Olivia Colman and the rest of the ‘Royal’ family are preparing to film a fourth season of The Crown when restrictions are lifted. Which brings back a Royal memory to me.
When working on the local newspaper in the Fifties, I was sent to report on a special 4th June firework display at Eton College to be attended by the Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip. Knowing I would be the only female in the Press enclosure, I had lashed out on a new dress for the occasion.
As the Royal party passed where members of the Press party were herded together behind a barrier, Prince Philip glanced our way. He then turned towards the Queen and said something sotto voce which made her smile. For years I kidded myself it was a complimentary mention of me in my new dress, but knowing HRH’s penchant for pithy remarks it was more likely to have been: “Good lord – they’re letting women in now!”
On another occasion, I was sent to cover the tea the Queen was giving, in a huge marquee in the grounds of Windsor Castle, for tenants of the Crown lands. Determined to be prepared, I went over the day before to check who would be sitting next to Her Majesty at tea. A courtly elderly gentleman was putting around the place names at the top table. On HM’s right was the name of a well-known member of the aristocracy, but the name on her left was unknown to me.
“Who is that?” I asked. “I’ve never heard of him!”
My escort blushed. “Actually,” he said. “It’s me.”
Did you know that Pierce Brosnan, soon to be seen on Netflix in a new comedy Eurovision, turned down the role of James Bond the first time he was offered it? It took seven years for him to accept the role, in his first Bond film Golden Eye, to be followed by four more.
Don’t forget to watch the National Theatre’s Anthony and Cleopatra before Thursday. Free on YouTube. As Anthony, Ralph Fiennes is a man of the flesh in all respects, while Sophie Okonedo is a manipulative Cleopatra. Brought back memories of Richard Burton with Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 film.