RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: It's doors to manual and welcome to Heir Force One
9th March 2021

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: As the Queen’s Flight is set to be sold off… it’s doors to manual and welcome aboard Heir Force One

As if Her Maj hadn’t got enough to contend with at the moment, the Government has just announced that it is selling off the Queen’s Flight.

Her entire fleet of planes is going under the hammer to save money. For the first time in her 69-year reign, she will have to fly commercial or borrow Boris Johnson’s official jet.

The Prime Minister’s aircraft was given a controversial £900,000 paint job last year, although that now looks like a bargain alongside Carrie’s extravagant Lulu Lytle-inspired makeover of their flat in No 11 Downing Street.

No such luxury in future for the monarch. The sale of the Queen’s Flight comes after the Royal Yacht was decommissioned in 1997, which famously brought a tear to her eyes.

Still, Her Maj will no doubt handle this latest disappointment with her customary aplomb and stoicism. In fact, she has decided on one last round-the-world trip before the planes are grounded next year.

For this historic farewell tour, the Queen will take the controls herself. This column has been invited to tag along for the ride . . .

As if Her Maj hadn’t got enough to contend with at the moment, the Government has just announced that it is selling off the Queen’s Flight. For its historic farewell tour, the Queen will take the controls herself. This column has been invited to tag along for the ride . . .

Good morning my lords, ladies and gentlemen and members of the trans and non-binary communities. Welcome aboard the final flight of Heir Force One.

This is your captain — or, more precisely, your Queen — speaking. Fasten your seat belts, there’s no need to stand. I shall be taking personal control of this aircraft today. We can’t all summon up Elton John’s private jet at the drop of a tiara.

Don’t panic, you’re in safe hands. I had a couple of lessons in a Tiger Moth from Amy Johnson when she was stationed near Windsor with the Air Transport Auxiliary. Heir Force One is a fully inclusive service. And when one says ‘service’, one means service in the sense of selfless dedication to duty, such as the stirring examples of courage and commitment shown by those working on the front line during the pandemic.

One does not mean prattling about ‘universal service’, swanning round sunny California delivering fatuous, self-serving lectures on alleged mental health issues and racism, while banking millions of dollars from Netflix.

One didn’t have time for mental health issues when one was driving an ambulance during the war. And this airline has been serving proudly, without fear or favour, a Commonwealth of 2.4 billion people of every creed and colour for the past seven decades.

As we circumnavigate the globe, we shall be paying a brief state visit to a number of these countries, except Australia and New Zealand, which are currently closed to international travellers.

I would remind passengers that this is a Covid-secure flight. Your health and safety is our number-one priority and face masks, visors, plastic aprons and surgical gloves must be worn at all times. This is a no-smoking, no-vaping flight.

And, yes, that does apply to you, too, Camilla.

We will also be observing all social distancing regulations, so anyone intending to join the Mile High Club today should resist the temptation.

Pictured: The Queen boards her plane to leave Fiji during her royal tour in 1977

Sit down, Andrew. This isn’t the Lolita Express.

Before we push back from the stand, our chief stewardess Mrs Middleton will be passing through the cabin checking temperatures and proof of vaccination.

Passengers must also take a pre-flight Covid test. Anyone requiring the new anal swab from China should report to the rear of the plane and ask for Backstairs Billy.

Please pay close attention to our safety demonstration, since we are going to be flying by the seat of our pants and may experience some turbulence, especially when that Oprah Winfrey interview is broadcast.

Pass the sick bags, Alice.

There is no need to be alarmed, we intend to rise above it. We have, after all, been here before. That Markle woman is a rank amateur compared to Harry’s late mother.

We are delighted to offer a number of in-flight dining options today. Passengers in our Sovereign Class cabin will be able to choose from a selection of main courses from the organic Duchy Originals range, personally selected by the Prince of Wales, and cheeses from the Daylesford farm shop in Westbourne Grove, as recommended by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. You will be required to dress for dinner.

Passengers in our Austerity Class cabin can enjoy a selection of thin-crust pizzas specially prepared by the junior assistant executive sous-chef and chief bottle washer at the Pizza Express, Woking. Our children’s menu consists of tasty and nutritious free school meals, courtesy of Sir Marcus Rashford MBE.

I’m afraid our selection of in-flight entertainment, listed in your seat-back magazine, has been revised in light of recent events.

The Queen’s entire fleet of planes is going under the hammer to save money. For the first time in her 69-year reign, she will have to fly commercial or borrow Boris Johnson’s official jet [File photo]

Episodes of The Crown and Suits are no longer available, and we apologise for the intelligence-insulting trigger warnings we are obliged to screen before Dad’s Army. We trust this will not spoil your enjoyment of today’s flight.

Those of you in window seats may have noticed a number of Hellfire air-to-surface missiles attached to the underside of the wings.

Please be reassured that we will be disposing of these at the earliest opportunity, as soon as we reach our target, a private estate in Santa Barbara, California. As we begin our attack, you should remain fastened in your seats and assume the brace position, just to be on the safe side.

All being well, sometime tomorrow we should arrive back safely at Heathrow, where you will all be required to cough up £1,700 to spend the next ten days quarantining in a three-star airport hotel.

But I am delighted to report that, contrary to recent speculation, this airline is not going out of business any time soon. It’ll take more than some scheming American actress to topple us.

So sit back, relax, I have just been told we are cleared for take off.

Doors to manual, Carole!

And thank you all for choosing to fly Heir Force One.

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