Tony Miller BSC  
O-1 US Work Visa + Union, Fluent in French + Dutch


“I used to be the Queen”
  In July 1990, I went down to Aqaba, Jordan, to shoot a documentary about a new underwater nature reserve. The Red Sea was pristine in those days.

Prince Abdullah (now King of Jordan), had agreed to come down and officially open the reserve. He had been at Oxford and Sandhurst and was a keen diver himself.

We spent a great day – much of it underwater surrounded by giant manta rays and shoals of hammerhead sharks, his ‘Bond-like’ minders messing up my frame.

Back on the boat, he insisted I must join him that night at a party to celebrate the completion of his new house on the Dead Sea. The only problem was that it would be a six-hour drive…Not to worry, he would send a helicopter.

Later that evening, (having pressed my brand-new suit), I approached the military landing zone and it suddenly dawned on me that there was no way I could fly. I had been underwater far too long that day – and flying after diving is a sure way to get the bends. I explained t the pilot I would not be able to fly:

“Don’t worry, I have survived two wars with the Israel’s, I will fly at 200ft”

And so, we flew by the seat of (my pants) up through Wadi Rum (where Lawrence of Arabia was famously shot), through the canyons of Petra and down to the Dead sea. It was a master class in low level flying but by the time we arrived, I needed a stiff drink!

The party was in full swing. A band had flown in from the UK and everyone was being thrown in the pool. I hardly had time to greet the Prince before I was tossed in.

A waiter arrived as I surfaced and gave me a large glass of whiskey. Somewhat embarrassed, I edged myself to the side, hovering around all the beauties and ended up next to an older lady who spoke to me in perfect English.

She asked me what I did and I explained I had already been underwater all day and that I had not quite expected this. And what do you do, I enquired:

Her Royal Highness Princess Muna“Well darling, I used to be the Queen”.

Her Royal Highness Princess Muna, or Toni, was born in the UK. Dodging the groundswell from the incoming guests (in full evening dress), she told me how she had met King Hussein on the film set of “Lawrence of Arabia” where she was working as a secretary. Since their divorce in 1972, she had stayed in the kingdom. Abdullah was her son.

The party went on until dawn. As we left, someone fired his machine gun on full automatic into the air and then drunkenly fell backwards into the pool.

Gulf War One started three weeks later.

by Tony Miller