The Princess Royal explained that often, when members of the Royal Family are opening a new building, facility, monument or other new creation, they have not actually seen the thing they are unveiling. This makes it very difficult to say much about it in their speech beforehand. Similarly, when they go to a premiere of a film or theatre production, they generally meet the cast and crew before they actually see it, so again they struggle with what to say to people.
Anne revealed this surprising fact when being interviewed by Terry Wogan on his TV show ‘Wogan’ in 1985.
The host asked Anne how she thinks of something new to say to each person in a receiving line at a royal premiere, for example, apart from “I loved the movie”.
Anne’s response was that even this simple platitude is not available for her to dish out.
She said: “Well, except for they usually introduce you before you’ve seen the movie, which is always a bit of a hazard.”
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Mr Wogan guffawed and suggested: “I loved your last movie?”
Anne replied: “It’s like when you’re opening something you haven’t even seen, which happens quite a lot.”
Mr Wogan asked what she does under such circumstances, when she is opening something she hasn’t seen.
The princess said: “I’m very short about it. I don’t say a lot.
Terry Wogan interviewing Anne in 1985
“Yes, it’s more ‘I am very much looking forward to seeing whatever it is I’m about to open’ or words to that effect.
“But I frequently thank them for the opportunity of having seen it before I open it, if I’ve been allowed to see it.”
Princess Anne is historically the hardest-working role in terms of numbers of engagements and carried out 506 last year, pipped only by her brother Prince Charles.
This means she meets thousands upon thousands of people every year, smiling, waving and making introductions.
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Princess Anne on ‘Wogan’ in 1985
Many of her engagements will involve opening something ‒ the new wing of a hospital, or a commemorative plaque for example, while others involve visiting a charity she is the patron or president of.
Having been a full time royal for 71 years now, Anne must have a lot of practice in making up what to say on the spot at an engagement for which she has not been able to see what she is opening.
Anne then went on to answer the original question: how she thinks of something to say to each person.
She said: “You can ask everybody ‒ it’s rather like market research ‒ you can ask literally everybody the same questions, like you have three questions for that afternoon and you ask everybody the same questions.
Terry Wogan interviewing Anne in 1985
“And with any luck it shortens the time involved because, if the person who’s standing next to the one you’re talking to is paying any attention, they’ll have the answers ready for you. It doesn’t always happen.”
In this way, Anne revealed her own sneaky trick for getting through engagements more quickly ‒ perhaps this is why she has been able to do multiple engagements within a single working day for so many years.
Mr Wogan also asked Anne whether she enjoys going to formal functions, saying: “I mean, you have to keep that smile on at all times and be nice to everybody.”
Anne has in fact been accused of not smiling enough in the past, being branded “sourpuss” and “misery-face” by newspapers.
Journalists abroad, too, claimed the princess was bad-tempered and surly on foreign visits.
Anne simply said to her host: “Well, you’re nice to most of your guests really, aren’t you?
“You manage to smile at them and keep up the intelligent conversation?”
Mr Wogan responded: “But only for about 40 minutes, you have to do it for hours on end.”
Anne said: “But I don’t have to speak to the same person for 40 minutes.
“I mean, everybody’s different, you seldom meet the same person twice.”
Cet article est apparu en premier (en Anglais) sur SUNDAY EXPRESS