ITV Channel staff remember past royal visits

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne's latest visit to Jersey has got many people thinking back to memories of past royal encounters. Credit: PA Images

With Her Royal Highness Princess Anne becoming the first royal to visit the Channel Islands since the coronavirus pandemic began, it's got many people thinking back to memories of past royal encounters.

So, we asked the ITV Channel staff to share some of theirs - and they did not disappoint!

  • Clare Burton, Political Correspondent

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"If you write to a Princess, you don’t really expect a reply. But when five-year-old me sent the Princess Royal a letter, she did just that. It was my mum’s idea to make a card for the Princess, to keep me busy for a few hours one wet weekend. And, as she pointed out, the Princess liked ponies too, so she’d probably love a colourful drawing of My Little Ponies with some barely legible scrawl on the back, explaining why we should be best friends.

"Once it was popped in the post, I pretty much forgot about it, as I was five, and there were other ponies to draw and biscuits to eat. Then, Io and behold, an official letter from the private secretary of Princess Anne, on posh, embossed, headed paper. It said her Highness had very much enjoyed the picture of the ponies and wished me a lovely summer holiday.

"She did not respond to the best friend request. But it was remarkable that I got a reply at all, and I treasured that letter. Looking back, it was a real insight into the efforts that go into making the royal family seem accessible - and visits like today’s can have the same effect. Giving people a connection with the individual royal can help build loyalty to the institution."

  • Gary Burgess, On-Screen Journalist

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"Royal visits are funny old affairs to cover as there are specific places where reporters are allowed to stand and an expectation that you won’t ‘doorstep’ said Royal with any impromptu questions - though that does seem to be easing up in recent times.

"My favourite visit was of Charles and Camilla to Jersey where I covered their visit to the market in St Helier. I was recording my ‘piece to camera’ where I say a few words of apparent wisdom to the camera with Charles in the background. As I did, somebody moved out of the way and apologised to me for getting in the shot… it was Camilla! One of those odd moments where I felt I should be saying sorry for getting in her way and not the other way around.

"As I finished up, she even asked if she could watch it on the telly later. A good reminder that, amid all the pomp, at the end of the day people are just people."

  • Jonathan Wills, Presenter

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I was a schoolboy in shorts for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. The entire school was marched in single file about a mile to the main road. About an hour later, a big car drove past in a blink - I think I might have seen a waving hand but can't be sure. We then walked back - oh we knew how to celebrate in those days!

  • Andy Fox, Engineer

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"When Princess Anne visited to officially open the new Science Block at Victoria College on my 12th birthday in 1972 (I think), we arrived at the school in style in my Grandad's black Rolls Royce, which swept majestically up to the college gates, where the headmaster was waiting expectantly. The car came to a stop and the headmaster went to open the door expecting a Princess to step out - but was greeted by us instead! I don't think he was very pleased..."

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