Outspoken, and why not? Hats off to the direct Duke

Kelner's View

Share
Related Topics

I didn't go to the reception the Queen held at Buckingham Palace
for the media this week. Apparently, my invitation got held up in
the post.

So I'm not able to tell you that Kate looked fabulous in an emerald green dress, that William chatted amiably with Andrew Marr, and that the Duke of Edinburgh behaved impeccably, his only (very minor) gaffe coming when he told the editor of a blog called TechnoCrunch that it sounded more like pet food.

I have had to rely on other sources for that news, or indeed to learn that Fearne Cotton thought it was "amazing" (sometimes, it's just the only adjective that will do!) Perhaps I was persona non grata. Did I blot my copybook at the previous event of its type, held 10 years ago as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee?

That was held in the Great Hall at Windsor Castle, and although it came at a time when relations between the Palace and the media were more fractious than they are today, I thought my manners fitted the occasion. I didn't blink an eye when I was dressed down by Prince Philip.

On being introduced, he asked me what I did. "I'm the editor of The Independent," I told him. "Well, what are you doing here?" he asked in characteristically brusque fashion. (The Independent, from its inception, had maintained a lofty stance when covering Royal affairs.) I didn't really know how to respond, or indeed whether I should, so I just said, rather pathetically: "Thank you for inviting me."

"You didn't have to come," said the Duke, who moved swiftly on to talk to someone more interesting, like Piers Morgan, for example.

I've always admired the Duke of Edinburgh since then. Quite right. Tell it how it is. Why should he pretend he's awfully pleased to see someone when he clearly isn't. In fact, many of the incidents that are ascribed to him as "gaffes" are nothing of the sort, just authentic articulations of thoughts we might all have.

Like when he said, on a tour of Canada: "We don't come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves! Or, when asked his opinion of Beijing, replying: "Ghastly." Or, at the opening of a new British Embassy in Berlin: "It's a vast waste of space."

I am sure he also has that view about most members of the media, and at least on meeting me he didn't feel constrained about expressing it. I was struck that night that, whatever one thinks about the monarchy as an institution, the physical manifestations of it still have the power to inspire respect, affection and even awe.

It was interesting to see a national newspaper columnist, well-known for his republican sympathies, genuflect with the best of them at Windsor Castle. Now, with William and Kate in the foreground, the royals present a much more modern image – there was even a tweet deck in the East Gallery at the Palace this week. It would be a shame, however, if it all became about PR and image management. Long live Prince Philip!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing