Plaudits for royal reporter

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RICHARD KAY, the Daily Mail's royal correspondent, was receiving nuisance calls yesterday. Spurned journalists rang him, wanting to know more about the man who is the Princess of Wales's favourite hack. He was not replying. So, in the best traditions of royal reporting, I turned to trusted friends.

They all rushed to agree on a non-attributable basis that he is a 'lovely bloke', incredibly charming, and very very nice. So easy to talk to, said another, that it is not in the least surprising the lonely Princess chose him.

But he is also a Daily Mail reporter through and through, honed in that paper's tough and highly competitive school of journalism. His reporting skills are highly respected. Aged 37, he joined the paper 14 years ago, becoming its royal correspondent nearly 10 years ago. He was in the Gulf pursuing a royal story when war broke out in 1991. He stayed for three months, recording his experiences in Desert Warrior, Reporting from the Gulf, a diary of his experiences. He is single and lives in West Hampstead on a salary estimated at about pounds 60,000 a year.