained to cover potential losses, should the Queen not live until her Diamond Anniversary celebrations in June 2012.
Speculation about the monarch's health has been growing in South East Asia, the economic area which has most to lose by virtue of its dynamic ceramics and tea-towel industries. Danny Alexander Chief Secretary to the Treasury addressed the issue in the Commons today.
"Of course, Her Majesty is not getting any younger, but she was given the once over by her personal physician only last week. As a dummy run for NHS selling off confidential patient data to the private sector, we then obtained a copy of the Doctor's report in exchange for some cash and I can tell the House that Her Majesty is in fine health. Or at least as fine as one might reasonably hope for in an octogenarian fished out of a very limited gene pool. Hopefully that'll make the HSBC knobend who sold her the long-term care bond wince!".
Mr Alexander explained that the UK's exposure to loss is extremely small. An insurance quote was therefore not asked for, although a long series of letters from 'Saga' had been received offering quotations in exchange for a Parker pen. As with the Olympics, very little Jubilee merchandise will be produced in the UK, whilst the retail side is contracted out to a French firm based in the tax haven of Andorra. However, the pre-Olympic Diamond Jubilee celebrations are seen by UK security forces as a useful warm up for the main event later in the summer; giving the opportunity to test out procedures amongst short-term contract security staff. They will be recruited mostly from Eastern Europe or South America and may be unfamiliar with common English phrases such as 'Stop Mr. de Menezes, or we'll shoot'.
"Let me put your minds at rest" Alexander told fellow MPs "we all expect Her Majesty will be around for the whole of next year, indeed for many years to come. But, if the worst should happen before next June then, as you will readily appreciate, there will not just be one event there will be two. First the funeral. Then the Coronation. We have a Rapid Response Funeral Unit standing by, ready to deploy in 45 minutes. Many of the logistical arrangements for the Diamond Jubilee would also apply for a Royal Funeral. Obviously we'd have to ease back a little on the bunting and balloons and tone down the street parties, marching bands and clowns. Except for the Highgrove area of course; we have to be realistic."
"Just to be on the safe side though, we've pre-recorded some Jubilee celebrations; splicing together some unused footage from The Last Night of the Proms and Britains Got Talent with a Battle of Britain memorial flight documentary from 'Yesterday' TV channel. I don't honestly think anyone would spot the joins but we may not need it anyway. To be frank, the 'ideal' would be a tightly grouped series of events. First the Jubilee. Then a fatal heart attack, say brought on by the Jubilee 42 Gun Salute. Then the Olympics. Then we fit the Coronation around the August Bank Holiday weekend. Stranger things have happened you know. I'm a Lib Dem and look mum, I'm in Government!"