Disaster narrowly avoided | April 1999

In preparation for the Queen’s visit to Korea, Buckingham Palace order a dozen pairs of white cotton gloves. The gloves are despatched. On the eve of Her Majesty’s departure Cornelia James receives an anguished (note – ‘anguished’ not ‘panicked’ – the Palace never panics) call from Buckingham Palace: the gloves have not arrived. Cornelia James reels and then rallies. Replacement gloves are found but – late on Saturday evening – delivery is a problem. As dawn breaks on Sunday – the day of the Queen’s departure – Andrew Lawson, Genevieve James’ husband, leaps heroically into the saddle of his powerful motorbike* and roars off in the direction of London and the Palace. On arrival it emerges that London is in lockdown for the London marathon and the Palace is in the centre of an exclusion zone, ringed by a thin blue line of police. 

“Officer – I must get to the Palace. I have a most important delivery for Her Majesty”

“Of course you do sir – now move along please”

“No – you must understand – I really do have something of vital, national importance”

“Now then sir – let’s not have any trouble”

Eventually the police officer is persuaded. The serried ranks of police fall back and the cry goes up - ‘Make way for Her Majesty’s gloves!’.

Cornelia James delivers!

*BMW R100GS - the regular one, not the Paris-Dakar version. We don’t have customers in Dakar yet but, when we do,... The Police desk sergeant on duty at the Palace that day owned a Moto Guzzi Quota, a big ‘trail-y’ quite similar to the GS, had seen the negotiations on cctv and was keen to discuss the relative merits of the respective bikes.

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