John Humphreys was “poked” by the Queen sworn at by Prince Philip while Princess Anne heckled him during a reading at Cheltenham Literature Festival. However, the radio veteran did admit that he, like “many a rather sad middle-aged man” in the 1980s and 90s, was charmed by Princess Diana.
Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Humphreys said that he was “poked” by the then monarch and branded “naughty” after revealing a conversation with Her Majesty.
He said: “I suppose I must have done something to please Queen Elizabeth, though, because she invited me to one of her private lunches at Buckingham Palace.
“Obviously I leaped at it. Could it be that she was contemplating breaking all royal precedence and doing an interview? Might I be the Chosen One?
“The lunch was pleasant and my chance to raise THAT subject came afterwards when the two of us stood together drinking coffee in a side room.
“She listened carefully while I made my case. Then she spoke just one word. ‘No!’
“Undaunted, I launched into the second half of my pitch. Again she listened patiently. Again she said ‘No’.
“Then a slight pause and she added: ‘What’s more Mr Humphrys, if one were ever to do such an interview it would most certainly not be with you!’
“What’s said in the Palace stays in the Palace. But surely, I reasoned, I could tell a story against myself.
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He said: “Our first encounter was during a state visit to Mexico. My cameraman and I flew with Queen Elizabeth and the Duke in a tiny light aircraft to visit an ancient ruin.
“We nearly didn’t make it. When we landed at the airstrip she was rushed off the plane to a waiting Land Rover.
“We jumped in the only other vehicle on the airstrip and gave chase.
“After a few minutes we heard a siren behind us and our little convoy came to a halt. It was a police car with the Duke inside.
“He leaped out and strode towards me bellowing: ‘You stole my f****g car!’ Queen Elizabeth stood by the roadside trying not to grin – and failing.”
When giving a talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the former Mastermind host was telling the audience his royal anecdotes when a heckler interrupted.
Princess Anne fumed: “That’s my mother you’re talking about!”
The former On the Record presenter also revealed the “banal” conversation he managed to muster with Princess Diana.
He said: “Like many a rather sad middle-aged man, I fell for her immediately.
“When we first met over lunch I asked her something breathtakingly banal about the joys (or otherwise) of being the most famous young woman on the planet and she said the dancing.
“‘What? Was Charles really such a good dancer?’ How foolish of me. It was John Travolta.
“She had danced with him at the White House and I swear her eyes glittered as she described it. “