A trusted royal guard spills the secrets of a decade of misbehaviour inside Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s call sign was “Purple One”, and her husband was referred to as “Phil the Greek”.
Prince Andrew, meanwhile, was known simply as “The Cunt”.
1. The guards would turn up to work drunk and disorderly – with disastrous consequences.
Drinking was a “huge part of the culture” among the Queen’s guards, but such was the need to have a full relief of armed officers on duty at all times that Page said even those who turned up smelling strongly of booze were allowed to book out weapons and get on with the job. If they were seriously drunk they might be advised to sleep it off in one of the palace rooms, or given medical relief in the form of “a pack of mints and a Lucozade”. Page recalled one incident when a senior official in the royal household was coming through the palace gates, and instead of lifting the barrier, a hungover officer accidentally pressed the underground ramp button, sending the woman’s car into the air.
2. They got their friends on to the Queen’s protection squad by helping them cheat the entry test.
Life on the royalty protection command was seen as an easy gig and a nice little earner. Page said that he and some colleagues wangled their police friends off the beat and into the palace by tipping them off about the questions they would be asked at interview. Even without cheating, new recruits would have been hard-pushed to fail the flimsy entry test. Page says they were merely required to identify a mugshot of a prominent royal and answer questions such as, “Is it ever OK to read a book while guarding the gate to the Queen’s private quarters?” (Answer: no.)