It was a Monday evening in early 2004 when a group of Europhiles and Europhobes gathered for a Buckingham Palace dinner at the Duke of Edinburgh’s invitation. We were there to discuss the proposed treaty for a European constitution, just written and whose ratification across Europe was about to begin. I had been one of 12 European “thinkers” who had made joint recommendations on what European values should be in its preamble, hence my presence. What followed was one of the most surreal evenings of my life, brought to mind by the three German princes the Duke of Edinburgh insisted should attend yesterday’s funeral.
I’m Willy the Hutton I am, I am. See how the mighty seek my views.
Three of the Europhobe contingent then joined him, banging the table and shouting “No to Europe” with such force that the red-jacketed butlers stood back from serving – even the duke looked nonplussed.
Do even the Royals have multiple butlers? Serving at table, in red?
Waiters possibly, footmen even, but butlers?
Or does Willy not know the difference despite his being so sought in the corridors of power? Or perhaps it’s me?