Belfast Telegraph

Keep your privacy, baby George, and please don't dance

By Talbot Church

Your Royal Highness, it is with genuine humility that I introduce myself as your most loyal servant. Among my fellow court correspondents, your arrival has caused much excitement.

Nicholas 'The Butler' Witchell has taken to speaking to camera with the odd, ingratiating crouch – rather like a red squirrel with a nut – which he adopts on momentous royal occasions.

These people are called 'Palace-watchers'. My role, more a much-loved, unofficial godfather than a court correspondent, is to bring you friendly advice.

To those who say it is pointless to address a person who can only stare blankly and dribble occasionally, I would point out that I once interviewed Captain Mark Phillips and proved more than equal to the challenge.

I could write a book (and I have – several of them) on the subject of royal behaviour. On this occasion, though, I shall confine my advice to Talbot Church's 10 Golden Rules for the royal prince:

1. The expression you wear on your face today is one to maintain throughout your childhood.

No one has any wish for you to become a 'character'. Your parents are perfect role models for this.

2. Discourage nicknames. They will point up a personality which you do not have. Remember the unhappy examples of Harry (laddish), Fergie (bouncy), Andy (randy) and Di (the girl next door).

3. Avoid opinions. Be as briefly interested in your surroundings as a moderately bright junior reporter on a local weekly paper.

4. Engage in some form of blood sport. The world thinks it wants to you to be normal, but in truth prefers you to be slightly different.

A boarding school will help, as will wearing a tweed suit at age eight, but stalking a stag, or shooting pheasants, is your best plan.

5. Avoid dancing. When tempted, find photographs of your father, or your grandfather, doing it.

6. The old-style royal correspondent – yours truly – are sadly outnumbered by coiffed newscasters and cable TV vulgarians with fake tans. Such is the price of the dreaded "classless society", Your Royal Highness.

If you wish to confide in the Press, it is best to put your trust in "the unavoidable Church" as your great grandmother (Her Majesty) once wittily described me.

7. At some point, the world will long for you to fall in love. This is almost always a bad idea for a member of your family.

Take the sensible course and assess a future partner rather as one would before making a key appointment in the family firm.

8. People are interested in what you represent, not you. Those who confuse the two – the Duchess of York – get into a terrible muddle.

9. Do not write a book – particularly a story for young children.

10. Try not to care too much about anything. Keep your private self well-hidden. It belongs to you – not to the world.

Belfast Telegraph


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