I have on occasion been asked what fired my imagination and interest in royal history. The two-fold answer is a photograph of a beautiful Princess Margaret on a magazine cover, seen and saved when I was about six years old; and a school visit to the Tower of London, perhaps a year later, accompanied by the not to be forgotten, slightly damp packed lunch of a cheese and tomato sandwich and perhaps a long-forgotten apple. Who, ignoring the sandwich, could have failed to be inspired by one or the other – or in my case, by both?
What never occurred to that schoolboy, was that in time he would not only become a writer as well as a broadcaster, regularly invited to take part in television and radio programmes, as well as any number of documentaries, but who would also become – as if it was meant to be - the authorized biographer of Princess Margaret.
I ought to add that history as an over-arching subject has long captivated me. I’m always at a loss to understand those who do not feel the same way. And here in England, indeed in Britain, we have so much to fire all our imaginations.