The Box: Duke's fury at dodgy Roller

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The Independent Online
HRH the Duke of Edinburgh was adamant that he fly the flag on his recent visit to New York. His minions made it clear to our Washington embassy that Prince Philip expected to be driven about the Big Apple in nothing less grand than a Rolls Royce. However, Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer was loathe to send the embassy's magnificent Rolls some two hundred miles north, even for the Queen's husband. Arrangements were made with a Manhattan dealer to supply a car, but the best they could come up with was "something off the lot". Unfortunately, the reconditioned Roller suffered a number of mechanical problems, including losing its windscreen wipers. Prince Philip reacted with his predictably gracious charm. Perhaps this explains why Liz Smith, a leading New York gossip hack, accused the Duke of having offended nearly every single person he met during his visit.

Princely return to health

Meanwhile, Pandora joins with the BBC in welcoming Prince Philip home safely. In fact the BBC spent all day Sunday rehearsing for his demise, as is their charming, costly, ghoulish practise when it comes to Royal deaths. In a White City studio, Anna Ford (pictured) led a hand-picked team of Auntie's finest journalists in honouring the "late" Duke, including a script made up of fictitious quotes from real celebrities. William Hague's imaginary tribute said: "The death of Prince Philip has deprived the nation of one of its unique assets." Perhaps even the Boy Wonder could have produced something more flattering that this lukewarm praise in real life. Speaking of reality , hasn't the BBC practised more than enough of this sort of grim progamming recently? MP's look to hand of God

More ingenious solutions are being formulated to Tony Blair's ban on MP's visiting the World Cup this summer. Brian Wilson, the Labour MP for Ayrshire North who wrote an official history of Celtic, is planning a series of important trade missions to Paris, Bordeaux, etc. Meanwhile, Pandora has learned of a group of fervently religious Scottish MP's who are planning to visit France's holiest Catholic pilgrimage sites this summer. They feel sure the Prime Minister's religious devotion will allow them, if caught, to excuse their presence at Cup matches by producing snapshots of them on their knees at Lourdes. Pandora salutes this blind faith in their leader.