The most famous denizen of Loch Ness once nearly found itself named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, after an iconic naturalist learned of the monarch’s interest in the mystery that surrounds the Scottish lake.
The unusual revelations were made as a post-graduate researcher at Cambridge University perused the personal archives of the Queen’s former secretary, Martin Charteris, earlier this summer. According to the Daily Mail, Sir Peter Scott (the son of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott) wrote to Charteris in 1960 detailing his plans to attempt tracking down the Loch Ness Monster, and succeeded in piquing the curiosity of both Elizabeth and her husband.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) September 5, 2015
While acknowledging that proof of the Loch Ness Monster’s existence would represent a “great day in the zoological world,” Charteris also noted that Elizabeth herself was interested in the quest for the creature, whose supposed domain lies just 70 miles from her Scottish Balmoral estate.
“Her Majesty has seen your letter and was very interested in its contents, and I hope that you will keep us in touch with the progress of your investigations.”
— BBC History Magazine (@HistoryExtra) September 3, 2015
Somewhat astonishingly, Scott even went so far as to suggest that the Loch Ness Monster, were it confirmed to exist, could be named “Elizabethia nessiae,” in honor of the Queen. Charteris, a friend of Scott’s, expressed reservations about the proposal, particularly when it came to naming an animal yet to be proven after Elizabeth.
“If there is any question of naming the animal after the Queen, there must of course be absolutely irrefutable evidence of its existence. It would be most regrettable to connect Her Majesty in any way with something which ultimately turned out to be a hoax.
“Even if the animal does prove to exist I am not at all sure that it will be generally very appropriate to name it after Her Majesty since it has for so many years been known as ‘The Monster’.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) September 1, 2015
Scott never claimed to have sighted the monster himself, but experienced an embarrassing incident in 1975, when he publicly claimed that new underwater photographs had brought him to the conclusion that the Loch Ness Monster’s existence was beyond doubt. Unknown to him, the images had been enhanced by American patent lawyer Robert Rines, and in truth showed debris on the bottom of the Loch. Scott retained his belief in the Loch Ness Monster until his death in 1989, however.
It remains unclear how long Elizabeth’s interest in the monster persisted. When the Independent reached out for comment regarding the story, a spokesman for Buckingham Palace replied, “Her Majesty has seen many things in her life but there are currently no plans for an audience with the Loch Ness Monster.”
[Photo by Keystone / Getty Images]