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The Prince, the loo seat, and the Ozzie radio station

I’m sure we can all agree that it’s not normal for reporters on the royal beat to write about princes and their, ahem, toilet seats.

But I find myself doing exactly that today.

Why?

Because one particular member of the Royal Family has been associated with one.

Or rather, he’s been accused of taking one with him on his travels.

We’re talking about Prince Charles and an accusation made in a book that the Prince once insisted on taking a long list of items with him when he is away from home, including a toilet seat.

I can’t verify this claim either way.

I do travel with the Prince of Wales a lot – and while I’ve never had a reason nor the opportunity to poke around in his luggage, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a toilet seat amongst the items being ferried on and off planes or in and out of hotels.

That said, a book by the author Tom Bower claimed, he did once insist on taking one with him.

It’s worth pointing out at this stage, that all authors promoting their new book, and their publishers (and the newspaper that has paid lots of money to serialise the content) crave publicity.

Something to grab people’s attention.

And so, it’s happened with this this new book, Rebel Prince (see I’m writing about it now as well). Bower claims that once, ahead of a visit to a friend in the North East, the Prince sent a truck load of items ahead of him, including his own linen, his favourite whiskey and yes, a loo seat.

Prince Charles' office has always denied the claim.

There are a host of other claims as well but I won’t bother you with them here.

And there this story might have stayed – suspended somewhere between the claim and counter claim.

Or you might prefer, somewhere between the loo seat and the sewer.

But yesterday, the Prince’s most senior communications man, Julian Payne, tweeted about the Australia tour on which the Prince and Duchess were about to embark.

He wrote: “The Prince and The Duchess’s tour of Australia and Vanuatu begins: 30 engagements, 7 days, 1 Commonwealth Games, 0 personal loo seats.”

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It was a reference to how hard the Prince works on these tours – and having seen the 69-year-old at work, that is something I can verify.

Today, a presenter from an Australian radio station decided to ask the Prince and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, about the loo seat.

The Prince replied, with a blunt but perhaps rather appropriate choice of words, “Oh don’t believe all that cr*p!”

And Camilla also said: “Don’t you believe that.”

At this stage, you might well ask, aren’t there more important questions to put to the heir to the throne?

Or you might think, why shouldn’t the Prince be asked about a claim in a book which lots of people now know about?

Either way, the question was asked.

Both sides stand by their version of events.

And now I’ve just written an article about a toilet seat…