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Page 3 Profile: Sir Malcolm Ross, member of the Royal household

The head of Operation True Blue?

He is indeed. Sir Malcolm has led a committee of officials from Buckingham Palace, the Metropolitan Police and Parliament on the arrangements for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral next Wednesday. He is said to have taken the plans from the “frayed” state they were in four years ago to the streamlined guidelines that we have today.

Why bring in Sir Malcolm?

He is famed for his discretion, as you might expect from someone who is accustomed to working with the Royal Family. Eton – and Sandhurst-educated, he joined the Royal Household in 1987 as Assistant Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and Management Auditor, working his way up to becoming Master of the Household of the Prince of Wales in 2006. He was responsible for organising the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother, and it was because of this experience that he was chosen to steer one of the most controversial services in recent memory.

I certainly hadn’t heard any rumours about it until this week.

It is said that Sir Malcolm held the plans for the Queen Mother’s funeral in his briefcase for 17 years, so keeping Margaret Thatcher’s plans under lock and key must have been easy in comparison. Speculation raged for years over whether she should be granted a state funeral, but it was decided this would not be the case quite early on.

There is, of course, one element he can’t control.

It seems inevitable that protesters will aim to make their presence felt next week. Sir Malcolm felt it necessary to involve the police unusually early on. He would discuss plans with Mark and Carol Thatcher and the former Prime Minister’s senior adviser Mark Worthington before regrouping the committee to agree the best plan of action. If something goes awry, it’s unlikely to be Sir Malcolm’s fault.

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