Friday, 5 May 2017

Pigeons can wait

I was planning on commenting about the wood-pigeons, but that will have to wait. The Duke of Edinburgh takes priority.

To look at the newspaper coverage this morning, you might think he had died. Honestly, seven pages - and those the first seven pages - of my daily fish wrap were devoted to his retirement, announced yesterday. And he deserves it. Retirement, that is. After all, he is 95 - 96 next month.

I think he's a great guy. Some people say they don't like him, he upsets some people occasionally with slightly off-the-mark (non PC) comments, but I think he's a real life WYSIWYG. It was a good few years ago that, for some reason long forgotten, I drew up a list of the 6 or 7 people I would like to get together for dinner. Philip was top of my list.

The one and only time I was featured in the society gossip column of a national Sunday paper was because of him. I spent the last diddely-dum years of my career in the newspaper industry and somehow found my way onto the board of the employers' body. It was because of this that I received an invitation to a reception at Windsor Castle. I was standing near the door of one room, chatting to three or four others I knew, when the Duke entered and tripped over the carpet. A couple of days later, I received a phone call from said Sunday paper.

"Where you at the reception at Windsor on Tuesday?"

I confirmed that I had been.

"Did the Duke of Edinburgh speak to you?"

Again, I replied in the affirmative.

"What did he say?"

I told the questioner, thinking that this would be of no interest whatsoever to anybody. It was very much to my surprise to see my name in print the following Sunday, with the conversation quote.

"Do you know how old this carpet is?" asked the Duke.

"No, sir."

"It was made a hundred and fifty years ago in an Indian prison."

Now, tell me: is there really anything remotely interesting to the average newspaper reader in that innocuous conversation?


joeh said...

I do find that interesting.

Anyone who survives for 96 years is OK in my book. I would hate to be in the public eye for any amount of time, but 96 years?

Jenny Woolf said...

Actually that remark sounds surprisingly interesting, I might have wanted to ask a bit more about it. An Indian prison? Why?

Retiring at 96 - what next? These royals are surely getting rather soft... didn't the Queen Mum go on till 101?