Saturday, 30 April 2011


The Big Idea had been hiding halfway down the second bottle of an indifferent Chilean Chardonnay and when they reached it the Head Honchos of Channel 4 pounced on it with many a glad cry.

“Let's Dig the Dirt on the Middletons,“ they chorused, and off they went clutching their buckets and spades. They struck pay dirt straight away. The young bride's great-grandfather was a coal miner!!!! The groom's great-grandmother OWNED coal mines.

History was clearly not the a strong point with the Honchos or they would have been aware that it was a far, far greater thing to be an honest miner than to be numbered among the mine owners, some of the more justly reviled men in recent history. One even had his plea for forgiveness cut into his gravestone.

But to what joys of discovery this led. The Duchess of Cambridge's (the last Duke also married a commoner) near relations were a supermarket manager, more miners and a leisure centre cleaner. As it turned out, they were also very likeable, honourable and happy and not at all envious. The supermarket manager and cleaner had little schooling and had worked fiercely to get to the positions they had achieved. Unlike their new in-laws.

Royal families, until recently, had defied all efforts to educate themselves and they had lied, cheated and murdered for centuries to get where they are today. By his own efforts, one great-grandfather of the bride had amassed considerable wealth, which he left to ensure that his descendants, including the bride, could get the sort of education that only the most recent royals could boast; and in doing so produced the first Queen in history with a university degree.

It is only fair that examination should be held into the family into which she has married.. The Queen, for example, and the question of whether she is entitled to rule on religious grounds. She descends from Prince Albert, whom, it was said, was the product of an affair between his mother and a Jewish court chamberlain. Curiously, late in his life, Edward VII befriended the Jewish banker Ernest Cassell, whom he knighted in return for financial advice. The two men looked so alike it was said they were BOTH the sons of the Jewish courtier by different mothers. Ernest was known as Windsor Cassell and Edward as The Caresser. When he died, one of his mistresses threaded black ribbons through her daughter's underwear and a Jermyn St grocer sold black Bradenham Hams. Recalling, no doubt, his prowess at Bed and Board.

Our Queen's Georgian ancestors include a barking madman, three bigamists, two murderers and a traitor to the Crown.

Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, the Albany Herald, claimed in his book “Lord of the Dance“ that, amongst others of history's notables, he and the Queen descend from Vlad the Impaler, the historic Dracula, and Elizabeth Bathory who bathed in the blood of maidens. The late Queen Mother, claimed the American investigator Kitty Kelley, was the daughter of a Welsh housemaid. Wallis Simpson and her appalling traitorous husband teased her with the nickname “Cookie”, and James Lees Milne claimed to have heard the Queen tell her mother: “The difference between us is, I am Royal.”

I should add that it was from that much loved commoner that the Royal Family became human and survived. The new Duchess will repeat the magic.. I just wonder if we are doing the right thing marrying the loving and lovely Catherine into this disfunctional assemblage.


The decision to put the R4 “Today” programme on air at breakfast time was sheer genius. They are right in thinking that is when the most people turn the radio on. My Archives programme, which followed it, took over its audience of seven million.

What the BBC fails to take in is that people may switch it on but at that time of the morning are far too busy to LISTEN to it. They have not reacted with fury at the way its abject presenters treat the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, both men of considerable intellect, like recalcitrant school boys. Their manner is rude, their frequent interruptions are offensive. They make the novice interviewer's error in believing they and not their guest is the person to whom we wish to listen.

Their own gods, who are allowed to rant untrammelled, are rather strange. Ian Hislop is an ex-schoolmaster who edits “Private Eye”, the organ of elderly undergraduates. Nothing more. Yet he was allowed to bad mouth Andrew Marr without interruption. Surely it does not matter how belatedly Marr rejected his own decision over super injunctions? He did so. Hislop is society's disagreeable terrier whose proper province is the heel.

Meantime your sympathy is sought.................................

Despite paying annual salaries of hundreds of thousand of pounds, BBC Director General Mark Thompson claimed it was “extremely hard” to fill executive roles as the broadcaster tried to cut costs.
In the past year, the BBC has pledged to reduce what it pays in some executive roles after repeated criticism.
Mr Thompson is trying to find a new director of television after Jana Bennett left the public service part of the BBC to join BBC Worldwide, its commercially-funded arm.
Miss Bennett’s remuneration in the last financial year was £517,000, but it is understood that the salary on offer to her replacement could be less than £400,000.
How can anyone live on that!
On a luxury note: We celebrated my first day as a monarchist with fish n' chips and champagne. God Bless the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who have the good sense to live on Anglesey, guarded by Meyricks, with whom any upstairs servant who gossiped with downstairs servants was sacked. When we lived down the road, the Meyricks had a game keeper who terrorised an entire district. Glad I am no longer the island news gatherer.