Dumfries House (2)

Readers may legitimately wonder what the mood was like yesterday in the grounds of Dumfries House. The answer is that I remember hearing the noise of a helicopter in the distance, maybe at about 10 o’clock. It was. When we learned that it was the Prince of Wales summoned to Balmoral, I think we all knew instinctively what that was likely to mean; but it was a long wait through the course of the day, in which I was the least well informed. Everyone else seemed to have vastly much better access to the rumour mill. At 5 o’clock, I got a call in the Entrance Hall (use of phones is forbidden) to ask if the news was true. I asked as I left the house half an hour later, but it was unconfirmed. So, I only learned when I switched on the tv – very unusual for me – at 6.25 in the hotel bedroom. The end of an era. And the beginning of a new one.

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