Paper Monitor: Showdown at the royal corral

Cowboys at sunset

What kind of place do you you live in, when an innocent man can't walk around in broad daylight without being harassed by armed police?

Buckingham Palace apparently, says today's Daily Mail.

The Mail's front page - headlined "ANDREW'S RAGE AT BUNGLING PALACE POLICE" - describes how he "tore a strip off gun-wielding officers who mistook him for an intruder" at the royal residence. As Alan Partridge might have said, "I haven't been off the telly that long."

But what fascinates Paper Monitor is the account given by a "royal insider" (and what would the press do without them?), to the Sunday Express, and repeated in the Times: "There was a sort of Mexican stand-off..."

Hang on. The definition of "Mexican stand-off", as any Western fan knows, is that point in the film where three or more ARMED opponents face off. The classic example of this is the final scene of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, where Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef shoot it out.

So what exactly was going on in the grounds of Buckingham Palace? Was Prince Andrew wandering around in a poncho and big hat, chewing a cigar with a tense finger on his Colt 45?

Maybe the truth should be told. Or maybe we should just take counsel from the newspaperman in another classic western The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

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