Sunday, July 8, 2007

`The Lord Mountbatten'

The Lord Mountbatten, he sailed the seven seas
And with his ships protected tyranny
The Lord Mountbatten was so close to the Crown
But the I.R.A. brought Old Mountbatten down.

The Lord Mountbatten, he liked to play polo
And party at night and play with the nobles
He married a fortune which gave him many pounds
But the I.R.A. brought Old Mountbatten down.

The Lord Mountbatten, he won many medals
By sending many troops to many early graves
He earned the hate of Canada and caused many to drown
But the I.R.A. brought Old Mountbatten down.

The Lord Mountbatten, he fought the Japanese
To reconquer the land that Great Britain had seized
He carved up India to collect some new titles
But the I.R.A. brought Old Mountbatten down.

The Lord Mountbatten, he lived on his estate
And with his royal family, he lived like a parasite
He visited the castles and loved the palace sound
But the I.R.A. brought Old Mountbatten down.

The Lord Mountbatten, he planned a new machine
Composed of armored cars which came across the sea
He held in British Defense, the highest post around
But the I.R.A. brought Old Mountbatten down.

The Lord Mountbatten, he lived just like a King
His blood was mixed all up with the crimes of royalty
He saw Britain knife Ireland and he was so very proud
But the I.R.A. brought Old Mountbatten down.

And all the Irish people who fight still to be free
They all gave one big cheer when told of this great deed
And people chained in Africa who heard the explosive sound
Were glad that the I.R.A. had brought Mountbatten down
Yes, they were glad that the I.R.A. had brought Mountbatten down.

The Lord Mountbatten folk song was written long ago, after the death of Lord Louis Mountbatten (a cousin to Queen Elizabeth II and mentor to Prince Charles) on August 27, 1979, when a radio-controlled bomb exploded on the 79-year-old Mountbatten’s 30-foot pleasure craft off the northwest coast of Ireland. According to a 2002 book by a former editor of the Irish Times (A Secret History of the IRA by Ed Moloney, page 175) “Mountbatten ignored the security advice to think twice about spending time there” and “his stubbornness cost him his life.”

In their early 1990s book, Elizabeth and Philip: The Untold Story of the Queen of England and Her Prince, Charles Higham and Roy Morseley revealed the following about the British Royal Family’s surplus wealth in the late 20th-century:

“The Queen secretly owned a major shareholding in Courtaulds…Exactly how the Queen was able to obtain American properties through her major interest in Courtaulds, which also had immense holdings in South Africa…is unclear. The Crown Lands remained `Crown’ property…The Queen Mother [now deceased] was said to own a building on Broadway in New York City…;…also holdings on Eighth and Ninth avenues and the West Forties from Forty-first to Forty-eighth Streets. The firm of Baring Brothers and Rowe and Pitman handled the royal investments, which included heavyweight holdings in such firms as Rio Tinto-Zinc and General Electric. Her banker remained Coutts…The Queen did not touch her own investments to run her palaces and staff…She wanted to have her allowance doubled from the equivalent of $12 million to $24 million…”

Queen Elizabeth was also believed to own stock in British Petroleum [BP] and in the British company of Prudential Insurance. (Downtown 11/10/93)

According to The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor by A.M. Wilson, Prince Charles' “income from the Duchy of Cornwall” made him “the 14th-richest man in Great Britain” in the early 1990s. The same book also observed the following about Prince Charles’ House of Windsor royal family spending habits:

“If the House of Windsor has aroused envy and rancour in the populace at large, one has to concede that it is partly because of their greed and their meanness…Every time the Queen or her husband travels abroad, a bill for traveling expenses is sent to the British Embassy of the country which she or he happens to be visiting…No ambassador ever questions the bills, which are often enormous. They are sent back to the Foreign Office in London, and paid by the taxpayer…

“…The Royal Family has not hesitated to flaunt its great personal wealth. The most glaring, and ugly, example of this is the ranch-style dwelling, built for a sum in excess of 5 million pounds ($7.5 million) on the edge of Windsor Great Park for Prince Andrew to live with his unfaithful wife…

“One could write a lengthy and tedious catalogue of the greed of the Windsors. The [now deceased] Queen Mother’s gambling addictions, and the high sums she has wasted on…wagers, would alone fill a book…” (Downtown 2/16/94)

Next: Civil Liberties and the 1981 Brink’s Case: A 1991 Downtown Inquiry—Part 1