THE VIEW FROM HERE OOH, what chic beach brio as Prince Harry descended upon Priory Bay for luncheon, this lovely event being filmed as part of a TV documentary.
It was a highly hush-hush affair, but one CP reader managed to take a picture which shows the prince in, alas, a not very interesting pose. You can just about make him out, slouching along and knees bent, possibly weighed down by his magnificent repast. A table had been "set out on the Seaview sand" for the silver-service meal provided by Priory Bay Hotel, owners of the beach. No details of the menu but you kind of guess it wasn’t fishpaste sarnies and a bag of crisps.
Still, never mind. A photo of royalty is always welcome on the Island, though I am deeply concerned for the safety of the person who was bold enough to snap the prince. We all know Buckingham Palace’s security has become very lax of late, with intruders wandering willy-nilly around its state rooms, but Priory Bay is right on the button when it comes to keeping common people off its aristocratic sands.
During Prince Harry’s visit "curious visitors were kept away from the area by hotel staff and by Royal protection officers" and hotel owner Andrew Palmer was tight-lipped about the whole affair.
"We always respect the privacy of our guests and our visitors," was his only comment. Quite right, Mr Palmer, and I’m sure when you track down the insolent snapper who recorded Prince Harry’s knees in such a casual mode, you will have them arrested and charged with treason, trespass, and behaving in a manner not fitting to your bit of beach.
It must be very schizophrenic being a royal these days. Prince Harry seems a nice chap, but may have something of an identity crisis, one moment at pains to display his blokishness (last time he was here, he was rocking round Cowes with the lads) and the next having the Priory Bay flunkies bring him his silver-service lunch on the beach. For the cameras, too. Madness.
I wonder whether the prince might in fact have suggested a simple sandwich or even a barbecue? In view of his usual efforts to display a lack of ostentation, it seems quite likely.
I’m afraid he would have been put right very swiftly, for such things are not Priory Bay style. The Prince Harry episode does, however, explain another incident on this beach which occurred on the evening of the Fort Walk. I have some acquaintances, rather low creatures whose taste in beach accessories runs no further than bucket and spades and who don’t know any royalty at all. As the Fort Walk is generally regarded as a merry Island affair, with everybody pitching in for beach suppers and wading out at low tide, they thought they’d walk along to Priory Bay and enjoy a boy-scout-style family barbecue.
This, of course, was an outrageous notion, as they swiftly discovered when, just as they’d got everything ready and were about to tuck into the grilled sausages, a security guard, accompanied by a fierce woman, bore down on them and booted them off the beach. They protested they had not passed any visible notices alerting them to the exclusivity of the area.
No excuse, of course. And exceptions cannot be made, even when it’s an occasion for communal Island jollity. But, as I say, they are of poor stock and since discovering they were intending to eat their beach food in their fingers, I have rather distanced myself from them.
In order for Mr Palmer to avoid future distress, I suggest he erect an entire palisade of notices around his beach, rather like those ones you get on Dartmoor alerting you to the danger of army exercises. Keep out! Royalty, shiny cutlery and security guards in the area!
There is, however, one potential snag. Mr Palmer only owns the beach down to the high-tide mark and my acquaintances, still smarting from their spoiled sausages, are even now planning an assault at low tide. What is to be done? Maybe Prince Harry can return and order the sea, in a reverse Canute manoeuvre, to remain within a silver fork’s throw of his dining table.
Silver service on the sand but not for hoi polloi
THE move in Freshwater to set up an outdoor gym at a playground, so parents can work out while their children frolic, is undoubtedly commendable.
There will be eight fitness stations, including cardio equipment and weights, and no doubt the instigators are expecting superbly toned muscles in no time.
Want a bet? It’s lovely being a parent at the playground.
You slouch on a bench, get out a Snickers bar and have a good gossip with the other mums and dads. Weights? Cardio equipment?
Well, they might be used in the first couple of weeks but as we know, nobody keeps up their gym membership, even when they’ve paid for it.
Kids not pestering you for 20 minutes and you’ve got the choice of a bench, plus Snickers, plus gossip, or a ruddy work-out? A no-brainer, I’d say.