Top Royal-watcher Hugh Ropley-Tossington has claimed a massive official cover-up with regard to the Duke of Edinburgh’s recent illness and hospital stay. “The official line about him suffering chest pains is absolute nonsense,” the author of Muck House: Inside the Pleasure Palace told . “The reality is that he was the victim of an assassination attempt – part of a failed coup d’etat, in fact!” Incredibly, the former Royal correspondent is claiming that the Duke’s injuries were the result of an attack by two giant carrots. “I have it on very good authority that whilst out walking in the grounds of Sandringham, the Prince was assaulted by this pair of six-foot tall root vegetables, which ambushed him as he strolled past the arboretum,” he says. “Luckily, he had his shotgun to hand – he always carries one whilst out in the country, in case of a peasants’ revolt – and dispatched the marauding radicals with both barrels, but not before they had given him a kicking! Obviously, they had to hush it all up, or people would think that he’d finally lost his marbles completely!” The carrots, Ropley-Tossington contends, had been sent to kill Prince Philip by his son Prince Charles, as his opening move to in a bid to seize the throne. “He’s become impatient, waiting for the Queen to pop her clogs, or abdicate,” he declares. “So he has decided to try and speed up the process, starting with removing the true power behind the throne – his father!”

The giant carrots, Ropley-Tossington believes, were bred by the Prince of Wales in a secret greenhouse on his Highgrove estate. “He has become well-known for talking to the plants he raises on his estate, carefully nurturing them to maturity with organic fertilizers and nutrients,” explains the journalist. “But in recent years I believe that something more sinister has been going on inside the greenhouses at Highgrove – particularly the so-called ‘Greenhouse 51’, which appears on no ground plans of the estate and whose very existence is denied by the Prince’s household!” He strongly suspects that the Prince, possibly assisted by noted mad gardener Alan Titchmarsh, is busy developing new strains of “super-vegetables” in the covert hothouse. “Using a process of selective breeding and cross-pollination it is possible that the Prince is building an army of dangerous killer-plants, loyal only to himself,” he confides. “There have been several reports of strange shapes being seen moving around the greenhouses at night, and several staff have gone missing after expressing too great an interest in the Prince’s horticultural activities!”

Prince Charles may have considered the use of giant ambulatory mutant carrots as an assassination weapon against his father particularly apt in view of their long-standing differences on the subject of Genetically Modified (GM) foods. “It has long been known that Prince Philip and Prince Charles take differing positions on the issue of GM foods, with the Duke of Edinburgh supporting their development, whilst his son ostensibly opposes them,” says Ropley-Tossington, adding that Prince Philip’s motives for supporting GM experiments is entirely selfish. “The production of hardier grain types with greater yields in order to better feed the developing world is of no concern to him, whatsoever. Rather, the Prince believes that genetically modified vegetables could replace game animals for hunting purposes. Apparently he fears that he will have hunted most animal species to extinction by the year 2009. Moreover, he believes that there would be less public outrage at him blasting apart huge mobile radishes, or flying cucumbers, than there is to him hunting down small furry animals and having them torn apart by dogs.” Consequently, the Duke of Edinburgh covertly backed a secret scheme by the last Labour government to develop such genetically modified ‘vegetable animals’. Much to his son’s chagrin.

Prince Charles is, naturally, totally opposed to the idea of developing new species of plants solely for hunting purposes. Quite apart from the ethical questions raised by GM experiments, he allegedly finds the idea of hunting vegetables barbaric, having formed close personal relationships with many of his own plants. Nevertheless, Ropley-Tossington believes that the Prince’s selective breeding programme displays a degree of hypocrisy. “Surely selective breeding is itself a method of genetically modifying foods?” he muses. “Moreover, at least his father’s plans are essentially peaceful and might save the lives of some innocent animals, whereas the Prince of Wales seems to be solely intent on using his super-vegetables for purely personal gain!” The Royal author believes that, with a Tory-led government now in power, Prince Charles may have gained the upper hand in the dispute. “Whilst it is clear that New Labour brokered a deal with Prince Philip to develop GM ‘vegetable animals’ in return for the hunting ban, recent statements from the Tories make it plain that they intend repealing the hunting ban, meaning that the GM programme will be abandoned,” he opines. “Not only will it save them millions of pounds, but the reintroduction of hunting will contribute to their programme of taking the UK back to the 1920s – an era when the lower classes knew their place and did as they were told for a pittance.”

Pro-hunting Prince Charles is naturally delighted with these political developments, Ropley-Tossington claims. “At last he finds himself in tune with the government with regard to social and vegetable affairs,” he explains. “All those years of having to deal with vegetable-murdering Labour politicians was hell for him – he’s far more comfortable with this bunch of bloodthirsty bastards who like nothing better than slaughtering animals and beating peasants for fun! Is it any wonder that he felt emboldened to try seizing the crown with his army of super-vegetables!” However, the Prince may have miscalculated, he believes. “Whilst the government might empathise with him on the blood sports issue, they most certainly don’t support his attempts to usurp his parents,” Ropley-Tossington says. “Indeed, they fear that he could be readying his vegetable army to seize power completely and re-establish an absolute monarchy and feudal system!” Consequently, the Royal writer claims, he has it on good authority that the government is already planning a pre-emptive strike against the Prince. “There are advanced plans for the RAF to drop several tons of pesticide on Highgrove,” he reveals. “This will be followed up by a ground assault by lawn-mower equipped special forces to finish the job!”