From the archive - Royal wedding

29th April 2011 at 01:00
14 August 1981 - Teacher accuses BBC of anti-Esperanto policy at Charles and Diana's nuptials is scene of banner brawl

A teacher is accusing the BBC of pursuing an anti-Esperanto policy to the extent of having an Esperanto banner suppressed at the Royal Wedding.

Mr Les Hartridge, an English and Esperanto teacher at Kelsey Park School, Bromley, Kent, was in the crowds opposite Buckingham Palace on the wedding day. From time to time he held aloft a banner bearing the word "ESPERANTO".

But not for long. According to Mr Hartridge, he was soon told by the police that the banner was obstructing the views of TV crews on platforms behind him.

Mr Hartridge claims the real reason was the anti-Esperanto policy he says is operated by the BBC.

He finally agreed to display his banner for only 10 seconds or so every two hours. But the wily Esperantist cunningly chose the 10 prime-time seconds when Prince Charles left the palace on his way to St Paul's.

"By having my banner suppressed for almost the whole day, the BBC prevented me from making contact with future Esperantists among the many foreigners present," said Mr Hartridge. The BBC refused to comment.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles has spoken up in favour of corporal punishment in an interview published before his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer. In the Radio Times interview, he said: "I was one of the people for whom corporal punishment actually worked."

The Prince revealed that he was beaten twice while at his first boarding school, Cheam. "I was ragging in the dormitory and things. I went on doing it and I was warned, in fact we all were, that we would get beaten. I didn't do it again."

And Buckingham Palace said "no extra bears" had been slaughtered to provide bearskins for the Royal Guard of Honour at this week's wedding. Last week Mr Jack Chambers, president of the NUT, had claimed 400 bears had been slaughtered.

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