Isabella de Fortibus and advisor discussing domestic affairs.
Isabella de Fortibus 'I've noted the squabbles between the Gurnard Sailing Club and the South West Shingles Yacht Club about some tiny scrap of tidal pebbles off the Needles and have decided it's time to put a stop to all this nonsense... and to stake my legal claim not just to that worthless bit of rubble, but to the sovereign state of the Isle of Wight, which I own.' said the Right Honourable Beaurigard T. 'Skruggs' McTavish, the Earl of Totland.
'I am the sole living descendant of Isabella de Fortibus who reportedly sold the Island to Edward I in 1293 on her deathbed. I have unassailable evidence that that sale is invalid. Her signature is nowhere on the documents, and the 'seal' pressed onto the deeds was done by a lefthanded person. Isabella was right handed. This was a post-mortem transaction. Hell of a trick, that.'
Questions flew fast at the hastily convened press conference at the Royal Yacht Squadron. When queried how a Scotsman could be an Earl of Totland, a peerage that was discontinued hundreds of years ago, McTavish said 'I got it the old fashioned way. I bought it. That scoundrel Conrad Black bought a peerage, and compared to him I'm bloody Mother Teresa. I got a great deal on it, too. A bit of a two for one deal with Father Michael Seed.. 50K for a Papal Knighthood and he said he'd toss in the peerage for free. A very nice young man, Tony Blair just thinks the world of him, and Tony's judgement is beyond repute. As is mine.'
As to his ancestral descendancy claims, noted geneaologist Gustave Anjou, Jr. noted 'Isabella was, to put it delicately, a bit of a thirteenth century party girl. Her wealth allowed her to purchase the services of what we'd call today 'boy toys'. It's well known that Scotsman have for centuries been rather extraordinarily well 'endowed', as it were, and Isabella had a number of young Scots brought to the IOW. It would be nearly impossible to determine without wildly expensive DNA testing, and an exhumation of whatever remains might be left in her tomb, to substantiate or invalidate the Earl's claim.'
As for the financial repurcussions to the IOW economy should McTavish' claims be found valid: 'I'm not going to make everyone on the Island pay me royalties for misappropriating my property for the last 900 years... I'll settle for RYS life membership and a nice berth for my new yacht. Oh, yes, and a new yacht. And as dear Isabella would have said... make it a big one.'
More on this and similar stories April 1 dated stories can be found at www.scuttlebutteurope.com and www.sailingscuttlebutt.com