The BBC was searching for a new detective series and wanted to adapt the books by E.A. Rex. Lord Westmoreland (the main character) had an old world charm that would counter the high tech wizardry of American programmes like CSI. They approached the author’s publishing house wanting some biographical details to help in its marketing. A flurry of activity resulted in the senior partner ringing to explain they had no information to pass on. 

However, they were concerned that the Queen’s secret life as a writer would be exposed. There was only one thing for it. Her agent asked for an audience.

‘Ma’am, the BBC is interested in adapting your novels, and has asked for information on the author. Are you still of a mind to remain incognito?’


‘They will press us,’ he hesitated, ‘could we invent a persona?’

‘A red herring, a false trail- you mean a patsy? I like that idea. Can one become someone exotic, unconventional like Maya Angelou?

Askance, he recovered. ‘Ma’am, I think perhaps that’s a little too colourful – something more beige I fancy – English?’ 

They sat in thoughtful silence.

‘If I knighted that  Downton* chap, do you think he might be persuaded?’ 

*For those of you familiar with the glorious Gosford  Park (2001) and wonderful Downton Abbey (2010) will know Julian Fellowes wrote them. He was made a life peer in 2011.