Buckingham Palace are today said to be furious over revelations that Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother actually died in 1997.
It has been widely speculated that public appearances for a number of years now have been carried out by an 'animatronic' version of the nations favourite grandmother but today's revelation is the first concrete proof.
The news came yesterday evening from a spokesperson from Adam Twoswords, the world famous waxworks exhibitors in London.
"Since September 11th we have suffered from seriously depleted numbers of American tourists. This coupled with the rising costs associated with running a world class waxworks museum meant that we could simply not justify the costs involved with running the Queen Mum. After February's 're-dipping' we decided we had to pull the plug, and the Palace were made aware.", the spokesperson said.
The Royal Family, themselves suffering from decreased popularity, took the decision not to fund the scheme themselves and so plans were drawn up for a 'natural death'.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace has stated that the original intention was for the public to never know that the Queen Mum had been replaced by a waxwork robot, and that the statement from Twoswords was regrettable.
Prince Philip is said to be 'a little ticked-off', but had apparently advised against the idea 5 years ago.
The Queen's idea
It is understood that the idea to create an animatronix waxwork 'Lizzy' came from the Queen herself. Said to have fealt that the nation was not ready for the death of her mother, she hatched the plan in private as early as 1992.
Prince Philip is said to have considered the idea 'sick', but went along with it when the Queen pointed out 'Look Philip, I'm the Queen. Deal with it, OK?'.
It is believed at this point that no other royals knew of the plan, but Prince Charles found out later when he discovered a number of 12v car batteries stored in The Queen Mum's residence. She did not drive.
The animatronic version of the Queen Mum made her first public appearance at the funeral of Diana in 1997 just a couple of weeks after the real Queen Mum actually died. It was fealt that as the attention would be more on Charles at this time, and that the publics view would be 'blurred by the tears of mourning', it would be a good test to see if the waxwork could pull it off.
None of the royals in attendance at Diana's funeral noticed that the Queen Mum was any different.
Royal scrutineers are now beginnning to ask legal questions given the revelations. The Queen Mum was known to be a heavy gambler, but animatronic waxworks are not legally allowed to place bets under UK law. Questions are being asked about whether bets placed between 1997 and the Easter weekend by the Queen Mum were actually legal or not.
Ladbrokes are considering nullifying all bets made since 1997 and reclaiming costs.
There is also the question of Royal funding by the tax payer. The royals are paid on a head count basis, and some are now claiming that the Queen Mum was only kept 'alive' in order to claim more funds from the tax payer.
How it worked - The Queen Mum
- The waxwork used as many 'real' parts of the Queen Mum as were serviceable. This included eyes, teeth, and the titanium hips which had been retrofitted to the biological Lizzy.
- Animatronics similar to those used in The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Thunderbirds were supplied and fitted.
- A team of 23 technicians were used to control the 'puppet'.
- The Queen Mum required 'redipping' (a process of replacing and repainting the outer wax coating) every 3 weeks at a cost of several thousand pounds
- Specially modified car batteries, which could be hidden in a handbag, powered the device.