Secret of royal cover-up unearthed

08th February 2011 - Fine Cut

A spelling mistake on a gift that had gone unnoticed by the Royal Family has been uncovered after thirty years.

In commemoration of their wedding in 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana were given a glass decanter by Edinburgh's Royal Company of Archers, which had been engraved by a precision engraving expert, Alison Geissler.

As usual, underneath the three-feather crest was the Prince's motto, Ich Dien, meaning 'I serve' in German. However, Geissler accidentally spelled it Ich Dein, therefore changing the meaning to 'I am thine'.

The mistake was covered up by Geissler, who doctored the image so that the female archer (thought to be Lady Diana) had her leg in fornt of the motto, therefore obscuring the word.

Geissler passed away last month at the age of 105, and now her son has come clean about the cover-up. He told The Scotsman: "I picked it up some time after it was given to Charles in 1981 and the penny dropped. I don't think anyone else picked it up, although it is a well known motto and you can still make out the mistake."

"When I brought it up my mother avoided it, but it was clear she had cleverly covered it up. No-one must have noticed because she went on to be comissioned to engrave for the Queen Mother and the King of Bhutan among many others."

"When you present royal gifts they disappear into this vast royal household and are never seen again. But we like to think its still used and is a bit of a running joke with the royals."

Duncan MacMillan, when writing the obituary for Ms. Geissler in The Scotsman, told of her vibrant personality and boundless enthusiasm; saying: "Geissler was a person of great charm, who retained until the end of her long life a delight in the world around her and an engaging curiosity about everything in it."

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