Thanks to my good friend the Hon Bunty Hetherington, I may have blown open the biggest, secretest and most conspiraciest conspiracy in British… nay, World… History. I am still trying to come to terms with the implications of this. I wake in the night in a cold sweat, shaking and moaning. Everything that we hold dear, the very institutions we rely upon to make sense of our lives, up to and including MI5 and the Crown Itself… all of this is in peril and we must be on our guard.
The Hon Bunty Hetherington and I sat down in the [redacted] Tea Room and Gift Shop on the seafront at [redacted] to enjoy a jolly nice cup of tea and some cream cakes. I hadn’t seen my old friend for some years and was looking forward to a jolly good chin wag. Bunty got rather squiffy on a plate of rumballs and, I’m afraid, rather let out more than she planned to. We got onto the subject of Daddy’s dear friend Kim Philby (who I confessed I hadn’t thought about for some years) and what she told me was explosive, monumental and pretty bloody surprising, let me tell you.
“As you know, Jane, he disappeared under something of a cloud,” Bunty said. “Defected, they said, to the Soviet Union. But” and here she leaned in rather conspiratorially, her eyes shifting from side to side “he didn’t.”
Over the course of the afternoon, several more plates of rumballs and enough tea to burst the bladders of the Black Watch, a most astonishing story tumbled from between her crumb encrusted lips. On the one sticky hand, she laid out the case against Philby. On the other (less sticky but slightly mottled with age spots) she set out the counter-evidence.
Kim Philby wasn’t a Soviet spy after all but a high ranking (so far as he was capable, with his Y-chromosome) officer in the Cult of Anne of Lancaster.
Below, I have summarised the evidence and counter-evidence. I’m sure you, dear reader, will find this as unsettling as I did.
Evidence: In the 1930s. there were only two career options for Cambridge graduates – working for the BBC or the KGB. Mr Philby is remembered to have had a small but significant role in the Footlights Revue ‘Oh, What a Lovely Bottom, Mr MacDonald!’ but is not listed as ever working for the BBC (personal communication).
Counter-evidence: During Philby’s time at Cambridge, he was associated with the World Federation for the Relief of the Victims of German Fascism, ostensibly a socialist, anti-Nazi organisation. In truth, an anagram of the orgnisation’s name reveals:
“Lifetime Officer SMIF for She of the Lancastrian Wor(l)d Governme(n)t” – Clue #1
Evidence: Towards the end of his life, Mr Philby was spotted in Red Square wearing the uniform of a KGB Colonel, either an extreme case of fetish tourism or evidence of his defection.
Counter-evidence: After Philby’s disappearance someone who looked a bit like Philby was spotted in Red Square wearing the uniform of a KGB Colonel, and why would anyone go to such lengths if there was nothing to hide? – Clue #2
Evidence: If you play Noel Coward’s record Oh, Mr McLean! Yes, Mr Burgess? backwards, you can just hear the words ‘Philby is the Third Man’.
Counter-evidence: If you record Oh Mr McLean! being played backwards, reverse the tape and play it again, you hear the following:
‘You’ve all been played for a bunch of patsies, hah, hah, hah! Long live Anne of Lancaster!’ – Clue #3
“But,” I expostulated, “Philby was unmasked! It’s all there in the record! Out in the open!”
“What would you do,” Bunty said darkly, “if you were the Queen and your Crown was in jeopardy because someone had a stronger claim? You’d jolly well make sure to silence anyone who could topple you from your throne, that’s what you’d do! It’s Henry VII, all over again!”
Upon uttering this final cryptic remark, Bunty toppled forward headfirst into a large cream horn. Despite my vigorous efforts to bring her back to sensibility, she uttered not one word. Remembering my Girl Guide training, I laid her out on the floor and covered her with a blanket (a rather lovely crocheted afghan in blue and mauve, a collective WI project, if I’m not entirely mistaken). I did consider administering sweet tea but it hadn’t been of much help up to that point so I took a breath and ploughed on. In between bursts of CPR that left me redfaced and exhausted, I called her son Jolyon to come and collect her, which he eventually did, leaving me with much to ponder and a squashed cream horn to deal with.
 Not her real name.
 Not my real name.
 In the Official Hierarchy of the Cult of Anne of Lancaster, Lifetime Officer SMIF is a coded rank used by cult members who go out into the community to seek out Descendants of Anne of Lancaster. While there’s no evidence Philby himself was ever a Lifetime Officer SMIF, clearly someone at Cambridge was. I’m sure I’ll be able to de-acronym SMIF in the fullness of time.
 If you listen really really carefully.
 I know the Rules for Writing Dialogue, but I really did expostulate. I wish I still had the recording of this conversation so you could hear for yourself.
 I know the Rules About Adverbs as well, but I do find them rather jolly.
Wikipedia; Someone who told me they once worked at the BBC; my good friend the Hon Bunty Hetherington; http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/vchk-gpu-ogpu-nkvd-nkgb-mgb-mvd-rkm/model-1955-kgb-colonel-infantry-5866/; menu of the [redacted] Tea Room and Gift Shop on the seafront in [redacted]; Guy Burgess’s budgie [dec]; Blyton.
J E F Dingle-Bell (Mrs) is desperate to get in touch with the Hon Bunty Hetherington. If anyone has any information as to her whereabouts, or those of her sons Jolyon, Rupert or Vladimir, please leave a comment on this blog post. There are serious concerns for her wellbeing and safety.