It has been reported that Her Majesty The Queen verbally attacked Arthur Scargill and the Miners Strike at a 1970s Dinner Party. According to reports, The Queen and Prince Philip were being hosted by the aristocrat, Colin Tennant, when the topic of conversation turned to Scargill and his then position of Head of the Yorkshire Branch of the National Union of Mineworkers.
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It is reported that during the meal Prince Philip called for Arthur Scargill’s “head to roll” and that Her Majesty reportedly said that miners strikes were “holding the country to ransom.”
The alleged comments from The Queen come as a surprise as throughout her reign she has remained politically neutral.
Arthur Scargill joined the National Union of Mineworkers at the age of 19 in 1957 and went on to be the head of the organisation from 1982. Scargill is perhaps best known for his conflict with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the 1984-85 miners strike, which turned into a major confrontation with Thatcher and her Conservative Government.
When the Government announced the closure of 20 coal mines in March 1984, Scargill led the Union and the strikes claiming the Government had a long-term strategy to destroy the industry by closing unprofitable pits. Margaret Thatcher refused to meet the Union’s demands and after a year out on strike in March 1985, the NUM conceded defeat without a deal.
The alleged comments from Her Majesty The Queen come to light in an interview in the London Review of Books with Marxist thinker and writer, Tariq Ali. He recalls how a socialite friend of his was at the Dinner Party in question and described the conversation to him.
It is claimed Tariq Ali’s friend said, “They arrived and we sat down to dinner. The whole evening was spent discussing the miner’s strike. Philip was abusive wanting Scargill’s head to roll. But it was The Queen who surprised me. ‘I think things have really got out of control, and this is the end’ she said. These workers are getting too much power, they’re running the country – they’re holding the country to ransom.”
Photo Credit: Queensland State Archives