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Herve and the Princess


In an interview in the L’Express Newspaper of 4th December 2010, Mr. Herve Lassemillante, well-known lawyer and spokesperson of a Chagossian Group, declared: “La Princesse Anne est un membre de la famille royale qui n’est qu’un symbole. La famille royale ne prend pas de decisions executives. Je ne pense pas que c’est une bonne idee que de manifester contre sa presence….”
Mr. Lassemillante seems to have a very curious interpretation of what an “Order in Council” represents. It is precisely through this archaic royal decree that the British State apparatus was able to by-pass the British Parliament, and even reverse Court Judgements, to detach the Chagos from Mauritius in 1965, and stop the Chagossians from exerting their right to return. Whether the Queen did not have the choice and had to sign the decrees, (or “bloody” decrees as Princess Anne might put it) is rather besides the point.
Whereas it can be debated whether it was a good tactic to organise a demonstration to expose the perfidious role of the British Monarchy in the Chagos issue, there is no way anyone could justify putting on a smart suit, attending a reception at the Residence of the British High Commissioner (Mr. NikiLeak himself), just to get a chance to kiss the Princess on the elbow.

Both Chagossian groups have found it difficult to deal with this visit. But then this is hardly surprising as Mauritian Government Ministers themselves were not quite sure whether to sulk or smile at the official functions. Newspaper editors decided to treat the whole thing as a minor event, definitely not front page material. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that many people found it difficult to tell their arses from their elbows.