The Queen of England's daughter, Princess Anne, to muffled royal dismay, finds herself caught up in a democratic contest for the chancellorship of London University.
The post of chancellor fell vacant when the Princess's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother, ended her term in what is largely a ceremonial job. Those who put Anne's name forward as her replacement did not imagine that Queen Elizabeth II's daughter would actually be opposed, still less by both a former British trade union baron and an internationally known South African black leader.
Jack Jones, Companion of Honor, and until two years ago probably the most respected trade union leader in Britain, is one of her opponents. Dubbed "Emperor" Jones by friend and foe alike, he has close links to the university and no qualms about running against a princess.
Anne's other adversary is the imprisoned South African black nationalist leader Nelson Mandela. His name was proposed by a group of London University graduates determined to use the nomination as a protest against Mr. Mandela's long detention on Robbin Island in Capetown harbor.
Mr. Jones, who has spent the odd night at Windsor Castle as the Queen's guest , remains a dedicated socialist and apostle of equality. Friends say he cannot quite disguise his relish at possibly pipping a royal at the post.
Back at the palace, sources say the equestrian princess has never bridled at a fence before and will face this one with regal fortitude.