Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's entourage has some people with very unusual jobs. None more so that the Queen's official pardoner. His (or her) role on formal state occasions is to stand up and admit blame for any audible flatulence emitted by a member of the Royal Family. The role has for many years been hidden from public knowledge, and only recently came to light during the tour of the United States.
During a banquet to celebrate the Queen's visit, President Bush stood up the give a short address and was greeted by a loud "parp". The official pardoner was not concentrating, leaving the President to make enquiries as to who was responsible. Her Majesty smiled graciously and blamed the corgis, quite forgetting that they were not travelling with her.
A Palace spokesman today tried to gloss over the embarrassment, saying that the Queen had a fantastic sense of humour, but that perhaps the Americans did not quite understand it. The official pardoner has since been dismissed from the Queen's staff with a credible replacement sought on an urgent basis. Last night Ladbrokes had installed John Prescott who has expressed an interest in the job as the 2-1 favourite.