Kiri, Get Your Gun:
Soprano Te Kanawa Causes Flap with Firearms at Glasgow Hotel
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the diva who sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, has made her most dramatic entrance so far — at a Glasgow hotel. The legendary soprano asked reception for the gun storeroom, and "could not believe it" when she was told no such room existed. The exchange, less than a week after Glasgow was branded murder capital of Britain, led to Strathclyde Police appearing in a rush and an unscheduled appearance for the singer at Stewart Street police station, which has been used to hold terrorists.
Dame Kiri, 59, a Maori, had turned up at the four-star Holiday Inn Theatreland in West Nile Street with firearms, believed to include double-barrelled shotguns. The singer, who has stayed there before when in concert, had pre-booked a £195-a-night penthouse suite and said she was "on a hunting holiday in Scotland."
Police were called after Dame Kiri, an expert clay pigeon shooter, was advised the 113-bedroom hotel does not have a gunroom. An insider said last night: "Pardon the pun, but after being contacted, the police shot right up here. It was quite a flap."
In an interview only last month, Dame Kiri told of using a 20-bore shotgun to "shoot clay pigeons and bunnies, that sort of thing," before adding: "I love wildlife but I don't like vermin. So I try to keep down the bush rats and the possums." Regular shooting partners include the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Jackie Stewart. Asked if she was quick on the trigger, she said: "Well, I wouldn't want to get in my sights."
A spokesman said last night: "On arrival, she said she was in Scotland on a hunting holiday and had her own guns with her. She asked for the gun store. It was an unusual request, and we do not have one. The hotel followed procedures and contacted the police about guns being declared. They were taken to store overnight and this morning, after breakfast in La Bonne Auberge, she waved goodbye on good terms." A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: "We were contacted and advice and assistance given. All necessary documentation for the firearms was provided and we assisted in storing them for security until uplifted."
Dame Kiri, reputedly paid £50,000 for one appearance at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh earlier this year, could not be contacted. She does about 30 concerts a year.
Source: Glasgow Herald, December 8 2003
Visitors this year: