Crikey’s Royal Correspondent Barry Everingham writes:
Monarchists and your correspondent will have something in common at last – Channel Nine really excelled last night in the second episode of the royal extravaganza. Like last week’s program, it centred on the fabulous Windsor Castle. But last night’s was mostly about horses, which makes the Australian head of state appear totally human. The woodenness, the boredom, the hauteur all temporarily put to one side. She smiles, laughs, talks; she’s totally in her element. We watched her at her favourite race meeting, Ascot.
Memo Brian Henderson: get the pronunciation right mate, it’s askit. The four-day event is the highlight of England’s summer social season and for those who worry about such things, it’s suicide darling not to be there! On one day Elizabeth’s horse came in second – and the public betted enormous amounts of money on it. We were shown the annual Order of the Garter ceremony where the knights wear ridiculous hats and capes in searing heat which caused the now crusty Duke of Edinburgh to comment: “In practice it’s lunatic but in reality it does bring enjoyment.” He could have been speaking about the monarchy itself.
He was also rather dismissive of the many house guests the Queen invites to stay in the Castle for the four days and called them “nuisances” who had to be entertained. There was even an Australian touch – we were shown a fleeting glimpse of the recent funeral of the 103-year-old Duchess of Gloucester who, with her husband, Elizabeth’s uncle, spent two years during Word War II here while he was governor general (one of this country’s most forgettable viceroys). But the queen is at her best when among horses, which gives credence to the alleged reply of her husband when he was asked if she would like to inspect the cockpit of the jet the couple were flying in. Don’t bother, he told the pilot. Quite frankly, old boy, if it doesn’t eat hay and fart she’s just not interested!
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