Don’t be such a meanie, Jacqui, I was gently berated the other day by a very nice local councillor. (Paul Galley.)
He had spotted my final “royal ba...turn off telly” tweet.
I share the ire colleague Steve Canavan expressed in his column at the endless musings of Nicholas WitchyPoo and sundry other royal correspondents.
Do we need them? How would they have fared in Henry VIII’s time? Or the first Elizabethan Age? Orf with their headlines!
I used to think football commentators were the most irritating figures on telly but get a royal correspondent on a loop and it’s purgatory for those of less than royalist inclination.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a republican. Did once. Kidded myself I’d be happier with a president until the French put me right. Right off.
Then I saw the Queen. Or rather - arrogant as it sounds - the Queen saw me. I was in an open top car at Norbreck when she passed en route to Rossall . No-one else around. Just me and my mum sunning ourselves in the car.
And the Queen smiled at us. Proper smile, not that synchronised swimmer with haemorrhoids smile she effects at times. This smile reached her eyes and carried real warmth.
And I grinned back so inanely and waved so hard I thought my face would fix in some dreadful post-royal-visit rictus and my arm fall off.
That’s when I realised I wasn’t a republican. not an anti-monarchist flag waving one. Just one who got a bit irritated by the never-say-die-to-Di coverage of the tabloids and commentators claiming Her Maj looked “delighted” during jubilee concerts when, frankly, she looked as if she was sucking a lemon from a hidden G&T.
It doesn’t help that my mum’s a Londoner, royalist and Romany. With the name Queenie Rose Carter Leay goes a predilection for predictions. Weeks of “Kate’s going to have a girl” certainty became “I knew she was having a boy”. “He’s going to be called James” became “I said they would call him George.” Protestations she said nothing of the sort led to an almighty row which ruined the one decent programme on the box - The Americans - and must have had neighbours calling the Abuse of the Elderly helpline. Again. For me. I’m 57. ( And this is one column I’m going to have to hide at home for fear of being reported to the Press Council for crimes against matriarchy.)
It was Queenie who bagged the best spot at Andy and Fergy’s nuptials years ago. Outside. I was inside the Abbey and didn’t see a thing for hats. I had to watch it on telly later.
Bosses dispatched me kicking and screaming to cover the event, The Gazette on the A list for such things.
I stopped protesting when I learned I’d be staying overnight at Horseguards Parade - in a hotel, not the stables, and had a £10 mini bar allowance. It went further then. Like a clubland comedian I was told to “find people from Blackpool” . As luck would have it I emerged from a cab near the Abbey to a ragged cheer rising from a group carrying a sign “Blackpool sends loyal greetings.”
We’ll cheer anything in Blackpool. Even me...