Putting the life of Jesus, the second world war and various other matters in the shade, Sir Lindsay Hoyle declared that the funeral of the Queen was “the most important event the world will ever see”.
Hoyle has turned out to be a peculiarly unctuous Speaker of the House and there’s little doubt the Queen herself would have regarded his latest prostrations as embarrassing.
Old hands in the Commons, who remember how badly Hoyle handled the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, reckon he is trying to over-compensate this time around. There is no doubt, as a newly elected Labour MP when Diana died, he was a source of additional pain rather than comfort to the royal family.
Hoyle kept nagging the then-prime minister, Tony Blair, to dignify the conspiracy theories by making a full statement about whether any “British security agents” were involved in the crash that killed her.
Blair tersely replied in a confidential note to Hoyle that he had no intention of doing so, saying the claims were “ridiculous and deeply distressing” to the princess’s family. Papers released by the National Archives also show that a No 10 official had noted of Hoyle’s request to Blair that he was “a publicity-mad loony”.