You can imagine the sort of day that I have had.
It is no fun, I can tell you, being woken by Camilla at 5:30. At least it only happens by means of the electric telephone, I feel sorry for Charles sometimes, being woken from his dreams of Liz’s abdication by a mixture of a hacking cough, a laugh that could set concrete and flatulence that could solve the world’s energy crisis. (I refuse to visit Highgrove any more, other than for a couple of hours, the noises that one hears in the night there are nothing but echoes of what those imprisoned in the Tower must have heard in the 14th century.)
“Old grinning chops has gone into labour, darling!” She shrieked in my unprepared ear. “Just my sodding luck. We were due to go to Bridlington tomorrow, I suppose that will be cancelled now.”
“What’s so bloody special about Bridlington, you daft mare?” I asked, perplexedly.
“It’s the nearest I get to the seaside these days, darling. Fish and chips, a stroll along the prom, and with a bit of luck something hilarious like Chaz falling off a fucking donkey. I always like Yorkshire anyway, they are surprisingly deferential, ever since I told them I was related to Fred Trueman. I expect now it will be 4 hours sitting in some ghastly waiting room, while Big Ears drools over his grandchild.”
“Any clues as to whether it is male or female? I could do with nipping down to Ladbrokes to earn a couple of grand to tide me over to the weekend.”
“Dunno and don’t care, honestly darling all this fuss over a bloody baby. It’s not as if these people have anything else to do but breed. You’ve spent time at Sandringham – sod all to do apart from gawking at the locals,” (I diplomatically made no reference to in-breeding) “even Mark Phillips got a hole in one on a couple of occasions – although I think they had to put some crème-de-menthe in his Tizer and tell him he was actually riding in the 3:45 at Newmarket. Now that daft bint Zara has decided to join in too. I am so depressed – got any good stories?”
I embellished some gossip I had heard about young Armstrong-Jones and a sherry trifle, which cheered her up a bit and she rang off.
“Have you come far?” - Liz still thinks that is funny.
“Yes, all the way downstairs, you vile old bag, I’d just nodded off again after talking to Cams – it took me over 40 minutes to dispel the image of Mark Phillips and coitus from my mind”.
“They can’t think of a name you know”
“Well as they aren’t letting on whether it has dangly bits or not, then it is not surprising. I suggest they pick something androgynous, like Michael.” (I knew this would throw her off her stride.)
“She wanted to marry at the Abbey, you know, and have us all sing the Horst Wessel Lied.” It’s been 35 years, and she still isn’t over it – and I’ve heard the story from her more times than Phil has offended a foreigner.
“Well, you know what these Germans are like”, I said, and I got away with it.
“It’s going to be a boy. I insisted.” (She is starting to have delusions, poor old cow, Phil has to get up early in the morning to get his gaffs in first these days. Fortunately, she still has this ability to make people believe that she couldn’t have possibly just said that.
“I’ll flip through Wisden and find something suitable, sweety” I assured her, although I doubt whether they are quite ready for Prince Verinder Sachin Aggers just yet.
I made my excuses, and tried to get back to bed.
“I’m at St. Mary’s!”
“Good for you, Bill, you soft bastard,” I said, trying to muster up some enthusiasm, I have little patience for his constant total lack of awareness.
“have they found you a brain donor at last?”
“No, it’s Kate – she’s having the baby today!”
“What are you doing there then, Bill? They don’t need to take bits out of you as well, you know.”
“No, no, things are different these days, I’m going to be there all day and see the birth”
“You know what that involves, don’t you? Remember how you fainted when Alex Gloucester grazed his knee at Balmoral? It’ll be worse than that, and quite a bit of cussing I don’t doubt.”
“No, granddad won’t be there”.
“Not him, you dozy git, Kate – doesn’t matter how much paracetamol they give her, childbirth still stings a bit”
“Stop pulling my leg – I’m not young and stupid any more. Fancy coming for a pint tonight, just a few of the lads”.
“Yes, I’ll be there, Bill. You get the first 10 rounds in”. Who does he think I am?
I could tell you more, but I am a martyr to discretion. I can tell you that Phil isn’t allowed near a working telephone any more, since he got through to a Tandoori takeaway in Paddington and we had to send the Indian ambassador back to New Delhi jaldi jaldi to prevent the first nuclear war.
I did make one call – Sarah Chatto likes a bit of a laugh. I told her that the prince should marry someone with the surname “Thefootofourstairs”, and then the family name would be “Saxe Coburg Gotha Thefootofourstairs”, but she didn’t get it. I am wasted on that lot.