No problem guys, glad you enjoyed it.
I very rarely saw the Queen and Prince Philipe together when I was at Clarence House, perhaps just a couple of times during my two years in the job. If anything, the Queen seemed to be closer to her dogs than to Philip. She certainly spent more time with them. She had 14 corgis and the Queen Mother had four.
One of the highlights of their day in Scotland was feeding the dogs sausages. Every single day, just before lunch and dinner, the dogs would gather round their feet and the sausages would come out. And throughout the day they were fed tidbits so they got quite fat and snappy with it too, snappier than a crocodile handbag. You could stroke them, but if they were in a bad mood you learnt to avoid them. I saw them really got for some people. They would bite their ankles and things like that.
The corgis were rather like the Queen in that they seemed to carry with them this touch of formality, if dogs can have such a thing. This was echoed in the Queen's demeanor. She was the Queen and she was never really off duty. Instead, she had to adhere to a clearly defined role that carried with it certain standards of behaviour and attitude.
Princess Margaret, on the other hand, was more feisty and opinionated and generally a bit more noisy that her older sister. She was certainly more personable and also flirtatious. But her mood could turn on a sixpence. One minute she would be all smiles and the next she would be crothety and snappy. People were very aware of this and trod carefully around her. She could even be snappy with both the Queen and the Queen Mother, and it didn't take much for them to expose her short temper.
Margaret often eschewed protocol to get her own way. I remember her saying to me one morning, "Ah, Colin, what are you doing this morning?"
"Well, nothing really," I replied.
"Great, well, grab your swimming trunks. Come on, lets go for a swim and then we'll come back and have lunch."
I was a bit taken aback by this and wondered what the protocol dictated about how you were supposed to swim with a female member of the royal family. But this was Margaret, a woman who had led quite a hedonisitic lifestyle and came across as someone who had lived a bit, so I thought what the hell, I'll go with the flow. So we loaded up a Range Rover and went to one of her friend's houses that had an outdoor pool.
I was in the pool when she appeared in this rather old fashioned one piece swimming outfit and I spent the rest of the morning very comfortably. I tried to swim in such a way that I was always on the opposite side of the pool to her. I just didn't want to get too close. It seemed a tad too close and a bit too informal for my comfort.