November 26, 2008

‘Spooks’ boot Queen Elizabeth’s samovar

British security experts have ordered the removal of an electric samovar presented to Queen Elizabeth II 20 years ago and kept at Balmoral Castle.

The fear is that the samovar, designed to make Russian-style tea, might have been bugged, The Daily Telegraph reports. The 2-foot-high red and yellow pot was loved by the Queen Mother, who died in 2002, and sat in the drawing room of the castle.

The queen and her husband spend part of every summer at Balmoral. While the castle is her private property, not an official residence, the prime minister traditionally spends a weekend there and she occasionally receives other leaders.

The samovar was always a bit of an enigma. No one could work out what the Russians thought we were going to do with it, a member of the royal staff told the Daily Express. No one considered it a security risk until a recent sweep by these spooks with their electronic devices. They swept everywhere imaginable, public and private rooms, and the first thing to go was the samovar.