Dukegate: what Prince Philip said to the mystery woman


Duke: Read the papers this morning? Mystery Woman (with plummy voice): Yah?

Duke: All over the bloody Sun we are. Some God-forsaken anorak with a portable satellite dish intercepted one of our calls, recorded it, set up a meet with the reptiles on a clifftop just down the road from Sandringham and tried to flog them a tape for pounds 50,000.

MW: Did they bite?

Duke: The Sun have come over all self-righteous, claim they have no intention of running the transcript, but are clearly sitting in the bloody office wetting their trousers over it. They've released a couple of juicy quotes which make it appear all we talk about are bloody soap operas, or something. And they've covered the inside with all sorts of impertinent suggestions as to who you might be.

MW: Yah? Who?

Duke: Appear to have run a finger down Debrett for a few possibles, and then added anyone they can think of who talks remotely properly. Even some laughable idea you're Liz bloody Hurley. If only, I say.

Anyway, I had a word with the cove from MI5 who hangs around E looking shifty and he gave me another frequency to use which is allegedly snoop- free. I'll have to shout, though, because he told me to take a sodding drive in a Land Rover round the grounds next time I phone as an extra precaution. Increases the background noise, he said. What the bloody ...

Line crackles and goes silent for a couple of seconds

MW: Yah? Yah?

Duke: Sorry about that, appear to have run over a game-keeper.

MW: Any damage?

Duke: Slight dent on the wing. Luckily it's one of hers. Bumping into a servant reminds me to bring you up to speed on the soap opera. All sorts of problems with the domestics over at KP. The Queen of bloody Hearts has gone completely goggle-eyed, servants walking out on her left, right and centre. Except the chauffeur. He drove out on her. Har har.

MW: Oh, that renowned sense of humour.

Duke: Quite. Can't blame the chap - got fed up ferrying her to these lunches she keeps having with newspaper editors. All that waiting around outside, reading papers telling him how gorgeous and misunderstood she is when all one has to do is take a quick butcher's in the rear-view mirror to realise she's completely barking. And now she's being sued by the bloody nanny. Good God.

In my day, Nanny was some old trout in white who wiped your arse, made jam roly-poly and picked you up from the station at school holidays because your people were still in India. Now they've got degrees, legs up to the Plimsoll line and bloody solicitors.

I understand from reading Dempster, that the Q of H wants to ban the nanny from the boys' bathroom. Typical bloody impractical woman. Who the hell's going to give a chap a bath if Nanny doesn't? Mind you, I blame the Idiot Boy for the whole sorry caper. Sooner he stops talking to the oaks in Windsor Park, pulls his finger out and gets himself a quickie divorce the better for all of us.

MW: Yah.

Duke: Talking of Dempster, did you read last week that the Fat Duchess had conned some Yank into buying that story she claims she wrote? Baldy the Toe Sucker or something?

MW: Yah.

Duke: Just as bloody well. After the Pork finances went bow over stern, E put out that statement saying she refused to bail the Blob out. Then all these stories start appearing, planted I have no doubt by some bloody PR consultant, that Her Lardyship had a hell of a yarn to spin, at a price not unadjacent to the amount she owes those spineless bankers at Coutts.

Lucky the Yanks coughed up because the last thing E needs at the moment is a member of the family's indiscretions plastered all over the so-called bloody newspapers.

MW: Yah.

Duke: Look, got to dash. Under instructions to report back by nine. She's got all the bloody neighbours coming round because Mr Marine's on the telly.

MW: Edward?

Duke: Well, not strictly on the telly. His arty-bloody-farty production company's finally got a programme coming out. God knows how much he had to slip that red-socked cigar-chomper who runs Channel 4 to get it screened. A soap opera based at the House of Commons, I ask you.

Told him last time I saw him: if he wants to make a bloody soap opera, bring the sodding cameras round here. Least he could do is keep it in the family. Anyway, good talking to you. Nice to get it all off my chest.

MW: No problem. Make the cheque out to Susie Orbach, as usual.

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