HC Deb 22 July 1968 vol 769 cc18-9
22. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works why picture postcards depicting King William III are not available to the public at Hampton Court Palace; and if he will ensure that supplies of such cards for sale are again provided.

Mr. Mellish

This card was withdrawn in 1966 because there was little demand for it. Because of the limits of space, only the most popular items can be offered for sale.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the right hon. Gentleman personally reconsider this matter and reach his decision not solely on a commercial basis but to honour the glorious pious and immortal memory of a great historical figure, King William III, Prince of Orange?

Mr. Mellish

I am advised that the most popular card at Hampton Court is that of Henry VIII and his wives, all six of them. I can only say that we are in this as a commercial business and no notions of love or hate for William III come into it. We were selling only 700 cards of William III a year, and, since there are nearly 550,000 visitors a year to Hampton Court, this shows that he is not very popular this side of the water.

Mr. Shinwell

Is my rieht hon. Friend aware that when King William III occupied Hampton Court he never paid any rent? Will he ask King William's family to pay the debts they owe the country?

Mr. Mellish

If I remember the story of King William, he was dominated by his wife Mary. That may have been part of the trouble.

Mr. Lubbock

Will the Minister publish a postcard showing a picture of His Holiness the Pope?

Mr. Mellish

That has nothing to do with Hampton Court Palace. That is the point. I should publish any picture postcard which we thought we could sell. I should even be prepared to publish one of the hon. and learned Member for Antrim, North (Sir Knox Cunningham) if I thought we could sell it.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

Would it not be better to encourage a preoccupation with the deeds of King William III rather than with the marital proclivities of Henry VIII?

Mr. Mellish

But the public are not like that. They like to see a picture of Henry and all his wives together. They are not interested in William III. I cannot help that.

Sir Knox Cunningham

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be in order for the Minister to concentrate on the King and leave out the wives?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. and learned Gentleman knows that that is not a point of order.