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Posts Tagged ‘Great Britain’

His fate a reminder

His fate a reminder

There’s a wonderful article at the BBC about the traditions surrounding the Queen’s Speech in the House of Lords, which opens Parliament. The whole article is worth a read, but this in particular delighted me:

And here is the really cheeky move: parliament forces Her Majesty to consider her own mortality as she gets dressed for the occasion. For in the Robing Room of the House of Lords, where the Queen puts on her robe and imperial state crown, the authorities have chosen to display a facsimile of the death warrant of her ancestor, Charles I.

If ever there were a symbol to express the end of the divine right of kings and the limits of a constitutional monarchy, that document is it.

Who says the British don’t have a puckish sense of humor? 😀

Of course, fair is fair. The Queen is allowed to keep a member of Parliament hostage during her speech, to guarantee her safety. This year’s designated fall guy will have to suffer by sitting in Buckingham Palace and drink tea, while watching the speech on TV.

Oh, cruel fate!

The author makes an excellent point at the end, though, about why the British maintain these seemingly silly rituals:

The point is this: as you watch the state opening of parliament, remember it is one of the strongest ceremonial demonstrations of our liberty that we have. Democracy is not just the freedom to vote out a government we dislike; it is also the freedom not to be ruled by an autocratic monarch chosen by God.

It is what our ancestors fought over in the civil war. And it is a right that we are reminded of every year.

I can appreciate that.

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Britain has long hosted it’s fair share of serial killers: Jack the Ripper, Leather Apron, and Dr. Harold Shipman, to name just a few. Now we have a new entry — the Crossbow Cannibal of Leeds:

A British man who admitted to shooting his prostitute victims in the head with a crossbow before dismembering and eating them was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, according to several British news reports.

Stephen Griffiths, 40, who called himself “The Crossbow Cannibal,” pleaded guilty to murdering Susan Rushworth, 43, Shelley Armitage 31, and Suzanne Blamires, 36, the U.K. daily Guardian reports.

Griffiths was caught when a building supervisor spotted him in the act on closed circuit television in Bradford, near the city of Leeds, in northern England, the Guardian reports.

“(The supervisor) saw an image of someone on the third floor dragging a person into flat 33,” prosecutor Robert Smith said.

Shortly afterwards, a woman ran from the apartment and fell to the floor, the Guardian reports. Griffiths shot her with a crossbow as she lay on the floor, and dragged her into the flat by a leg.

Griffiths allegedly “toasted” the death by raising a can of drink to the closed circuit security camera, the U.K. daily Telegraph reports.

The killer claims to have been working on a PhD in Criminology. I take it this was a “how to” course of study? Reportedly neighbors referred to him as “the Weirdo.” At least he wasn’t one of those quiet types whom you’d never suspect…

RELATED: Not to be outdone, Philadelphia has just announced its own serial-killer infestation – the Kensington Strangler. (via Gabriel Malor)

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The Telegraph has a neat series of black-and-white photos of Londoners from the early 20th century through the 1970s on its site. Fans of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay will especially like this one.

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