When the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu visited London in 1978, the British government did some serious sucking up. Ceausescu was an egomaniac and possibly crazy. When he went hunting outside Bucharest, his body-guards shot game with machine guns so he could be photographed at the end of the day with a shoulder-high pile of dead animals. He was also said to be a germophobe, sterilising his hand with pure alcohol if it touched a door handle. The French president telephoned the Queen to warn her that when the Ceausescus came to the Élysée, lamps, vases, ashtrays and bathroom taps went missing from their rooms. But Ceausescu got a state visit to Britain, with a knighthood (later revoked) and a stay in Buckingham Palace.