1 AUGUST 1987, Page 27

One hundred years ago

ON Saturday last the Queen reviewed from the deck of the Royal yacht, if not the most imposing, at any rate the most formidable, Fleet that has ever been assembled. The Review was marked by one rather grotesque incident, which the strenuous etiquettes of a Court may make important. It appears that Lord Charles Beresford, who was on the Royal yacht, finding that he was likely to be retained longer than he contem- plated, and having engaged to join his wife on another vessel at a certain time, asked if there was any means by which he could inform her of the change in his plans, whereupon a seaman offered to signal to the Enchantress, where Lady Charles was, by so waving his arms as to convey Lord Charles's message. Unfor- tunately, the signal, instead of being privately interpreted and conveyed to Lady Charles, was taken as an official signal; and as no one has a right to signal from the Royal yacht except the officer in command of the vessel, the signal was a breach of Admiralty regula- tions, and Lord Charles has had to send in his resignation. There is even some question whether it may not be accepted. The etiquette of Sovereigns are the only laws in modern realms to which the stringency of the laws of the Medes and Persians still applies.

The Spectator, 30 July 1887