Obituary: Lord Leatherland

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The Independent Online
THOSE of us who were reporters on the Daily Herald when Charlie Leatherland was news editor will never forget the task he set us after he had met the Queen in the course of his official duties with Essex County Council in the late Fifties, writes David Nathan (further to the obituary by Lord Graham of Edmonton, 21 December).

'As I was bending over the Queen's hand,' he told us, 'I noticed a slight plumpness. The Queen is pregnant. Confirm it and we have a world exclusive.'

The Labour Party newspaper, the Daily Herald, did not have many royal contacts nor did our reporters possess the high esteem and confidence that the royal reporters of today enjoy. But we did our best. We rang the Palace Press Office to be met with denials; we rang bemused ladies-in-waiting and all kinds of aides and equerries who had hardly, if at all, heard of the Daily Herald, would not have known of the Queen's condition if she were pregnant and would not have told us if they had. We rang the royal doctors and chatted up as many of the royal grooms as we could find in the vicinity of the Royal Mews. All to no avail.

But Charlie himself would tell of the great pregnancy scoop years later, adding, 'Of course I was right. Within two years Prince Andrew was born.'