Sir Charles ‘Chatty’ Chatterton is the raffish, six-times-married, long-serving MP who has recently stepped down as Assistant Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. During the past fifty years Sir Charles has been privy to many of the great occasions of State and the people involved.
In these exclusive extracts from his soon-to-be published diaries, The Conservative Woman reveals his involvements with members of the Royal Family.
October 1990: A day to remember. I was called to the Palace where Her Majesty bestowed upon me the honour of becoming a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. I was in a line that included a man who got a lot of attention, called Savile. Apparently, he is highly regarded by the PM and the BBC. He looked a bit of a wrong un to me; as nanny often said, ‘Never trust a man in a gold lamé tracksuit’.
May 2018: I was honoured to be a guest at the pre-nuptial reception at Number Ten for dashing young Prince Harry and his ravishing bride-to-be, Meghan. I believe she is an up-and-coming actress who has a minor role in a late-night television programme. She reminds me of my second wife Tallulah, who played the part of a waitress in several episodes of I Love Lucy. Sadly, her final film role involved her being eaten by the Great White in Jaws and she never recovered from the trauma, taking solace in Southern Comfort.
With my vast experience of matrimony, I tried several times to offer Meghan a few words of advice about the secrets of a happy marriage, but each time I approached her she politely slipped away saying she had to replenish her glass of camel milk.
May 2018: Woke up with a frightful hangover. I must remember to keep off the Gummer’s Old Peculiar Single Malt that Philip May keeps for special occasions. It probably caused my strange dream in which Harry and his delightful wife became King and Queen after the rest of the Royal Family were abducted by massive walking chrysanthemums. I do hope Her Majesty soldiers on for many more years but I dread the accession of her eco-loon son, and the dutiful William. Wouldn’t it be splendid if swashbuckling Harry, with his wonderful wife, could take over as our sovereign!
May 2018: A marvellous day at Windsor Castle. The sun shone on the happy couple. Despite the hanging around and unwelcome presence of some dreadful ‘celebrities’, the wedding was a huge success. My croquette of Windsor lamb was a bit tough but the Californian merlot was perfectly acceptable. My intake required me to visit the lavatory rather more often than I would have liked, and on one occasion, whilst queueing, I had the misfortune to stand next to the Archbishop of Canterbury. On finding out that I was a junior minister at the DWP, he lectured me for five uncomfortable minutes about the need for increased supplementary benefits for some group or other. I do wish these God-botherers would instead help me to understand the infinite mystery of The Creation. The biggest surprise of the day was to meet Meghan’s charming mother who, to my astonishment, is African American.
March 2019: I was fortunate to be given an invitation to attend the house-warming party at Harry and Meghan’s newly refurbished home, Frogmore Cottage. I was already familiar with the place as a result of a brief dalliance with the wife of one of the house’s previous occupants. It was sad to see that the rustic charm had been replaced, at a cost to the taxpayer of nearly £3million, by decor that was a cross between The Great Gatsby and Teletubbieland. On several of the walls hung large photographs of great Hollywood actresses including Monroe, Hayworth, Russell, Garbo and of course the lovely Meghan herself.
As the hostess is with child, she didn’t circulate as much as she would have liked and once again I didn’t get the chance to pass on to her my considerable knowledge of the ingredients of a happy marriage. Nor did I feel it appropriate to speak with Harry as was my intention, to ask him to open a new nail bar in my constituency. I could see he was in a reflective mood and was often alone with a faraway look, no doubt thinking of the happy times he spent terminating the Taliban with a .50 calibre machine gun from the door of an Apache.
I hope Harry is all right.