For a pretender to the throne it was an inauspicious place to raise his standard - 75 years ago on a rainy night in the Bull Ring, Birmingham.
But Anthony Hall managed to attract a crowd of more than 100 with his banner which read: "A New King, a New Country".
Hall, 33, was a former Shropshire police inspector who had served as an ambulance driver at the front in the First World War and been victim of a poison gas attack at Ypres.
He maintained that he was descended in a direct male line from Henry VIII, apparently through a secret son born to Anne Boleyn before she became the second of his six wives.
He regarded James I as an imposter and he was scornful of the claims to the throne of George V and his German ancestors.
As he attempted to rally support in Birmingham and West Bromwich he told his audiences, who numbered as many as 600, that he would have no hesitation "in shooting the King like a dog".
He added that the king was "of pure German descent and must have a skin as thick as a rhinoceros. He should have been kicked out in 1914 when the Kaiser decided to have a bid for the Crown of England.
"If the renowned King Henry VIII was here today and knew that £500,000 was given to German dukes, he would have King George working in his kitchen and would spit in his face."
King Anthony proposed to pay off the national debt while simultaneously building millions of homes for the working classes, providing free hospitals and dental treatment and electrifying the railways.
The houses would be of Tudor robustness and a stateliness fitting to the dignity of the first nation of the world. A serious effort would be made to popularise portrait painting.
A ministry of pleasure would revive public pageants and encourage the manly sports of wrestling and boxing.
It would be an offence to sell beer that was not made with pure malt and hops.
He told his audiences that he had been the first policeman in Shropshire to obtain a conviction on a fingerprint; he hoped to be the first policeman to become King; also to become the first policeman to cut off the King's head.
Friday, July 28, 2006
A curious pretender...
I suspect this story in the Telegraph will be of interest to some of my readers: