Tuesday, 28 July 2015


The European Campaign:

‘Rome is already preparing itself...’

‘Clarence spoke to us about a possible visit to the Vatican. Rome is already preparing itself.’
(Kate McCann’s diary - 27th May)

SKY helpfully tells us: 
Madeleine McCann's parents are in Rome for their audience with the Pope who has been kept up to date on the search for the four-year-old.

The McCanns are greeted  on arrival by the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Campbell, and a representative of the Catholic Church. They are to stay at the British Residency in  the centre of Rome. 
‘Audience with the Pope’  conjures up a vision of the McCanns being received by the Pope in the same way heads of state are pictured in the press:  the Pope and his visitors in a large and splendid reception hall inside the Vatican.

Kate McCann’s diary tells us: ‘Clarence spoke to us about a possible visit to the Vatican. Rome is already preparing itself. Francis Campbell was spoken to’. -  This would more accurately translate as: ‘Clarence managed to shoe-horn us into a group of people who are each to be blessed by the Pope. Blessings take about 30 seconds each but Clarence thinks he can stretch ours to as much as a minute.’ 

Not so much an audience as a quick blessing then and only one couple amongst several dozen.  The press were as good as gold, giving the impression that it was an exclusive audience, photographs  giving the impression it was just the McCanns, Clarence  and a bunch of security men as a cordon sanitaire cropped out of most photographs.  
The  same day the British Embassy is the venue for a Press Conference by the McCanns.  Another brilliant move from Clarence. Only important people give press conferences, up to now the McCanns have been interviewed, not the same thing at all. Problem is that one has to answer unexpected questions. A few of the more interesting answers below. 

Unknown: "I'm (inaudible) from Swedish daily Aftonbladet of Stockholm. Errr... I heard some voices that you might go to... over to Sweden, is that true? 
Gerry McCann: "We have no immediate plans to go to Sweden and we hope and pray that this will be over before we get to Scandinavia.

Unknown: "Yes, I just have a very short question. This toy that you have on your table, was it Madeleine's? And how would she call it? 
Kate McCann: "Errm... It was Madeleine's, yes. She took... she takes it to bed with her every night or if she's upset or something she'll have it. It's... it's actually called 'Cuddle Cat' - not very inventive, sorry. It was... it was actually the name of that... that... that it already had."
Gerry McCann: "It is a cat though. Ha, ha.

Five News: "Jon Samuels from Five News. What other plans do you have to visit other countries, possibly in Europe, go to other capital cities to... to spread your message?"

Gerry McCann: "We certainly were planning to do some visits and, errm... this one, errr... came about quicker than we thought, errm... and it was so important to us that we have come here first for spiritual reasons, more than any other. Errm... we are planning a visit to neighbouring Spain, errr... probably with Madrid and although the arrangements are not finalised yet we would also plan trips in the very near future to Germany and The Netherlands as the next two largest, errr... nationalities who, errr... go to the Algarve on holiday."

Vatican Radio: "Susie Hodges from Vatican Radio. What lessons do you give to other parents that have to go through this appalling experience?
Gerry McCann: "I... We hope and pray that no-one ever does go through it again. Errm... I think... I hope that, if it does happen, that there will be some template, errr... from what we have done, as our extended family, that will help raise the awareness for any other missing children and it's possible to such cases. Having spoken, errm... to peop... you know, errr... people around us, then stayed strong and taking control even of small things because you feel totally out of control in those first hours and taking control of this... of this smallest decisions helps you cope and think rationally and influence things around you and that, I think, is the most important thing.
So: Scandinavia may also be on the itinerary but is for some reason low priority. Even though there are many Scandinavian tourists in the Algarve, the alleged reason why Germany and the Netherlands were selected as first points of call. 
Gerry’s last answer (remember Missing People having launched on the 24th May with yellow ribbons - see part 1)is already raising awareness for other missing children and the ‘template’ created by the McCanns. 

The McCanns return to PdL on the 30th, leave for Madrid on the 31st. It is a little strange that on the 30th Gerry appears not to know that a visit has been arranged. 

Most of the questions are answered by Gerry and both he and Kate lose no time in telling the world what an awful time they’ve had,  the words ‘anguish and despair’ are well and truly embedded in their routine answers. 

Cuddlecat does not appear to have been blessed, although is it now wearing a rosary and the green and yellow ribbon with for some reason ‘Fatima’  (perhaps souvenir from Fatima?) printed on the ribbon. 

By Richard Edwards and Fiona Govan in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 2:10AM BST 02 Jun 2007
Almost four weeks after Madeleine was abducted, Gerry and Kate McCann flew to Rome after receiving a formal invitation from the Vatican.

Mrs McCann carried with her a small photograph of Madeleine which she will present to Pope Benedict XVI at a general audience in St Peter's Square today. [..] It is believed the Pope will refer to Madeleine "prominently" during prayers. (He didn’t)
They also plan trips to Madrid, Berlin and Amsterdam, where they intend to meet children's charities and government ministers with a portfolio for child welfare.[..]

As honoured guests, Kate and Gerry McCann will sit in the front row, known as the prima fila, normally reserved for heads of state and dignitaries. The Pope will speak to them in English and may also invite them to a private audience afterwards. unquote

The Daily Telegraph  repeats several times that it is a general audience although naming the McCanns in the same sentence as ‘honoured’ and ‘heads of state’  is a neat touch. 
The opening paragraph tells the world that the McCanns clearly did not ask for this honour, it was the Vatican who sent a formal invitation. However, it appears that Clarence Mitchell managed to organise it all in a very short space of time, if we are to believe he did not work for the McCanns before the 22nd May 2007. The Archbishop has his residence in London and it is reasonable to suppose that Clarence Mitchell met the archbishop in order to arrange the Papal blessing. Possibly some time before the 22nd of May 2007.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, has been instrumental in organising the visit. (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/may/28/ukcrime.gilestremlett) 

The Rome visit was without a doubt a masterstroke. Approval from the earthly representative of God  - leader of about 14% of the world population -  is certainly  helpful in establishing one’s reputation. 

29th - McCanns leave in Sir Philip Green’s private jet for Rome 
30th -  at 10.30 AM the McCanns have an  audience with the Pope 
30th -  they arrive back in PdL (a sighting in Morocco is in the news)
31st -  they leave for Madrid
1st June -  McCanns have a very busy day in Madrid, taken up with meetings with government and non-government agencies concerned with child welfare and various TV interviews and a ‘well attended press conference. 

The European campaign continues in Madrid, with a packed press conference, a live broadcast on Spanish TV and a meeting with Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba. 

McCanns take search to Spain BBC News video

The parents of abducted Madeleine McCann are in Spain to continue publicising her disappearance.

01 June 2007
Transcript by Nigel Moore

Steve Kingstone: (voice over) "After Rome on Wednesday, Kate and Gerry McCann have now visited two European capitals in 48 hours. Here they appealed for help from the public and action from the Spanish authorities."

Gerry McCann: "I would like some reassurance, in Spain, that there has been some proactive, errm... investigation regarding Madeleine's disappearance and I think it is at least worth exploring the possibility that Madeleine's disappearance should not be considered in isolation."

Steve Kingstone: (voice over) "As the couple see it, that means cross-referencing this inquiry with other missing children cases throughout Spain and Portugal.[..]

"This afternoon the McCanns met Spains's interior minister to discuss a broader approach to child abduction.

It appears that Gerry McCann is already employing political speech patterns, demanding reassurance from Spain. Surely they hadn't reneged on a previous agreement? 
Once again we are already looking for other missing children, although Amber Alert has not yet been mentioned in the press.
Kate's image makers are doing a great job. Perfect highlights, good haircut and the cute ponytail for the Pope - here the pink cardigan with little ruffles. A picture of innocence. 

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