10 December 2013

Nice anecdote

From The Independent (here):
Gordon Brown, whose famously rare visits to the Commons make it easy to forget his power to hold the chamber when he is on form, eloquently declared the former South African President as true to Churchill’s mantra that courage is the greatest virtue of all. He quoted the passage Mandela had marked from Julius Caesar in the complete works of Shakespeare so treasured on Robben Island: “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant taste of death but once.”
And on Mandela’s fight against Aids he had been “an activist who became a President and a President who became an activist”. But Brown also got laughs across the House for describing how, when Prime Minister, he had been told by Mandela that he wanted the Queen to invite an African rain princess from his tribe to a reception at Buckingham Palace and had got nowhere via the diplomatic channels. “So he decided to telephone her personally,” said Brown. “The story goes that the conversation – words that only Mandela could use, began: ‘Hello, Elizabeth. How’s the Duke?’ And while the official minutes say that the Queen was non-committal, he got his way.”


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