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Eddie Heath in front of Buckingham Palace (BBC News)
Eddie Heath, master of the art of replica bonfires (BBC News)

Oh, don’t worry so much. You saw the quotes around “Buckingham Palace.” You also know that former Prime Minister Edward Heath didn’t rise up from the dead to engage in an epic act of arson.

We simply meant to catch your eye, just like the perpetrators of the stunt itself. The story certainly caught the eye of the Telegraph, which also offered a very amusing video (see below).

So let’s deconstruct the headline, shall we?

First, it wasn’t the real palace but an enormous scale model that burned to the ground in the village of Dilhorne, Staffordshire.

And, former PM Heath, who died in 2005, is, like Charles Darwin, still dead.

However, Eddie Heath, a resident of Dilhorne, is very much alive and has been making – and burning down – replicas of famous landmarks for two decades. (He’s even burned down the “White House.”)

Heath spent four months building the 96-foot wide, 20-foot tall model in back of a pub called The Royal Oak. On Sunday evening, he set it on fire as some 2,000 people watched at a charity event to raise money for Midlands Air Ambulance and a local school. It took about an hour and a half for the “palace” to burn to the ground.

Heath, who has raised more than £80,000 ($127,000) by burning down replicas of landmarks, wrote to the Queen in advance, seeking her approval.

The Queen’s secretary wrote back, saying that she was “interested to learn” about the bonfire but that it was not something for which “she could give or withhold her permission.”

Still, Heath took the letter as a sign of royal support.

“The Queen wished me all the best for the future and my adventures raising funds for charity. I read this as a seal of approval,” he said. “It wasn’t anything like ‘we think this is a horrible disgrace, you can’t do this’ – it was very nice.”

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By Paul Hechinger