Confessions of a failed royal reporter

Half a lifetime ago, I was, briefly, an occasional royal reporter – and watching The Crown, season four has revived memories of that inglorious chapter.  It began with my one and only encounter with my favourite Crown character, Princess Margaret, on a sweltering July evening in 1997. I had arranged a trial night shift on the Evening Standard, starting at 5pm, which only allowed me ten minutes to get from my day job at the Old Bailey across London to their offices in Kensington, by bicycle, in 90-degree heat. I arrived breathless, only for the news editor to spin me straight back out, saying I had just five minutes before