Minister backs 'hard sell' royal

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The Independent Online
THE Government yesterday backed Prince Michael of Kent in the face of accusations that he had cheapened the Royal Family by acting like a travelling salesman on a US television chat show.

The prince, a cousin of the Queen, surprised viewers to the Larry King Live CNN programme by producing a mail order catalogue and promoting a tie with the House of Windsor logo, a candelabra, a wine goblet and a dinner plate.

Mr King, who looked annoyed as the hard-sell was going on, said later: 'It made me sound as if I was on a home shopping network.'

The prince is chairman of the advisory board of the House of Windsor Inc, a pounds 69m scheme to promote warrant holders.

Neil Hamilton, Minister for Corporate Affairs, dismissed the criticism yesterday and said: 'Prince Michael of Kent should be congratulated in his effort to break open lucrative American markets to British firms producing traditionally high quality goods. Without the prince's help many of these companies could never hope to reach the target audience Prince Michael captured during a single interview on CNN.

'We do ourselves no favours by attacking a member of the Royal Family who is not on the Civil List and who has to earn his own living as soon as he attempts to drum up business for Britain.'

Mr Hamilton went on: 'Our Royal Family are important trade ambassadors for this country. They, like the products Prince Michael was promoting, are symbolic of the best of British tradition. Most people will applaud the prince for rolling up his sleeves and getting Americans to reach for their wallets.'