The day I broke royal protocol
The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes has always been my midsummer highlight. Pretty well every running of it has a related memory.
One of my most joyous years was 1983. Time Charter. That summer, Henry Candy, her trainer, and I, had been opening the batting for the Lambourn cricket team.
Match after match, we took a battering with the new ball and made no runs. Until finally we came across a team even more inept than us. Candy and I were filling our boots, stroking their opening bowlers around like Sir Len Hutton.
Between overs, Henry muttered, “We’re like pigs in clover, Brooks … don’t screw it up”. I ran him out two balls later.
So, I was thrilled when Time
Charter won and Henry had something to smile about. So happy, in fact, that I ended up sharing my joy with the Queen. I was attending a party at Windsor Castle after the race and, emboldened by a few scoops, decided I would shoot the breeze about Henry with Her Majesty.
“Absolutely top man,” I assured her. “And a much better opening batsman than his figures would suggest … although he needs to work on his running between the wickets.”
Some aide standing next to her looked like his eyebrows were trying to do a lap around his ears – apparently you are not meant to download on Ma’am unless she initiates a conversation.
I ran into her 3½ decades later at her own cricket match, and reminded her, after I had been formally introduced, that we had met before and chewed the cud about Time Charter and Henry Candy’s cricketing prowess.
But I have a feeling she had not remembered my chat with her. Perhaps that is a good thing?