Talbot Church: Revealed: the Palace's view of royal reporters

The man the Royals trust...

Wednesday 26 January 2011 01:00 GMT

To the world outside, they provide the latest news from Britain's most famous family. For Palace insiders, they are an everyday reality. But what do the Royal Family themselves really think of the court correspondents who earn a living by reporting on their daily lives?

Clive "Bugger" Goodman. There was little pleasure in royal circles when The News of the World's royal editor was jailed for phone-hacking. "They were all at it," one of the younger royals told me. "At least with Bugger, there was no secrecy. Sometimes you could hear the chink of glasses at El Vino's as he listened in." It is said that Goodman will be welcomed back into the royal press corps at any time.

Ingrid "Kathy" Seward. Given her nickname by the Duchess of Wessex after the obsessive fan played by Kathy Bates in the film Misery, the editor of Majesty magazine lives and breathes the royal family. It is said that at home she has a private museum of memorabilia, including menus, pens, and even some sweet papers. Her most treasured possession is thought to be one of Princess Diana's handkerchiefs.

Dickie Arbiter. Like Paul Burrell, professional royal-watcher Dickie Arbiter is believed to be on the outer fringe of royal circles, having broken the unwritten rule that former employees of the Palace should not exploit their position. He is much in demand in New Zealand.

"Hugo" Vickers. Instinctively classless, the royals are mystified as to why East End boy Harry Vickers has decided to pass himself off as "Hugo", a plum-in-the-mouth public schoolboy who is an expert on royal protocol.

Nicholas "The Butler" Witchell. The BBC correspondent is not nearly as disliked in Palace circles as is rumoured. Surprisingly, it was Prince Andrew who gave him his nickname. A favourite joke among royals as Witchell sidles into view is to murmur, "Will there be anything else, sir?"

"Reliable" Rod Liddle. When not using family friends in the media like your correspondent, the royal family releases stories it wants circulated accurately to Roderick, as his friend Prince Charles prefers to call him. With Stephen Fry, Julian Pettifer and Alan Titchmarsh, Liddle is part of the Prince's Round Table think-tank, keeping him in touch with what ordinary people think.

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