Sometimes being told something will happen makes you suddenly realise that the same event didn’t take place at some other time.

For example, I just received a notice from the Port of London Authority that there will be a gun salute (pdf link) fired from the Tower of London, for a state visit to the UK (for the Emir of Qatar).

Memory prodded reminds me that a gun salute, usually carried out by the Honourable Artillery Company from the Tower of London is a fairly normal event for State Visits.

So why didn’t the Pope – who was on a formal State Visit – get a gun salute?

It’s not as if he doesn’t see guns and weapons on his visit – and he got ceremonial armed guards when visiting Parliament.


As an aside, I learnt from last week’s issue of The Spectator that the first “popemobile” was designed to have machine guns in it. The idea was dropped when it was felt inappropriate for the Pope to fight back if attacked!


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  1. Alan says:

    I understand that any clergymen who the monarch knights (or rather the PM “suggests”) aren’t tapped on the shoulder by a sword as is usually done. I imagine the lack of a gun salute was felt to be a similar case: inappropriate for someone who is supposed to preach peace.

  2. TRT says:

    Did it have a flap to lob the Holy hand-grenade of Antioch out of, after the counting to three, of course?

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