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An Unlawful Use of Arms

Conspiracy Theory

We have been asked to comment on the story that Diana, Princess of Wales, was murdered by the British secret services on the instructions of HRH Prince Philip. It has been floating around for some time since it was launched by Mohamed Fayed, the owner of the car involved in the accident, the employer of its drunken and irresponsible driver, and the father of Dodi (the man whom, he insists, Diana hoped to marry, and who died with her). During a recent libel case, and from the privileged protection of the witness box, Mohamed Fayad repeated the charge with maximum publicity.

The arms of Ross of Ross

The only response we could conceivably make to this is to question whether the two secret services accused, MI5 and MI6, could possibly work together on any assignment. (MI5, of course, is limited to operations within the United Kingdom. MI6 looks after the James Bond work abroad, and perhaps it is Bond himself who will emerge as the prime suspect.)

As for Prince Philip ~ well, he would not act independently of his wife, and she must rely on the advice of the Prime Minister, and he makes no move without the approval of his press secretary, Mr Campbell, and Mr Campbell reacts only to focus groups reflecting the mood of the country as articulated by members of the Labour Party, most of whom shop at Harrods, the department store Mohamed Fayed owns. We advise Mr Fayed to drop it.

Unlawful Assumption

Before justifying the headline that drew you to this article, by discussing the unlawful use of arms, it is necessary to reflect on the exchanges in the court case in respect of Mohamed Fayed's name. He prefers to be known as Mohamed Al-Fayed, which is effectively the same as a Scottish Chief being known (correctly) as, for example, The Chisholm. It defines him as the Chief or Representer of all the Fayeds. The counsel for the plaintiff challenged this (for Mr Fayed's humble origins are well known) and received the riposte that he could address the defendant as "Al-Capone" if he wished.

But in his search for gentility Mohamed Fayed has explored other avenues. He bought Balnagown Castle in Scotland and spent millions on its restoration, an act which may be cautiously applauded, but then placed at its entrance the arms of the Chief of Clan Ross (illustrated at the head of this article).

David Ross of Ross, 27th Chief of Clan Ross, gently objected, but Mr Fayed persisted. Accordingly, as Scottish law dictates, the case went before the Lord Lyon who upheld the rights of the owner of the arms and ordered Mr Fayed to remove them. (If this order were to be ignored, then Lyon would use his lawful powers to have them removed by the police, and any repetition of the offence would jail Mr Fayed.)

Balnagown Castle
Balnagown Castle
(spelt also as Balnagowan)
It is a matter of considerable delight to this columnist (as regular readers might surmise) that the Lord Lyon has retained such authority as late as what is prematurely described as the 21st century, and the exercise of these powers should act as a caution to those scam merchants who sell other men's arms to punters who are assured they may use them as their own.
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The Baronage Content Page January-February 2000
© 2000 The Baronage Press and Pegasus Associates Ltd