Government papers released now reveal that within Thatcher’s government there was real concern about sole American control of nuclear weapons stationed in the UK – especially at the time of the Greenham Common protests. Defence secretaries John Nott then Michael Heseltine would have liked dual keys over the weapons of mass destruction but they didn’t get them.
The papers also reveal that civil servants rehearsed for the scenario of a nuclear war and even planned a broadcast by the Queen to the British people. The speech would have said the following:
I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939
Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me
An incident you may have forgotten or been unaware of – but back in 1981, Her Majesty The Queen was shot at several times during the annual Trooping Of The Colour. In those days, she rode side saddle down the Mall from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade and that’s when an unemployed military cadet spotted his chance.
Marcus Sarjeant had been an air cadet and patrol leader in the Boy Scouts. He could easily have been a positive role model in contrast to all those nasty punks, rude boys and rockabillies hanging on the street corners of Britain. But instead, he took his pistol and went down to the Mall on the 13th June.
A Scots Guard who wrestled Marcus to the ground later told journalists that he’d considered bayoneting Marcus! Well, he’d just come back from a tour of duty in Northern Ireland when things were pretty rough over there and was probably a bit hyped up. From memory – and I do have an elephant’s memory – Marcus did a five year stretch behind bars for this action.