FOR TEN YEARS or more, vicious and scatological rumors about the court of Queen Victoria have circulated like pullulating hornets, and now this: A Scottish scholar, Michael MacDonald, has accused the queen of having married a servant (a servant ) after the death of Prince Albert; and that this servant, a "Lady Chatterley's Lover"-ish gamekeeper named John Brown, gave the queen a son, who lived in Paris as a recluse until the age of 90. Disgraceful. And undoubtedly untrue. What the queen may have done with John Brown's body was her royal business, but to conclude that she actually married the man is Victorian.

Besides, the evidence is hardly empirical. Mr. MacDonald claims to possess a tape recording of a witness who in turn claims to have heard the death-bed confession of the minister who elicited the majestic "We do." Not exactly what you'd call first-hand. Moreover, Mr. MacDonald says that Mr. Brown helped Victoria rule Britannia by speaking for the late Prince Albert through a medium. Of course, it is possible that Mr. Brown was both a gamekeeper and a sly fox who only pretended to be speaking for Prince Albert in order to win the queen's favors in the first place. At least his son was allegedly less of a pretender, which is probably why he lived to a nice ripe age in Paris instead of spending a shorter period in the Tower of London.

But to give any credence to this story at all is nonsense. For one thing, Mr. MacDonald is a Scotsman, and he amply shows his Scottish bias-not to mention disrespect-when he calls Victoria "not the black-clad dumpling that everybody thought she was." It comes as no surprise to learn that John Brown was also a Scotsman. So what we have here, clearly, is yet another, albeit belated attempt to seize the throne for Scotland.

The point, simply, is that the queen would never have married the man. Imagine hearing: "God save the Queen - Mrs. Brown."