An innocent photograph of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II greeting new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has led to revelations of a potential royal scandal.
The widely published photograph released by Buckingham Palace showed Her Majesty meeting Mr Johnson on the day she asked him to form government and replace Theresa May as PM.
But in the background is a sleek and expensive Dyson device (arrowed in picture) which has raised questions among royal observers of the possible endorsement by the Queen of a commercial product.
My inquiries have been unable to determine whether the device is a fan, heater, or air purifier but the fact remains that Dyson’s range is far more expensive than similar products sold under other brand names.
My palace sources have firmly denied suggestions that Her Majesty may have engaged in a royal version of “product placement” in order to obtain the device for free or at a discounted price.
But other sources have pointed out to me a number of other incidents that may lend weight to the claim.
For starters, in her 2018 Christmas Message recorded at Buckingham Palace for airing on Christmas Day (main picture), Her Majesty made a veiled reference to a popular fried chicken franchise.
Replaying the message available on the internet reveals Her Majesty using the line: “At this time of year one enjoys sitting down with one’s family and enjoying good conversation over a good meal. But why should one cook on Christmas Day when KFC’s finger lickin’ good chicken and its 11 different herbs and spices is available to one?”
Another source told me of an appearance by Her Majesty in March last year at the annual Fluffing of the Rooks ceremony at the Tower of London.
In her speech the Queen made a pointed reference to the need to maintain the historic site and spoke of the need for Tower staff to have reliable equipment to do so.
“One has found a Karcher high-pressure water cleaner to be invaluable when cleaning one’s own palace,” she noted in a speech that was little reported at the time.
Those who attended the ceremony also recall the fact that the Queen had apparently insisted on having a Karcher device featured prominently at the ceremonial event (pictured).
Another palace source referred me to the Queen’s official speech at the June 2017 opening of the British Parliament.
While I am still investigating the circumstances surrounding the event, I have so far been unable to find an explanation for the prominent presence of a battery-powered Flymo mower (pictured) and the Queen’s decision to provide those present with a working – and noisy – demonstration of its features in the middle of her speech.
I shall, of course, continue to investigate these and other allegations reported to me of possible royal commercial product endorsement.
But for now the official response from Buckingham Palace has been to dismiss the incidents as mere coincidence or an over-interpretation of Her Majesty’s innocent remarks.