Guardian columnist and former Times editor Simon Jenkins told Press Gazette last week how much he enjoyed working on the Evening Standard back in the Swinging ’60s.
Now word reaches Axe of a jape played on a young Jenkins by his colleagues from the time.
According to my source Jenkins, though Ã¢â‚¬Å“clearly destined for great achievementsÃ¢â‚¬ was Ã¢â‚¬Å“not exactly the self-effacing typeÃ¢â‚¬ in those days and sometimes his behaviour verged on the
Apparently then LondonerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Diary editor Paul Callan, his number two Jeremy Deedes and Valerie Grove decided to Ã¢â‚¬Å“inviteÃ¢â‚¬ Jenkins to a private luncheon party hosted by the Queen.
Through a contact, they managed to obtain some Buckingham Palace notepaper. Then they borrowed a typewriter (used by the editorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s secretary) which had a very bold typeface Ã¢â‚¬’ identical to that used on Palace machines.
They Ã¢â‚¬Å“invitedÃ¢â‚¬ Simon, and Valerie (an excellent forger) signed it Ã¢â‚¬Å“Philip MoreÃ¢â‚¬ (then the QueenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Private Secretary). Some sealing wax was stuck on the back and it was hand-delivered to the front hall.
To be on the safe side, they also reportedly let the editor, Charles Wintour, in on the joke (in case it backfired), who apparently also thought it was a good wheeze.
Young Jenkins sent an acceptance to the invite (which was quickly retrieved from the mailroom by a conspirator).
And on the day of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“lunchÃ¢â‚¬, he arrived in a splendid new suit and proudly told his colleagues where he was heading.
Sadly, his sense of humour apparently slipped somewhat when he was informed it was all a joke. As he told Press Gazette: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Sixties were a great time to be working on a