people: DEATH AND THE RAVEN

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DEATH AND THE RAVEN

Tragically for Charlie the raven this was her last week on Earth. At 21, one of the oldest of the eight ravens nesting in the Tower of London (their presence there is said to safeguard the future of the monarchy and the country), Charlie was carrying on as usual in the early hours of Sunday morning, when trouble loomed in the form of a police sniffer dog. The springer spaniel, also called Charlie, was carrying out a routine check for the Queen's VJ Day commemoration visit, when Charlie flew in his path and surprised him. There was a fearful struggle and the unfortunate raven came off worst. She expired on the grass of Tower Green. The Raven Master, David Cope, is said to be so upset he will not comment. The funeral has already taken place; Charlie was interred in the ravens' graveyard in the Tower moat.

PRINCE OF WOES

Poor Prince William - he is surrounded by morons. First his bodyguards come up with the dumb idea of tagging him with an electronic device on his wrist to keep him in sight on a radar screen. Clearly the brains behind this device had never been subjected to even one minute's worth of Eton's Wall game, during which it would be inadvisable to wear a watch let alone a bracelet. Next some bright spark decides that it would safest if his bedroom door, unlike all the others, did not bear his name. So all assailants should make for the blank door. Easy-peasy. Next Lord Wakeham takes hours to make one simple point to the press: that Wills is only a child and should be left alone. Nice try, Lord Wakeham, but my spies tell me that certain tabloids have already paid enormous sums for roof-top positions on Eton High Street.

TUTU TACTLESS

And finally, just when you thought South Africans had more important things to worry about (such as rebuilding their country), we learn that all that the population is really worried about is who Nelson Mandela, 76, will marry once his divorce from Winnie comes through. The man voicing the concern, is, inevitably, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, namesake of lower second degrees. "Madiba [the affectionate nickname for Mr Mandela] needs to have someone to give him his slippers and someone on whose shoulder he can cry," voiced the sage unthinkingly. It took approximately two seconds for the ANC Women's League, headed by the grieving Winnie Mandela, to condemn him for "sexist and denigrating remarks". Poor Mr Mandela, meanwhile, has a more serious problem at hand. The people who really do give him his slippers and provide shoulders to cry on - his bodyguards - have gone on strike over pay.

VICKY WARD

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