Recently, the spouse of our Head of State was involved in a minor traffic accident. Neither he nor anybody else was seriously hurt. He is 97 years old.
One of our newspapers ... oops ... perhaps I'd better break off here with terminological explanations.
We used to distinguish between 'broadsheet' newspapers and 'tabloids'. The former were reckoned to be more literate than the latter, and their pages were twice the size. However, The Times adopted the tabloid page-size, which confused the lucid antinomies of yesteryear. I think the more proletariate papers are now called 'red-tops' because it is in that colour that they print their names at the tops of their front pages. I think I have heard that the middle-class papers are are sometimes called 'Quality papers'. But I may have got all this wrong. (What I think people should call the Daly Mail is perhaps better left unexpressed.)
Anyway, back to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.
One of the Red Tops had a front page banner headline ordering him to give up driving, and addressing him as "Philip".
I have no particular sentimental rapport with the House of Battenberg. My own historical sympathies incline towards Jacobitism. And thus to the happy cities of Munich and Vaduz.
But the aged gentleman concerned did serve with distinction in the last World War. It seems to me moderately outrageous that some crass journalist or editor, probably some dim, sniggering adolescent, should take the liberty of addressing him with such impertinent familiarity.
I have been similarly outraged in hospitals, hearing silly little bits of junior nurses addressing working class men old enough to be their great grandfathers ... "Come along, Billy, take your pills like a good boy". Men who fought in wars and brought up large families and worked all their lives ...
I was rather glad to see that the Earl of Merioneth promptly acquired a car just like the one he had smashed, and made sure he was seen next day by the journalists, driving it around.
It's the only sort of language these people understand.