PEOPLE; Whither Lech Windsor?

Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk could have a lot to answer for. The 15th- century Polish king is not as familiar to those of our children who still learn about kings and queens as, say Richard III. Yet he is an ancestor not only of the Queen but of her husband. No one would suggest that the double dose of Polish genes could be a significant factor in the tendency of some members of the Queen's family to self-destruct. Nevertheless, there is something in the chemistry of the Queen's imminent trip to Poland that smacks of those nasty and obscure family quarrels known more for their consequences than for their origins.

Lech Walesa, the former president who has long thought of himself as King of Poland and therefore also related to Kazimierz, Elizabeth and Philip, has not yet replied to an invitation to meet the Queen at a lunch at the Hotel Bristol, in Warsaw, on Tuesday.

The explanation being put about is that he is refusing to come within spitting distance of the man who usurped his throne, the former communist Aleksander Kwasniewski. An alternative version now heard in Warsaw is that he is waiting till the Queen acknowledges that they share the same royal blood and starts to invite him to those family conferences on that grand ongoing theme, Whither the Windsors?

Male chauvinism may have been driven to those sad corners of the planet where rainforest husbands come home from a hard day's hunting expecting the wife to be ready with the pipe and slippers. But victory on earth is not the end of the story. When the American astronaut Shannon Lucid visits the Mir space station - she is due to blast off on the shuttle Atlantis today - the Russians waiting for her will expect her to keep the place clean and tidy.

"We anticipate that the fans will be taken care of in a more timely manner, because we know that women love to clean," said General Yuri Glazkov, deputy commander of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. Ms Lucid, 53, is a biochemist and one of Nasa's original female astronauts.

For all the myths of female equality under communism, the Russians are slow in changing their attitudes. Svetlana Savitskaya was presented with an apron by her male colleagues when she arrived in 1982 at the Salyut space station, and the British chemist Helen Sharman had to listen to her Mir commander complain in 1991 that space flight is "hard work, not a woman's work".

A man with a more subtle appreciation of the role of women is Musa Komeagac, the Turkish waiter who married the 13-year-old Essex girl Sarah Cook. The lovers' story has been turned into a four-part television film by the Turkish ATV channel, with the groom playing himself. Mr Komeagac, who has become a celebrity in his homeland, was paid $8,600 by ATV, which will broadcast the series next month. "My only intention is to show everyone how much I love Sarah," he said from his home in Kahramanmaras. Mr Komeagac was jailed on charges of having sex with a minor then released pending trial next month. He faces up to 10 months in prison.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(that's not Arctic Monkeys)
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Digital Project Manager/BA

£300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An experienced Digital/Ecommerc...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Test Lead (C#, Java, HTML, SQL) Kingston Finance

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Access/Teradata Developer, Banking, Bristol £400pd

£375 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Access / Teradata Developer - Banking - Bristol -...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home