In fact, I might well never have secured the exclusive interview with her which follows, had I not taken the precaution of masquerading as a Hungarian journalist and requesting an interview on behalf of a Budapest broadsheet.
I do not in fact speak any Hungarian, but neither, I surmised, does the Princess. And after some time spent in the company of the late George Mikes, I felt I could assume a convincing Hungarian accent.
The interview took place in the fine furnishings department of Harrods, a large store in central London.
Your Highness, perhaps if you were to sit here on this sofa which is marked `Now Only pounds 1,770', and if I were to stand to attention beside you ...
Oh, but that is not fair. You should not stand if I am sitting.
But you are royalty ... You are Your Highness ... I am only My Lowness.
Yes, I know, but I have always felt a special sympathy for those who were in a more difficult situation than myself, such as you. Victims of circumstances. People who, for no fault of their own, had to suffer. Why I should feel a special sympathy for the innocent victims of society's cruelty I have no idea, but there you are ...
So it would make you feel a lot better if I were to sit down?
Oh, yes! I would feel a lot better! My tears would dry! My eyes would lose their photogenic moistness! I would force a smile to my lips! I would face the light to give maximum chance of a good exposure for any passing photographer!
I thought you hated passing photographers?
I do. But one must be ready at all times.
Good. Very well then. I will seat myself.
Where have you gone?
I am afraid we do not have sofas as rich and soft as this in my native Hungary. I have sunk out of sight down this end ... Perhaps I will stand after all.
Very well. But watch where you stand. You never know what you might stand on.
Really? You are thinking of?
Land-mines? They sell land-mines here in Harrods?
No, I don't think so, but the possibility of land-mines is never far from my thoughts. Do you have land-mines in Hungary?
I don't know. I have never needed to acquire one. I know a man in Buda who claims he can get anything at 24 hours' notice, but this is something I have never asked for.
Believe me, you should not ask for one. If you knew anything about land- mines, you would realise the damage caused world-wide is ...
Yes, yes, but I do not think my readers in Hungary will be interested in land-mines. It is not one of our preoccupations.
What, then, would your readers in Hungary be interested in? Would they be interested in what I feel about the last government?
Well, we do not change governments very often in Hungary, and I am not sure how many people remember the last government.
No, no, I was talking about the last British government.
Oh no. I don't think we would be interested in that. However, if you wish to say something off the cuff that would be caught by the world's press agencies and flashed round the tabloids under the headline `DI'S CLANGER', I am happy to oblige.
Very well. Here we go. As far as the previous government is concerned, I could not stand John Major. He talked incessantly about cricket as if it mattered.
Hmm ... This might be difficult in Hungary, where we do not have cricket. Can I make that water polo?
Polo is not my favourite game.
Water polo has nothing to do with horses, Your Highness. For water polo you do not stand around shivering on cold, windswept fields, making idle conversation to aristocratic oafs. You stand shoulder to shoulder with ecstatic crowds in warm, echoing swimming stadia, roaring your side on ...
I do not think I would entirely enjoy that. It is not easy for someone like me to mingle easily with a crowd when one is, alas, so easily recognised.
No danger of that in Hungary, your ladyship. No one would have the faintest idea who you were.
Oh, I don't think I would like that very much ...
Dodi's a funny name.
Dodi is a funny sort of name. Where does it come from?
Just a moment, what has happened to your Hungarian accent?
The full transcript of this interview, which lasted a little while longer, can be obtained from me, subject to normal rates.Reuse content