Lady Di & A Malvinas Security RiskFriday, November 17, 2006
In 1982, during the war over the Malvinas (Falklands) Vancouver Magazine editor, Malcolm Parry suggested I write my story of having been in the Argentine Navy and my participation in a coup to oust gentle and honest president Arturo Illía. It made the cover and Mac himself took the cover photo (below). I agreed with Jorge Luis Borges that the war was really a war between two bald men fighting over a comb. It still left me with a bit of animosity towards the Brits even though my father had been born in Manchester. In 1983 Prince Charles brought his new bride to Vancouver on an unoficial visit. Two days before they arrived, Mac said to me, "Go and photograph the pair for us when they arrive here." I objected saying that I didn't particulaly care in taking pictures of British royalty so soon after the Malvinas war. Mac looked at me and said, "Do it." I tried again to object using the tack that as an Argentine (I was not yet a Canadian citizen) it was doubtful I was going to get accreditation. I went for the accredtiation and told the people there, "I am an Argentine and I want accreditation for the day after tomorrow. I am here from Vancouver Magazine. If you will not give it to me I won't particularly mind." They told me to stand by a wall and they took my picture. Without asking for identification I was given my pass. I was told to meet with the photographer's pool at the Panpacific Hotel where a bus would take us to the reception at the Hyatt Hotel. The day of the event I decided to diminish my chances of getting the shot by going directly to the Hyatt. Nobody checked my photo bag. I sat down in the lobby and when the photographers arrived (including the Brit photographers in their tuxedos and carrying little stepladders) I joined the crowd. When I took this photograph I was so close (perhaps 10 feet that I had to use my 35mm wide angle to get this shot of them with the Mulroneys.
In early 1981 before Prince Charles married Lady Diana a Robson Street jewelry store was selling a replica engagement ring. Here it is. That Brit, Mac, had decided it was worth a story and had dispatched me to photograph it.
A week ago I went to see The Queen with Rosemary. I so loved the movie (in spite of having been an Argentine, I am now a Canadian, I have a deep admiration for the queen) that I decided to blog here with my picture. But, alas I could not find the negatives in whatever combination of names I could think of. While re-filing, between my friends Gavin Walker (the jazz saxophonist) and Graham Walker (the typographer with a shoe fetish), I found a folder labeled Wales, Prince of & Lady Di.
Addendum from Malcolm Parry
Around that time, I bought a pipe you had asked me to seek
out. The venue was a tobacconist's shop in my British home town, Walsall. The Falklands scrap was going on at the time. The pipe was on sale, at 30 or 40 per-cent off. I told the woman in the store it was a good deal, as I intended to charge my friend in Canada full price. "That's not very sporting," she expostulated in the British manner. "He's from Argentina," I replied. "If you had told me that earlier," the woman said, "I would not have sold you that pipe." "But smoking's going to kill him, " I said, mollifying her not a whit.
In fact, you paid the discounted price, which I believe was 17 pounds.