Man about town: Luke Blackall


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The Independent Online

What a woolly week. Every invitation that landed on the desk seemed to have something to do with wool.

Teas, speeches and parties were all held in honour of the Campaign For Wool. I even saw two sheep in a shop on Kensington High Street (sadly, they were part of a display and not, as I first hoped, picking out autumn outfits). The highlight of the week was the launch of the Wool Modern exhibition in London, where Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were due to attend and meet a group of actors, fashionistas, eco-types, and those who actually work in the wool world.

My own attempts at an audience with Charles and Camilla were less successful.

I've been told the best tactic is to form a semi-circle with a couple of other guests and then smile hopefully when a royal walks past. Forming a semi-circle on my own was a struggle, but even when I did manage to find others to join in, our smiles were blocked by the royal protection officers.

They have a good sense of who the couple don't need to meet (i.e. me and a few other journalists and liggers) as they clear a path for their charges.

It's not the first time that I've been at a party with Charles and Camilla, nor the first time I've failed to meet them. But the atmosphere surrounding these events is much the same every time.

More so than at events with other famous people, the whole party focuses, consciously or subconsciously, on the royalty in the room. The normally discreet develop rubber-necker's twitch, conversations fall silent as they draw near, and the speeches always receive indulgently big laughs. There are always those who tell you one minute that they don't know what all the fuss is about, and the next can be seen wearing uncontrollably wide grins, merely because a royal has come within 10ft. Hollywood stars, triple-platinum-selling musicians and billionaires are not immune either. These people – for whom queues simply don't exist in everyday life – line up like perfectly behaved school children just to meet someone with a title.

It's as though those who have reached the top through ability are in awe of those born into status – the celebrities' celebrities if you like.

And woolly though it may sound, the crown brings all those unglamorous but worthy causes – like the Campaign For Wool – the attention they deserve.