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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 22:36 GMT 23:36 UK
Queen feels iron grip of Wisdom
Sir Norman Wisdom shakes hand with the Queen
The Queen remained smiling as Sir Norman closed in
The Queen has visited the Manx parliament and suffered the vice-like attentions of Sir Norman Wisdom.

The veteran comedian - one of the Isle of Man's best known residents - broke with Royal protocol by touching the Queen on the arm.

He then proceeded to shake her hand for a lengthy period until a lady-in-waiting intervened.

Sir Norman followed this up by similarly detaining the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen and the duke were visiting to commemorate the island's national day in her role as Lord of Man.

Sir Norman had posed for a photograph with the Queen and despite her walking away, seemed determined to carry on the conversation.

The 88-year-old comedian said: "I just wanted to tell again how exciting it was to see her."

A Royal aide said it was not a serious breach of Royal protocol and the Queen was not offended.

The aide said: "She will not have minded at all."

Jet flypast

The Queen and Prince Philip sat on top of a man-made, three-tier hill to preside over the Tynwald ceremony - the oldest continuous parliament in the world.

They arrived in St Johns, a picturesque village to the west of Douglas, to a flypast by two military jets.

Dressed in a pale blue hat and dress coat, the Queen took the royal salute, laid a wreath at the war memorial and inspected the guard of honour before attending a church service.

On her dress coat, she wore a piece of bollan bane, also called mugwort, the island's national herb which is supposed to ward off evil spirits.

After the church ceremony, the royal couple then presided over the parliament.

Oldest parliament

The two chambers of the Manx Parliament, established more than 1,000 years ago by Viking settlers, meet once a year at an open-air gathering on top of the earthen mound of Tynwald Hill at St Johns.

The Tynwald, from the Norse "Thing-Vollr" meaning Parliament Field, is the oldest parliament in the world with an unbroken existence and the ceremony includes the announcement of new laws in both English and Manx Gaelic.

With a population of 76,000, the Isle of Man is not a part of the UK or European Union, despite being a British Crown Dependency.

The Tynwald ceremony
Laws enacted during the past year are proclaimed in Manx and English by the Deemsters - the Manx equivalent of High Court Judges - to the crowds
Without oral proclamation laws would cease to be legally binding
People also present "petitions for redress of grievance" in person at the foot of Tynwald Hill

It makes its own laws through the two branches of Tynwald - the House of Keys and the legislative Council.

As all the island's elected politicians gathered together for the ceremony, their presence was overshadowed by a political storm in the Manx Parliament.

Current Treasury Minister Allan Bell has been accused of knowingly misleading the House of Keys by a 1 million public inquiry, which looked into a scheme to build a hotel complex.

The report, released last week, examined the 1992 scheme which was meant to be a tourist facility but became a housing estate.

Mr Bell, who was tourist minister in 1992, is accused of having an "undesirable close alliance" with the developer and misleading the House of Keys by denying the development was anything more than a tourism complex.

Mr Bell, who attended the ceremony, has strongly denied the allegations.




SEE ALSO:
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