Fayed: Forget Salmond, make me your ruler - Times Online
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Fayed: Forget Salmond, make me your ruler
Mohamed Al Fayed
Never mind the last king of Scotland. Mohamed al-Fayed, who has declared his ambition to become the first president of an independent Scottish nation, is urging his “fellow Scots” to detach themselves from “the English and their terrible politicians”.
The Egyptian-born tycoon, who owns the 65,000-acre Balnagown estate in the Highlands, said he felt great affinity with the Scots, who he claims share his ancestry.
The owner of Harrods, the London store, who has been refused a British passport, said he hoped to be offered Scottish citizenship if a planned independence referendum next year leads to the break-up of the United Kingdom.
However, unlike Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator who declared himself king of Scotland, Fayed would content himself with the presidency.
* The next king of Scotland?
“You Scots have been living in a coma for too long,” he told The Sunday Times.
“It is time for you to waken up and detach yourselves from the English and their terrible politicans.
“Whatever help is needed for Scotland to regain its independence, I will provide it. When you Scots regain your freedom I’m ready to be your president.
“I have lived here [in England] for 40 years, but now the home that I want is Scotland.”
Fayed, who has long claimed that the British establishment orchestrated a plot to kill his son Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales, said he hoped that an independent Scotland would also become a republic and evict the royals from their Scottish home.
“If you Scots retain the royal family you will have no hope. You will be like Bangladesh,” he said.
“But once you get rid of the royals I will buy Balmoral Castle and open it up. I will run it for the public as a museum.”
Fayed, 80, said he felt close affinity to the Scots, who he believes are descended from an Egyptian princess.
According to mythology, Scota, the daughter of Chencres, the pharaoh, took to sea 3,600 years ago after a quarrel with her father, taking with her two sons and the stone of destiny, on which Scottish kings would later be crowned.
The princess is said to have died shortly after discovering a windswept land off the northwest coast of Europe, which became home to her sons and was named in her honour.
To mark this supposed link, Fayed said he intends to give a life-size bronze statue of Scota to the Scottish nation. The £60,000 memorial, which will depict Scota in a kilt, will be offered to Edinburgh and Glasgow. If neither city accepts it, Fayed said he would display the statue on his Highland estate.
“The Scots are originally Egyptians and that’s the truth,” he said. “I will erect a statue of Princess Scota to honour the close links between Scotland and Egypt. I will place the statue any place the Scottish people want it, Edinburgh, Glasgow or at Balnagown.”
Fayed said he was taught about the legend of Scota at school in Alexandria. The statue would be modelled on illustrations contained in Scotichronicon, the 15th- century account of Scottish history. The tome, written by the nationalist Walter Bower, has been put on display by Fayed in Harrods. He is convinced of the veracity of its account of Scottish history, despite its assertion that the English were born with tails after “God smote them in their hinder parts”.
The statue is likely to be designed by Bill Mitchell, a friend of Fayed who was commissioned to create a memorial to Dodi and Diana for Harrods.
Despite his enthusiasm for Scottish independence, Fayed said he was angry that his offers of financial assistance had been rebuffed by Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister and leader of the Scottish National party.
While sources close to Salmond have said that accepting Fayed’s help would raise “presentational issues”, the failure of the Scottish establishment to embrace him rankles.
“I will do anything for Scotland but I don’t want this Alex Salmond,” Fayed said.
“I asked to meet him, but he refused. I wanted to give him some help and advice, but he didn’t want to know.
“I buy property in Scotland, I employ people there, I bring in tourists there, I believe in Scotland, but still he won’t see me.”
Richard Oram, professor of medieval history at Stirling University, said the story of Scota was a legend invented to demonstrate the supposed superiority of Scottish civilisation. “The English insisted their forebears were Trojans and the Scots wanted to go one better and claim they were descendants of the ancient Egyptians,” he said.
“It is a very, very ancient claim, but in terms of historical accuracy it’s complete and absolute rubbish. However, up until the late 18th century the legend of Princess Scota was believed absolutely as being the truth of the origin of the Scottish people.”
Alastair Macdonald, a lecturer in history at Aberdeen University, agreed that the story was a fable. He said: “If Mr al-Fayed has read about Scota he should know that she is a fictional construct of the Middle Ages. I suspect he would rather ignore the scholarship and enjoy the myth.”
A spokesman for Salmond confirmed that he had declined an invitation from Fayed to discuss a possible donation, but added: “No disrespect was intended.”
In 2007 Fayed unveiled a life-size waxwork of himself, in full Highland dress complete with a Harrods tartan kilt, at his Falls of Shin visitor centre in Sutherland.
[Retrieved: Sun Oct 25 2009 14:15:59 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]