Belfast Telegraph

If only the Duke of York wasn't so grand

By Lindy McDowell

It can't have been a comfortable few seconds for Prince Andrew pounced upon by armed officers as he took an early evening stroll in his own back garden and, reportedly, ordered to get his hands up and lie on the ground.

There had been an earlier breach of security at Buckingham Palace and consequently police officers were on high alert. Noticing a burly figure striding around the grounds you can totally understand why their first thought may have been "intruder" rather than "Air Miles Andy".

Better safe than sorry.

Not having been there none of us knows exactly what passed between the two parties – constabulary and royalty – but reports suggest that the very grand old Duke of York took it badly.

Asked to verify his identity ("Can I see your driving licence, sir?") he is said to have shouted at the officers: "Don't you know who I am?" His identity thus verified he is then reported to have lectured them "like a schoolteacher".

And certainly his statement on the matter (following an apology from senior Scotland Yard officers) does suggest a chippiness about how he feels it was handled. "The police have a difficult job to do balancing security for the Royal family and deterring intruders and sometimes they get it wrong ... "

Get it wrong?

Challenging someone they truly believed could be an intruder?

"I am grateful for their apology and look forward to a safe walk in the garden in future ... "

Actually Andy is safe in his garden because those brave officers on the ground are there to ensure that he is. Had he been an armed madman, had he attacked them, they were prepared to put their lives on the line.

So whether their genuine, understandable mistake necessitated an official apology is a good question (you can't see the Queen demanding one, can you?)

"Don't you know who I am?" the puffed up Duke is said to have shouted at the officers doing their job. Only too well, Andy, only too well.

Belfast Telegraph


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