It had to happen of course. It was what the BBC was invented for. I only went out for a walk at lunchtime and returned to hear the news that the Duke of Edinburgh had died, aged 99 and ten months. No telegram for you mate! The BBC had switched into its legally required full eulogistic mode, trotting out royal biographers and gong seekers, all of whom hadn’t listened to what the previous ones had said—meaning that the same words and lines were repeated ad nauseum. Extraordinary! Extraordinary! Extraordinary! What a life! This will go on for a few days yet. Then, perhaps by midweek, the yellow press will be speculating (if a swift funeral wasn’t arranged) whether Harry and Megs will be ever-so socially distanced, particularly from Wills and Kate at the ceremony. And quietly behind the scenes might someone in government think this is a good time to bury bad news? And will our Prime Minister comb what’s left of his hair at the funeral?. I suspect at some point the dapper D of E will have passed comment on our PM’s schtick. Bloody scruff! Who is he anyway?
Closer to home for me in many ways is the death just announced of Peter Ainsworth, former Tory MP for East Surrey. I got to know him when he chaired the Environmental Audit Committee. We became friends, sharing an environmental interest and a sense of humour, which was great fun when at one point (both no longer beholden to the Westminster political life) we thought it would be a great idea to write a book together. This provided the excuse for regular lunches, but little progress. I was pleased to call him a friend, even if he was a Tory. I think in later years he became less a Tory, perhaps just a TINO - Tory in name only. I shall greatly miss him.