The Man Who Held The Queen To Ransom And Sent Parliament Packing-Peter Van Greenaway (1968)

peter greenaway-the man who held the queen to tansom and sent parliament packing

The man of the title is Captain Richard Wyatt. He used to lecture his men on politics and they paid attention. He thought the Monarchy was a useless leftover from a bygone era and the Parliament was loaded with do nothings. He decides to do something about it.

He leads a group that takes over Parliament and puts the Royal family in the Tower of London. Then he starts making changes. He makes several decrees including a change in the justice system. A man is convicted of killing a policeman. Instead of life in prison he sentences him to spend three days in a cage in Regent’s Park. That’s followed by years on an island where he and other prisoners build their own labor camp.

He tells the U.S. Ambassador to get out of Vietnam and then tells England’s UN Ambassador to give a speech at the UN demanding the same thing. He abolishes all titles. No more Lords, Earls etc. Wyatt remains in power out of fears he’ll execute the Queen and her family. He pulls British troops out of West Germany.

The Prime Minister is involved with a group of old men known as The Cabal that are determined to bring Wyatt down. Wyatt isn’t a dictator and the press loves him because he gives them something to write about and that sells papers. Wyatt has a funny confrontation with an American evangelist who thinks he’s the anti-Christ.

The book tells the story via flashback and uses brief newspaper articles and BBC reports throughout. This is a lost gem and is at times sardonic, dramatic and overall a great read. Too bad it was never made into a movie, I can see Peter Sellers, Terry-Thomas and Robert Morley giving great performances. The author is not the director Peter Greenaway.

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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