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The Independent Online
Something of a scoop for this column today, as I have managed to secure an intimate photograph of the Duchess of York which has not been published in any other newspaper and certainly not in this one. It is a full, frank and troubling photograph. Nothing has been censored. Here it is:

It is, as you will instantly recognise, a freckle. Not just any freckle, either. This is a freckle photographed at a distance of 2,000 yards by one of the most powerful telephotographic lenses in existence. It takes two men more than five minutes to carry this lens through 100 yards of thick undergrowth, with another man needed to carry the camera. Setting up may take anything up to 10 minutes. The noise involved is tremendous. The cost of each print is pounds 100, plus 25p if you want it done on special matt paper by Monday, or maybe Tuesday, deliveries are a bit bad this week . . .

A reader writes: For heaven's sake, get on with it, man]

I'm sorry. This is a freckle belonging to the Duchess of York, pictured by our special envoy more than a mile away]

A reader writes: Tell us the dirt] What was she doing at the time, eh? And where exactly was the freckle? You can tell me. I won't tell a soul.

The photograph was taken at f8, with an exposure of 1/125 of a second. The light was bright and overhead. The freckle itself is a light orange colour, though as the picture itself is in black and white, one gets little sensation of chromatic values. At the time the picture was taken, the Duchess of York was slightly in the shade, hence the slight blurring quality of the . . .

A reader writes: Oh, for heaven's sake, what was she doing? Was she sunbathing in a compromising situation with the chief officers of all the regiments of which she is honorary Commanding Officer? Was she going nude down the Cresta Run? Was she doing research for a new children's book called 'The Topless Helicopter'? Was she . . . ?

None of these, I'm afraid. She was opening a crafts fair at Stoke Poges last autumn.

Then why was she in the nude?

She wasn't. She was fully clothed. This photograph shows a freckle on her neck.

But you said . . .

No, I didn't. It's all been in your mind.

Then why did your photographer use a special, 1,000yd-range telephoto lens to get a snap of her just opening a crafts fair?

Oh, because security is always very tight at Stoke Poges, especially when royalty such as the Duchess of York is there. It's next to impossible to stroll up and take a snap. The man was crouching in a tree for five hours. He still hasn't really recovered. We're still taking pine needles out of him . . .

I notice you keep referring to the girl as the Duchess of York, whereas all the other papers refer to her as Fergie. Why's that?

The cause of the girl's troubles, quite honestly, was that she failed to shake off the nickname Fergie after she married. Who can respect someone called Fergie? When she married into the Royal Family, it was always intended that she should become known as Sarah, which was, after all, her name. Tragically, this never took. The Royal Family should have seen the danger signs and cancelled the wedding. At the very least she should have been called Yorkie. But unfortunately there was already a chocolate bar called that.

Are you saying the royal marriage was doomed because a piece of confectionery had the name that Fergie should have had?

Yes, I am, as a matter of fact. In the past newcomers to the Family were given a hand-

picked dignified nickname, which then became attached to the newcomer.

Give me an example.

Certainly. When Tony Armstrong-Jones married Princess Margaret, he was given the nickname Snowdon.

That's not a nickname. It's a


They are the same thing. How would you like to go around being called a big lump of North Wales unless you really had to?

Hmm. Will there be any more sensational and sexy photos of royalty in your column tomorrow?

You bet] (Tomorrow - our mole in the Palace - and guess whose shoulder it's on])